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. Musical Theater Center was developed a few years after to provide her students a new performance outlet. Allyson 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 theater, 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 20 years, specializing in pre-ballet, creative dance and jazz for musical theater. Allyson formed Once Upon a Ballet in 2004 upon her return to SC.
Laura Turner (Music Director/Director) Laura received her B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing and an M.F.A. in composition for Music Theater 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 Theater 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. This coming school year, Laura will be the director of the Spring musical at the College of Charleston.
Brent Dorwart (Director/Acting Instructor) Brent Dorwart is a local Actor, Director, and Playwright in the Charleston area. He graduated with Top Honors from the College of Charleston for Theatre for Youth and is finishing his Master of Arts in Teaching. He has worked with various playhouses and schools, melding standards-based curriculum with theatre, where he has orchestrated improvisation and acting workshops, stage combat classes, as well as helped students to write and perform in their own plays. Brent is an award-winning playwright, his children’s plays featuring regularly for Under the Lights and Piccolo Spoleto’s Stelle di Domani series. Recent credits include Assistant Director and Fight Director for MTC’s Peter Pan, JR, Costume Designer for PURE Theatre’s production of The WHY, and acting roles for Threshold Repertory Theatre, Footlight Players, Flowertown Players, Midtown Productions, various festivals such as STEM and Charleston Food Festivals, and more. Brent enjoys playing saxophone and accordion, as well as filming for an upcoming ‘edutainment’ Kid’s Television Series called “Eureka Erika.” He is ecstatic to be here for his first season at MTC.
Emily Gracie Miller (Choreographer/Tap Instructor) Emily enjoys performing with her sister, Lacy in the national touring act, “The Gracie & Lacy Show.” She has traveled with the sister act for 20+ years and specializes in tight harmonies, singing the songs of Audrey Hepburn, impersonating Comedienne, Gracie Allen and of course tap dancing the choreography of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! She has performed at venues ranging from Broadway’s Supper Club at Feinstein’s 54Below in NYC to the Winter White House Mar-a-Lago In Palm Beach, FL. She has appeared on ABC, NBC and has worked with HBO. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Emily and her sister co-directed & produced over 50 productions for their theatre company, Broadway on the Driveway, which ran for 18 years in St. Louis. Favorite directing credits include: “Singin’ in The Rain,” “White Christmas,” and “The Sound of Music.” Emily studied voice under the direction of Diane Huber (President of Sweet Adelines International) and received instruction in dance from Kim Miller (instructor at Washington University). She now resides in Charleston, SC, the home of her ancestors. When she is not performing, Emily loves reading, dancing and baking all things chocolate! She is currently making revisions to an original musical she wrote with her sister, “The Four Freedoms – A Tribute To Norman Rockwell.”
Lacy Miller (Choreographer/Tap Instructor) Lacy enjoys performing with her sister, Emily Gracie in the national touring act, “The Gracie & Lacy Show.” She has traveled with the sister act for 20+ years and is known for belting the powerhouse songs of Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland, singing tight harmonies, impersonating Comedienne, Fanny Brice and designing vintage-inspired costumes. She has performed at venues ranging from Broadway’s Supper Club at Feinstein’s 54Below in NYC to the Winter White House Mar-a-Lago In Palm Beach, FL. Lacy has appeared on ABC, NBC and has worked with HBO. Her favorite theatre roles include KATHY SELDON in “Singin’ In The Rain,” HODEL in “Fiddler on the Roof” and JO MARCH in “Little Women – The Broadway Musical.” Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Lacy and her sister co-directed & produced over 50 productions for their theatre company, Broadway on the Driveway, which ran for 18 years in St. Louis. She received her vocal instruction from Diane Huber (President of Sweet Adelines International) and dance instruction from Kim Miller (instructor at Washington University). Lacy now lives in Charleston, SC, the home of her ancestors. Off the stage, she enjoys sewing, swing dancing and composing music. She is currently writing a children’s book about the story of Broadway on the Driveway.
