NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University announces that Stephen Agosto will lead a team of Broadway performers as Artistic Director of The Rutgers High School Musical Theatre Academy. He succeeds founding Artistic Director Alistair Williams. Agosto has a long history in Arts Education, having served on faculty for the TONY award–winning Paper Mill Playhouse and contributing musical theatre curriculum to The New York City Department of Education. Agosto will oversee comprehensive training in Acting led by Frances Mercanti-Anthony, Singing Technique led by Marian Murphy Powell, and Musical Theatre Dance led by Ivette Sosa Dempsey.
RHSMTA seeks to provide dedicated high school students with quality training in the area of Musical Theatre. Students will work with industry professionals in a conservatory-styled program to focus on artistic development, college BFA audition preparation, and strong technique. In its fourth year, RHSMTA serves students of the tri-state area with Saturday classes beginning September 10 and culminating in an invited showcase in early February.
For course information and schedule, visit mgedrhsmta.wordpress.com. Students interested in being considered for Fall 2016 can find digital submission guidelines at mgedrhsmta.wordpress.com/audition-information.
ABOUT THE FACULTYFrances Mercanti-Anthony has performed consistently since making her Off-Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Mr. Marmalade in 2005. She made her Broadway debut in the 2006 eight-time Tony award–winning musical Spring Awakening, where she played piano teacher to Skylar Astin and mother to Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff. Her numerous professional credits include the Broadway productions of Don’t Dress for Dinner, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the 2011 Olivier Award–winning West End import Jerusalem, where she performed opposite Academy Award winning actor Mark Rylance. Frances is the founder and former director of the theatre program at the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School: A String Theory School. While there, she designed the curriculum and taught the acting program for hundreds of students from grades 7 to 11 at a brand-new performing arts school in the middle of Center City Philadelphia. Frances is a theatre graduate from Fordham University. Marian Murphy Powell is a veteran of national tours and major regional theatre productions including: Cosette in Les Misérables (Broadway National Tour), Christine in Phantom, Mother in Bright Lights, Big City, Marian in The Music Man, Fleur in Esmeralda (world premiere), Mary Jane Wilkes in Big River, and Fiona in Brigadoon. She has been featured with several orchestras around the world, including the Shanghai Symphony and the Concordia Orchestra at New York’s Lincoln Center. As a teaching artist and clinician, Marian holds workshops and assemblies in educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to universities. She has a Bachelor of Music degree and a Performer’s Certificate of Merit from the School of Music at the State University of New York in Fredonia. As a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, she has been teaching private voice students for over 20 years. She was an adjunct voice teacher and the Musical Theatre Artistic Director at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., and has been a member of the faculty at New England Music Camp for 22 years, where she is the Artistic Director of its Musical Theatre Program. Ivette Sosa Dempsey has over 15 years of experience in show business and teaching various styles of dance. She has performed in numerous musicals and stage productions, including West Side Story at the famed La Scalla Opera House in Milan, Italy; Latinologues on Broadway and Yo soy Latina at the TONY award–winning Crossroads Theater to name a few. Ivette is best known as a member of the pop singing group Eden’s Crush where she toured with *NSYNC and Jessica Simpson, performing her Billboard #1 hit single “Get Over Yourself.” TV/Film credits include Chasing Papi, Disney’s Even Stevens, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and various commercials and music videos. Most recently, TV audiences heard Ivette sing “Imagine” in the UNICEF national campaign. Ivette is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a BFA in Dance. Stephen Agosto has spent the last decade in arts education after over 20 years as an actor, director, and choreographer. He has co-written several arts enrichment projects, including “Paper Mill Prep,” a guide for BFA aspiring students at Paper Mill Playhouse and “Across the Pond: The Musical Theatre Bridge Project,” an arts exchange program with London’s famed BRIT School. He is also a contributor of Musical Theatre curriculum for the New York City Department of Education. In 2010, Stephen began as Director of Musical Theatre at Talent Unlimited High School for the Arts in Manhattan. His productions earned him and his students “Special Honors” from the Gershwin Theatre Awards and “Top Honors” from The Shubert Organization. Stephen has directed, choreographed and/or provided musical staging for such shows as The Drowsy Chaperone (The Blue Hill Troup, NYC); Triangle Logic (Crosshatch Theatre Co.); A Christmas Story: the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse; Asst. Dir.); West Side Story (Westminster); Modotti (Off-Broadway); and Scene and Be Seen (The Neighborhood Playhouse). He directed The New York Musical Theatre Festival’s 2011 “Best of Fest” winner, Crazy, Just Like Me. as well as three shows for Joe’s Pub at The Public Theatre and Separate: Battle Songs of Youth at Ars Nova. In addition to directing, Stephen holds teaching artist positions at Paper Mill Playhouse, Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory, and Fordham University. Stephen received his training from DePaul University (Acting, BFA) and The Neighborhood Playhouse, home of The Meisner Technique.