Lisa Matsko Hamilton
LISA MATSKO HAMILTON is the founder and director of the Professional School for the Arts in Torrance. She received her MFA in music theatre at the University of California, Irvine, and has taught voice, music theatre, and college preparation for over 30 years.
Her students have attended prestigious performing arts programs at the University of Michigan, UCLA, Yale, Harvard, University of Miami, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, University of Miami, University of Arizona, NYU, Juilliard, Pace, Otterbein University, AMDA, USC, Point Park College, Emerson College, Muhlenberg College, Rider, UCI, Montclair State University, Ball State University, Syracuse University, and Northwestern.
Many Professional School for the Arts alumni have gone on to perform in Broadway productions such as Carousel, Hamilton, Hadestown, Wicked, Frozen, The Book of Mormon, Mary Poppins and Rent as well as in numerous national tours and regional productions.
Ms. Hamilton is a recipient of the Fine Arts Award from the City of Torrance. She is also a board member of the Professional Arts Education Center, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to raising scholarship funds for deserving performing arts students.
Broadway: The Book of Mormon (Original Broadway Cast) and the Deaf West revival of Big River (2004 Tony Honor) at Roundabout Theater Company Other NYC: Yank! (The Old Globe Workshop), Bye Bye Birdie (City Center Encores!) and Behind the Limelight/Chaplin (NYMF). National tours: The Boy Friend directed by Julie Andrews, Big River, the Detroit company of White Christmas and the Japanese tour of Disney on Classic with the Tokyo Philharmonic. Regional credits: Cosmo Brown in Singin' in the Rain, Wendell in Emmet Otter (both at Goodspeed), Jinx in Forever Plaid (Cape Playhouse), Happy Days the musical (Papermill Playhouse, cast album), Carmen Ghia in The Producers and Andy Lee in 42nd Street (Pioneer Playhouse). Film/TV: Frozen (Troll), South Park, The 2012 Tony Awards and commercials for Truth Campaign, Nike, and Ocean Spray. He is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.
Scott is currently the director of the Musical Theatre Conservatory at the Orange County School of the Arts, and is a graduate of Wagner College (BA Theatre/Speech) and UCLA (MFA Playwriting). His play Gamers, was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Festival and presented in the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Scott is also a proud Professional School for the Arts Alumnus.
Lindsay was most recently seen on Broadway playing Carrie Pipperidge in the revival of Carousel for which she received a 2018 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Ms. Mendez has also appeared on Broadway as Elphaba in the smash hit, Wicked, during the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the production. She has also starred in Joshua Harmon’s highly-acclaimed new play, Significant Other. She received a Drama Desk Nomination, Outer Critics Circle Nomination, and a Drama League nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her performance as Rose Fenny in the Off-Broadway musical DOGFIGHT.
Other Broadway credits include: Godspell (2011 Revival), Everyday Rapture (Roundabout), and Grease (2007 Revival). Ms. Mendez is an accomplished jazz and blues singer. Her album entitled This Time is available on iTunes.
Lindsay is a renowned voice and acting coach for artists around the country. With composer Ryan Scott Oliver, she co-owns and runs Actor Therapy, a NYC based musical theatre master class series that mentors artists navigating the performing arts industry.
Lindsay is also a proud Professional School for the Arts Alumna.
Jessie Mueller is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress and singer. She most recently appeared on Broadway in Tracy Lett’s The Minutes, the Kennedy Center’s The Music Man, and Julie Jordan in the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel (Tony & Grammy nominations, Drama Desk Award.). She originated the roles of both Jenna in Waitress (Tony, DD & Grammy noms) and Carole King in Beautiful-The Carole King Musical (Tony, Grammy & DD Awards.)
Her concert appearances include Chicago’s Lyric Opera, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Film and Television: Steven Spielberg’s The Post, Madam Secretary, Blue Bloods, and Lifetime’s Patsy & Loretta. She is an Arts Education champion for groups such as Rosie’s Theatre Kids and a long-time supporter of The Actors Fund & Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids.
John Krause recently toured nationally with Wicked as a member of the ensemble and understudy for the role of Fiyero. Other professional credits include Davy in Newsies (Sacramento Music Circus), understudying Roy and others in Fun Home (Broadway), Drew in Rock of Ages (NCL and Las Vegas), and ensemble member and understudy for Johnny, Will, and Tunny in Green Day's American Idiot: The Musical (International Tour).
Most recently, John has starred in the Original Broadway Cast of Hadestown as a member of the worker ensemble and as the understudy for Orpheus.
John is also a proud Professional School for the Arts Alumnus.
