Quick Questions Part 1

To help you get to know some of the faces behind Drama Learning Center, we’re going to ask them a quick question once a week and share the answers with you. Do you have a question you want DLC teaching artists to answer? Drop your question in the comments and you might see answers in a future post!

This week, we asked:  What is the first show you ever saw? What did you think about it?

Now, we know that it’s technically TWO questions, but we got some very interesting responses. Check them out!

  1. Ms. Sarah Pencheff: “The very first would have either been something that my mother was in, or one of the high school musicals that she choreographed. I would have been super young, like 3 or 4, so I don’t actually remember… but I’m sure I loved it. The first professional production I remember seeing was an opera of Hansel and Gretel when I was about 6. I liked it, but still ran around the house making fun of the overly dramatic singing stle for a few days afterward. “HAN-sooooollllll…..” Ms. Sarah just completed her second summer leading our Cosplay Creations camp.
  2. Ms. Debbie Leonard: “I saw Godspell at a local high school, and I was in awe.” Ms. Debbie teaches camp all summer long and Wednesday and Friday Production classes during the school year. She has taught at DLC for longer than any other teaching artist currently on our roster.
  3. Ms. Tess Owen:Les Misérables! First professional show when it was touring and at the Hippodrome a long, long time ago. I liked it, but was confused since I was very young.” Ms. Tess is an assistant music director with a specialty in music. She has worked alongside Ms. Debbie for production classes.
  4. Ms. Stephanie Williams: “Dinosaur Rock or Sesame Street Live! I still can remember some of the songs and recall acting them out with my toys at home. I suppose my parents should have known then that they were destined to have a theatre kid. At the very least, they should have known when they had to institute the family rule, ‘No Singing At the Dinner Table.'” Ms. Stephanie is the owner and artistic director of Drama Learning Center. She directs productions for TYA Professional Training Program’s Senior Company and is responsible for all of the programming done through DLC onsite and offsite.
  5. Ms. Melody Easton: “The first show I saw was Cinderella at the local high school, the one I eventually ended up attending. I was obsessed and I remember not even moving during the performance because I didn’t want to miss anything.” Ms. Melody previously served as DLC’s Office Manager and Director of Saturday Class. You can still find her around working on special projects and events from time to time.
  6. Ms. Addie Sutter: “When I was five, I saw my cousin Jen as Marian the Librarian in The Music Man. It was the best thing ever. I watched the movie a hundred times after that and learned all of the songs.” Ms. Addie taught at DLC for many years. She has more recently been seen performing onstage with Red Branch Theatre Company, notably as the title role in Dear Edwina.
  7. Ms. Megan Henderson: “I honestly don’t remember my first show, but the one that suck with me was Joseph… because my family loved it. I still remember watching the Donny Osmond version on VHS because my mom loved him so much.” Ms. Megan serves as the HR Coordinator at DLC. She also is a longtime teaching artist and directs TYA Professional Training Program’s Junior Company productions.

Well, there you have it– our first installment of Quick Questions with DLC Teaching Artists! Do you have a burning question you want our teaching artists to answer? Don’t forget to drop it in the comments, and you might see the answers in this space some time soon.

Meet the Guest Artist: Sarah Thompson

We’re excited to welcome Sarah Thompson as a Guest Artist in Residence this summer during our Theatre Tech camp in July!

Stage Manager Sarah Thompson is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where selected credits include ‘Tis PityThe Merchant of VeniceBluebeard’s Wife, Tiny, and Amy and the Orphans. Additional credits include Mary Jane (Yale Repertory Theatre); Styx SongsAnd Tell Sad Stories of the Death of QueensDutch Masters, Xander Xyst: Dragon, 1, Thunder Above, Deeps Below (Yale Cabaret);  Evita (Olney Theatre Center); The Comedy of ErrorsAs You Like ItThe Taming of the Shrew (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); and Mrs. Mannerly (Paper Lantern Theatre Company), among others. Sarah holds a BA in collaborative theatre and sociology. Sarah will also serve as Production Stage Manager for this Summer’s production of Lysistrata Jones at Red Branch Theatre Company

Please join us in welcoming Ms. Sarah as a visiting DLC Teaching Artist. Students in the Theatre Tech camp will learn about all aspects of backstage work including design and fabrication, stage management, and crew. Campers will be able to let their creativity shine as they help design and paint the sets for summer camp productions. They will also have the opportunity to be running crew for camp shows later in the summer. Theatre Tech camp runs July 17-29, and is open to students in grades 5-12. Registration is currently open until the session fills. Secure your spot today!

