Michele Lynch Choreographed the original show, EVERYDAY RAPTURE on Broadway as well as the Tom Stoppard play, THE COAST OF UTOPIA. She was the associate/assistant choreographer on the Broadway companies of HAIRSPRAY, THE FULL MONTY AND URINETOWN. National and International Tours include DIRTY DANCING, HAPPY DAYS, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE, as well as settling touring companies of HAIRSPRAY (also in Germany and Canada) and THE FULL MONTY (also in Australia and Canada). Her film credits include CAMP, JOYFUL NOISE and THE LAST FIVE YEARS and she was the assistant choreographer on the movie LIBERTY HEIGHTS. She recently choreographed the US Premier of the new musical GRUMPY OLD MEN, at Ogunquit Playhouse, and SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM, starring Vanessa Williams, at The Hollywood Bowl. Michele received the Helen Hayes Award for best choreography for KISS ME KATE, at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC.
Garrett Clayton is best known for his leading role in the hit Disney Channel movies "Teen Beach Movie" and "Teen Beach Movie 2. Clayton will next be seen in the indie film "Peel" opposite Emile Hirsch. He can currently be seen in "Between Worlds" opposite Nicholas Cage, and in "Reach. Garrett leads this important film that is a topical look at depression in young people. Previously, Garrett played Link in NBC's "Hairspray Live!" He also starred as the lead of the indie feature "King Cobra" opposite James Franco and Christian Slater, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to incredible reviews. The film was an exciting and edgy turn for Clayton, who was previously known for his role in the Disney Teen Beach Movie franchise and his recurring role on ABC Family's "The Fosters." His film "Don't Hang Up" opposite Gregg Sulkin premiered at the LA Film Festival, and he was recently in "God Looked Away" opposite Al Pacino and Judith Light at the Pasadena Playhouse. Raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, Clayton performed in regional theater productions of "High School Musical 2", "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown", "Peter Pan", and "Beauty and the Beast".
Thomas Schultheis has served as a teaching artist for numerous academies, competitions, festivals, intensives, invitationals, and showcases. He has developed the workshops Musical Theatre Exploration Clinic, Inspiration Workshop, and Let Me Try That Again. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from James Madison University and is pursuing his Master of Arts in Strategic Communication from National University. Under his award-winning leadership as Sales Manager for Disney Performing Arts at the Disneyland® Resort, he created Inspiring Brilliance, an event which brings leading educators together from around the world. He has developed individual workshop opportunities called Open Enrollment and is part of the team that developed the first Disney Performing Arts Conservatory. Additionally, Thomas performed on Broadway in the revival of Grease! and in the tours of Smokey Joe's Cafe, Chicago, and South Pacific.
DAMIEN LORTON is an actor, singer, director, producer, and instructor. He is 12th generation Californian and is a member of the Rios Family of San Juan Capistrano. Damien found his passion for music at a very early age and by the time he was seven he was traveling the globe performing with the likes of Bob Hope, Art Linkletter, Phyllis Diller, Wayne Newton, Sarah Brightman, and Luciano Pavarotti, to name a few.
Damien found his calling in 2004 when he and Nicole Cassesso co-founded, One More Productions with the hope of creating and producing quality theater at a professional level and an affordable cost, making the arts accessible for everyone in the community. In 2008, One More Productions embraced the City of Garden Grove and the historic GEM Theater as its permanent home. Since co-founding One More Productions, Damien has produced and directed over 80 fully staged musicals, plays, new works, events, and fundraisers, helping to raise over $200,000 for other non-profit organizations. One More Productions has teamed with community organizations such as The Speech and Language Development Center, The Rotary Club and The Orange County Imperial Court to host events and fundraisers for the organization’s various philanthropic causes as well as The City of Garden Grove to provide events for the youth of the community. OMP has also teamed with the Garden Grove Unified School District to host educational field trips, knowing the importance of theater for children, not only as an outlet but also as an educational tool. He has been honored with The LA Times Man of the Year Award, 101 Most Influential People by the Daily Pilot, The Paul Harris Fellow Award, The St. James Family Honors Award as well as being recognized by The City of Garden Grove in appreciation of significant contributions made to the community. Damien is also the 2020 Citizen of the Year and Americana Award Winner.
Damien is also a mentor and vocal coach. In his time as an instructor, he has seen over 40 of his students continue their passion at some of the top colleges and performing arts institutions throughout the country. He has students at Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State, NYU, Stephens Woman’s College, Bentley University and Berklee College of Music in Boston, to name a few. He has students performing throughout the world on cruise ships, at major amusement parks and regional theaters across the US. He loves his connection and giving back to the younger generation through music and art.
