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Teaching Artists 2022

Kate Brennan

Kate Brennan

Teaching Artist

Kate Brennan has created 5 musicals including The Infinity Trilogy, the recipient of a 2021 MAP Grant. Her Brennan & White musical ALiEN8 is available with YouthPlays and her poetry book, elevated thoughts, was released with Literati Press. Her first musicals, Some Assembly Required and ELFuego, premiered in Philadelphia.  Her play What’s in Store was most recently developed with Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Dramatist, Howlround, and The New York Times. Kate runs The Brennan Book Blog and its accompanying podcast as well as The Fair Play Podcast.  As a Designated Linklater Teacher, Certified Yoga Instructor, Certified Thai Bodyworker, Melt Hand & Foot Instructor, Kate has been on faculty with Oklahoma City University, Temple University, St. Joseph’s University, Rosemont College, McCarter Theatre Center, Tofte Lake Center and Broadway Classroom, among others.  Her methodology, Brennan Check-In, cultivates more present, collaborative and self-sufficient artists who are agents of their own well-being. She is a member of The Dramatist Guild, AEA and VASTA. Kate holds an MFA from The University of Virginia and is Artistic Director of Ignition Arts. 

Deirdre Casey

Deirdre Casey

Teaching Artist

Deirdre Casey Has always had a passion for the arts. After growing up in a creative household it was only fitting for her to follow her passion. After years of pre-professional Dance training with Susquehanna Dance  Center and Musical Theater training Through a Myriad of mentors. She Joined the COBALT dance company, Worked as a Backup Dancer, and performed along the east coast. Though she loves to be onstage she has a passion for the creative process as well, having choreographed shows such as Sister Act and Mary Poppins. As well as multiple dance ensemble works of different styles. Currently, she works with Weary Arts Group as a teaching Artist and Choreographs with her twin sister Gabriel. She strives to create an environment where healthy learning can take place. Where people aren’t afraid to be themselves and tell beautiful stories.
Gabriel Casey

Gabriel Casey

Teaching Artist

Gabriel Casey has always had a passion for musical theater and choreography. At the young age of 14, she choreographed her first musical alongside her twin sister, Deirdre Casey. She’s been working in the industry since and has met so many wonderful artists. She is so appreciative of the many wonderful teachers and mentors to help her become the Artist she is today. She aims to continue to create a welcoming and positive space to grow and thrive, not just as Artists, but as people. 

Leah Crowne

Leah Crowne

Teaching Artist

Leah Crowne is known for her powerful voice with a “metallic edge and rich color” (Forum Opéra[Blog], Béziers, France), “house-shaking power,” (The Rutland Herald, Middlebury, Vermont), and “impressive stage presence” (The Coloradan, Ft. Collins, Colorado). She delivers “fine artistry with legato, Italianate vocalism and musical precision” (Maestro Michel Plasson), as well as a “good mix of strength and vulnerability in her characterizations” (Director Anthony Pilavachi).

Leah performed as a featured soloist in the Sarasota Opera (Title role in Puccini’s Tosca and Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlos), The Metropolitan Opera Guild (Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal and Senta in Der Fliegende Hollander), The Opera Company of Middlebury (Title role in Puccini’s Turandot), Opera Fort Collins (Turandot and Title role in Strauss’ Salome), Grieghallen in Bergen, Norway (Turandot), The Plasson Estates in Beziers, France (Salome), DreamWrights (Sondheim’s Company), and The Appell Center in York (arias and scenes by Verdi, Mozart, and Puccini), and many churches throughout the greater Harrisburg area. Leah Lives in York with her husband conductor and pianist Scott Crowne, and their two daughters Aivleen and Veronica.

Leah loves teaching voice lessons to kids and adults! Check out her website at www.crownevoice.com to set up a free trial lesson!

Gregory DeCandia

Gregory DeCandia

Teaching Artist

Gregory DeCandia received his BFA Emerson College and MFA UNC Chapel Hill. His directing projects have been staged in four different states and as far as Guatemala City and range from original works and verbatim theatre, to musicals, and even Shakespeare. Gregory has worked with high school, colligiate and professional levels often combining these artists in productions that are beautifully brutal and hilariously honest. See his full directing credits www.gregorydecandia.com. 
Jan Dom

Jan Dom

Teaching Artist

Jan’s passion for the stage was ignited during her first solo vocal performance at the age of three. That passion continued to burn throughout her high school and college years as she performed in many plays and musicals. She achieved her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and went on to teach at several school districts in York County. Currently, she is a preschool and substitute teacher. She is delighted to be able to combine her love for the arts and children by teaching theater classes.

