Anthony, an Applause alumni of 17 years, feels blessed to be training young people in the same place where it all began for him. He has been a part of the Applause faculty for the past 13 years, and is now the head of the wildly successful Applause Film Department, as well as Creative Director for the entire company. Having trained at the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, as well as a Film and TV career that has expanded over a decade, Anthony is happy to be able to share his knowledge and experience with a whole new generation of young artists, and teachers alike.
Katelyn grew up on Long Island and graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in Theater. She is honored to be a part of the Applause team since 2017 and is inspired daily by seeing so many young people develop and nurture their passion for the performing arts at Applause.
Kristina began choreographing at the young age of eight for a captive audience of teddy bears. Her love of theater and dance brought her to the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU where she earned her BFA with honors in Theater. Since graduation she has been lucky enough to pursue her two greatest passions, performing and teaching. Recent performing credits include: Nice Work If You Can Get It (First Nat’l Tour), The Marks You Leave (FringeNYC), God Hates This Show, and High School Musical. As a commercial dancer she has had the honor of dancing alongside recording artists Nicki Minaj, Neyo, Lady Sovereign, Maor, and Taleb Kwali.
Michael Ryan, originally from right outside of Boston, is a New York based Actor/Singer/Teacher. Some favorite past credits include Newsies 1st National Tour (Jack/Davey understudy), Les Miserables (Enjolras), The Who’s Tommy (Cousin Kevin), Spring Awakening (Hanschen). He has a BFA in musical theater from Pace university and has taught musical theater classes and college audition prep all over the country.
Heather is a voice, dance, and musical theatre teacher. She attended NYU Steinhardt earning a degree in Vocal Performance. After graduation, she toured the country as a dancer on the First National Tour of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” followed by regional productions in Maine and Long Island. She then worked for Disney Cruise Line as a main stage singer. Returning to NYC, Heather became a dance teacher at “Groove With Me,” a non-profit dance studio, and a music teacher and assistant-manager at TLB Music. Heather is thrilled to be a part of the Applause team! ×
Lisa Krainik is a NYC-based dancer, director, stage manager, producer, and licensed yoga teacher. Lisa has performed works at Radio City Music Hall, the New York City Center in NYC, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., among others. When she isn’t dancing or working at Applause, Krainik produces monthly comedy shows and teaches yoga.
Chris has been working in Theater Production for the past 17 years, with the last 10 based in NYC! Their work has spanned many creative avenues in the theatre and event production worlds in pretty much every single crew position imaginable before finding an extreme passion in Lighting Design and Production Management. With a love of pushing buttons, playing with color, and for bringing shows together from the ground up (they even like the paperwork part, weird, I know!) , paired with their passion for teaching, Chris is extremely proud to be a part of the team here at Applause!
Martha Lavery graduated from Hofstra’s Honors College in 2014 with a BA in Dance and Minors in Film Studies/Production & Psychology. At Hofstra, she performed & choreographed for MoVoM, Danceworks, and Imani Dance Ensemble, and spent a month dancing & performing in Italy at Toscana Dance Hub. Post-graduation, she has performed for 50+ choreographers & dance companies (modern, contemporary, performance art, hip-hop, etc) and has been commissioned to create over 30 original pieces (aside from weekly class choreography/workshops/master classes) for various showcases, competitions, and video projects in the greater NYC area. Notable performances include SummerStage in Central Park (splitting the bill with Abraham in Motion), winning the Audience Favorite choreography vote at Uptown Rising at Bridge For Dance, and students performing her choreography at Carnegie Hall. Last October, she spent several weeks in China as part of the US dance team for the CBA’s China Hoops basketball tournament. She currently teaches dance in public school/charter school/studio/open class settings to kindergarten students through adults in Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Heels, & her “genrefluid” style, and continues to produce her own choreography for both stage and film.
Alexandra is a New York transplant and is so excited to be teaching at Applause! Growing up in Los Angels she always had big dreams of moving to NYC. After graduating from Concordia University Irvine with a BA in Theatre, she packed her bags and made the move. Now a proud member of the New York chapter of The Theatre 68 Crew Company , she has also performed and assistant directed off -broadway at St. Lukes theatre in their production of Lilli Marlene and It Came From Beyond. She is so excited to be back and mold the young minds of the theatre community.
Kevin Shotwell is a New York based Director/ Choreographer who is joining he Applause team after teaching Theater Dance and Acting at Leman Prep School for over six years. Kevin has been teaching and performing all over the east coast for the past 15 years. Acting highlights include the 2009 Broadway revival of Bye Bye Birdie and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street- In Concert with the New York Philharmonic. He is a graduate of Pace University School of the Performing Arts, where he earned his BFA in Musical Theatre. In his spare time Kevin writes/ directs/ and stars in the Annual The Jingle Belle Ball, a “Non Denominational Christmas Themed Performance Art Cabaret”, and the self-described “world renowned” instagram handle @keviquickchange.