NICOLE CASSESSO is a professional actor, singer, dancer, and producer. She developed a lifelong passion and love for the arts at a very early age, taking the stage for the first time at three-years-old and never looking back. In 2017, Cassesso became the 88th recipient of the Los Angeles Times “Woman of the Year” Award for her immense contributions to theater as an actor and producer. She has received critical acclaim for her work on stage. Most notably in the title roles as Violet in Violet, Gypsy Rose Lee/Louise in Gypsy and Patsy Cline in Always Patsy Cline, for which she received a 2017 Broadway World Nomination. Later that year, she was also named Best Actress by the OC Tribune for her portrayal of Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Offstage, Cassesso works behind the scenes as Executive Director for One More Productions. In 2004, she co-founded One More Productions with Damien Lorton in the hope of creating and producing quality theater at a professional level and an affordable cost, making the arts accessible for everyone in the community. In 2008, One More Productions embraced the City of Garden Grove and the historic GEM Theater as its permanent home.
SABRINA HARPER Born and raised in Laguna Beach, California; Sabrina received her early training in dance, singing and acting in Laguna Beach, Los Angeles and New York, where she was also seen as a child actress in numerous National Commercials and TV Shows. After graduating from Laguna Beach High School, she received a full scholarship to the John Cranko Academy, School of the Stuttgart Ballet, which brought her to Stuttgart, Germany; where she completed her dance education with a Diploma in Classical Dance.
After 15 years of performing on the European Stages in major Broadway, Productions Sabrina has made her Broadway Debut in 2013 in the TONY award-winning Musical PIPPIN at the Music Box Theater in New York City. Sabrina was the female swing/player covering 6 Ensemble parts and was also understudy for Fastrada, Catherine, and Berthe, and worked as assistant Dance Captain. She is very excited to be part of the 1st National Touring Company of Pippin as first cast Fastrada and understudy Leading Player and Berthe and looks forward to traveling around the USA. After 1,5 years with the show on Broadway, she went on the road with the 1st National Touring Company of Pippin as first cast Fastrada and performed as understudy Leading Player and Berthe. Closing the 1st National tour in Amsterdam. Sabrina stayed in Europe and performed as Judy Bernly in the first German production of 9 to 5.
After returning back to the USA, Sabrina has since choreographed a youth production of School of Rock in CA., performed as ULLA in The Producers at Theater by the Sea, RI. Cassie in A Chorus Line at The Gateway, NY., and is back touring the USA with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Swing and understudy Mrs. Bucket.
TERRON BROOKS has a passion for inspiring and motivating people of all ages and backgrounds to learn the art of defining success while living a balanced life. His Broadway credits include Simba in The Lion King and Seaweed in Hairspray. A veteran in the entertainment industry, Terron has had the pleasure of performing with many amazing artists, such as Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, David Foster, Randy Jackson, One Republic, and Smokey Robinson. He has toured internationally with Phil Collins (Going Back Tour) and Matthew Morrison-Opening Act for The New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys Tour). He has been a featured guest artist of prestigious symphony orchestras around the country and is a member of America's Favorite Mashup Group, The Company Men. Los Angeles, CA. Terron is a two time NAACP Award Nominee.
KATHI GILLMORE A fourth-generation Californian raised in the City of Orange, Kathi Gillmore is happy to be back in southern California after spending nearly 11 years in New York City, where she made her Broadway debut in Harold Prince’s Tony Award-winning revival of ShowBoat. National Tours include Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit u/s), A Chorus Line (Maggie, Cassie u/s), and Meet Me In St. Louis, as an understudy for Debby Boone in the role of Esther. Regional roles include Sally and Lady Jacqueline in Me and My Girl (L.A. DramaLogue Award for Sally), Kathy in Singin’ in the Rain, Fran in Promises, Promises, Adelaide and Sarah in Guys and Dolls, Ginger in I Love a Piano, Carrie in Carousel, Cassie in A Chorus Line, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Edythe in My One and Only, Lucille in No, No, Nanette, Nancy in Oliver! , Emily in State Fair, Mona in Dames at Sea, Suzanne and Jacqueline in Don’t Dress for Dinner, Barbara in Run for Your Wife, and Hippolyta/First Fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Kathi originated the role of Belle in Beauty and the Beast at Disneyland, and had the pleasure of performing in many other Disney shows over the years including Show Biz Is, Fantasy Follies, The Golden Horseshoe Jamboree, Dickens Carolers, and as all of the female roles including Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy in Diamond Double-Cross. Kathi won her second DramaLogue Award as Julie Donivan in Western Star (a musical by Dale Wasserman, author of Man of La Mancha and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).
