Jan Klump (Managing Director, Voice Teacher) has taught voice privately for over 50 years in Michigan, New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and since 2006, in Massachusetts. Her voice students have won full scholarships to college, have appeared on Broadway, and run the gamut from persons who say they “can’t carry a tune” to those working as professionals in musical theater. Jan is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Bob Klump (Artistic Director, Acting Coach) has been involved actively in the arts and arts education for nearly 60 years. During that period he has been a high school band/choral director, directed high school plays and musicals, directed and/or produced summer stock, house managed for and worked in the offices of Theatreworks/USA in New York City and privately coached actors and singers in NYC, NJ and the Philadelphia area before coming to Massachusetts. Many of his former students have gone on to have professional careers in performance and related areas of the arts. Now living in South Hadley, MA, he and his wife, Jan, continue to work with aspiring actors and singers.
Melinda Beasi (Associate Artistic Director, Voice and Acting Coach) spent the first eighteen years of her life learning about music and theater from her parents, Bob and Jan Klump, after which she studied vocal performance at Carnegie-Mellon University in the studio of Dr. Lee Cass. She has performed at Pittsburgh’s Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, the Goodspeed Opera House, the Papermill Playhouse, the Olney Theater Center, and New York’s City Center among many others.
Melinda toured as Sophie in the First National Tour of Terrence McNally’s Master Class starring Faye Dunaway and as Kathy in The Night Kitchen’s Really Rosie, designed and directed by author Maurice Sendak. Other credits include Sweeney Todd with George Hearn and Judy Kaye, Strike Up the Band with Emily Loesser, Jason Danieley, and Kristin Chenoweth, and One Touch of Venus with Melissa Errico, David Alan Grier, and Jane Krakowski. In 2002, Melinda released an album of her original songs, Dorrie’s True Story. She has also appeared on albums by singer-songwriter Meghan Cary and rocker Tommy Grasso, and was an original member of alternative rock band The Steve Friday Band. Melinda’s experience also extends to casting, most recently for local children’s touring theater company FoodPlay Productions, where she was Managing Director from 2007-2014. In the summer of 2014, Melinda directed Act Too Studio’s first formal production, Goblin Market. She is also the founder of Act Too Studio’s teen Opera Workshop, for which she has directed Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium and the workshop’s own adaptation of the works of Claudio Monteverdi, Il sogno d’Arianna. Melinda is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Emily Verla is a Brooklyn based actor, singer, dancer, puppeteer, voice over artist, painter/carpenter, etc. She graduated from NYU Tisch: The Stella Adler Studio with a BFA in Theatre and a minor in Religious Studies. New York credits: The Jungle Book with Theatre East at The Peter J. Sharp Theater, and the premiere workshop of Miss Valentine. Regional credits include: Into the Woods (Twin Tiers), A Little Night Music (Princeton Summer Theatre), 42nd Street (Musical Theatre West), and Oliver! (Civic Light Opera SBC). She is a regular participant of The Shakespeare Forum, co-author/creator of A Test of Will: or what you will, co-creator/performer in the series of web shorts Undercooked, chapter 18 narrator for the “Here is a Man” project, and very proud to be a company member with Theatre East. www.emilyverla.com
Lemuel Gurtowsky is a collaborative pianist and piano teacher residing in Hadley, MA. Prior to moving to the Pioneer Valley, Lemuel was music director/organist at The Church of Christ, Congregational in Stoney Creek, CT as well as St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol, CT. Lemuel has also toured extensively as a composer and songwriter, recently performing at the The Music Hall of Williamsburg (NYC), Reading and Leeds Festivals (UK), and SXSW (Austin, TX). His songs have also appeared on NBC’s Parenthood and MTV’s Fantasy Factory. Lemuel recently received his master’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he studied under Nadine Shank. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in music theory and piano from The Hartt School in West Hartford, CT.
Connie Flachs is a professional ballet dancer in her fourth season with Grand Rapids Ballet. She trained at the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet in Holyoke and attended South Hadley High School where she participated in many of the school’s choirs and theater productions. Throughout high school she also partook in a sampling of Act Too Studio’s workshops. With Grand Rapids, Connie has performed leading roles such as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Choreography includes her own Youth American Grand Prix contemporary solo, a piece for Houston Ballet’s summer program, a collaboration with Grand Rapids Symphony, Act Too Studio’s Goblin Market and Act Too Studio Opera Workshop’s The Medium.
