Who We Are

CHANGING CHILDREN'S LIVES FOR OVER 30 YEARS

Since 1986, ACT ONE Theatre School has offered Pittsburgh area students the finest foundations in theatre education, providing a comprehensive, student-oriented program that develops skills, fosters creativity and provides success experiences for all involved.

The school year program consists of a semester of process-oriented classes focusing on skill development, and a semester of production-oriented classes focusing on the presentation of a fully-produced musical.  Every child is used extensively in the productions! Every child is equally encouraged and cherished!

 

ACT ONE Theatre School students are encouraged to develop their skills and to take performance risks in an atmosphere of acceptance and fun.  Motivated by excellent literature, sensitive instructors, and high-quality performance expectations, these students blossom in professionalism, critical ability, and self-confidence.

Personnel

Administration & Staff

Mark has been teaching at ACT ONE for over 20 years.  He holds a BFA and MM in Piano Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Music Education from Boston University.  Mark’s current faculty appointments include Associate Professor of Music at the Community College of Allegheny County; Artist Lecturer in Music Theory at Carnegie Mellon University; and Co-Chair of the CCAC Allegheny Campus Humanities Department.  His past faculty appointments include Robert Morris University and California University of PA.  Mark has also music directed for various theatre companies in addition to ACT ONE, including the Pittsburgh CLO and St. Vincent Summer Theatre.

Executive & Artistic Director

MARK DOMENCIC

Janet received a BA in Sociology from Dickinson College.  She studied Voice with Brenda Smith (Dickinson College), Charlotte Sonne and Myrna Paris (vocal coach).   She was the vocal director at “The Stage” at la Place and Peabody High School.  Janet was also a director, writer, and co-founder of the musical theatre company Van Dash Productions.

Executive & Managing Director

JANET VAN COTT DOMENCIC

Mrs. C founded ACT ONE Theatre School in 1986. She holds a BA in Psychology from Seton Hill College and teacher certification in secondary English.  She also attended the University of Pittsburgh for post graduate studies.  She wrote the script and co-wrote the lyrics for SESJUN (an internationally broadcast jazz program with Holland’s Metropolitan Orchestra), directed the ROUTE 66 performance with the cast of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL in Rotterdam, wrote lyrics for a  WELLA BALSAM European commercial, wrote lyrics for Ernie Sabella’s opening song at the ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE’S award gala in New York City, and has written for PARAMOUNT INTERNATIONAL. Mrs. C has taught and directed Pittsburgh area children for over 35 years.

Founder & Consultant

KAREN CORDARO

Rachel is an Act One Alum and holds a BFA in Acting from Point Park University.  She developed the curriculum and taught a musical theatre program in China for Fantasy Children’s Performing Arts School.  While in China, Rachel played Kala in the Chinese Poly Theatre National Tour.  She completed four tours in the States as a director/actor with Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre.  She has acted and directed in New York City with several companies including 3 Voices Theatre and Queens Shakespeare.  Her roles include Casca in Julius Caesar and Titania in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Coordinator – K-8th Grade Programs

RACHEL PFENNIGWERTH

J.R. received his BA in Speech Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and his MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University. As a company member of the Western Stage of Salinas, CA he was commissioned to adapt John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row for the National Steinbeck Festival’s 50th Anniversary celebration of that novel’s publication. For the past two decades, he has served as the coordinator of the ACT ONE High School program and has been a member of the faculty of the Community College of Allegheny County, South Campus Drama Department, where he teaches Communications, Theatre, and Film. Most recently, he has been commissioned by Beacon College to write the libretto for a new musical dealing with the plight of special needs children and their families, set to premiere in the fall of 2019.

Coordinator – High School Programs

J.R. Hall

Taylor has been building sets and designing and operating lights for ACT ONE since 2016.  He holds an Associate's Degree in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design & Technology from the Community College of Allegheny County with an extensive background in welding and scenic carpentry. He is a member of IATSE 489 Studio Mechanics and works on feature films and television series filmed in Pittsburgh. Additionally, he is a fabricator and touring technician with Squonk Opera.

Technical Director

TAYLOR WEINER

Chris has been working for ACT ONE Theatre School for 18 years and has been part of the ACT ONE family for 19 years.  Both of her daughters are alums of ACT ONE.  She holds a BA in Accounting & Finance from Robert Morris University.  She currently works as the Controller at RM Creative, Inc. Architects and Interior Designers. 