Hank Stratton starred in the Broadway revival and television film adaptation of The Man Who Came to Dinner, opposite Nathan Lane. He appeared in the CBS drama The Unit, in addition to recurring roles on Heroes and American Dreams. His television work includes films for NBC, CBS, Hallmark and HBO, along with numerous guest appearances including The Closer, Desperate Housewives, Hawaii Five-O, ER and Frasier. He had the privilege of playing Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival. Additionally, he starred in the national tours of the Tony Award-winning production of Copenhagen, the Sam Mendes/Rob Marshall collaboration of Cabaret, the off-Broadway hit Jeffrey, and played the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Ladyfor Moonlight Stage Productions. As a director, his work for the Arizona Repertory Theatre includes Doubt, A Streetcar Named Desire, Born Yesterday, Reckless, This, The Man Who Came To Dinner, and co-directing The Full Monty. He directed The Laramie Project for the University of Michigan, and produced a concert benefit the Matthew Shepard “Erase Hate” foundation. He has served as a guest artist for educational institutions around the country, including master classes at UCLA, AMDA and the Professional School for the Arts. Hank is a co-founding instructor of Six Days of Broadway, a musical theatre performing arts camp at the prestigious Segerstrom Center in Southern California. Hank is a founding board member of The Foundation For a National AIDS Monument, where he also serves as programming chairperson. He is also a board member of the Professional Arts Education Center, a non-profit dedicated to providing scholarships in the performing arts. Hank is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Christopher is an actor, director, and all-around theater nerd. He stars in the upcoming 2019 feature film, Breaking Fast, and plays alongside Patti Lupone, Glenn Close, Cynthia Erivo & Jon Cameron Mitchell in the soon to be released musical podcast, Anthem, penned by JCM. On Broadway, Christopher played opposite Daniel Radcliffe and Darren Criss in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying…(Bud Frump); Rent (Mark), Cry Baby (Baldwin), and In My Life (JT).
Other notable NYC credits: the Jon Tolins’ hit one-man comedy, Buyer & Cellar; Perfect Arrangement at Primary Stages; starred as Claude in the Public Theaters Shakespeare in the Park production of Hair. Hanke played Tommy Boatwright in The Normal Heart directed by George C. Wolfe. On tour, he starred in The Full Monty (Ethan Girard) and Fame (Nick Piazza).
Christopher works a lot in TV: 3 seasons as Devon on Odd Mom Out (BRAVO);
recurring on sitcom Kevin Can Wait (CBS); Fabian in the last season of Devious Maids; series regular Ryan Abbot, Three Rivers (CBS); recurring as Stuart on HBO's Big Love; guest-starred on Nashville, Major Crimes, The Client List, Brothers & Sisters, and Younger.
Mike Mosallam is a producer, director, writer for theatre, film and television. Through his production company, Mike Mosallam Productions (www.watchmmp.com), he and his team produced short films: Breaking Fast (Cannes Film Festival) and Brothers (11-time Jury & Audience Award Winner), both written and directed by Mike, along with the upcoming "Ubuntu." His feature film debut, Breaking Fast (based on the short), had its World Premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in March 2020 and its Los Angeles premiere shortly thereafter at Outfest Fusion. Despite the current global pandemic, Breaking Fast is having a healthy festival run. He is the creator and Co-Executive-Producer of the critically acclaimed TLC series, All-American Muslim. Most recently, Mike is Executive Creative Consultant on Season 2 of Hulu's Ramy (episode 9). He is currently writing his 2nd feature loosely based on his experience as a pre-teen living on his brother's college campus. On the theatre side, Mike has produced and directed more than 100 theatrical productions from large-scale musicals, intimate cabaret settings, plays, concerts, and multimedia theatrical events.
Gerard Babb, music theatre and acting, is proud to be a founding faculty member at the Professional School for the Arts. While Gerard enjoys working with all his students from ages 8 to 80, his specialty is helping high school seniors hone their monologues and songs for college performing arts auditions. Former students have gone on to attend programs such as those at the University of Michigan, Boston Conservatory, UCLA, NYU and University of Arizona, and others have seen such success as Tony and Emmy awards. Gerard is a long-time member of the Screen Actors Guild and earned an MFA in acting with an emphasis in music theatre from the University of California, Irvine.
Karen Morrow beloved stage and television personality, first stepped onto the New York stage as the female lead 'Jeannie' in I Had a Ball co-starring Buddy Hackett and Richard Kiley. Her last performance on Broadway was playing the dual role of ‘The Princess Puffer’/‘Miss Angela Prysock’ in the original Tony® Award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Her stage work outside of New York includes the role of ‘Parthy’ in the Tony®- Award winning production of Show Boat, as well as leading roles in Die Fledermaus, Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam, Hello, Dolly!, Oliver!, Follies, Sweeney Todd, A New Brain and White Christmas - The Musical.
