Summer Musical Theater Intensive Preprofessional Program 2016
Dr. Michelle Murray Fiertek, DMA, Program Director
In her early years Connecticut soprano Michelle Murray Fiertek opened “The Voyage of the Little Mermaid” for Disney’s Hollywood Studios as one of the original Ariels. She went on to work as the lead singer aboard the S. S. Discovery I and, in 1995, became the first American singer to be invited to perform both Japanese and American music in Minakami, Japan. She has released two albums on the Summit Records label: Blue: The Complete Cabaret Songs of William Bolcom and Arnold Weinstein, described as “exemplary” by BBC Music Magazine and named “CD of the week” by the Arizona Republic and KBAQ-FM, and The Juliet Letters. Michelle made her Carnegie Hall debut in December 2005 with a solo performance described as “First rate – engaging and authentic” in New York Concert Review. A continuously active performer, this year has seen her singing the roles of Miss Pinkerton/June Jinkins in Hartford Opera Theater’s double bill of “Old Maid and the Thief” (Menotti) and “An Embarrassing Position” (Shore) in addition to giving solo recitals in Cape Cod, MA, Winchester, MA, Kensington, CT, and at The Hartt School. She has been a faculty and guest recital artist at venues across the country, and the featured soloist in many large-scale choral works, including Fauré’s Requiem, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Mass in C Minor, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach's B Minor Mass and Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum and Messiah. A champion of Spanish Art Song, Michelle has studied under such famed musicians as pianist Miguel Zanetti and mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza in Granada, Spain as part of the celebrated Interpretation of Spanish Song program, as well as returned to the program in subsequent years as a guest artist. She holds two B.M. degrees from Arizona State University, an M.M. from California State University, Long Beach, and a D.M.A. in Vocal Performance from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, where she currently serves on the voice faculty. www.michellemurrayfiertek.com
Kenneth Cavett, Artistic/Staging Director and Acting Coach
Ken began coaching and teaching actors over ten years ago, with a strong focus on the foundational work of Stanislavski. He especially enjoys guiding and watching young actors discover their own creative process. He believes that an actor’s freedom to create can be found within the strong boundaries developed through specific technical exercises.
As an actor, Ken has had the privilege to perform in works by many of the great American playwrights and composers, both in New York and in prominent regional theaters such as Shakespeare Theatre Company, Paper Mill Playhouse, Prince Music Theatre and Goodspeed Opera House. He has been blessed to work closely with such theatrical luminaries as playwright Horton Foote, director/ teacher Robert Lewis, and actress Elizabeth Ashley, along with Tony award winning director John Rando and folk/rock icon Bruce Hornsby. In 2010, he was chosen to perform in the American classic A Hatful of Rain as part of the International Theatre Festival held in Warsaw, Poland. While living in Chicago, Ken helped found The Cactus Theatre, devoting himself to the creation of a permanent acting company with which he worked intimately, both on and offstage, for nearly seven years.
TV appearances include Boardwalk Empire (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS), and The Men Who Built America (History Channel). However, it seems he is the only actor in NYC who has never appeared in any episode of the Law & Order franchise!
Ken is currently involved in the creation of two new Broadway-bound musicals, BLooM! and SCKBSTD. He has served as director for Jesus, Son of Man and Faith vs Reason, two Christian based dramas presented at the NYC Church of Christ, of which he is a member. He’s also worked as director and co-writer for The Fame Game, a new musical based on the Rat Pack era.
Wendy Cavett, Music Director
Wendy Bobbitt Cavett recently completed a 12+ year tenure as music director and conductor of the Broadway mega-hit Mamma Mia!. Other Broadway and off-Broadway credits include The Scarlet Pimpernel, A Year with Frog and Toad, The Most Happy Fella, and A Tale of Two Cities. Wendy was Music Director and Conductor of the 1st National Tour of The Who’s Tommy, billed as "95 pounds of pure rock n' roll". She maintains that energy as a conductor even now, gaining notice from audiences all over the world.
Regional credits, many of which are premieres, include: The Twelve (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), Johnny Baseball (A.R.T. and Williamstown Festival), The Hidden Sky (Prince Music Theatre); A Year with Frog and Toad at Minneapolis’ Childrens’ Theatre Company; Just So at North Shore Music Theatre, The Secret Garden, Dreamgirls and Gigi at Papermill Playhouse; Almost September at St. Louis Rep and Here’s Love at Goodspeed Opera.
As an music arranger, projects in development include BLooM, a modern fairytale musical and Rock the Performance, a brand new rock music performance website (the brain child of Sheri Sanders, creator of “Rock the Audition”). Wendy recently joined the theatre faculty of Wagner College in Staten Island.