Jah’Mar Coakley (Director/Choreographer/Dance Instructor) Jah’Mar Coakley is a rising Sophomore at the College of Charleston and has been working at MTC for over 2 years, after already being a student at MTC for 3 years prior. He is the director for Showstoppers and Choreographer for Players this coming year. This past year, he Co-Directed/Choreographed 101 Dalmatians, KIDS and Willy Wonka, KIDS at MTC during the 2018-2019 school year. His choreography has also been seen in Winnie the Pooh, KIDS, Showstoppers ArtFest and Christmas Tree lightings as well as MTC Player’s Disney set. He has had a blast working with Players and is looking forward to doing so next year as well!
Gillian Richard (Creative Ballet and Musical Theater Instructor) Gillian has taken dance at Once Upon a Ballet since she was 2 and has taught for two years at MTC. Her local performance credits include Elle (Legally Blonde), Arista (Little Mermaid), Kim (Bye Bye Birdie YPE), and others. She has also directed/choreographed 101 Dalmatians Kids and Willy Wonka Kids and assistant choreographed All Shook Up and Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. She is a member of Wando’s Show Choir and has received the Outstanding Female Performer at the international Junior Theatre Festival. She was also a member of the first touring cast of Debbie Allen’s Brothers of the Knight and recently performed with Kristin Chenoweth during her performance in Charleston.
Alyssa Bogosian (Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical Instructor and Choreographer) Alyssa is a graduate of the Ohio State University, where she earned a BFA in Dance with a focus in Pedagogy, as well as a BA in Italian. She is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, where she trained for 6 summers at Point Park University’s International Summer Dance Intensive, and went on to complete Point Park’s Pre-Professional Dance Program. As a teen, she was selected to perform with the Pittsburgh CLO in their production of 42nd Street. Continuing her education at Ohio State offered Alyssa the opportunity to perform in work by several notable faculty, including award-winner Bebe Miller, as well as train under artists such as Susan Hadley, Jessica Zeller, and Ming-Lung Yang. She also created and performed her own contemporary choreography, was featured in the theater department’s production of AIDA, and choreographed Hairspray for the esteemed Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School. Alyssa then toured with Latshaw Productions, a performance troupe based in Monroeville, PA, and danced in site-specific works for the Dublin Arts Council and Summer Statehouse Series in Columbus, OH. She has since turned her attention fully to teaching and sharing her passion for dance with others, and has taught many styles of dance to students of all ages over the past 8 years. She is excited to continue her teaching journey with Musical Theater Center!
Daniel Megli (Vocal Instructor) is an American Baritone and is a recent transplant to the Charleston, SC area. He recently performed the role of Boaz in a new opera “Ruth”, which had its world premiere performance at Charleston’s Gailliard Center during the College Band Directors National Association convention. Daniel has also appeared on the operatic stage in several states across the US as Marcello in La Bohéme, Count Almaviva in La Nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Mr. Gobineau in The Medium, and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. Daniel is also a frequent concert performer. He was featured as the baritone soloist in Franz Liszt’s seldom performed masterpiece “Via Crucis”. Before this Daniel appeared as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival as a featured soloist with the Charleston Spiritual Ensemble during their concert in homage to black classical composer R. Nathaniel Dett. He has also sung the baritone solos from Brahms’ A German Requiem, Händel’s Messiah, Vaughn Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, Rutter’s The Mass of the Children, and Holsinger’s Easter Symphony. Daniel’s training began in Illinois where he received his BM in Vocal Performance from Illinois Wesleyan University. After graduation he studied with Metropolitan Opera tenor Harold Meers before moving to Charleston, SC to study with renowned vocal instructor Scott Flaherty. When not performing Daniel maintains a busy teaching schedule, boasting a private studio as well as holding staff voice teacher positions at Cane Bay High School and Musical Theater Center.