She has appeared in concerts with major orchestras in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Honolulu and The White House. She can be heard on the concept album Miss Spectacular, a studio recording of an unproduced work by Jerry Herman with whom she has worked and recorded extensively.
Other albums include White Christmas: The Musical. Karen performed regularly on Garrison Keillor's popular broadcast A Prairie Home Companion. She starred in the series Singin' alongside her performance peer (and friend) Nancy Dussault. Together, they won an Emmy® Award for the PBS program Cabaret Tonight.
In addition to theatre and concert performances, Karen is a nationally sought-after Master Class Teacher in the art of musical theatre performance. She has conducted classes at Carnegie-Mellon; Northwestern; University of Southern California; University of California-Irvine; Pepperdine; Arizona State University; Viterbo; Baylor; the Kennedy Center and the Los Angeles Music Center. Formerly an adjunct-professor with the Bolger Music Theatre Program at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Karen keeps busy conducting a bi-monthly singers' workshop in audition and performance skills, as well as traveling the world as guest artist and presenter.
Gerry is the choreographer for the only equity sanctioned production in the country: Godspell! He has had the fortune to say he has only worked in showbiz since he moved to NYC in 1984. He graduated from Montclair State University and won the National Irene Ryan Award for excellence in acting.
Broadway: Uptown It’s Hot starring Maurice Hines, Anything Goes starring Patti LuPone, Once On This Island (Original Broadway Cast) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Michael Damien and Chicago.
Choreographer: Anything Can Happen in the Theatre, Forbidden Broadway at the York Theatre, Tommy, My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, Oklahoma!, A Saint She Ain’t at Berkshire Theatre Group, Jersey Boys at Ogunquit Playhouse, Once on this Island at Theatre Works and The Wiz at Broadway Sacramento. Gerry choreographed the final Rosie O’Donnell show and is the choreographer of the award-winning Spamiton.
Gerry has had the privilege to teach young performs who are now working actors. Jackie Miller, Sara Andreas, Nora Schell, Nikka Lanzarone, Austin Lesch, Juwann Crawley, Nicholas Edwards, Amber Ardolino, Meagen Campbell, Tamrin Goldberg, Reeve Carney, Linda Neal, Kaitlin Doubleday, Colby Lewis, Jackie Burns, and Tony winner Lindsay Mendez. Giving back has been my greatest reward.
Cynthia Kortman Westphal
Cynthia Kortman Westphal is a music director, voice teacher, vocal coach, and professor who is equally comfortable in both the professional Broadway community, and the academic world.
Most recently, Cynthia music directed the first North American tour of Come From Away. With her husband and two children in tow, she conducted over 400 performances in over 30 cities across the US and Canada. Additional Broadway shows include: The Lion King, (where she was an original company member, associate music director, conductor, and keyboard player for seven years), A Christmas Story—the Musical (written by former students Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), The Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm, and Miss Saigon.
Regionally, she has music directed at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, where she was part of the very first all-female creative team in the history of that historic theatre. Additional regional theatre work includes Randy Newman’s Faust at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, as well as productions at Hartford Stage Company, and Arizona Theatre Company.
She toured as a pianist with opera singer Andrea Bocelli on two U.S. tours, and has been an orchestral pianist for many other orchestras including American Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, and EOS Orchestra.
As a local keyboard player, she has played for over a dozen Broadway national tours including: Wicked, Sister Act, In the Heights, Spamalot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the 25th anniversary tour of Les Miserables, Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The King and I, and Annie.
She is a tenured faculty member in the University of Michigan’s prestigious musical theatre department where she teaches performance classes, works one-on-one with singers, and created a rock/pop vocal styles class. She is also a Certified Master Trainer in Estill Voice Training.
While Cynthia wears many hats, she is passionate about working with singers—especially in helping them discover their ability to sing in the multitude of vocal styles that are happening today—and her current and former students can be seen in nearly every Broadway musical each season, as well as in regional theaters across the country, and in film and TV.
Brent Wagner was chair of the Department of Musical Theatre for 32 years and is credited with building the department into one of the top musical theatre programs in the world. Before joining the Michigan faculty in 1984 he taught at Syracuse University. He has directed musicals and revues throughout North America, from off-Broadway in New York to the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada. He has collaborated with Sheldon Harnick on numerous projects, including a new opera at the O’Neill Theater Center, as well as the world premiere of A Wonderful Life (music by Joe Raposo), and his recent musical Dragons, both of which were staged at the University of Michigan. Wagner continues teaching the first-year Introduction to Musical Theatre and the upper-level History of Musical Theatre courses. He holds an Arthur Thurnau Professorship, an award for outstanding instruction at the undergraduate level.