Warren is happy to be the head camera operator at Applause New York. He is from Boston Massachusetts and has a bachelor’s degree in Film. He is proficient in and owns all of the latest devices pertaining to video production. Whether he’s creating great promos for dance, musical theater, or creating epic films, he is thankful to be part of such a vibrant, and professional community where he gets to help kids find their voice.
Paul Pilcz is psyched to be a part of the ever growing and expanding Applause NY family! Paul received his BFA in Musical Theater from Montclair State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. While attending MSU, he spent his sophomore year on Broadway as Harvey Johnson in Roundabout Theatre Company’s first ever revival of Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway. Since then, he’s made appearances on HBO’s Mildred Pierce (Tommy), HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (Hemmings) and as a recurring guest star on FOX’s Gotham (Sonny Gilzean). Other favorite credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Barfee) at Bucks County Playhouse, Martin Charnin’s “Something Funny’s Going On” (Various Characters) at 54 Below and Shoja Azari and Shirin Neshat’s independent feature film, “Simple Little Lives” (Jayson). He’s looking forward to another amazing year with Applause!
Brett Thiele has been performing professionally in New York for 10 years. He has performed on Broadway in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Miss Saigon, and Escape To Margaritaville. Off Broadway and Regional credits include The First Wives Club, The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of West Side Story, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Gypsy, A Chorus Line, and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. Film and Television credits include Saturday Night Live, MTV’s One Bad Choice, America’s Got Talent, and Hamlet: Son of a Kingpin.
Ali was born and raised in New York City and is an alumnus of Applause! She graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in Musical Theatre and English. Ali is a veteran performer at the renowned Upright Citizens Brigade comedy theater, where she performs and coaches improv, sketch, musical improv, and more. You may recognize Ali as a kooky saleswoman in a variety of silly commercials.
Emily Meredith is a professional actress residing in New York City. She is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Union and has performed in productions all across the country. An experienced acting, voice and dance teacher, Emily has worked with all grade and skill levels– but specializes in early childhood arts education. Emily attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA — where she majored in classical and musical theater and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Musical Theater. She has trained at various other prestigious institutions including Festival Ballet (Providence, RI), T. Schreiber Studio (NY,NY), HB Studio (NY,NY), Ballet Prestige (Providence, RI), Steps (NY, NY), and Broadway Dance Center (NY,NY) among many others. As a teacher, Emily strives to create a fun and relaxed learning environment where her students can grow in confidence and ability.
Josh Zacher is an NYC based actor, dancer, teacher and choreographer. National Tour: The Prom (1st Nat’l, Dance Captain), A Chorus Line (US/Japan), The Elf on the Shelf. Josh has performed at The Kennedy Center, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre (Associate Choreographer – Disney’s The Little Mermaid), Center Theatre Group (LA), North Shore Music Theatre (The Music Man), The Ordway (West Side Story), Kansas City Starlight, The REV Theatre Co. (Footloose), Theatre By The Sea (Newsies), and The Sharon Playhouse (Les Miserables). Josh holds a BFA in Drama from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Maxx Reed is a multi-genre movement artist & educator, choreographer & director, as well as a multi- medium filmmaker based out of NYC. Originally from Memphis, Maxx is trained in styles spanning from classical ballet to hip hop. Performance credits include: Broadway debutSpiderman: Turn off the Dark; music videos: Michael Jackson’s “Hold My Hand” & Beyonce’s “Who Run The World (Girls)”; television: ABC’s Dance War: Bruno vs Carrie Ann, “The Tony Awards”, & “American Music Awards” with Usher; and, film: Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Choreography clients include: Mariah Carey; musicals: Claudio Quest & “Nikola Drops the Beat”; and music videos for SEE. When off stage, he’s behind the camera as filmmaker & founder of Esotericam Productions, for which director & producer credits include: TV series Live at Gramercy Park, series documentary Broadway Dance Dreams, and short films “Pas de Carole” & “The Sonnet Project”. With the art of movement & filmmaking, Maxx aims to show compassion through choreography & creative collaboration–– emphasizing his role as a dance educator and multi-platform storyteller.
