Welcome to StageWorkz 

Theatre Arts Project!

Stageworkz Educators
Vicki Smith, Choreographer/Director/Producer 
Vicki is a professional choreographer, director, producer, teacher, and performer. Her performing travels have taken her throughout the US, Europe, and South America. She has appeared in an HBO Special, on TV series, in Las Vegas, at Atlantic City, and her Theatre performing credits include, How to Succeed, Guys & Dolls, Carousel, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, Music Man, King & I, Fiddler on the Roof, Mame, and more. Her credits include: Special Events-Choreography, Directing, and Production - USA Gymnastics Trials for Barcelona; Six Flags Corp; Towson University - Pendragon's Lords of Illusion; Cunard Cruise Ships; Recording Artists - Industrials, McDonald's, DuPont, Anheuser Busch, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis, The Annapolis Chorale. Choreography - Her choreography has won two Ruby Griffith Awards for outstanding achievement in a Musical for Mame and Guys and Dolls. She has received numerous Platinum and Gold Awards at dance competitions. Direction, Choreography and Production credits include: The Pajama Game, The Wiz, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Oklahoma, Guys & Dolls, 42nd Street, Music Man, Camp Hawayah!, Hooray for Hollywood, Me and My Girl, Annie, Holiday Magic, Once Upon a Mattress, Kiss Me Kate, Lil Abner, Singin' in the Rain, Crazy for You to name a few. Locally her work has been seen on TMC, Merely Players, and the Annapolis Summer Garden Theater (ASGT).  She has been active in the Anne Arundel County Public School system where she has choreographed & directed musicals for Crofton Middle School, Ridgeway Elementary, Severna Park Middle, & South River High School's Dance team.
Bobby Smith, Rhythm Tap Instructor

Bobby has received 9 Helen Hayes nominations for excellence in Washington, DC area theater. He has been teaching for over 15 years and and had directed and choreographed for colleges and regional theatre across the nation.

His credits include: Broadway in Crazy for You. Off Broadway: Forever Plaid (original cast), Kander and Ebb’s The World Goes ‘Round, and the revival of George Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing. National tours include Brigadoon and The World Goes ‘Round.  In the DC-Metro area: The Studio Theatre: A Class Act (with a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Musical)The Long Christmas Ride Home, Caroline or Change, Grey Gardens; Studio 2ndStage:Reefer Madness, (and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Musical), Jerry Springer: The Opera; Ford’s Theatre: Elmer Gantry, Liberty Smith1776; Round House Theatre: A Year with Frog and Toad (and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Musical); MetroStage: Girl in a Goldfish Bowl, Musical of Musicals (and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Musical), Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris; The Kennedy Center: The Happy Prince, The Flea and the Professor; Signature Theatre: See What I Wanna See, ShowboatCompany Olney Theatre Center: Cinderella (Director), The Sound of Music (Max Detweiler, with a Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding supporting Actor), Grease (Director), Annie (Rooster Hannigan with a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Musical), Forever Plaid (Director). 

He also has performed with The National Symphony Orchestra; The Richmond Symphony, under the direction of George Manahan, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Conductor Jack Everly and can be heard on recordings of Ben Bagley’s Rodgers and Hart Revisited and Resnais’ Gershwin. 

J.R. ("JR") Combest, Hip Hop Instructor

JR has studied dance for over 30 years. She has been teaching and choreographing in the DC Metropolitan, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania areas for the past 18 years. JRreceived her initial training at the Wheaton Studio of Dance from Joni Reese-Nabor (the Roxyettes the USO), then from Donna Byrd (current membership chairperson and former Dance Masters of America president), and Tim Roberts (Broadway show Jelly's Last Jam and the opening/closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games). 

She has also participated in various workshops such as DMA , LADF, NYDCA, Tremaine, JUMP, and Monsters of Hip Hop. She had the privilege of taking master classes from some of the top choreographers in the country including: Rhodie Jorgenson, Mandy Moore, Tabitha Napolean D'Umo, Rhapsody, Dianne Walker, Mike the Shuffleman Minery, Joey Dowling, Dave Scott, Kevin Maher, Marty Kudelka, Cassandra Baker, and Brian Friedman. In 2009, she passed all 3 of her Dance Masters of America teacher examinations and is now certified to teach ballet, tap, and jazz. 

