2016/17 Triple Threat Teaching Roster
All of our senior teachers in dance, music, and theater either have been or are working professional performers. They continually enhance their teaching skills with advanced workshops and classes around the country, performance work at the Playhouse, productions at other regional theaters and dance companies, and in New York training studios. Student instructors have trained for years, and have performed with the Playhouse professional company and professional directors extensively. All of our teachers share a passion for teaching, a love for children, a disciplined teaching environment, and the ability to encourage their students while inspiring confidence, focus, and poise in each child.
Weslie Webster: Director of Education. Weslie holds a BFA in musical theater from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She has trained and performed all across the country including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC. She was recently recognized as one of Tennessee's Outstanding Educators by the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts. Weslie has also directed many CCP productions including THE SOUND OF MUSIC, WIZARD OF OZ, PINOCCHIO, THE SECRET GARDEN and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. She performed the role of Julie Jordan on the Broadway National Tour of CAROUSEL. Playhouse resident company credits include: Grizabella in CATS, Mrs. Potts in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, M'Lynn in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Dolly Levi in HELLO, DOLLY!, Tanya in MAMMA MIA, Violet in 9 TO 5, and Madam Rose in GYPSY.
Caitlin Schaub: Ballet Mistress/Education Administrator. Caitlin is in her 6th year as a resident company member and dance instructor at CCP. She trained at New England Civic Ballet (Lawrence, Mass), Northern Ballet Theater (Nashua, NH), Florida's Dreyfoos School of The Arts, Harid Conservatory, Boston Ballet, and danced multiple NUTCRACKERS (Sugar Plum, Clara, Spanish, Dew Drop). She soloed with Chautauqua Summer Intensive, and American Ballet Theater's Summer Intensive at Tribeca Center. Caitlin earned a Bachelor of Liberal Science (Liberal Studies) from Arizona State University.
Ron Murphy: Resident Music Director/Glee. Ron is originally from Arkansas where he attended Arkansas State University as a piano performance major. After moving to Tennessee, Ron accompanied and music directed for shows in Memphis, Knoxville and for the Oak Ridge Playhouse before becoming the resident music director for the Cumberland County Playhouse in 2003, music directing such CCP hits as CATS, ALWAYS PATSY CLINE, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, SHREK and won Broadway World.com's Best Music Direction in 2013 for LES MISÉRABLES.
Darbi Banegas: Darbi is a homeschooled student in the 12th grade. She has been dancing at the Playhouse for 11 years, with 4 years of ballet with the Valievs and Ms. Aven Chadwell, and has been in over 30 CCP productions. Favorite roles include Brigitta in SOUND OF MUSIC and Bielke in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.
Daniel Black: Daniel started right here at CCP as a graduate of CCHS in 1995. Since then he has gone on to work with some of the best theaters in the country. Daniel plays a number of musical instruments, sings, acts, directs and even juggles! "I'm so proud of our next generation of performers! Talent is given to those who embrace it with passion and commitment!"
Ellie Burnett: Ellie is a high school junior. She has been singing and dancing in CCP productions since 2010 and recently spent a month at the TN Governor's School for the Arts in theatre performance. Favorite roles include Dorothy in WIZARD OF OZ and Denise in SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN, but what makes her happiest is teaching!
Quinn Cason: Quinn is from Lebanon, TN. He attended the University of Tennessee, majoring in vocal performance and theatre. He has taught varous classes and performed at CCP for over 7 years. Quinn is very excited to get a chance to help a new generation learn and nuture various skills in music, acting, and movement.
Jensen Crain: Jensen grew up dancing at the Playhouse and is so thrilled to be able to teach and share her love for dance in the same place that inspired her so much while growing up! She has been dancing for 17 years and has been teaching for the last 5. Jensen studied dance at Western Kentucky University where she participated in master classes from Alvin Ailey and Angelica Burgos.
Demetra Drainas: Demetra is a Senior at CCHS and has been involved in the performing arts for 15 years. "I always look forward to teaching my students. It's one of my favorite things!"