Rebecca Eastman

Rebecca Eastman

Teaching Artist

Rebecca joined the DreamWrights team as a volunteer Costumer in 1999. In 2006, she was hired as the Part Time Costume Coordinator and has designed costumes for more than 100 shows. Rebecca has brought the lost art of sewing back to many people of all ages through their work on Costume Crews and through sewing workshops. Now retired, Rebecca returns to share her love of sewing through workshops.
Amber Gamber

Amber Gamber

Teaching Artist

Amber has taught dance for all ages since she was 14. She went to Shenandoah University as a dance major and then to Penn State, graduating with a BFA in Photography. She has knowledge in chemical photography, digital photography, photoshop, Lightroom, metal working, painting, basically loves all things art!

She attended to a pre-professional ballet academy and went on to study with Boston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. Her ballet is on point (pun intended).

She began participating in theatre in 1999 and hasn’t stopped since. Along with various roles, she choreographed for the Altoona Community Theatre’s Beauty and The Beast,  UrineTown and Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Jay Gould

Jay Gould

Teaching Artist

Jay is an actor, singer, writer, director and producer with close to thirty years of professional experience in theatre and film. He has appeared in theatrical productions regionally and off-broadway and his film work can be seen in both independent and studio mediums. Jay is a graduate of New York University Tisch School of the Arts where he trained in Theatre and Film. He is thrilled to be able to join DreamWrights for their educational and performance programming!

Laura Heydt

Laura Heydt

Teaching Artist

Soprano Laura Heydt discovered her love of opera at age 9 where she studied flute, voice and performance in Northeastern PA. She returned to the stage of Opera Lancaster as Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. Other Puccini appearances include the title role in Suor Angelica, and Georgette in Il Tabarro. Having a particular love for Menotti she performed as Lucy in The Telephone, The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Monica in The Medium. Currently she is working with several local organizations with the goal of bringing more opera to Central PA.

She has performed locally as a concert artist with the York Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Hanover Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra, and the Harrisburg Choral Society. Laura was a guest artist under the baton of Maestro Robert Hart Baker with the York Symphony and with the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra.

Laura earned a B.A. in vocal performance from York College of PA as a student of John Darrenkamp and in New York City with Beth Roberts. Abroad, she was a featured soloist with the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. She has also participated in the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Alaska and the Crittenden Opera Workshop. She currently teaches voice and flute for Menchey Music in York and Reading, PA.

In addition to performing and teaching, Laura and her partner Baltimore Symphony cellist Lukasz Szyrner own the Lady Linden Bed and Breakfast in York, PA where they reside with her two sons, Samuel and Benjamin.

Matt Martsolf

Matt Martsolf

Teaching Artist

Matt is very happy to join the DreamWrights team for this Avenue Q puppet workshop. Matt worked with the Waterville Opera House as an actor, puppeteer, puppet maker, and costume designer. His favorite production was Shrek the Musical. It gave him the opportunity to build a 28-foot-long dragon that was brought to life by five puppeteers and to “bake” a large gingerbread cookie. He also made puppets for their production of The Little Mermaid to keep it from “Flounder”ing.

Matt has been a puppeteer longer than not and has studied with Bernd Ogrodnik, David Pannabecker, Dave Privett, and many others. He was a giant chocolate bar at a certain World of Chocolate for several years and is proficient on the Henson Performance Control System.

Matt would rather spend the day in a dusty museum or in his workshop than on the beach. When not puppeteering, puppet building, learning about puppetry, or building with Lego bricks, Matt likes to play the ukulele and sing with his wife, Heidi, read, or enjoy a movie. He is the proud father of their very demanding cat, Pip. This is what you do with a BA in English.

Jenny Mercein

Jenny Mercein

Teaching Artist

 Jenny is an actor, teacher, director, producer and writer currently living in New Orleans, where she an Assistant Professor at Tulane University. She is a proud co-creator and producer of Roleplay, a live theatre performance and documentary film project exploring student perspectives on love, sex, power, and consent. The script for Roleplay is published by Dramatic Publishing. Along with KJ Sanchez, Jenny co-created X’s and O’s, an acclaimed docudrama about football and traumatic brain injury. Acting credits include “Your Honor,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “30 Rock,” “Blue Bloods,” “Unforgettable,” “Law & Order” and extensive theater credits spanning the country. For more information, visit www.jennymercein.com.