From 2013 – 2017 Kathi was the owner and artistic director of Heavenly Voices Productions, featuring The Christmas Belles Carolers, The Swing Time Carolers, and the NightinGals, all female vocal trios.
For the last 10+ years, Kathi has been happily employed as the Music Coordinator at the Disneyland Resort, working alongside the Music Producers to create the wonderful music you hear at the Happiest Place on Earth!
KATIE PERRY is a professional actress, singer, dancer, and teacher. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University of Oklahoma, and is an Orange County School of the Arts musical theatre alum. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and has performed all over the country. A few of her recent credits include: Inga in Young Frankenstein, Katherine u/s in Newsies, Nurse Cora McRae in South Pacific, Beth in Little Women, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. She has also appeared at 54 Below in New York City in Bartram and Hill’s new musical, The Theory of Relativity and with Susan Egan in her concert, The Belle of Broadway. Katie coaches privately and teaches in the Musical Theatre Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts. She also choreographs and music directs for many local productions. She is thrilled to be involved with MTCA to see the next generation of great musical theatre talent!
ROBERT OROSCO has performed in the Broadway show and National tour of "Miss Saigon" and he has performed at Carnegie Hall under the music direction of Jason Robert Brown.
Currently, he works for the Disneyland Resort performing in “Frozen Live At The Hyperion “ as the Duke of Weselton, Sarge in "Operation Playtime" featuring the Green Army Men and Mateo in A Musical Celebration Of Coco.
Musical theater audiences might remember him on the big screen in the movie, "Camp" directed by Todd Graff.
Robert has studied Acting in Hawaii, San Francisco, and New York City.
CHRISTINE NEGHERBON-ABRAHAM most recently appeared in The Little Mermaid, Oliver, Yankee Doodle Dandy & Mary Poppins (Associate Choreographer) at MTW! Christine has toured Nationally/Internationally with My Fair Lady (Eliza u/s), Best Little Whorehouse . . . (Starring Ann-Margret), 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer), Chicago & The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Favorite regional credits include Elizabeth (Young Frankenstein), Jennyanydots (Cats at The Muny/Sacramento Music), Mrs. Wilkinson (Billy Elliot). TV credits: Hart of Dixie, Haunting Evidence. Christine has directed and choreographed all over the United States. Select credits include 42nd Street (Norris Theatre), Hairspray & White Christmas (Mac-Haydn Theatre), Billy Elliot (Alaska Center for Performing Arts) and Crazy for You, West Side Story, Cabaret (DeSales University). Christine is a Master Teacher Artist with both the Segerstrom Center and Center Theatre Group. She is on faculty at Studio School and Palos Verdes Performing Arts. She is Co-Founder/Author of www.TheThrivingArtists.com with husband and actor, Joe Abraham. They have 2 children and live in LA.
CYNTHIA McGARRITY is a singer, music director, director and master teaching artist with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Highlights from her career include that of Master Teaching Artist at Disneyland for Disney Performing Arts; lead master teaching artist for Disney Musicals in Schools under the auspices of Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County and Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles; vocal coach for episodic television on the set of NBC Studios Parks & Rec; voiceover artist for PBS Television’s ART-Art Series (whose theme song on which she was featured won the Emmy Award); director and/or music director of such shows as Legally Blonde, Violet, Shrek and many of the Disney musicals compendium; and past Music Department Chair/Voice teacher at The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts. Cynthia is sought after in Southern California for her masterful approach to teaching creative arts curriculum for the classroom for students of all ages as well as conducting professional development workshops for classroom teachers and fellow teaching artists. Through her brand, Cynthia Branches Out, she is often contracted for freelance writing work, private vocal and audition coaching and designing curriculum for arts-based educational programming. Through this work, she has been contracted as the lead curriculum writer and director of Musical Theatre Matters at the School of Music and Dance for Children with Disabilities, a music and dance program that encourages the inclusion of all children in the arts no matter the ability. She has also been published in four book anthologies and is currently writing her first television pilot screenplay. Cynthia is thrilled to be back at Musical Theatre Competitions of America, sharing her love of music, story, and technique with young artists from all over the country.
