Rising Star Academy Teaching Instructors
Marie Nicole - Director of Education / Teaching Artist
Marie is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association. You may have seen her perform locally with companies such as The Growing Stage, Centenary Stage, or Allenberry Playhouse. On a global scale, Marie has traveled through Europe, Africa, and Asia working as a production singer and headline act for Oceania Cruises. Currently, Marie sings with 7th Ave, a vocal band created by Chris Rupp, the founder of “The Sing Off's” season 4 winner Home Free. You can also find Marie on television, starring in episodes on Investigation Discovery (“Shadow of Doubt”) and SyFy (“The Internet Ruined My Life”).
When she is not performing, Marie is helping children develop a passion for the arts. She has been teaching music, theatre, and dance to children ages 3-17 since 2008. In 2016, Marie joined the artistic staff of the prestigious Stagedoor Manor as a Director/Choreographer in residence. In her free time, you can find Marie running marathons or OCRs, or being obsessed with all things Disney!
Jarrod Scott - Teaching Artist
Jarrod Scott has been performing for 26 years, and has been a proud member of Actors Equity for 10 of them. Credits include: Off B-Way: Naked Boys Singing, Bring Me A Dwarf, We Beat Whitey Ford. Jarrod can also be seen on television and in print campaigns. He spent 7 years performing and managing on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and is currently working with Element Music band in NYC.
Sabrina Alamo - Teaching Assistant
Sabrina is a New Jersey/New York based actress and teaching artist for all grade levels. A graduate of The Kean University Theatre Conservatory with a BFA in Theatre Performance, she has worked most recently with Premiere Stages as a teaching assistant for their Play Factory Playwriting Residency program. She has also performed in various New York and New Jersey theatre performances, television shows, films, commercials, and music videos. Some of her performance credits include: Theatre: Brick City (Premiere Stages), Imagine! Showcase (TAPNYC), Character Rocks (Winceyco Educational Performances) and Comedy of Errors (Kean Players on Tour). Television: "The Hunt with John Walsh" (CNN), "Son of Sam" (Investigation Discovery). Sabrina is also a proud member of the Actors Equity Association Equity Membership Candidacy Program (EMC).
Jessica Sanzone - Teaching Assistant
Jessica has performed in past Phoenix shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Annie. She is a graduate of the Performing Arts Academy in Freehold/Howell as a dance major. Jessica plans on continuing her education in the arts at Marymount Manhattan College to receive her BFA in Musical Theatre. Her past show credits include: Footloose (Dancer), Grease (Patty Simcox), Annie (Miss.Hannigan), Into the Woods (Stepmother), How to Succeed in Business (Wicket Girl), The Producers (Showgirl), Guys and Dolls (Hot Box Girl), Beauty and the Beast (Babette), 42nd Street (Diane Lorimer) and Legally Blonde (Margot).
Samantha Rose Siriani - Teaching Assistant
Samantha Rose Siriani is a Theatre Studies major at Wagner College and has been performing since she was 8 years old. She graduated from Red Bank Catholic, where she appeared in The Little Mermaid (Ursala), and Cinderella (Evil Stepmother). In addition to being a two time Basie Award winner, she was also a finalist in the National Shakespeare Competition as well as a PaperMill Playhouse nominee.
Joelle Zazzarino - Teaching Artist
Joelle Zazzarino is a proud NJ native and graduate of Kean University's Theatre BFA program. As a director, she's done numerous projects with the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ. Joelle is also a teaching artist for numerous NJ Equity theatres, most recently working on a residency with Premiere Stages (2019). In addition, Joelle is an accomplished actor having appeared in: 10th Anniversary Broadway Concert of A Tale of Two Cities: The Musical (starring the original cast). NJ: It's a Wonderful Life (Mile Square Theatre); Shakespeare in Love, and a Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ); Black Tom Island, and Great Kills (Premiere Stages) and more. Other favorites include American Idiot and Godspell (Hamilton Stages); Fancy Nancy: The Musical (Forum Theatre). joellezazz.com
Timothy Gage - Teaching Artist
Timothy Gage is a New York City based theatre artist and educator. He has a worked administratively at The Public Theater, American Ballet Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, and TADA! Youth Theatre. He has taught at New York Theatre Workshop, Stagedoor Manor, TADA! Youth Theatre, A Class Act NY, and Millbrook Playhouse. He is so excited to be joining the team at Phoenix Productions this summer to choreograph High School Musical Jr. and Fame Jr.!