Accounting Manager

CHRISTINE ROMAN

Holland is an ACT ONE Alum and is a junior at Xavier University where she is pursuing a B.A. degree in Theatre while also minoring in Writing and Digital Media. Recent productions include: Siobhan (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime), Shelly (Buried Child), Ismene (Antigone. born against.). When not performing, Holland enjoys investing her time in promoting companies she's passionate about. She is the current Marketing Videography for the Xavier Theatre’s season productions and is also the co-head of the marketing committee for Xavier’s Theatre Department.

Marketing Assistant

HOLLAND TAYLOR

Acting Faculty

Rachel is an Act One Alum and holds a BFA in Acting from Point Park University.  She developed the curriculum and taught a musical theatre program in China for Fantasy Children’s Performing Arts School.  While in China, Rachel played Kala in the Chinese Poly Theatre National Tour.  She completed four tours in the States as a director/actor with Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre.  She has acted and directed in New York City with several companies including 3 Voices Theatre and Queens Shakespeare.  Her roles include Casca in Julius Caesar and Titania in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Coordinator – K-8th Grade Programs

RACHEL PFENNIGWERTH

J.R. received his BA in Speech Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and his MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University. As a company member of the Western Stage of Salinas, CA he was commissioned to adapt John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row for the National Steinbeck Festival’s 50th Anniversary celebration of that novel’s publication. For the past two decades, he has served as the coordinator of the ACT ONE High School program and has been a member of the faculty of the Community College of Allegheny County, South Campus Drama Department, where he teaches Communications, Theatre, and Film. Most recently, he has been commissioned by Beacon College to write the libretto for a new musical dealing with the plight of special needs children and their families, set to premiere in the fall of 2019.

Coordinator – High School Programs

J.R. HALL

Julianne is a Pittsburgh born and bred actor, teaching artist, and improviser.  She studied at the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a degree in Theatre Arts and a Certificate in Children’s Literature with a focus on Theatre for Young Audiences. As a teaching artist, she has worked for the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, Bricolage Production Company, City Theatre, Arcade Comedy Theater, and many more. She is a process-driven acting teacher and coach, focusing on individualized techniques for each unique actor. As a performer, recent credits include Perfect Wedding, Up and Away, and Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women for Pittsburgh CLO as well as various new musical workshops as part of the SPARK Festival, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and SCarrie: The Musical for Bricolage, The Liar with Kinetic Theatre, among others. She can be seen soon as Lina in City Theatre's 2020 production of Cry it Out.  Julianne is beyond delighted to be a part of ACT ONE Theatre School.

Acting Instructor (High School)

JULIANNE AVOLIO

Will is an Act One Alum and holds a BA in Acting from Point Park University.  Will is a local improv actor who has worked with several programs including The Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival and Off The Record.  Will has acted in a multitude of films and episodic series such as “Something To Be Desired”, “Smart People,” and “The Other Side.”  He is the Director and Co-Founder of Perfectly Flawed Films.

Acting/Improv Instructor (K – 8th)

WILL GUFFEY

John received his BA in Theatre from the College of the Holy Cross and his MA in Theatre from the University of Pittsburgh. He has appeared in productions at companies including Bricolage, Kinetic Theatre, City Theatre, Primestage, and Pittsburgh Playwrights. He has directed plays for Little Lake Theatre, In Between Theatre, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Acting Instructor (High School)

JOHN MICHNYA

Jared is excited to return to ACT ONE for his fifth year directing and teaching acting for film.  Jared has been acting professionally on stage and screen throughout the Pittsburgh area for over 20 years.  He is an Alum of ACT ONE and the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts.  Jared has appeared on stage at The Pittsburgh Public Theater, where he played Rudy in “Over the Tavern” and Oberon in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” as well as Prime Stage, The Strand, and Little Lake Theatre where he is also employed as their Technical Director.  He also played a Stygian triplet in the 1999 film “Dogma” with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Rock and Alan Rickman.  He also appeared in “One for the Money” and “Concussion” (film) and “Three Rivers,” and “Outsiders” (television).

Acting/Film Instructor (2nd - 8th)

JARED PFENNIGWERTH

Tawnya has been teaching at ACT ONE for over 20 years and is a favorite among our students.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Point Park University.  She has directed multiple ACT ONE productions including the 2014 Professional Training Program’s production of Metamorphosis.  Tawnya has performed with critical acclaim throughout the area.  She teaches Acting at CAPA (Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School) and is one of their most challenging directors.