Emmett Drake, Assistant Music Director/Accompanist
Originally from Long Island, Emmett Drake has been involved in music in many ways his entire life. Since graduating from the Hartt School (of the University of Hartford) in 2008, he has been an active composer, conductor, teacher, pianist and violinist. His original compositions have been performed all over the world, and he has worked with thousands of students as a teacher and a clinician. He has presented workshops in string writing at the Connecticut Music Educators Association All-State Conference, conducted regional/all county orchestras, and in May, 2012 conducted the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas in Minneapolis, MN. He has served as music director for over 50 musical theatre productions ranging from school level shows to professional regional theatre. Currently, Mr. Drake lives in West Hartford, CT and teaches orchestra at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford. He also serves as the music director/conductor of the five Suzuki Orchestras at the Hartt School.
Kaitlyn Krewson, Choreographer
Connecticut dancer and choreographer Kaitlyn Krewson has been training in multiple styles of dance for over 20 years, including ballet, pointe, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap, and hip hop. She has trained with several well known professional choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Wade Robson, Sonya Tayeh, Chris Judd, and Dave Scott. Kaitlyn prides herself on continuing education, and has participated in several masterclasses with industry professionals including Jeff Amsted and Dorrell Martin (former director of Joffery Ballet Company). As a teacher, choreographer, and coach, she has received numerous awards including several Platinum Awards, the Winning Choreographer Award, and the prestigious Top Teacher Award. Kaitlyn is thrilled to share her love of dance and creativity with the students and faculty of Hartt’s Summer Musical Theatre Intensive.
Joni Weisfeld, Suzuki Training
Joni Weisfeld received her BFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut. While there, she trained in many forms of physical theatre, including the world renowned Suzuki training. After graduating, she worked professionally as an actress in New York City and with many national touring theatre companies. Dedicated to producing new work, she has helped to create and direct new plays such as "The System", a dance interpretation of "Medea", and "Breakfast for Dinner" which premiered at the NYC Fringe Festival in 2005. In addition to teaching Movement at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, she also teaches in the theatre department at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She directs plays at both schools including "Macbeth", "Cabaret", "The Seagull" and "Mere Mortals".
Emma Tattenbaum-Fine, Acting Teacher/Scene Coach
Emma Tattenbaum-Fine is a writer and performer with the sketch group Political Subversities, appearing every Saturday night at The People’s Improv Theater in New York City. Her work with Political Subversities has been featured by MoveOn.org, Huffington Post, Gawker, and as a "Critic's Pick" in Time Out NY. Her webisode, “JEGGINGS: The Official Music Video,” spread across the internet by way of Jezebel, Cocoperez, NY Fashion Mag, AXE.com, and countless other international fashion and comedy sites. Emma is co-founder of the sketch comedy group People’s Sketch Association (Funnyordie.com User's Pick 3/09, Best Sketch Group INNY Award 2010). She has toured nationally with Chamber Repertory Theatre and has worked as an intern on CNBC's McEnroe and on Saturday Night Live. She is an alumna of Hammerkatz NYU ("Critic’s Pick", Time Out NY 2005) and has performed at the UCB Theatre and at Joe's Pub (under the direction of Elizabeth Swados and Andrew Neisler). Her one-woman show, Laughing All the Way from the Sperm Bank was directed by Michelle Tattenbaum (2004 NY International Fringe Festival). She performed in Abu Dhabi in 2010 for the opening of the NYU campus there. Emma can be seen in a Starburst commercial as "Lethargic Cheerleader", on "All Worked Up" for Tru TV and in the Israeli documentary, "Soul Tripping", about American Jews experiencing Birthright. She has been published by BUST Magazine and has done writing and voiceover work for Mighty Dog. Emma has a BFA with honors from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. This is her fifth year with SVI and she is thrilled to be back!
Janelle Robinson, Master Class Teacher
For the past ten years, Janelle Anne Robinson has enjoyed an ongoing professional career on the operatic and musical theater stage. She has performed in France and Japan, and also toured extensively within the United States. Janelle has also been honored with several awards, including The Richard Tucker Study Grant and the MacAllister Award.
