Where Creative Minds Play!
Ryan DuBray, Director
Ryan is also the Director of Technical Theatre and Design at Middlesex School and has been working at MSSA since 2003. He received a BFA in Production Design with a dual concentration in scenic and lighting design from SUNY Fredonia. Ryan has directed, acted, stage managed and designed for several schools, youth theatres and various community and professional theatres all over the northeast and in New York City.
(Dance, Theatre Arts): Kelli Edwards is a Boston area dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher and is thrilled to be returning to MSSA for a third summer! Kelli directed/choreographed Footloose last summer and Urinetown in 2014. Professional theatre credits as choreographer include A Confederacy of Dunces, Come Back, Little Sheba, The Second Girl, Becoming Cuba, The Cherry Orchard, and How Shakespeare Won the West, Huntington Theatre Company; The Hot Mikado (IRNE Award for Best Choreography), The Snow Queen, The Wild Party, Cabaret, Ragtime, The Threepenny Opera, Passing Strange, and RENT, New Repertory Theatre. Other Boston area theatre credits in choreography are with the American Repertory Theatre, Actor’s Shakespeare Project, Stoneham Theatre (The Secret Garden, Gypsy, Lumberjacks in Love), Whistler in the Dark, and Brandeis Theatre Company (Cabaret). Kelli is the co-director of and performs with Dances by Isadora-Boston, a company dedicated to the work of one of the founders of modern dance, Isadora Duncan. Kelli is on the performing arts faculty of Milton Academy where she heads the dance department and where she has choreographed countless dances and directed productions of Spelling Bee, City of Angels, and Hairspray.
(Media Arts): Christian is the writer and director of the first season of
Unsure/Positive, an award-winning web series about "coming out" of the HIV
"closet." He holds an MFA in Media Art from Emerson College. Christian
studied acting at Bard College, earning a BA in Acting under the tutelage of Jim Calder,
and JoAnne Akalaitis. After a few years working in the Boston theater scene as a stage
actor, Christian developed his interest in film when he was selected to be the Director
of Film at ImprovBoston; where he created the comedy A Show About Us, a
hybrid of live and recorded sketch comedy, featured on WBUR’s “Here & Now.”
Christian’s first short film, “The Hot Date*,” was an official selection at the 2012 Boston
LGBT Film Festival. His latest work, a short called "You Can't Do That," is a selection in this year's Women in Comedy Festival, and an official selection of the 2017 Sedona Film Festival. In addition to his work as an independent creative, he teaches Digital Cinema, and Acting for Camera classes at the Brimmer and May School. Christian is also an active blogger & vlogger for POZ.com, and TheBody.com, and works as a key speaker in and aroundBoston for Positive Educators Reaching Youth, an HIV awareness program for at-riskteens. Check out Unsure/Positive on YouTube or visit www.unsurepositive.com
Nancy Roberts (Media Arts, Photography): Nancy was born in Milton, Massachusetts, and after graduating from college in the east she escaped to Oregon for ten years of new experiences in the 70's. She worked as a designer and photographer for the Small Farmer's Journal, played softball and soccer, and continued to pursue her passion for photography which began when she was sixteen. At thirty, she went to graduate school and earned an MFA at Ohio University. She has taught photography for several years and now lives in Carlisle, Massachusetts where she continues to photograph herself, her family, and her life.
Kristen Paratore Bock
(Media Arts/Creative Writing): Kristen Paratore Bock is very excited to be joining the amazing group at MSSA. She has 20+ years experience supporting middle school, high school, and adult students in the areas of reading and writing. Kristen’s teaching experience ranges from teaching basic reading and writing skills to recent refugees and immigrants in Chelsea, Massachusetts to teaching English to high school students in Ethiopia as a Peace Corps volunteer. Currently, she teaches reading and writing to individual students at The Fenn School and at a reading and writing clinic housed at Boston University.
As an avid reader and writer, Kristen’s teaching approach is informed by the belief that all students have something positive to offer and that building on individual students’ interests, personal experiences, and strengths will help foster creativity and personal growth. She strives to foster a safe writing space in which students build strong, trusting relationships that help them to explore new and/or challenging ideas and topics.