Acting Instructor, Guest Artist

TAWNYA HALL

Elise is a Pittsburgh native and ACT ONE alum who is returning to help with the K/1 kids program. She attended Hampton High School and graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in Theatre: Acting and Directing. Now, she has returned to Pittsburgh and is working at Saltworks Theatre Company to put on shows for young audiences with good messages, as well as performing with other professional theatre companies in the area.  Most recently, Elise was seen in Arcade Comedy Theater's production of Bubble Boy: The Musical!

Assistant Instructor (K - 1)

ELISE BRADO

Alex has been studying, practicing, teaching, and directing stage combat for over 30 years.  He currently heads the Stage Combat Progression at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and has previously taught for Arcadia University, Rowan University, The North Carolina School of the Arts, Temple University, and The University of Delaware. He is also a core instructor for the annual Philadelphia Stage Combat Workshop.  Alex has directed fights in Louisville Kentucky as well as for theatres, dance companies and colleges throughout the Philadelphia area.  Alex’s choreography has been sailing across Europe for nine years with twenty different casts in Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s productions of Saturday Night Fever! and Columbus…The Musical!!

Alex is a Certified Teacher and Theatrical Firearms Safety Instructor with the Society of American Fight Directors, a three-time Barrymore Award Nominee, and was featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Project Discovery” series: Careers in the Arts; Fight Director.

Stage Combat Teacher & Fight Director (Summer Camp)

J. ALEX CORDARO

Music Faculty

Joe has been teaching at ACT ONE for over 25 years.  He holds a BA in Music Education from Duquesne University School of Music.  Joe has served as music director for the University of Pittsburgh, Jewish Theatre of Pittsburgh, CCAC South Theatre, and Kuntu Repertory.  He also served as music director for Don Brockett.  Joe is a music instructor at Pittsburgh Allegheny Traditional Academy and was instrumental in the production of its inaugural fully-staged musical, The Little Mermaid, Jr. in 2018, as well as their most recent production of Willy Wonka Jr.

Music Director (2nd – 12th)

JOE STAMERRA

Mark has been teaching at ACT ONE for over 20 years.  He holds a BFA and MM in Piano Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Music Education from Boston University.  Mark’s current faculty appointments include Associate Professor of Music at the Community College of Allegheny County; Artist Lecturer in Music Theory at Carnegie Mellon University; and Co-Chair of the CCAC Allegheny Campus Humanities Department.  His past faculty appointments include Robert Morris University and California University of PA.  Mark has also music directed for various theatre companies in addition to ACT ONE, including the Pittsburgh CLO and St. Vincent Summer Theatre.

Executive & Artistic Director, Music Director (High School)

MARK DOMENCIC

Courtney is a graduate of ACT ONE and has been teaching at the school for 9 years.  She holds a BM in Vocal Performance from DePaul University and MM in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University.  Her operatic stage credits include Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette (Florida Grand Opera), Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro (Glimmerglass Opera), Flora Bervoix in La Traviata (Dayton Opera), Meg Page in Falstaff (Opera Santa Barbara), and Emilia in Otello (Kentucky Opera). She has been a soloist with several orchestras in concert, including The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.  Courtney has also performed with Opera Tampa in a concert honoring Placido Domingo conducted by Sherrill Milnes.

Voice Instructor (High School)

COURTNEY MILSTEAD

Megan has been working with ACT ONE for over 5 years.  She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Duquesne University.  She also completed the PA Dept. of Education Music Teacher Certification Program from Carnegie Mellon University.  Megan is the Associate Director of the North Hills Chorale.  She is also the owner and private teacher at Megan Connelly Studio of Piano.

Music Instructor (K – 8th)

MEGAN CONNELLY

Lisa has been working with ACT ONE for over 5 years.  Lisa holds a BA in Music Education from D'Angelo Conservatory of Music at Mercyhurst College.  She has served as the music director for Stage Right! of Greensburg, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, McKeesport Little Theatre, and State Theatre in Uniontown.  Lisa has worked with Erie Playhouse and Dayton, Ohio Playhouse.  She is currently the church pianist and choir director for Lebanon Presbyterian Church.

Music Instructor (2nd – 8th)

LISA HARRIER

Janet received a BA in Sociology from Dickinson College.  She studied Voice with Brenda Smith (Dickinson College), Charlotte Sonne and Myrna Paris (vocal coach).   She was the vocal director at “The Stage” at la Place and Peabody High School.  Janet was also a director, writer, and co-founder of the musical theatre company Van Dash Productions.