Some of Janelle's credits include the Broadway productions of Cameron Mackintosh and Disney's Mary Poppins, directed by the award-winning Sir Richard Eyre, in which she originated the role of Mrs. Corry; Oklahoma, also produced by Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Trevor Nunn and Hal Prince; and Susan Stroman's revival of Showboat. She has performed with Virginia Opera, Opera Omaha, Connecticut Opera, and Opera Company Philadelphia. Off Broadway, productions include Slag Heap, directed by Michael Morris at Cherry Lane Theater, and Golden Boy, directed by Walter Bobby at City Center. Janelle has worked with many illustrious directors and choreographers throughout the years, including Michael Mayer, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Barry Ivan, Vicky Bussert, Dotty Danner, Wayne Cilento, Eric Stern, and David Caddick. Also, she has been active in film and television, appearing most recently in a national commercial for Febreze, and on Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
In the course of her professional career, Janelle has studied voice, acting, and dance, and also pursued commercial and voice-over training. She has excellent academic credentials, having received a Bachelor of Music in Opera from The Hartt School, an Advanced Certificate in Voice from the Juilliard School, and a Master of Music in Opera from The Curtis Institute. She has also trained at the School for Film and Television. Janelle feels privileged to have studied under some masterful instructors, including Marlena Malas, Fredric Moses, William Ferro, Sofia Steffan, Bruce Kolb, Dr. Linda Carroll, Joan Leder, Craig Carnelia, and Rob Melrose.
At this point in her career path, Janelle would like to follow in the footsteps of these teachers and dedicate her collected talent, experience and training to an academic role. Her desire is to share her gifts, and to pass along to aspiring young performers not only what she was taught in school, but also the wisdom of her life as an artist to prepare them for a successful and satisfying career in the real world. Previously, Janelle taught at Juilliard's summer exchange program and was also an adjunct faculty member at The Hartt School, and looks forward to bringing her creativity, passion, and wisdom to further teaching opportunities in music and theater programs in and around Connecticut.
Tracey Moore, Song Preparation
Tracey Moore holds a B.M. in Voice from Indiana University, an M.A. in Dramatic Lit from Southern Illinois University, and an M.F.A. in Acting from Brooklyn College. Her performing career includes two National B’way Tours (CAMELOT, RAGTIME) and three Off-Broadway productions (REGINA, I WILL COME BACK, SEÑOR DISCRETION) as well as performances at the Met and New Jersey State Opera. She has held leading roles at major regional theatres including Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Hilton Head Playhouse, Mountain Playhouse, Little Theatre on the Square, Gablestage, Candlewood Playhouse, Darien Dinner Theate, and North Shore Music Theatre.
In New York, she is known for her work on new music theatre, having performed at New Dramatists, BMI's Music Theatre Workshop, the NYU Music Theatre Writing Program, ASCAP, the Sandbox, and many others. In New York, she developed the role of Mary Magdalene in the Pre-Broadway workshop of Kevorkian Café. In L.A., she developed the role of Red for the Broadway show The People in the Picture.
For the past seven years, she has served as artistic director for a staged-reading series of new, unpublished musicals entitled “Before Broadway.” Her book, Acting the Song, was published by Allworth Press. Articles and essays she has written have appeared in The New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the international journal Studies in Music Theatre, in Dramatics magazine, and in Teaching Theatre Journal. Tracey previously taught at Florida International University and Western Kentucky University.
Diana Moller-Marino, Audition Techniques
Diana Moller-Marino (Associate Professor) has been teaching and directing in actor-training programs since 1990. From 1992 -1997, Diana was Resident Director for Capital Classics Shakespeare Company, producing free outdoor theatre in Hartford's Bushnell Park. At The Hartt School, Diana teaches acting with a movement emphasis. Elsewhere, she has taught classes including directing, text analysis, acting the song, movement and script development. Diana has been a Guest Teaching Artist at many institutions including: Wesleyan University, The University of Utah, Trinity College, Santa Barbara City College, Red Lotus Movement Center (Salt Lake City) and at the cultural centers on the islands of Santiago and San Vicente in Cape Verde, Africa. Diana was a core faculty member at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts from 1993 to 2001. Diana has been the Chair of Theatre at Wesleyan University's Center for Creative Youth (CCY) since 1997. In 2004 and again in 2005, Diana was a guest of the Cape Verdean government as part of an arts delegation from CCY negotiating, planning and implementing a new international arts program in Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde. In addition, Diana produced and directed a new play about the Cape Verdean Revolution and the immigrant experience in the United States, entitled My Cape Verde. For the past several years, Diana has guided ten students at Wesleyan University in scripting and performing autobiographical monologues on issues of identity for the university's freshman orientation. Diana is an associate editor for The Player's Journal, a periodical for practitioners and teachers of theatre. Diana is working on an actor-training textbook entitled The Space Between. Diana is a member of ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) and ATME (Association for Theatre Movement Educators). Diana earned a bachelor's degree with honors in theatre from Wesleyan University and a master's degree in directing from Emerson College. Diana is actively involved in programs for children with disabilities, with much help and inspiration from her daughter Eliza.