Allyson Lewis (Founding Owner, Ballet & Jazz Instructor) began Once Upon a Ballet in 2004 as a true labor of love. Combining her passions for ballet, theatre, and costumes studied dance at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, where she danced for the Greenville Ballet and attended the SC Governor’s School for the Arts. She received a talent scholarship to attend New York University’s prestigious Tisch of the Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. In New York, she danced professionally and performed works by nationally acclaimed artists such as Twyla Tharp, Ronald K. Brown, and Doug Varone. Skilled in ballet, jazz, modern, musical theatre, and tap dance styles, Allyson danced professionally in New York and Japan. She was among the last of the American casts featured at Seagaia’s Ocean Dome in Miyazaki, Japan where she performed in over 900 shows and danced the feature role of the Fish Queen. She has traveled as far as Portici, Italy to teach ballet as a volunteer at Casa Materna Orphanage for children ages 3 – 16. Allyson has been teaching for 14 years, specializing in pre-ballet, creative dance and jazz for musical theatre. Allyson formed Once Upon a Ballet in 2004 upon her return to SC. Over the last 10 years, since 2011, Allyson has produced 32 titles for MTC, and with repeat performances 50 musicals to date.
Laura Turner (Music Director, Director) Laura received her B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing and an M.F.A. in composition for Music Theatre concurrently from New York University. Since 1994, she has been an Associate Professor of Theatre at the College of Charleston where she began the Theatre for Youth program and a Masters program preparing K12 music and theatre teachers.
In 2008, she created a program for special needs theatre with the City of Charleston Therapeutic Recreational Services. This program was a top ten national finalist for the “Robert Gard Arts in the Community” Award; winner of the State Commission for Higher Education Community Service Award; and won the state award for “Excellence in Parks and Recreation Programming”. Musical Theatre Center (MTC) students have been a part of the program as well.
Professor Turner also co-created the “We the People Summer Experience” which brings together MTC middle and high school students with students from NYC to build bridges across racial divides using immersive history and theatre experiences. College of Charleston theatre education undergraduate and graduate students helped lead the experiences which have taken place in New York City and Charleston the past 3 summers.
Laura co-directed the Junior Theatre Festival’s (JTF) version of James and the Giant Peach that won the top award given at the national festival – the “Outstanding Performance Award”, directed and wrote the JTF version of The Little Mermaid, JR, where the students won an “Excellence in Dance” award, directed Aladdin, JR, as well as the JTF version of Aladdin, JR where the students won an “Excellence in Acting” award. Laura also directed Peter Pan, JR; Shrek, JR and Madagascar, JR all here at MTC. She has also been the Music Director for countless shows since MTC’s first musical production in 2011.
Elaina graduated from the College of Charleston in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a double minor in Theater and Arts Management. During college, she was the 2-year President of the all-female A Capella Group, The AcaBelle’s. Growing up, she was in an award-winning Advanced Show Choir, and she was also involved with musical theater since she was 5 years old. Elaina started working at MTC in the fall of 2016 and is now the production stage manager for all MTC productions, and Co-Directed Madagascar, JR last Spring. She runs the social media panels and is the office Program Manager. Elaina teaches Acting and Musical Theater and will be directing Willy Wonka, JR in the Spring of 2022! One of her favorite memories at MTC was when she co-wrote the Junior Theater Festival script of Aladdin, JR that Sr. Company took to Competition and won excellence in acting award!
Sarah Czarnecki is currently a senior at Wando High School and has been a member of OUAB/MTC since she was in 8th grade. She is a current member of Musical Theatre Center’s Senior Company. She has performed in many shows at MTC which include, Frozen Jr., Guys and Dolls, Xanadu Jr., The Addams Family, and more. She has been teaching summer ballet/musical theatre camps for the past 2 years and has been assisting with camps since she began MTC/OUAB. She will begin teaching ballet and musical theater in the fall! She is looking forward to a great year ahead!
Ellie Schrupp (Workshop Stage Manager and Choreographer)
Ellie Schrupp is a homeschooled junior and began taking creative ballet classes at OUAB when she was two years old. She discovered her love for musical theater when she was six, and has been performing ever since. She is currently a part of MTC’s Senior Company, and recently performed as Wednesday in The Addams Family, and Olaf in Frozen. She has been trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, acting and vocals under the direction of many wonderful teachers. This is Ellie’s second year working with MTC. This past year she stage-managed the workshops Winnie the Pooh Kids, Newsies, Lion King Kids, and High School Musical. She has also assisted with many Player’s productions and taught several summer camps in the past. She hopes to study Theater for Youth and become a director and choreographer for children’s theater.
Lindy Turner (Musical Theater Teacher)
Lindy Turner is currently a junior at SHEEP education and has been going to OUAB/MTC since she was 3 years old. As of now, she is a member of Musical Theatre Center’s Senior Company. She has performed in multiple shows, including Annie, portraying the role of Annie, Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, JR, Anna in Frozen, JR, Elle in Legally Blonde, JR, and many others. She assisted and taught summer camps this summer, and is currently teaching a Musical theater class and will begin teaching a story ballet class this Fall. She is very excited for what is to come this year at MTC!
Musical Theatre Center would not be able to pull of our high-quality performances without the help of our devoted and very talented staff of coordinators. Headed by Julia Brown and Shelly Schrupp, our costume and properties crew is responsible for visualizing and creating our performers’ costumes and props, as well as many set pieces. Our costuming crew all joined as parents of Troupe members and showed a passion and an understanding of the Musical Theatre Center’s vision