Register Today!

Teaching Artist Spotlight: Janine Sunday

We’re chugging along with our weekly series getting to know a little more about our Private Instruction faculty at DLC. This week, we learn a little more about Ms. Janine Sunday!

Q: Where are you from? How long have you been in the area?
A: I was born in Vietnam, adopted as an infant, and raised in New Jersey. Maryland has been my home for almost 20 years.

Q: Which areas of study do you teach? How long have you been teaching?
A: I have been teaching acting and voice for about 10 years.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about teaching private lessons?
A: When a student has a breakthrough, it’s exciting. I also love when a student comes back to me after an audition or a performance and tells me that things we have been working on paid off.

Q: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you in a private lesson?
A: I had a student that had been studying with me for a few months and was talking about how much she loved Sweeney Todd at Red Branch Theatre Company [the professional theatre in residence at DLC]. When I told her that I was Mrs. Lovett, she freaked out a little, and had to take a moment to recover. It was adorable and flattering.

Q: What do you do outside of teaching?
A: I’m a mom, and I still perform in the area. That keeps me pretty busy.

Q: What’s one fun fact that we should know about you?
A: Well… there are so many “fun facts” (are they REALLY fun?)… I always mention my obsession with vacuums (I love them). I stink at gardening, but I want to be good. I’m pretty crafty, and I dislike yellow mustard. I also always offer to sing “Meadowlark” even though I don’t actually know the words.

Ms. Janine hold studio hours on Monday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Learn musical theatre song interpretation from one of the area’s perennial favorite stage performers! Give us a call at (410) 849-6335 today to inquire about availability with her or any of our other highly-qualified private instructors in voice, acting, piano, audition, prep, on-screen acting, and more! Ms. Janine also teaches our adult musical theatre class during the year. Fill out the form below so that we can notify you when a new session opens up!

What are you interested in?
 

Teaching Artist Spotlight: Getting to Know Andy Clemence

Welome back to our weekly feature as we introduce you to our private instruction faculty members! Next on the docket… Mr. Andy Clemence (who teaches on-screen acting, voiceover acting, monologue coaching, and audition prep on Fridays).


At the Hollywood premiere of Andy’s film “Super Cyclone”

Q: Where are you from? How long have you been in the area?
I’m from Annapolis, MD. I’ve lived here for over 15 years. I grew up nearby, although I was born in Rhode Island.

Q: Which areas of study do you teach? How long have you been teaching?
I’m an acting instructor. I teach On-Camera Acting & Auditioning for Film, Television, Voice-over, and Theatre. That includes: audition technique, scene study, monologue preparation, audition taping, and all about the business of acting.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about teaching private lessons?
I love that it’s all about that student! They get the whole hour to themselves and don’t have to share the time with anyone else. Also, I love to watch a student go from a “stagey” artificial performance to an absolutely real and natural one.


Having lunch with Disney composer Richard Sherman (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book) at The Magic Castle in Hollywood

Q: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in a private lesson?
I was working with a very young girl (6, I think) who became fascinated with my camera and tripod. She said she wanted to try it. So I did the scene and I let her film it. She was thrilled. That Christmas, she asked for a camera and tripod, and her parents got it for her. (wow!) So who knows, she may become a famous director someday!

Q: What do you do outside of teaching?
I act in film, TV, theatre, and voice-over. I’ve been a professional actor in Los Angeles, New York, and DC for over 35 years. I’m also a musician and writing a musical about an infamous safe-cracker based on an O’Henry short story.

Q: What’s one fun fact that we should know about you?
I do occasional training for Federal Law Enforcement officers, and I get handcuffed and shot at all the time!!

Mr. Andy’s film and television acting lessons are the newest offering in our private lesson studio, and we’re so excited to bring it to our students. He’s also teaching two weeks of summer camp for Middle and High School students where he will cover a lot of what he teaches in private lessons as well. Check out Acting for Film and TV: Take 1 (July 3-7) and Acting for Film and TV: Take 2 (July 10-14) to receive instruction from Andy Clemence in a group setting!


With Ming-Na Wen (who is now starring in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) in “Super Cyclone”

Give us a call at (410) 849-6335 today to inquire about availability with Andy Clemence for acting for film and television. Interested in private voice or piano lessons? Try one of our other highly-qualified teaching artists availabile for lessons in the private studio from Monday through Saturday!

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!