John has been a music director and pianist in NYC for the past 19 years. Most recently, he music directed the sold out run at Feinstein’s/54 Below for Tony Award winner Alice Ripley and Tony nominee Emily Skinner’s cabaret show, UNATTACHED, in addition to the live CD recording of the show. This summer marked his sixth season as the music director for the highly acclaimed musical theatre program at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires. For the past eight years, John has served as music director for the BROADWAY’S RISING STARS and BROADWAY ORIGINALS concerts at Town Hall. He is also a regular fixture at Feinstein’s/54 Below, music directing everything from Sondheim to Schwartz, in addition to the award winning 54 SINGS series (APPLAUSE, MACK & MABEL, KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN). Other NY credits include pianist for the recent Broadway revival of WEST SIDE STORY, pianist/conductor for TALK OF THE TOWN Bank Street Theatre, TAKE ME ALONG Irish Rep, NAKED BOYS SINGING New World Stages. Associate MD: AFRICA AND PLUMBRIDGE and ESPRESSO TRASHO NY Fringe Festival, BROADWAY BACKWARDS II & III American Airlines Theatre. Regional Music Director credits include HELLO DOLLY, FUNNY GIRL, THE KING AND I, GYPSY, NO NO NANETTE, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, PETER PAN, OLIVER among others. John has had the pleasure of working with such well known artists as Judy Collins, Kate Winslet, Mickey Dolenz, Jennifer Holiday, Michele Lee, in addition to scores of Broadway performers.
Sarah Crane is a performer and choreographer originally from Miami, FL. She was most recently seen in the Broadway First National Tour of Mean Girls and The Prom. She has exciting choreography projects going on throughout the year. To learn more visit www.sarahcrane.net and follow her @sarahcraneofficial
Adam Magnacca (He/Him/His) is an NYC based Music Director, Coach, and Actor originally from Mississauga, Ontario. When not at Applause, Adam teaches throughout the 5 boroughs with the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Education Program and The Queen’s Theatre Senior Center Partnerships. Adam works professionally as a Music Supervisor for Norwegian Cruise Line, rehearsing singers and bands for different shows aboard Oceania, Regent, and Norwegian ships. Most recently, he served as the NCL Music Supervisor for the smash West End hit, The Choir of Man. As a performer, Adam has worked across the US with some onstage favorites including Rock of Ages, Into The Woods, and Head Over Heels.
Abby Semelsberger is a performing artist based in New York City with a passion for educating the next generation of theater artists. She is currently obtaining her BFA in Musical Theater at Marymount Manhattan College. She has years of experience teaching music, theater, and dance, and strives to create a positive and uplifting learning environment for all of her students.
Danielle Koenig is an award-winning writer and actor with degrees from NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television. Their original musicals and standalone songs have been enjoyed at major theatrical venues in New York City including Lincoln Center, Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater, 54 Below, and the Duplex Theatre, as well as regionally in Los Angeles, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Syracuse, NY. They have extensive improv and sketch training, having written comedy videos that have been viewed over 2 million times on Youtube, and participated in a prestigious Writer’s Room Internship at Saturday Night Live. They have also acted in multiple pre-Broadway workshops as well as regional plays and musicals. When they are not at Applause NY, they are teaching musical theater at the Brooklyn Music School, playing video games, learning to do the worm, petting a dog, finishing a Lego set, or reading a graphic novel!
Starr graduated from St. John’s University with a BA in psychology. Starr now works as a production assistant for many different shows/films! Starr has such a love for dance and theater and it has been a dream to work behind the scenes and make these shows come alive.
Danicah is overjoyed to be part of the incomparable Applause family! A Long Island native, she found her love of the arts early on, and has had the privilege to act professionally in both movies and on stage since childhood. She earned her BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University where she also trained in film, photography and directing! After joining the Applause staff in 2014 and working in almost every department Applause has to offer, she is thrilled to have finally landed at the place she calls home; the Film Department. She absolutely loves kids and adores making movies, and couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling way to spend her day then to bring all of her her knowledge, energy, and passion to this next generation of young actors!
Michelle Arotsky is thrilled to be a part of the Applause Dance and Theatre faculty. Originally from South New Jersey, Michelle grew up in a Russian speaking household with parents born and raised in Ukraine. Michelle’s love for the arts and performing led her to attend Syracuse University and graduate with a BFA in Musical Theatre. As COVID-19 impacted life and the performing arts, Michelle took the opportunity to move home and continue pursuing her passion for dancing as a teacher/choreographer at her childhood dance studio, Jazz Unlimited. Although she is a Jersey girl at heart, Michelle is happy to be back in the Big Apple, teaching at Applause. Past regional theatre credits include: Matilda (Engeman Theatre), Newsies (Lexington Theatre Company), The Cunning Little Vixen (The Glimmerglass Festival), Elf: The Musical (Syracuse Stage). While still pursuing a career as a performer, Michelle Arotsky is excited to be part of the Applause staff and share her devotion for the arts. She hopes to inspire and pass down her profound love of dancing and performing to her students!