In college, she was a member of the Towson (State) University Dance Company, the Towson (State) University Dance Team, and the MD All-Star Twisters Open Dance Team (COA National Champions) in 2002.  Her choreography has been seen in various dance and cheer competitions, at the Annapolis Summer Garden Theater, The Talent Machine Company, and several IFBB, NPC, and OCB Fitness Competitions.  Her hip hop routine for the Redskins Junior All-Stars won 2nd place at the All-Star Dance Nationals in Orlando. JR is also a substitute teacher for Howard County Public Schools, AHC, and a staff member at B. Funk Dance Company.  

JR has been on staff at Stageworkz for almost 15 years and we are excited to have her return again. She will be teaching several hip hop classes as well as working with the Performance Team. 

Kathryne Van Assche, Ballet, Pointe
Kathryne Van Assche began her training with the Orlando Ballet, and finished out her studies as a trainee to the company under the direction of Fernando Bujones. While attending the Florida State University working towards degrees in Writing and Psychology, she was a principal dancer with The Tallahassee Ballet, performing the leads in Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and contemporary pieces for EOMAD at the Ruby Diamond Theater. She then moved to Atlanta where she danced as a principal artist with the Atlanta Festival Ballet, North Atlanta Dance Theater, and the North Georgia Dance Company, as well as choreographing and teaching on the NTG Dance Competition and Convention. She pursued contemporary ballet with Alonzo King's Lines Ballet in San Francisco, and also in Boston with Jose Mateo's Ballet Theater. Upon moving to New York she began performing and choreographing for the dance company Lady Circus, and was a featured dancer on many famous Manhattan cabaret theater venues. She recently moved to Maryland after getting married and is looking forward to exploring the many forms of dance this area has to offer!

Aly Wirth Cross, Acting Coach, TheatreWorkz

Aly began her career studying theatre performance at Miami University (OH) where she received her BFA in 1997. After graduating, she moved to New York City and spent 10 years there doing several regional productions and professional tours; including Peter Pan, Grand Hotel, Hair, and Three Days of Rain. The NYC Fringe Festival nominated her Best Actress in a play in 2008 for her portrayal of "Heloise" in Anais Nin Goes To Hell. She was also seen singing with her original band, "i like orange", and began her own theatre company (Cocktail 6) with a group of friends. This fringe company put up several Off-Off Broadway productions and was really where Aly discovered her love for directing. Finally she decided to leave NYC and move to Maryland where she now teaches acting classes at StageWorkz Studio (Millersville). Some recent directing credits include, Peter Pan, Annie Jr., Frog & Toad, The Tale of A Princess in Training (author/director) and Greater Tuna with StageWorkz "TheatreWorkz" Project, and Lil' Abner and Once On This Island with The Talent Machine Company (Annapolis).  Aly has been known to say, "If you ain't nervous, then you ain't WORKIN'!!"

Amy Sonntag, Broadway Tap and Jazz

Amy is excited to be back to where she learned it all! Since leaving StageWorkz many moons ago, Amy has received her BM in Musical Theatre from the Catholic University, performed at Disney World, and performed all over the world with Feld Entertainment's Disney Live. After three years of performing with Disney Live, Amy went on to become a Performance Director for the cmpany. Tourin is great, but Amy missed having a 'normal life' and is thrilled to be back in the area. Since returning she has performed with Toby's Dinner Theatre, taught with Columbia Center for her Masters. She loves sharing her love of dance and muscial theatre with kids - especially at Talent Machine and StageWorkz where she learned everything she knows! Catch the Energy

Cyndi Wallman, Vocal/Piano Instructor
For Cyndi Wallman music is as essential as breathing. Whether studying, performing, or teaching, it has been her lifelong passion from her early days of classical voice training at the Peabody Institute to the present. She has honed her skills and entertained audiences around the world.Through the years music has opened many doors. She has had the great honor of sharing the stage with great entertainers like Sammy Davis, Jr., Victor Borge, Johnny Cash, among others. Cyndi and her husband, Roy, have been performing together for many years. Along with their group they toured the U.S. and abroad for quite a few years. Their onstage performances led to their first album release Cyndi &Roy, Feel It released on the Casablanca label along with artists like Donna Summer, Cher, and Kiss.Many hours of studio experience has led to a numerous local, regional and national commercials. Cyndi is also a long time member in good standing of AFTRA and ASCAP. After traveling for so many years she decided to share her professional expertise with others, and over the past 10 years she has been instructing students of all ages. Her main focus is to recognize and develop talent, all the while inspiring confidence. She believes in breathing life into the music. Cyndi considers sharing music one of her most rewarding contributions. And most of all wants everyone to have fun learning. Cyndi Wallman can be contacted through Stageworkz.
Leah Smearman, Ballet