JOE ABRAHAM is a veteran performer and teacher who has been working in show business for nearly 20 years… He has been on Broadway and around the country in shows such as HAIRSPRAY, DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID, SHREK THE MUSICAL, CATS, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN… among others. On television, Joe has appeared in shows such as S.W.A.T., UnREAL, Revenge, Hart of Dixie, How to Get Away with Murder, and the FX Mini Series American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson. He also made his feature film debut working with Clint Eastwood in Jersey Boys. Joe has a passion for teaching and has his first book titled The Thriving Artists (co-authored with his wife Christine) is now recommended or required reading in theater departments at several major universities across the country. The Thriving Artists teaches young performers how to live an inspired life, build an empowered career, and all while having plenty of money in the bank while doing it! Congratulations to all participants and we’ll see you on stage! www.TheThrivingArtists.com www.JoeAbrahamOfficial.com
DAMON KIRSCHE is a veteran of stage, screen, concert, and cabaret. Over forty appearances with: City Center Encores, 92nd St Y, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Casa Mañana, LA’s Reprise, Pasadena Playhouse, MTWest’s Reiner Reading Series, and Musical Theatre Guild (member since 2002). Recent Stage: HIGH SOCIETY (George) - MTG, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (Graydon) - Performance Riverside, DEAR WORLD starring Tyne Daley (Prospector) - VPAC, OKLAHOMA! (Hakim) - Cabrillo, 42ND STREET (Marsh) and MAMMA MIA! (Bill) - MTWichita. Kirsche created the role “Logos” (Eric Whitacre’s PARADISE LOST: SHADOWS & WINGS) – Carnegie and Disney Halls, and “Pujol” (A PASSING WIND) – Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center (Barrymore Award nomination, Best Lead Actor in a Musical).
Kirsche has appeared in the New York and LA concert and cabaret circuits, with Fred Barton’s “American Showstoppers” series at NY’s Schimmel Center, in Bruce Kimmel’s “Kritzerland” series at The Federal, with Brad Ellis of TV’s “Glee” in “An Evening of Classic Broadway” and “Up With a Twist” at Rockwell Table & Stage, at Birdland, the Metropolitan Room, Eighty-Eights, Feinsteins at Vitello’s, The Gardenia, The Jazz Bakery, M Bar, Catalina Jazz Club and as featured cabaret artist aboard the Celebrity Equinox. Since 2002, Kirsche has been the lead male vocalist for Dean Mora’s vintage orchestras in CA, presenting dance band arrangements of the American Songbook from Ragtime through the late ‘60s Big Band. He can be heard several of Mora’s recordings as well as on the Decca Broadway recording of “The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936,” the DRG recording of “Babes in Arms,” and the Carnegie Hall recording of The Gershwins' “Tip-Toes.”
FILM/TV: “Gods and Generals,” “LA Confidential,” “StarTrek: Voyager” (as the first character of Nuu’bari ethnicity), and the indie film “Pushing Dead” (starring James Roday and Danny Glover and awarded Best Feature at SF’s 40th Annual Frameline Festival). Kirsche is the lyricist and co-author of the original musical ALL THAT GLITTERS: A Hollywood Blacklist Fable. Training: Juilliard.
RICHARD ARLO KINSEY is best known for his performances as Inspector Javert in Les Misérables for which he was the recipient of the Joseph Jefferson (Jeff Award) for Best Supporting Actor. He performed the role all over the world, including Broadway over 2000 times. Some of his other theatrical roles include: Kreon in Antigone, Ahab in Moby Dick Rehearsed, Bill Sykes in Oliver, Adam in Seven Brides, Don Quixote in Man Of LaMancha, Eric in Phantom, Tony in Most Happy Fella, King Phillip in King John, Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate and Father in both Ragtime & Violet. He has also been involved in numerous staged readings of new works with such companies as ASCAP/DISNEY, A.S.K., Playwrights Horizons and The York Theater Company. He is the recipient of the Virginia Best Adams Singing Award, Metropolitan Opera Encouragement Award and the ASCAP Popular Composition Award for Robin Hood The Musical. Some of his other compositions which have been recorded and distributed are: Through the Veil and Starseed Suite He has appeared in supporting as well as leading roles in the films: Useless (2011), Good Friday (2010), The Seer (2007) Evil’s City (2005), Making Waves (2004) and was the featured narrator for the short: Next In Sequins. Some of his other narration work concerns itself with several books on tape that are soon to be released. He currently continues his work in theater, film, concert work, composition and out-reach programs as well as narration and voice over. He is also on the faculty Of the Acting Conservatory at the Orange County School of The Arts. He gives master classes, coaches privately and is currently attending California State University At Fullerton in the Philosophy degree program. Richard is a published illustrator, painter and cartoonist and he resides with his family in S. CA. somewhere near the beach.