Kristen holds a BA from Colby College in English and Spanish literature and advanced degrees in literacy education from Harvard University and Boston College. She is currently working toward an additional master’s degree in Literacy Education from Boston University and taking frequent classes and workshops at Gotham Writers Workshop in New York.
Paul Benzaquin currently teaches music at Nashoba Brooks School where he works with primary age children, leads a jazz band, and world music ensemble, and teaches private lessons. Previously he taught music at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, and at the San Francisco Friends School. Paul trained on classical guitar in New York City, before becoming interested in vocal music while singing in a choir with Renee Fleming. He studied music education with an emphasis on choral conducting at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where he received a B.A. and took graduate courses. Paul is deeply interested in how music connects people as a collective endeavor, and has performed many styles of music, including work with Pete Seeger in New York. Currently, he has a strong interest in integrated music curriculum projects that help students to dive deeply into their curriculum, as well as working with young people in jazz and rock bands, and all manner of world music. He thrives on the collaboration and creativity of the staff and campers at Middlesex Summer Arts Camp and looks forward to this summer’s exciting artistic adventures.
Kate Burns is a graduate of Boston University (M.M. Music Education) and Wagner College (B.A. Music). She completed her student teaching in the Belmont Public Schools and has worked at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord.
Ms. Burns is an avid performer of popular, classical, and sacred music. She was a featured soloist with the Wagner College Choir (NY) and sang with the Berkshire Choral Festival (MA) and CONCORA Festival Choir (CT). Favorite theatrical roles include: Rizzo (Grease), Mrs. Paroo (The Music Man), Joanne (Godspell), and Female Regular/Ensemble (Tale of Two Cities, CT premiere).
Ms. Burns has directed youth theater productions since 2005 including "Fiddler on the Roof," "Guys and Dolls," "Into the Woods," and "Beauty and the Beast." She founded and directed Wagner College's first a cappella group "Vocal Synergy" during her undergraduate career. She is the Music Director of the Portsmouth Area Performing Arts (PAPA) Summer Theater Camp which serves over 100 students for two weeks each summer.
She currently lives in Stoneham with her two dogs, Riley and Maggie.
Jean-marie Corrois (Drummer):
Jean-marie started his career in the city of Tours (France) where he performed with the funk African band “Trans African Express” touring in the south of France for the national radio station “Radio Monte Carlo”. Later he joined the Brazilian band Saravah and played all over the country.
In 1985, he moved to Paris to attend the jazz school CIM where he met and performed with jazz musicians. In the same year he joined the compositors Claire Laronde and Nicolas Brasart for three years of concerts in jazz clubs and festivals, meanwhile, he was very active in Paris musical scene as a drummer, performing TV showcases for national artists and recording sessions for singers and instrumentalists.
For the last four years of his career, in France, he was the show band drummer for the singer Ilene Barnes and working for Disneyland Paris at the New York and New Port Hotels.
In 2000, he relocated the United States, joining the Carnival Cruise Ship Show Band as the Big Band and Production Band’s drummer.
In 2001, he started to work in South Florida for Bobby Raminez’s Latin-Jazz band, multiplying private and corporate performances as well as the Moca Jazz Festival and the Fort Lauderdale Jazz festival. For 4 years he remained fully booked as a reliable drummer covering a wide range of styles all over Florida.
In 2004, invited by a Boston jazz musician he moved to New England for a new beginning as a creative musician on the North East Coast.
Achieving successful performances with local musicians, mostly Berklee faculty members, also with the Brazilian band “Maluca” and the “Soul Ambition” band at clubs like Ryles, Johnny Ds to name a few, as well as private and corporate gigs, he finally decided to start his own quartet and went to a recording studio in October 2008 with three of the finest musicians on the East Coast to achieve a CD that is having already great critics in the United States and Europe.
A lot happened since he moved to Boston, did a drums clinic at Berklee School of Music, play at major clubs, like Regatta Bar, Scullers in Boston and Bonafide, Shrines in New York City.
He also wanted to share his new interest, the tabla. He became interested in the tabla in Paris 15 years ago, but never thought he would one day be so into it - he just loves this instrument and plays it everyday now!