Born in Baltimore and a native to Maryland, Ms. Smearman began her first dance class at the age of 6. From that point dance would shape many of her hopes and dreams. By age 13, she began receiving scholarships to pretigious dance instituions across the nation such as The Joffrey Ballet School, The Houston Ballet Academy, and The Boston Ballet School to name a few. After being awarded the "Maryland Distinguished Scholar of the Arts", Ms. Smearman decided to pursue an education in dance. During this time she became a freelance artist and joined a Regional Dance Company to continue her skills as a dancer, performer, and choreographer. She has been teaching for 15 years and contributes  much her love for dance to those who inspired her along the way. Ms. Smearman has a daughter and although dance will remain her first love,  and teaching a great passion, her greatest passion is being a mother and spending time sharing new experiences with her greatest love of all.

Vadim Bogomolov, Ballet and Boys' conditioning classes

Vadim Bogomolov graduated in 1984 from the Vaganova Choreographic Institute of St. Petersburg, Russia, where he studied under Professor Yuri Omrikin.  As a professional dancer with the National Ballet of Kazakhstan and the New Classical Ballet of Moscow, Vadim toured Europe and Asia dancing in ballets such as Paquita, Don Quixote, and The Nutcracker

After traveling the U.S. on "The Great Russian Nutcracker" tour, Vadim accepted positions as a principal dancer with Classical Ballet of California and Manassas Dance Theatre. In 2012 Vadim completed the program in ballet pedagogy (teaching) at the Moscow State Choreographic Institute and was granted the title of "Ballet Master." He lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia where he is co-director of Classical Ballet of Fredericksburg.
Jen Keuthe, Voice

Jen Kuethe is very excited to be joining the Stageworkz family as a vocal instructor. She has been surrounded by singing since she was born, with both her parents, and many Aunts and Uncles, involved in the men’s Barbershop Harmony Society and the women’s Sweet Adelines International organization. She and her sister spent their childhoods learning barbershop harmonies in the car and performing on their parent’s barbershop shows. It was inevitable that she would join Sweet Adelines one day and has been a member for 21 years. During those years, she has performed with several regionally ranked quartets and her latest quartet, Capri, competed at the International level for 8 years, placing as high as 3rd out of 50 some quartets from all over the world. Other notable achievements with Capri include: winning the Most Entertaining Quartet award at 2 of 8 international contests, winning the Audience Favorite award at the Sing Strong A cappella Idol contest in 2009 and again in 2011, where they also won the contest; being nominated for two CARA’s (Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards) for Best Barbershop album for their 1st CD, Capri Diem, and Best Barbershop Song, Child in Me, from that CD. They won 1st runner up in both categories. Capri was also recognized for their work with youth singers in both the men’s and women’s organizations and was invited to perform their humorous and touching show packages all over the country. Capri’s real 15 minutes of fame occurred when they entered Ellen’s Singing in the Bathroom contest, and their video appeared in the opening segment of her show. You can find that on You Tube, embarrassingly enough J.  Currently, Jen serves as a coach for several choruses and quartets and sings with the award winning Sweet Adeline’s chorus, Harbor City Music Company. Outside of Barbershop, Jen is a member of the Annapolis Vocal Corps, a seven member a cappella group that performed relentlessly in the area in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and still make annual appearances at the Rams Head on Stage for the ‘An Annapolis Christmas’ show.

Besides a cappella, her other vocal passion is jazz. Before starting her family in the early 90’s, she performed regularly at The King of France Tavern in Annapolis (now StarbucksJ), and at Middleton’s Tavern, for The Sunday Blues Show. She is once again exercising her jazz chops, performing in the area with her band, Three Shot Mocha.

In her musical circles, Jen is renowned for her ability to connect with an audience. She believes interpreting and performing a song is much like creating a painting. Each requires the artist to use layers of color, texture and a little of their souls to tell a story, while at the same time, inviting the audience to create their own meaning within that story. A good vocalist will go beyond, “showing them how you feel,” to allowing an audience to feel with them. This, in addition to the techniques she has mastered as a performer, is what she hopes to impart to her students.