DIANE FREIMAN REYNOLDS Diane, a California native, is a session singer and performer specializing in film and tv music. She began singing at an early age in choirs led by her mother and uniquely honed her sight-reading skills by playing handbells, also under her mother’s direction. Her love of music and performing continued through her youth where she was in school musicals and The Young Americans. Her first Equity performance was the National Tour of the Tony-Award-winning musical, City of Angels, and, in addition, she enjoyed many years of live theater performing the role of Mary in The Glory of Christmas and The Glory of Easter at the former Crystal Cathedral. Seven nights per week this summer, Diane was a vocalist in the orchestral pit for The Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. Earlier this year, she travelled to Taiwan to perform the role of Mrs. Potts in a live-to-picture presentation of Beauty and the Beast. As a session singer, Diane can be heard on over 100 movie soundtracks and TV shows with some favorites being La La Land, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Bruce Almighty, The Grinch, and Despicable Me 2. Other recent films are Frozen II and the new live-action Lady and the Tramp. You may have heard her voice on several theme park rides or one of the fireworks shows at Disneyland. Other highlights were singing on recordings and projects for Paul McCartney, Josh Groban, Michael Morrison, Chris Mann, Jackie Evancho, Seth MacFarlane, and on Harry Styles’ song “Sign of the Times”. Diane has been teaching private voice lessons for 20 years. She and her husband, Royce, reside in Southern California, and they have two young adult children.
HEATHER McMASTERS OROSCO a native of Southern California, Heather has touched the lives of many performing arts students and arts patrons as a performer and educator. She has directed vocal jazz ensembles at California State University Long Beach and has also worked as a vocal teacher and coach at the California Institute of the Arts. Heather has a special love for working with students and has directed a number of show choirs, chamber ensembles, concert choirs, and musical theatre shows as well as served as adjudicator and clinician at various middle school, high school and college vocal/theatre festivals.
Heather recently celebrated 20 years with The Walt Disney Company. She began her career as a Dickens Caroler at Disneyland and continues to perform in a multitude of special events and shows for the Company, including appearances at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theater, the Hollywood Bowl and various venues across the United States. She is currently performing in the Broadway-caliber musical “Frozen, Live at the Hyperion Theatre.”
She has performed with the likes of Julie Andrews, Richard Carpenter, Dick Van Dyke, Ken Page, Eden Espinoza, Stephanie J Block, Bob Newhart, Jim Brickman, Andy Garcia, and Jon Voight , to name a few.
As a singer and actress, Heather has performed on stages across the country in musical theatre, industrial shows, benefits and concerts. She has also been on TV shows for ABC, NBC, and KTLA.
One of her true passions is working in the recording studio on a number of albums for BMG and Capitol Records and you’ve also heard her in commercials for Mattel, Sun Microsystems and Nabisco, among others.
STEPHANIE BALDWIN is a classically trained lyric soprano, Stephanie holds a BA and Masters from Chapman University and was honored as one of the “150 Faces of Chapman” for the University’s 150th anniversary. As Miss California 2001, she was a semifinalist at the Miss America Pageant and made appearances in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia representing state sponsor Wente Vinyards. Some of her favorite roles in musical theatre include Christine (Phantom), Maria (the Sound of Music), Eliza (My Fair Lady), Nancy (Oliver), the Fairy Godmother and Queen (Cinderella), Mrs. Potts (Beauty and the Beast), Grace (Annie) and Jenny (Company). Shortly after moving to New York City in 2006, Stephanie received the 2007, Andy Anselmo, Outstanding Achievement Award for emerging artists, and debuted her one-woman show, “Stephanie Sings Stage to Screen” at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. She regularly performs onboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises as a Guest Entertainer. Stephanie teaches private voice lessons for all ages in Riverside County and vocal music for the Pacific Symphony’s Arts-X-Press, an integrated arts summer camp. She recently produced her own CD, a live recording of one of her classical concerts, entitled ”Classical Love”.
Every group, solo and monologue receives an immediate on-stage clinic from qualified theatre professionals, as well as written comments. The immediate feedback is tangible and critical in their growth as performers. Students learn how to take direction from someone other than a director they have an existing relationship with. It is a solid step to future growth. Many festivals allow boosters, and former students to judge, MTCA adjudicators are professionals working in the field of theatre education or currently directing, casting or working in theatre. This is a great and economical way to workshop future college audition material.
"MTCA is the highlight of our year. A rare experience designed specifically for Musical Theatre performers. The adjudicators are top notch and the feedback meaningful. Our students, directors and parents love MTCA!"
The Center Stage Studio
“You do have exceptional judges! Especially solo and duet judges who give special and instructive feedback.”
La Colina Junior High School
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