Teaching Artist Spotlight: Getting to Know Dustin Merrell

Join us for a weekly feature as we introduce you to our private instruction faculty members! First up… Mr. Dustin Merrell (who teaches private voice, acting, and audition prep on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Q: Where are you from? How long have you been in the area?
A: I was born in Virginia, but raised in Columbia, MD. I have been here for most of my childhood and adult life. 
 
Q: Which areas of study do you teach? How long have you been teaching?
A: I have taught piano and acting lessons, but my primary focus is in vocal training. I have been teaching privately for six years.
 
Q: What’s your favorite thing about teaching private lessons?
A: I love to see the moment when something “clicks” with a student. When that happens, it’s rarely due to my instruction alone; rather, it happens when a student begins to learn how to practice, and how to set and accomplish personal goals. When a student tells me about an obstacle that he or she has tackled – away from the private studio – I can’t help but feel proud and fulfilled. As an educator, one of my significant goals is to teach students how to problem solve.
 
Q: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you in a private lesson?
A: I once helped a student prepare for her third callback for Matilda on Broadway. It was really crazy to help this young performer prepare the same 32 bars from one of Broadway’s hottest musicals over and over again.
 
Q: What do you do outside of teaching?
A: Professionally, I also work as a musical director and accompanist. Outside of work, I spend my time composing, playing video games, and watching sports. I am an impassioned sports fan; in fact, I just formed a softball team. We will be playing double-headers every Thursday, for ten straight weeks.
 
Q: What’s one fun fact that we should know about you?
A: I’m an avid J.R.R. Tolkien fan, I’ve read The Lord of the Rings six times (in addition to Tolkien’s other works). When I was in 7th grade, I joined a Tolkien literacy club. The club hosted an in-school Lord of the Rings trivia competition every month, and after winning my third competition, I was asked to refrain from participating. During that time, I also learned how to read and write in Sindarin and Quenya (the two prominent Elven languages in Tolkien’s works) – a skill I still possess.  
 
Mr. Dustin’s studio hours are often full months in advance. Give us a call at (410) 849-6335 today to inquire about availability with him or any of our other highly-qualified private instructors in voice, acting, piano, audition prep, on-screen acting, and more!

It’s T-Shirt Time

Sport your DLC pride and support Beauty and the Beast at the same time by ordering a limited edition Beauty and the Beast T-shirt through our Booster campaign!

As always, Booster donates a portion of the proceeds from these t-shirts back to DLC to help off-set production costs and keep tuition affordable.

“….off-set production costs…” – what does that mean?

Drama Learning Center has produced Beauty and the Beast time and time again since TYA Professional Training Program first presented the show in December of 2008. We put a lot of resources into the custom development of enchanted costumes and specialty props that you need to bring the story to life on stage. In that time, our costumes and props have been used on DLC’s stage, in Howard County schools as part of our after school programs, as well as throughout the country for other youth productions. With the release of the new live action film, we have decided that it is time to refresh our Beauty and the Beast costumes and props to enhance the education and production experience of our students. Hiring designers and consultants and purchasing new materials costs money, and we don’t want that increased cost to trickle down to your tuition prices. Instead, we host fundraisers like this one to help pay for these new theatrical elements so that as much of your tuition dollars go to paying teaching artists and keeping those bright stage lights on as humanly possible.

So if you want to see Mrs. Potts and Lumière become “human again” on our stage, consider purchasing a Beauty and the Beast t-shirt or two. Not only does it show everyone how proud you are to be a bright, shining star at Drama Learning Center– it also helps enable us to keep our kids telling fresh, new stories on DLC’s stage without raising the price of tuition.

Some new features this time around for DLC spirit t-shirts include:

  • Juniors Sizing*
  • Softer material

*We recommend sizing up as the style tends to run small.

Thank you in advance for helping support the arts in Howard County! Get your t-shirt soon… all orders must be in by April 18th for shirts to print and arrive in time for Beauty and the Beast to open at DLC!

I Want a T-Shirt!

Dance Masterclasses Start Soon!

School’s Out days at Drama Learning Center aren’t just for elementary students anymore. Middle and High School students can work on building and refining their dance skills with our Spring School’s Out Masterclass Series! Morning and afternoon sessions give older students the ultimate flexibility to pop in for half a day or work on their skills for the entire day.

Come learn combinations from original Broadway productions of Chicago, A Chorus Line, Cabaret, and West Side Story. We have two School’s Out days this Spring when Howard County Public Schools are scheduled to be closed:

  • Monday, April 17th
  • Friday, May 19th

Register for one ($40), two ($60 using code FULLDAY), or all four ($100 using code FULLSERIES). Students who opt to take both masterclasses in one day will have a supervised lunch break in between sessions.

Register for Masterclasses Today!

About the Instructor

Ms. Sarah Luckadoo is a DC/Baltimore-based actress, dancer, stage combatant, and singer. She is currently a Performance Apprentice with Red Branch Theatre Company and teaching artist with Drama Learning Center. She graduated from Western Carolina University with a BFA in Acting. She enjoys teaching acrobatics and tumbling, and was previously an instructor at a nationally-ranked studio: Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy. You can see Ms. Sarah’s original choreography on stage right now in Red Branch Theatre Company’s production of  Mad Libs Live running through April 8th.

Register for Masterclasses Today!

 

 

Homeschool Musical Theatre Update

Due to overwhelming feedback that we have received from our students from our Winter session of Homeschool Musical Theatre, we have changed the meeting time back to Fridays from 1-3:30pm. Class starts next week, and there’s still time to register for Beauty and the Beast. Thanks to all of our families that provided us with the valuable feedback that enables us to serve as many students as possible this Spring! Are you interested in learning more about Homeschool Musical Theatre at DLC? Fill out the form below!

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Summer Camp Spotlight #4

Winnie the Pooh Performance Camp

A.A. Milne’s enchanting stories of Pooh Bear and his friends from the Hundred Accre Wood have been enchanting audiences for over 90 years. From those original children’s books to the Pooh of the Disney era, there is something about the honey-loving teddy bear that keeps everyone coming back for more. 

Let your campers bring this magical tale to new life on our stage this summer with our two-week performance camp. Students will tell the popular stories of Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Piglet, and all of the others while learning self-confidenceand working together as part of a theatrical team. Our two-week camps have been a hit for years– giving elementary aged students the opportunity to work towards a final theatrical production with costumes and set pieces. Register today while space is still available.

  • Dates: July 10-21
  • Time: 9 am – 3 pm (extended care available from 7 am to 6 pm for an additional fee)
  • Grades: K-2, 3-5
  • Tuition: $530

Helpful Hint: Winnie the Pooh Performance Camp is registered in two sections – grades K-2, and grades 3-5. Sections may combine based on enrollment numbers.

Check out Winnie the Pooh and all of our other Summer Drama Camps and register today while you still have your choice of sessions.