In real life, Jen is an Art teacher stuck in a Music/FACS/Study Skills teacher’s body. She currently teaches at Crofton Middle School, where she recently lent her barbershop expertise to their production of The Music Man. She has 3 wonderful, talented children, Alex, Will and Charlotte, and a mutant Bichon named Dash. When not teaching or singing, she can usually be found painting some kind of scenery.

Brittney London, Lyrical

Born in Washington, DC; Brittney London's movement training began at a very young age. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland and is a graduate of UMBC with a BA in Dance. Her passion for dance began to manifest as she danced and interned for Dina Reyes; the Artistic Director for Dina Reyes Jazz Company. Brittney is also a former member of the Modern Dance Ensemble at Morgan State University under the direction of Dr. Iantha Tucker and Howard Community Dance Company under the direction of Renee Brozic. She's also a former member of the Bay Area Shuckers Dance Team. Her dance performance credits include being cast by local prestigious choreographers such as Stephanie Yezek and Helanius J Wilkins as well as performing in dance festivals such as Artscape located in Baltimore, MD and the Capital Fringe Fest located in Washington, DC.
Jeffery Mensah, Jazz/Contemporary
Jeffrey Mensah began dancing four years ago at the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he will receive a Bachelors of Arts in Dance this coming May. He quickly took to the performance discipline and has been dancing ever since. In 2012, one year into his training, Jeffrey was asked into the Baltimore Dance Project, under the direction of Carol Hess and Doug Hamby. He has performed with the company for the past three seasons, two which being a featured soloist in Doug Hamby’s work “If I Told Him.” Jeffrey has also worked with other Choreographers in the tristate area. In 2012 he danced in the thesis work of Desiree Koontz-Nachtrieb, “Human Condition” and in 2013 he appeared in “ThinLine” by choreographer Florian Roullier.  Later, Jeffrey was asked to perform in the Maryland Council for Dance under the direction of Renee Brozic in November of 2014. Currently, Jeffrey has been dancing with the Masala Soul Project directed by Award winning Choreographer Alexis Renee DeVance and will be performing with them in  February 2016 for the Howard County Choreographers Showcase.  He is also rehearsing in Charles Abel work to appear as “Riccardo” in the ballet “Gaetie Parisienne” premiering in May 2016. 

Jennifer Lee Kraus, Musical Theatre

Jennifer has a long history in the visual and performing arts.  Many know her as a high school art teacher, currently at Old Mill High School.  She is also a professional photographer with her own company called Sunset Pics where she photographs weddings, events, families and babies.  But theater is something that paved her way in the Annapolis community.  After years of dance and vocal training, Jennifer Lee auditioned for her first show at ASGT in 1986 for the production of “Annie”. This continued a summer tradition for the following 15 plus years.  Jennifer Lee became a well known choreographer in local community and dinner theaters, choreographing a variety of shows like “Anything Goes”, “42nd Street”, “Footloose”, “Christmas Carol” to  just name a few.  She worked at many of the area theaters which led into the director’s chair.  She started directing at Children’s Theater of Annapolis in 1995, followed by directing at Annapolis High School for 10 straight years.  She has left her mark directing shows like Les Miserables, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Guys and Dolls, Bye Bye Birdie, and the list goes on.

On stage, some of her favorite roles have been Anita in “West Side Story” and Peggy Sawyer in “42nd Street” at ASGT.  Others are Judy Turner in “A Chorus Line”, Hope in “Anything Goes” as well as Gloria in “Damn Yankees” at the former Chesapeake Music Hall.  She has always enjoyed being a part of a great dancing and singing chorus in so many different shows it’s hard to remember them all.

Currently, Jennifer Lee enjoys being a mom to 3 great kids, Kylie, Alyssa and Trevor,  accompanied by the support and love of her husband, Tim.

Ellis Carroll, Dance Teaching Assistant to Ms Vicki

Laura Tucker, Contemporary Jazz

Laura is a graduate from the University of Maryland School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. Her undergraduate concentrate was on dance education and performance. As part of her academic experience, she has acquired a fundamental knowledge base in ballet, modern and contemporary techniques, as well as yoga, pilates, choreography, kinesiology, teaching techniques, Laban Movement Analysis, and nutrition. She also has a Dance Education Teaching Certificate from Towson University.

Laura has performed for The Walt Disney World Company in Orlando, Florida, and with many local artists in Washington, DC Metro area.  Laura is the Dance Teacher at Crofton Middle School, and teaches/choreographs for several local schools and studios.