MTCA Creative Team



Musical Theatre Competitions of America is helmed by Directors Lisa Fry and Pia Patrick. Lisa and Pia have over 13 years of experience with MTCA and both have a strong background in the performing arts education field. Lisa and Pia share unequaled enthusiasm for teaching and helping students experience the art of musical theatre. 


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 toured 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.  Joe made his feature film debut working with Clint Eastwood in Jersey Boys; and on television, he has had roles on shows such as S.W.A.T., UnREAL, the FX Mini Series American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, and most recently he was a guest star on the new Showtime series MOONBASE 8 with John C. Reilly, as well as kicking a leg up in Ryan Murphy’s film version of THE PROM.  Joe has a passion for teaching and has his first book titled The Thriving Artists (co-authored with his wife Christine) is now required reading in theater departments at several universities across the country.  The Thriving Artiststeaches 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!


CHRISTINE NEGHERBON-ABRAHAM recent credits include The Little Mermaid, Oliver, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Mary Poppins (Associate Choreographer) at MTW!  She has toured Nationally/Internationally with My Fair Lady (Eliza u/s), Best Little Whorehouse . . . (Starring Ann-Margret), 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer), Chicago, and 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 US.  Select credits include 42nd Street (Norris Theatre), Holiday Inn (MTW), Hairspray & White Christmas (Mac-Haydn Theatre), Billy Elliot (Alaska Center for the Performing Arts), and Crazy for You, West Side Story, and Cabaret (DeSales University).  Christine is a Master Teaching Artist with both the Segerstrom Center and Center Theatre Group.  She is on faculty at Hussian College In Studio and Palos Verdes Performing Arts.  She is Co-Founder/Author of The Thriving Artists with husband and actor, Joe Abraham.  They are passionate about bringing financial education and empowerment to artists everywhere.  They have two children and live in LA.


Thomas Schultheis (Teaching Artist Thomas) created the Creativity & Inspiration Workshop, Let Me Try That Again, Musical Theatre Exploration Clinic, Signs & Synchronicity, and TikTok Musicals: Exploration & Activation. He received his MA in Strategic Communications from National University and BS in Psychology from James Madison University. He is on the Musical Theatre Competitions of America Creative Team and is The Spark File Select Group Creativity Coaching Team Captain. Thomas also works with The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts. Additionally, Thomas worked for 15 years at the Disneyland® Resort with the Disney Performing Arts program. He has performed on Broadway in the revival of Grease! and tours of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Chicago, and South Pacific. Thomas founded The Educators Collective, bringing together exceptional leaders in education, and created The Educators Collective Virtual Summit.


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.



John Vaughan is a busy director/choreographer with over 400 productions to his credit. He has worked constantly first as an actor, then a director, choreographer, producer and theatre educator. His long association with Performance Riverside, the Moonlight Amphitheater, Musical Theatre West and other professional Southern California theatres includes hit productions of Big River, Cabaret, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Curtains, The Will Rogers Follies, Evita, Footloose, Anything Goes, Singin’ in the Rain, A Chorus Line, Into the Woods, Aida,Ragtime, The Music Man, And the World Goes Round, among many others. Philanthropically, he has raised (net) over eight million dollars for Children Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) since 1997 as the director of their acclaimed volunteer based fundraiser- the “CHOC Follies”.

John’s work has received numerous awards from Backstage West, the Inland Empire Theatre League, San Diego Playbill and many others. He has been the co-choreographer for the acclaimed Citrus Singers for the past 26 years.



John Tebay began his career in 1976 as Minister of Music and Worship at Calvary Church of Placentia, California, USA, where he directed the music program for 17 years. In 1981, he became the choral director at El Dorado High School in Placentia, California. He has been director of choral studies at Fullerton College in Southern California, since 1985. During that time, he has conducted the 110-voice Concert Choir, the Chamber Singers, the Collegiate Chorale, the Men’s Chorale, the Women’s Chorale, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and the song and dance troupe, Bravo. Mr. Tebay has guest conducted local and state honor choirs throughout the Western United States. He is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician and competition judge for choral, musical theatre and show choir events. John has collaborated with the Theatre Department at Fullerton College to music direct numerous Musical Theatre productions.

John is a member of the founding staff of Musical Theatre Competitions of America, and has been an adjudicator/clinician at each competition since its inception. 

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