Sara was born and raised in Winnipeg, and trained at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has performed across North America, here in Toronto, on Broadway, and in London’s West End. Favourite shows include Peter Pan, Anything Goes, Cinderella, Anne Of Green Gables (Diana), Phantom Of The Opera (Meg), Show Boat (Kim), Forever Swing (with Micheal Bublé) and was part of the original cast of the Broadway revival of The Music Man. She’s performed on the Tony Awards, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Rosie O’Donnell Show and The Today Show.
Choreography credits include assisting Susan Stroman and Hal Prince in mounting the London production of Show Boat, As well as original choreography in Les Belles Soeurs and Heaven at The Canadian Stage Company here in Toronto.
Sara started CMTP in order to create an inclusive, nurturing environment where kids feel safe to be themselves, can build theatre and life skills, and express themselves through performing arts. She is a mom of two awesome boys, and thrilled to be able to share The Children’s Musical Theatre Project with them.
STEPHAN ERMEL (MUSIC DIRECTOR)
Stephan is a music director, musician, and educator. He’s also the keyboardist of Toronto band Midday Swim, and runs a private teaching practice for young artists and aspiring musicians. Stephan has co-written and co-produced multiple independently released records; co-founded the theatre company Three Peasants; and has acted in, directed and musical directed numerous theatrical productions across the province! Stephan is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School, and holds an Associate Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
We LOVE having Stephan as our musical director for the performance workshops. He’s super passionate about giving kids an opportunity to follow their creativity and find their voice.
ANDREA ZIEGLER (GUEST ARTIST)
Andrea is a world class talent (and fantastic person too!). She graduated from Ryerson’s Theatre School and has performed for many years in Las Vegas, in Cirque Du Soleil’s Mystère and Quidam, and in Dragone’s A New Day with Céline Dion.
Her choreography credits include Cirque shows like Viva ELVIS, Michael Jackson ONE, and Zarkana, and her television credits include So You Think You Can Dance, The Bachelor, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show and Anderson Cooper’s New Year’s Eve in Times Square,
We are so lucky to have her back in Canada, working on a new television series about kids in circus school, and we’re thrilled she’s coming to spend some time with our students.
ELIZABETH DE GRAZIA (GUEST ARTIST)
Elizabeth is a mom of three fabulous boys and is originally from Nebraska. She’s had an amazing career, singing with The New York Philharmonic, The Cincinnati Symphony, The Portland Symphony and The Glimmerglass Opera Company. She played Christine Daae in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera here in Toronto, and originated the role of Blanche in the Broadway production of Jane Eyre.
She was a huge asset to last year’s production of Into The Woods, and will be returning for our production of Beauty and the Beast this spring.
LAWRENCE AXMITH (GUEST ARTIST)
Lawrence has been training young performers in Toronto and New York City for over 30 years. He served as Managing Director of the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts and as Artistic Director of the Randolph Young Company where he directed/produced the company’s productions. For eleven years he was Managing Artistic Director at Manhattan’s New York Youth Theater where he directed/produced over 40 musicals and helped to launch the careers of Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek), Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys, Madam Secretary), and Ray Santiago (Ash Vs. Evil Dead), among many others. He currently teaches Performing Arts at the Leo Baeck Day School.
SHERRY DAYTON (GUEST ARTIST)
Sherry has been working as a casting director for 20 years and is a partner in Dayton/Walters Casting. After graduating from McMaster University, Sherry went to New York and attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Sherry has worked with some of the best creative minds in the business including Mel Brooks, Susan Stroman, Des McAnuff, Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, Terrence McNally, and Donna Feore. Selected credits include: Matilda The Musical, Once, The Book Of Mormon, Jersey Boys, Hairspray, The Producers, Ragtime, Show Boat, Seussical, Fosse, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
She has cast dozens of animated television series including Paw Patrol, Abby Hatcher Monster Catcher, Esme & Roy, Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania, Mysticons, The Day My Butt went Psycho, Franklin, and Babar.
She sits on the Professional Advisory Council for Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre Department and has taught workshops for kids throughout her career.
MARIANNE DEROW (GUEST ARTIST)
Marianne has been a director, performer, and educator for over 25 years here in Ontario and abroad. She was the Head of the Music Theatre Department at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, working with their award winning ensembles, Splash, Chamber Choir and Jamme. Recently, she has returned from living in Bangkok, Thailand, where she was the Arts and Activities Director for The International School Bangkok, one of Thailand’s premiere educational institutions for expat students.
With an extensive choral career, Marianne has appeared on CBC’s Two New Hours, has been featured in performances of Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and the Boris Brott Summer Music Festival as a soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hershey Felder’s Noah’s Ark. She has worked with students in the No Strings Theatre Program, and was the resident Music Director for The Toronto Youth Music Theatre Company and for The Stage Door Academy.
She has worked with some of Canada’s premier opera companies; Canadian Opera Company, Opera Hamilton, Tapestry New Opera Works, and Toronto Operetta Theatre. Marianne continues to work with students in her private studio Voxworx Studio and has had the pleasure of seeing her students onstage in Toronto’s Theatre District, in London’s West End, and on Broadway.
Marianne is excited to begin this new chapter with the Children’s Musical Theatre Project; to see where the music takes us!