AK Mullen-Johnson

AK Mullen-Johnson

Teaching Artist

Amy Kaye (A.K.) Mullen-Johnson is a teaching artist, dance teacher, and recently started a new position as an Instructional Assistant at York Academy Regional Charter School. She earned an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado, and a BA in Dance from Slippery Rock University. Mullen-Johnson works as an adjunct professor in the Division of Theater Department, at York College. Supporting arts in education, she works for the Pennsylvania Council Arts education, stARTSomething program in the Cultural Alliance of York, creating dance residencies that are custom-designed and integrated into the classroom curriculum. She teaches dance at multiple studios in the York and Lancaster area, along with teaching theatre camps at Dream Wrights Theatre. She has worked with the Fulton Theatre’s education and outreach programs to promote critical literacy through the arts. She is looking forward to teaching at DreamWrights this summer and is excited to collaborate with other teaching artists, staff, and youth to embrace and create art for our community.

Corinne Prudente

Corinne Prudente

Teaching Artist

Corinne Prudente is an actor, musician, artist, and writer who graduated in 2020 from Oklahoma City University. Recent projects include the online development and reading of Illuminate with Ignition Arts as well as staged readings of Clean Slate and ALiEN8. Corinne wrote the music for the short film Forces and Philosophies: A DnD Musical, directed by Hannah V. Boyens, for which they also performed in the supporting role of Mica. They also provided illustrations for the book elevated thoughts: 100 shadormas from 9,000 ft, written by Kate Brennan.

Jay Schmuck

Jay Schmuck

Teaching Artist, Summer Camps

A founding board member of DreamWrights, Jay has worked in theatre most of his life, on and offstage with innumerable community theatre productions, including guest directing several shows at DreamWrights. Jay has been the editor for WRCT’s “Culture and Main” for the last few years. Utilizing his film degree from Boston University, Jay has directed several music videos as well as comedy videos.

Julia Sowers

Julia Sowers

Teaching Artist

Julia Sowers is a senior at Messiah University, working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Level Education with a concentration in Math and Science.  Julia has been involved at DreamWrights since she was a baby and has been a teaching artist for the past 7 years! She was trained in more than 6 different styles of dance for 14 years, has been involved in PMEA District and Region choir as well as had numerous lead roles within her school.  In 2019, she was named Best Female Performer at the York Country Encore awards with her performance as Leading Player in Pippin.  Through Julia’s schooling to become a middle school teacher and her experience in a wide variety of classrooms, she has found a new appreciation for growing and learning alongside her students.  At Dream Wrights, she is able to combine two of her greatest passions, expressing the abilities to perform and teaching the next generation of learners in both academic and musical forms!

Jo Underhill

Jo Underhill

Teaching Artist

Joanna has been a Teaching Artist at the Fulton Theatre since 1996. Her love of puppets began when she was serving as the Child Supervisor for a production of Phantom and she and her young charges created a sock puppet version of the show for the adult cast. Since then she has created puppets for Creative Works of Lancaster‘s series of sock puppet film parodies, including The Sockfather, Silence of the Socks, and Jaws to the World: A Holiday Sock Opera. She has also performed, directed or taught for Theater of the Seventh Sister, Ephrata Performing Arts Center, Theatro Paloma, Susquehanna Stage, Millersville University, and Penn State Harrisburg. Joanna has a BA in Theater Arts from Penn State University, an MA in Creative Drama/Children’s Theater from Northwestern University, and an MEd in School Counseling from Millersville University.

Chris Velez

Chris Velez

Teaching Artist

Since 1996, Chris has performed in over a dozen musicals throughout York.  He previously directed our Christmas Radio Show and The COVID Chronicles, designed the lighting design for A Christmas Carol, and designed sound for numerous other productions.  A York Native, Chris received his degree in Music Business from York College, and for the last 7 years has been working as an audio engineer with Production Express.  In addition to his production and theatre work, Chris acts on several boards and grant panels throughout York City (PA Council of the Arts – York Cultural Alliance, York County Community Foundation, YorkXL).

Ralph Washington

Ralph Washington

RalphReal is a touring musician and has performed all around the world with Oddisee and Good Compny for over 10 yrs.
Before touring, he worked for various youth programs such as the Boys and Girls Club of America and the York YMCA.
Now, back in York, he works with Shine Music Foundation teaching studio production.
We are happy to have him at DreamWrights with our team.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

We offer 100% refund within 30 days of camp/class start date and 50% within 2 weeks of start date. If you choose to withdraw less than 2 weeks before (including during the camp), no refund will be offered. If DreamWrights cancels a class/camp due to low enrollment, a full refund will be given.