2018/19 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 Webster is a North Carolina native and first came to the Cumberland County Playhouse in 1993 after graduating with a BFA in musical theater from Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music. She moved to New York in 1995 where she joined the original Broadway National Tour of CAROUSEL. During her years in the Big Apple, she also sang on several original cast recordings such as DRACULA and EAGLE SONG. Since returning to the Playhouse as a resident company member her favorite roles include: Grizabella in CATS, Maggie in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, Dolly Levi in HELLO, DOLLY!, M'Lynn in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Desiree in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Madam Rose in GYPSY, Tanya in MAMMA MIA, and the Chaperone in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. Weslie recently won a BroadwayWorld Nashville Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Maria in CCP's LEND ME A TENOR. She currently serves as CCP's Director of Education where she enjoys teaching and directing the creative and talented Playhouse kids and teens. Other directing credits include the CCP productions of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE FOREIGNER, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, AMERICAN ICON, BROADWAY OUR WAY, 50/50, ELEMENTAL, MASTERPIECE, THE SECRET GARDEN, SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN, SANDERS FAMILY CHRISTMAS, THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE PERILS OF PINOCCHIO, SEUSSICAL, and THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, and SWEENEY TODD at The Arts Center of Cannon County. In 2016 Weslie was recognized with an Outstanding Teacher Award from the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts. She bought a house in the fall of 2012 and is now proud to call Crossville her permanent home!
Caitlin Schaub: Ballet Mistress/Education Administrator. Caitlin is in her 7th 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.
Levi Bailey: Levi is a high school junior from Cookeville. He loves gymnastics and has participated in tumbling classes since age 4. Currently, Levi competes as a level 10 gymnast and coaches recreational gymnastics classes in Cookeville. He has performed in over 15 CCP productions, often combining his two passions by tumbling all over the stage. He is thrilled to serve the community by joining together his love of body control, strength and movement in a class for those who plan to perform on stage.
Darbi Banegas: Darbi is a Playhouse Triple Threat graduate. Darbi has been dancing at the Playhouse for 13 years, with 4 years of ballet with the Valievs and Ms. Chadwell, and has been in over 30 CCP productions. She was the 2017 recipient of the Mary Crabtree Scholarship. Her favorite roles include Beth in Inlaws, Brigitta in The Sound of Music, and most recently Gertrude in Seussical.
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!"
Zaidea Bohannon: Zaidea has been taking classes at CCP since 2006, and danced in every spring and winter performance available to the Triple Threat students. Zaidea is an assistant teacher to the Modern II and Dance Sampler II classes. She recently began musical theater and glee at CCP. Zaidea plans to do as much as possible at CCP going into her senior year.
Sophie Burnett: When not on stage, Sophie spends her time in numerous dance classes at CCP. She also enjoys helping teach various dance classes. She would like to thank Weslie, Britt, Jess, Jensen, and Caitlin for giving her so many opportunities.
Cory Clark: Cory is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a BFA in Musical Theatre. He has worked at CCP for many years now and is super excited to be returning! Many thanks to Weslie, Britt, Bryce and his amazing cast mates for their constant love and support.
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 20 years and has been teaching for the last 6. Jensen studied dance at Western Kentucky University where she participated in master classes from Alvin Ailey and Angelica Burgos.
Karli Edwards: Karlie is a sophomore at CCHS. This is her 12th year in CCP's Triple Threat program. She is so thrilled to be a student teacher here and has been dreaming of teaching the little ones ever since she was a little one herself. Karli would like to thank God for all of her many blessings.
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. DeAnna is thrilled to return once again as a CCP Resident Company Member.
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."
Jess Griffin: Jess is so excited to return to the T3 Education Program full time. 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.
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!
Brooke Howard: Brooke is thrilled to be teaching at CCP's T3! At the Playhouse, she had an incredible experience learning from professional theatre artists. She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she garnered many Irene Ryan nominations, and was a member of the prestigious Chorale. She is a founding member of the HAT improv group, served as a principal soloist for the Meistersingers and has truly enjoyed her work as a Musical Director and Acting instructor at Stagestruck performance studio, as a Teaching Artist and Arts Integration Specialist in public schools, and in preschools as an Early Childhood Music and Movement instructor.
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 sixth year of teaching Extraordinary Dance.
Shelbi Metts: Shelbi is a recent Bryan College grad with a Musical Theatre degree. She is excited for the run of Hunchback and the rest of the CCP season. Her favorite roles include Little Red (Into the Woods) and Arsinoe (The Misanthrope). I would like to thank God, my parents, and CCP for giving me this opportunity.
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.
Kyle Ward: Kyle is beyond thrilled to be back on stage at CCP. He graduated from Cumberland County High School in 2017 and has been working as a Production Assistant ever since. He'd like to thank his mother Carolyn for being so supportive and Bryce McDonald for giving him this opportunity.
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 2018 production of THE MOUSETRAP. 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.