DeAnna Etchison: Deanna began clogging at 4 years old with the Clogging Cuties. She then joined Thunder Edition Cloggers beginning her 11 year career as a competitive clogger. She won countless awards over her career culminating with the Southeastern Clogging Company winning the 2007 World Championship. This is her second year teaching clogging at CCP and her fifth season back at CCP as a performer.
Ashley Gentry: Ashley is excited to be coming back to CCP. As a young performer, the Playhouse is where she grew to love the arts. Ashley holds a BFA in Performing Arts with an emphasis in Dance from Western Kentucky University. She has worked in theatre and dance education since she was fifteen years old, when she was a student teacher here at CCP. In 2008 Ashley joined the staff at the Capitol Arts Theatre in Bowling Green, KY where she served ultimately as their Youth Theatre Coordinator until 2012. Favorite choreography credits include: FOOTLOOSE, GODSPELL, KISS ME KATE, THE TEMPEST (an Original Musical), THE HOBBIT, BAT BOY, and of course THE NUTCRACKER. "Dance and Theatre education is so important in the lives of all young people. I am so excited to bring my training and experiences home to educate and inspire a new generation."
Ross Griffin: It's a thrill for Ross to be involved with the Education Program this year at CCP. Ross began his piano education when he was 7 years old, which launched his pursuit of music that still continues today. At this point, Ross plays four different instruments, and he's always exploring more when he can. He has taken on the role of Musical Director several times at Dollywood theme park, putting him in charge of rehearsals teaching new music to the performers. It's a pleasure to continue this musical education endeavor, and he is excited for the opportunity!
Nicole Hackmann: Nicole is excited to teach another year of Mini Musical Theater! When she's not wearing her teacher hat, Ms. Hackmann is the CCP Director of Development and has the joy of fundraising for an institution she loves so much. Her favorite CCP roles include" Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady), Guinevere (Camelot), Fantine (Les Miserables), and Mother (Ragtime). He most favorite roles are wife to Nathaniel and mommy to Alexander. Remember: Live Theater Changes LIves!
Walter Hayes: Walter began his Ballroom Dance training at Academy Ballroom Dance in Knoxville, TN. He became a star pupil and was hired as a full-time instructor while attending UT. Post-graduation, Walter held the title of Adjunct Professor at the University of Tennessee for 3 years before beginning his tenure at Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta, Georgia. He and his dance partner competed for many years in American Style dancing. His favorite dance is the Viennese Waltz, for its speed, power, and poise. He will be working with students on what he calls his "Sensational Seven"; the Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing & Salsa.
Jess Martin: Jess is so excited to join the T3 Education Program full time, after teaching at SPARC this past summer. Jess got her B.A. in Theatre Education (K-12) after studying at NYU and Manhattanville College. She has performed on tour and at several theatres and theme parks around the country. In addition to her professional experience as a performer, Jess has taught and directed at various camps, theatres and studios in New York, and has been a teacher and Artist in Residence at various public schools. Jess loves teaching theatre because she understands it is a platform through which students learn not only about the craft, but about themselves, and who and what they can be in the world.
Moriah McRae: Moriah has studied dance at CCP for 16 years, interned with the Playhouse professional company for three seasons as a dancer/singer, and is in her fifth year of teaching Extraordinary Dance.
Michael Ruff: Michael graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2004 with a double BA in Musical Theatre/Acting/Directing. Michael has been a student teacher at the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival (2001-2004) and the Assistant Director of the Chorvetts Stageworks Company (2003/2004). He was a Camp Counselor for Camp Wishbone in 2001, a camp for kids infected with and affected by HIV. Michael loves teaching the kids here at CCP, and started the Hip Hop program at the Playhouse in 2008. He truly believes that the children are our future.
Robby Wright: Robby is thrilled to be back in the theater after a short decade vacation in the Caribbean. He was last seen in the Playhouse's 2003 production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. He has worked with several theaters in middle and east Tennessee including Cookeville Children's Theater, Backdoor Playhouse, Tennessee Stage Company, Actors Co-op, Smoky Mountain Shakespeare Festival, and the Bijou Theatre Center. Robby wishes to thank God and Larry.