Another project Jean-Marie is involved in, a jazz trio ” En Route”, in the vein of those with Bill Frisell, Mark Johnson, Peter Erskine, John Abercombie, Pat Metheny… with Nick Grondin on guitar and Flavio Lira on bass.
Recently, the Jean-marie Corrois Quartet was featured several times on WBUR for their show on the “Boston Jazz scene”.
Tom performs in the Boston area on electric bass and occasionally on the sousaphone. He is the instrumental director at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School where he directs concert bands, orchestra, jazz groups, and chamber groups. He has conducted pit orchestras for How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Children of Eden (CYT!), Wonderful Town, Chicago, Les Miserables, Urinetown, Footloose, West Side Story (3x!), Bat Boy, Into The Woods, Pippin, Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes, and My Fair Lady.
Tom has served as manager for the MMEA Eastern District Junior Festival Jazz Band, and for the MA All State Jazz Band. Previously, Tom has taught at David Prouty H.S. in Spencer, MA where he was awarded the iParenting teacher of the month, and at Mayo H.S. in Rochester, Minnesota.
Tom holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Minnesota and a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies with an Emphasis in Pedagogy from the Boston Conservatory / Berklee College of Music Collaborative Jazz Masters Program.
He is an alumnus of Up With People, and truly believes that music can bring people from around the world together.
(Recreation/Water Safety Instructor):
Technical Theatre Department
MICHAEL SEMONELLI (Technical Theatre): Michael is thrilled to be returning for his third summer as the Sound Designer and Co-Technical Director for MSSA! Michael has recently graduated Merrimack College with his BA in Theatre Arts. While at Merrimack, Michael worked as the Sound Designer on several productions, such as Big Love by Charles Mee as well as How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel. He has also worked as a director, directing Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenaged Blockhead by Bert V. Royal. During the academic year, Michael serves as the Technical Director for Wilmington Public School, and over the summer also serves as the Technical Director, Set Designer, and Sound Designer of the On the Fence Players (Wilmington).
Sherie is excited to be returning to MSSA for her third summer! Sherie received a degree in devised theatre and acting from Pace University. She has performed devised theatre pieces at New York Theatre Workshop (NYC), Here Arts Center (NYC), Theatre Row (NYC) and The Round House (London). Her training and experience with devised theatre has influenced her youth theatre directing. Sherie strongly believes in the importance of the collective ensemble and stresses that importance in her rehearsal room. In addition to directing at MSSA, Sherie also directs at Concord Youth Theatre. When she is not at CYT or MSSA Sherie can be found working on Christian Kiley's series "Unsure/Positive" as well as other film projects.
Sharon began her work in the performing arts with her dance training at the Martha Graham Studios in New York, where she studied with the legendary modern dance pioneer and her company members. She continued her education, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance at the State University of New York at Brockport. After graduating, she moved to Boston where she has worked as a director and/or choreographer for professional, high school and community theaters. She has worked extensively as a children’s theater educator - drama advisor and show choir choreographer for Lowell High School, Alexander Children’s Theater and, is presently, artistic director for ArtsNashoba. This is Sharon’s 20th summer at MSSA.
Alyson Brown graduated with a BFA from the Boston Conservatory in 1988 with a major in musical theatre and a minor in directing. In 2007, Alyson received her master’s of arts in education degree (curriculum & instruction) from the University of Phoenix. Alyson has been teaching drama in the Lexington school system for 23 years.
Alyson has worked professionally as a director, actor, choreographer, costumer and theatre educator. She has worked for Concord Youth Theatre, Act/Tunes Youth Theatre, Theatre III, Boston Baked Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, Cambridge Ridge and Latin School, Middlesex School, the Wilbur Theatre and other theatres/schools in the Boston area. She costumed the world premier of the stage productions of Aladdin and Mulan for Disney. Alyson has won dozens of awards for directing, costuming and acting.