Jessica Lea Patty
Jessica is a seven time Broadway veteran, director, choreographer & teaching artist currently living & working in Los Angeles. She was last seen on Broadway in the Tony Award winning musical BANDSTAND directed & choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler. She was also in the Broadway Revival of EVITA starring Ricky Martin where she understudied & performed the title role of Eva Peron & starred as the Cassie Alternate every Sunday in the Broadway Revival of A Chorus Line. Her other Broadway credits include the original companies of The Addams Family, The People In The Picture, & 9 to 5 the Musical. She made her Broadway debut in the The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman. Jessica also toured North America with hit shows Cats & Fosse. Her television appearances include The Kennedy Center Honors, PBS’s Live at Lincoln Center, 5 Tony Awards telecasts, Dancing w/ the Stars, The Late Show with David Letterman, the CBS Morning Show, The View & Good Morning America. She has also appeared in numerous regional theaters across the country & can be heard on 5 original Broadway cast recordings. Jessica has appeared as a principle singer with the Pittsburgh Symphony & in the 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists concert series in NYC. Most recently Jessica directed & choreographed The Addams Family at Florida State University & choreographed OCSA’s production of Jasper in Deadland. She currently teaches an acting & mindfulness based musical theatre class at OSCA. Jessica has taught dance & musical theatre audition & vocal performance masterclasses for many organizations, universities & studios in NYC & across the country.
BARRETT FOA is best known as tech geek Eric Beale on all 10 seasons (and counting) of the hit CBS crime drama/comedy “NCIS: Los Angeles”. He has guest starred on “Will & Grace” (’19), “Entourage”, “NCIS”, “The Closer”, “Numb3rs”, and "Six Degrees”. During his hiatuses from "NCIS: LA," Barrett starred in the New York one-man multi-character hit off-Broadway comedy Buyer & Cellar, was nominated for an LA Ovation Award for his portrayal of Oscar in Sweet Charity at Reprise 2.0, conceived his own solo show Grin and Barrett at NYC’s Feinstein’s/54 Below and LA’s Rockwell, starred as Harold Hill in The Music Man at CT Rep, and starred, co-wrote, and produced the sold out hit For The Record: John Hughes in LA and NYC. Prior to moving to LA, Foa starred on Broadway in the Tony-winning musicals Avenue Q (Princeton/Rod), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Leaf Coneybear), Mamma Mia! (original cast). He played Jesus in the off- Broadway revival of Godspell (cast recording), originated the role of Eddie in Adam Bock’s The Drunken City at Playwrights Horizons, Jamie in Matthew Lopez’s Tio Pepe (aka Somewhere) at The Public, and has developed new work at New York Theatre Workshop, Roundabout, and Ars Nova. Regional Theatre credits include Paper Mill Playhouse, Bay Street, Hartford Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Muny, and Pittsburgh CLO. Born and raised in New York City, Foa graduated from The Dalton School in Manhattan, attended Interlochen Arts Camp, studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and received his BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from The University of Michigan. Foa was the on-air backstage host and social media correspondent for the 2013 and 2014 Tony Awards on CBS.
Sharona D’Ornellas is a talented and experienced professional dancer, with extensive training in all disciplines of dance. Sharona’s formal dance training began in her hometown of Ajax, in Ontario, Canada at the “Susan Messmer School of Dance”. By the age of 8, Sharona was entering dance competitions all across Canada and the United States, and at 19, Sharona received early acceptance to Ryerson University, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Theatre Performance Dance program. During her studies at Ryerson University, Sharona honed her technique and developed her strengths as a commercial and contemporary dancer under the guidance of Nadia Potts, Karen Duplisea, Vicki St. Denys, Robert Glumbek, Allen Kaeja and Stelio Calagias. As a professional dancer, Sharona has continued to expand her knowledge and skills: Sharona danced the choreography of Cornelius Carter in “Together We Stand”, a 2006 performance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York City.
Sharona has danced professionally on stage, on film, on television, and in advertising commercials. On stage, Sharona has danced in performances of Duke Ellington’s “Jazz Cracker”, choreographed by Roberto Campanella, and in the NBA Toronto Raptors Dance Pak, as a member and as a choreographer. Sharona performed as a dancer in the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. As backup dancer, Sharona has performed with international artists Panjabi Hit Squad from Pakistan and legendary soul artist Chaka Khan. Sharona’s film credits include dance performances in the Walt Disney movie “Ice Princess” and the feature film “The Love Guru”, choreographed by Emmy Award winner Marguerite Derricks. For television, Sharona danced in “Both Sides Now”, as part of a special musical and dance presentation. In advertising, Sharona’s dance performances can be seen in commercials for Payless Shoe Source and for Joe Fresh, choreographed by Michael Rooney.