Joseph Bromfield is a professional actor and teaching artist. A graduate of Rollins College and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Joseph has performed professionally with FOODPLAY Productions, The Public Theatre of Maine, The Cumberland Theatre and The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. Joseph’s teaching experience spans from Lingue Senza Frontiere in San Remo, Italy and MaineStage Shakespeare in Kennebunk, ME to the California Theatre Center in Sunnyvale, CA, and even his alma mater, The McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN. In August, Joseph will move to Charlottesville, VA to join the University of Virginia’s 2014-2016 MFA Acting Company.
Susan Haefner is a Broadway actress, regional theatre director, and teaching artist. As an actress, Susan most recently toured the US and Canada in Billy Elliot, performing various roles including Mrs. Wilkinson, Mum, Grandma, and her personal favorite, Clipboard Lady. Broadway credits include State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Millie and 42Nd Street. Susan also appeared in London’s West End in Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis. She has performed regionally at theatres such as Milwaukee Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Geva Theatre Center, and at Weston Playhouse in Vermont, where she has been a company member for over 20 years.
As a teacher, Susan has taught at numerous Performing Arts Schools and Theatres such as Weston Playhouse (VT), Studio New Canaan (CT), Shuffles Tap School (NYC), New England Youth Theatre (Brattleboro, VT) and Geva Theatre’s Summer Academy in Rochester, NY. Directing credits include Stuart Little (Weston Playhouse), You Can’t Take It with You (Castleton State College) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (SUNY Brockport). She will be directing and choreographing Spelling Bee at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford CT in 2014. Susan holds a BFA degree in Musical Theatre (SUNY Fredonia) and an MFA in Acting (FSU). She is a member of Actors Equity Association. More information can be found at www.susanhaefner.com.
Colleen Finnegan has a BFA in Acting from Montclair State University where she received several Irene Ryan Nominations for her performances. Post-graduation she has appeared on MTV, worked with Radio Disney, filmed a TV pilot and performed in many professional regional theatres. Her work in theatre education has brought her to develop programs in NJ, NY, MA and CO and her producing, stage management and house management work has provided her many opportunities to work alongside some of the biggest names in the Broadway community. Colleen owns and operates ENSPiRiTED Projects where she designs creative programming for private schools, public schools and non-profit clients and runs the Kids and Teens Program at Actors Connection in midtown Manhattan to prepare ages 8-17 for professional careers as youth performers.
Colleen is also an entrepreneur and is constantly bringing creative new products to market and scheming up fun new programs and ideas. She believes that everyone can create the life they imagined for themselves, she is addicted to smiling and she is more than thrilled to be working with the people who fueled her artistic fire so many years ago.
Elizabeth DeRosa appeared on Broadway in the closing company of Mary Poppins, as understudy to the title role for 3 & a 1/2 years! She just completed the reading of a brand new musical directed by Warren Carlyle, called Spring is Here, featuring music from the Rodgers and Hart book and starring Kristin Chenowith. Elizabeth has a B.F.A. in Acting/Music Theatre from Carnegie Mellon University. Check out her website: www.BroadwayDemo.com/ElizabethDeRosa to hear her vocal demos and see some production photographs!
Meredith Burns is an Actress, Teaching Artist, founding member and the current Managing Director of Glass Bandits Theater Company in NYC. Acting credits include, The Ladies Man (Sierra Repertory Theater) Betsy (Pregones Theater) As You Like It, Henry V, Richard II, The Liar, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Shakespeare Theater of DC) Under Milk Wood, wolves in abasement, Hecuba (Glass Bandits). Film: Display (Raro Mundo Productions), The Leap List (Where to Put Productions), Desperate Chance (FDU Productions). Her Teaching Artist work has taken her all along the east coast where she aims to make Shakespeare accessible to young people. She is thrilled to be a Guest Artist with her favorite theatre family at Acttoo Studios. She holds a BFA in Acting from SUNY Purchase. www.MerBurns.com For more information about Glass Bandits visit www.gbtheater.com