Ashley Martin - Teaching Artist
Ashley is a NJ/NYC based dancer, actor, choreographer and teaching artist with a degree in Theatre Arts and Dance from Marymount Manhattan College. She has been a performer and dance captain professionally across the US, in shows such as White Christmas, 42nd Street, Hairspray and A Chorus Line, as well as teaching dance and theatre to a broad range of students, from toddlers to professional adults. Her go-to styles are based in tap and theatre jazz, with a foundation in storytelling and musicality, as well as technique. She believes that every dancer has something personal to bring to movement to tell their story in a beautifully unique way, and hopes to help her students find what brings them joy through dance!
Christine Jay - Teaching Artist
Christine Jay is an Actor, Director, Singer, Writer, and Teaching Artist residing in Freehold with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Emerson College, where she trained under world famous Acting and Speech teachers like Kristin Linklater and Ken Crannell. She worked professionally in touring and children’s theatre while living in NYC, and has been teaching theatre arts classes for well over twenty years. Christine now performs and directs in theatres all over Monmouth County, and also frequently works as the resident Actor for healthcare staff training at Hackensack-Meridian Health. Christine believes that a foundation in the performing arts can give a person invaluable training in teamwork, concentration, empathy, and leadership that they can utilize for success in any path in life.
Dan Peterson - Teaching Artist
Dan is a member of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television & Radio Artists). He serves on the Nominating Committee for the SAG Awards. He also is a must-join for AEA (Actorʼs Equity Association). Dan has performed in both regional and professional theatre productions and has made several television appearances. He won a world title as a tap soloist at the Fred Astaire International Jazz and Tap Championships held at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, NY. He is a member of the faculty at a number of facilities including the Academy of Dance Arts, Broadway Bound Dance Centre, and the New York City Performing Arts Centre. Dan has served as a guest artist for the Dance and Drama programs and as Choreographer of the spring musicals at Red Bank Regional High School Visual and Performing Arts Dept. He has also been an instructor for the Shakespeare Young People’s Company and Tap Instructor as part of the the Count Basie Theatreʼs educational program. Dan is no stranger to Phoenix Productions. His favorite past Phoenix credits include: Cat in the Hat (Seussical), Historian/Not Dead Fred/etc. (Spamalot), Scarecrow (Wizard of Oz), Leo Bloom (The Producers), Billy Lawlor (42nd St.), Bobby Child (Crazy for You), and Cosmo Brown (Singinʼ in the Rain).
Mike O’Keeffe- Teaching Artist
Mike O'Keeffe has been performing and teaching improv comedy professionally for over 25 years. After graduating from Villanova University in 1989, he worked in Orlando, Florida with the Sak Theatre Comedy Lab, where troupe-mates included cast members of "Whose Line is it Anyway?", “Castle” and "The Office" . He received his MA in Education from Monmouth University in 1996, and has been a public school teacher for over 20 years. He has done regional improv touring shows with former troupe-mate Wayne Brady, and has traveled across the country performing corporate comedy and team-building. He has developed programs to assist medical, education, and corporate professionals in their communication and leadership skills. He even developed a new program for corporations that deals with recruiting and keeping millennials in the workplace. He also works with many schools to help eradicate bullying, and to become better leaders. Recently, he presented a TED Talk on the concept of “Play” called “Using Improv to Become a Better Human”. He is an Adjunct Professor at Monmouth University, where he teaches Public Speaking. Last spring, he was a keynote speaker at the National Youth Leadership Council’s, “More Powerful Together” conference in Washington DC, which brought together educational leaders and future educators. He was a speaker at Princeton University this summer, where he demonstrated how to integrate performing arts into their Common Core curricula.
Bob Sammond - Teaching Artist
Robert Sammond has been an active, private, piano teacher, voice coach, pianist, accompanist, music director, church musician and choir director for over 25 years, having done more than 110 fully staged productions of 62 different musicals. Of the 62, he has directed 43, several on multiple occasions. In addition to existing shows, he has coordinated, arranged and musically directed numerous reviews and cabaret productions. As an educator, he has had the privilege of training hundreds of students, including many who have gone on to successful music careers or avocations. Training includes technique, theory, interpretation, and presentation skills. He has been the music director for Camp Phoenix since 2009. He has played in 29 Phoenix shows, music directing 15 of them. Bob is excited to join Phoenix once again this summer.