Executive & Managing Director, Vocal Audition Coach (2nd – 8th)

JANET VAN COTT DOMENCIC

Pittsburgh native and NYC based performer and instructor Elliot Roth has been hailed by the New York Times for his "silky smooth voice" and piano prowess; Broadway credits include "A Christmas Carol" and "Our Sinatra".  A masters graduate of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music
(voice, jazz arts) he is currently on the voice f
aculty of Marymount Manhattan College's theater arts department and performs regularly and teaches students of all ages in the tri-state area. www.theelliotroth.com

Musical Director (Summer Camp)

ELLIOT ROTH

Dance Faculty

Melissa has been teaching and choreographing for ACT ONE since 2014 while continuing to dance professionally with Bodiography.  In 2017 she was promoted to Principal Ambassador with Bodiography and is the Assistant Director of Bodiography Fitness and Wellness.  Melissa is also an adjunct professor at La Roche University, where she teaches Variations, Anatomy and Kinesiology.  She received her B.A. in Dance with a concentration in Ballet from Point Park University and M.S. in Exercise Science and Wellness Promotion with a concentration in injury prevention and sports performance enhancement from California University of Pennsylvania.  She is certified as a NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist, a PHI Pilates instructor, a Bodiography Fitness and Strength Training System Instructor, a current member of IADMS and a Bodiography Movement Therapy Instructor.

Dance Instructor (K - 12th)

MELISSA TYLER *

This is Kyleigh’s third year teaching at ACT ONE.  Kyleigh received a BA in Jazz dance in 2017 from Point Park University.  She started studying ballet, modern, jazz, and tap at Erie Dance Conservatory under the direction of Sarah Purvis.  She participated in Regional Dance America for the Northeast region where she attended master classes with Jennifer Miller, Terrence Greene, and Jon Lehrer.  Kyleigh has performed in the United States as well as in England, Germany, Israel, Italy, and Canada.  She has attended Point Park’s International Summer Intensive, Joffrey Balley’s Jazz and Contemporary Intensive, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Intensive.  She joined Bodiography Contemporary Ballet in August of 2017 as an apprentice and continues to be a part of the company as a professional dancer and teaching artist.

Dance Instructor (High School)

KYLEIGH SUSSER *

Hannah is an ACT ONE Alum and is currently a junior at Seton Hill University studying Musical Theatre. Recent productions include; Company (Kathy), Godspell (Uzo), and Letters to Sala (Ala Gertner). She recently portrayed the role of Caroline Neville in Titanic the Musical with Split Stage Productions. She is beyond excited to be back teaching at ACT ONE Theatre School!

Dance Instructor (High School)

HANNAH TAYLOR

Halle is finishing up her BA in Dance Performance at La Roche University, where she met Melissa Tyler and began her internship with Act One! Aside from assisting with choreography and Act One’s Kindergarten program, Halle has taught after-school ballet clubs for outreach programs, currently teaches contemporary classes at Allegro Ballet Academy, and has created multiple short works of choreography (most recently, her work has appeared onstage at the Byham). In 2016, she performed in a professional production of West Side Story at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. 

Assistant Dance Instructor

HALLE MATHIESON

Amanda began her training under Sandra Prehoda, Shari Vazquez, and Pamela Lauer. She continued her training by attending summer intensives at Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Theater, Point Park University, Richmond Ballet, and Dancestreet Studios in Amsterdam. In May 2010, she graduated summa cum laude from Mercyhurst University with a B.A. degree in Dance with a concentration in Performance. While at Mercyhurst, Amanda had the opportunity to perform various ballets as well as original works by Diego Salterini, Bill Evans, and the Mercyhurst Faculty & student choreographers. In addition to performing as part of the Mercyhurst Dancers under the direction of Tauna Hunter, Amanda danced with SoMar Dance Works & Lake Erie Ballet. She joined Bodiography in 2010 and since then has become one of the first certified Bodiography Fitness & Strength Training instructors and is on faculty at Bodiography Center for Movement, where she directs the Student Performance Company.

Dance Instructor (Summer Camp)

AMANDA FISHER *

* Guest Artist of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet

Locations

A - Perry Highway Lutheran Church
B - Bethlehem Lutheran Church
C - Elfinwild Presbyterian Church

Registration

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You can choose 'Online Registration' to create an account and register through the website or you can choose 'Print Registration' to download the registration PDF and submit it via mail or in person.

ONLINE REGISTRATION
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CONTACT US

Tel: 412-422-4306

Email: office@actonetheatreschool.com

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