Alyson has been teaching in the Lexington Public Schools since 1994. During this time, her students have participated in the Massachusetts Middle School Drama Festival. In 1995, they took first place for the production of Fools; in 1997, second place for Interview; in 1998, first place for Feiffer’s People; in 1999, first place for I Never Saw Another Butterfly. In 2015 Clarke won a gold medal for The Chronicles of Jane, Book Seven and in 2016, a gold medal for The Jungle Book. In 1997 and 1998, Clarke was the United States representative at the Provincial Festival at the University of New Brunswick, Canada, taking Outstanding Overall Production, best teacher/director, best costumes, best ensemble and best set.
In 1998, Alyson approached the Massachusetts High School Drama Guild to push for a middle school division to their program. After a year of meetings, the Guild agreed to adopt a middle school program and Alyson became the President of the Middle School Council, a position she held for 6 years. Alyson was also a member of the High School Council and is on the Board of Trustees for the Guild. For the MHSDG (now named the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild), Alyson judges and supervises festivals for high school and middle school divisions as well as judges the costume design contest. She developed the judging rubric for both the middle school festival and the costume design competition.
In 2000, Alyson was named one of the best children’s theatre directors in the USA and as a result, she and her Clarke students represented the USA at the World Festival of Children’s Theater in Toyama City, Japan. This festival showcased the world’s best children’s theatre from 27 countries.
The following year, Alyson was a delegate to the Congress of the International Theatre Association in Monaco where she was an advocate for Children and Youth theatre from the United States. That same year, she was one of two middle school drama teachers from around the country chosen to travel to China to study theatre there. In 2004, Alyson was the featured speaker at the Middle School Drama Teachers’ Conference sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association. Alyson has studied theatre, attended festivals or presented workshops in China, Japan, Monaco, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Austria, as well as all over the USA.
In 2002, Alyson was approached by the Massachusetts Department of Education to write the Massachusetts Educator Licensure Exam for theatre. She spent several months working on a committee to develop the examination that all drama teachers must pass in order to be certified to teach drama in the state of Massachusetts.
Again, in 2003, Clarke’s theatrical works were acknowledged when Alyson and the company of Interview were asked to perform in a showcase at Harvard University. The University was showing the progression and complexity of theatrical works from middle school through college. Clarke had the opportunity during that day to perform their piece for Howard Gardner.
In 2005, Alyson’s book, Acting in Stages, was published. This book is a series of packets with worksheets to be used in a middle school drama classroom. The packets were initially developed for use in her Clarke drama classes. When she discovered, however, that there were no materials available for other middle school drama teachers, colleagues suggested that she have the materials published. They are currently used by school systems all over the country.
In the spring of 2014, Alyson's Clarke production of Willy Wonka received the best middle school musical production at the MET/Broadway in Boston musical theatre festival. Her company was nominated in 15 different categories and won best overall acting ensemble, best singing ensemble, best featured actor (Augustus Gloop) and best leading actor (Charlie Bucket).
In December of 2015, Alyson’s program at Clarke Middle School in Lexington was once again selected to represent the USA at the World Festival of Children’s Theatre in Japan. She and her troupe of 25 students traveled to Japan during the summer of 2016 presenting their show, The Jungle Book, in front of a world audience.
Again last year, Clarke’s production of The Lion King gained 14 nominations at the MET/Broadway in Boston awards. The show won 5 awards including Best Supporting actress (“Rafiki”), Best Costume Design, Best Makeup/Hair Design, Best Acting ensemble and Best Overall production. The Jungle Book won several All Star Company awards at the Middle School Drama Festival: ensemble (monkeys), makeup, musicians, musical composition, “Bagheera”, “Kaa” and a gold medal for outstanding production.
A documentary about Alyson and her work with the students at Clarke Middle School was filmed during the production of The Jungle Book and the subsequent trip to Japan. The documentary won the New England Emmy award for non-fiction documentary and will be moving on to the national Emmy awards in October.
Reilly is from Carlisle, MA and although she was never able to attend MSSA as a camper, she always dreamed to. Being able to now join camp as a staff member has been such a joy. Reilly is currently a Theatre major and Vocal Performance minor at Denison University in Ohio and next year will be a Junior. She will also be studying abroad in the fall at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. She has loved the arts since she can remember and loves watching the campers grow artistically. This summer will be Reilly's second summer with MSSA as a part of both the Theatre and Music departments. She can't wait to see all the smiling faces at camp again this summer!