Articles

MEET THE RANDOM FARMS STAFF


Artistic Team    l    Administrative Team    l    Featured Artists and Instructors    l    Board Of Trustees

     

ANYA WALLACH

Executive Director and Founder

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Favorite musicals:

Annie
Les Miserables  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anya founded Random Farms when she was sixteen and searching for a theater process that made every kid feel included and valued, a philosophy that continues to drive the mission and programs at Random Farms (click here for more about the story of Random Farms). She is now the Executive Director of the organization overseeing the rapidly growing artistic and administrative staff, and serves as President of the Board Of Trustees.

Anya earned a B.S. degree in Music Education from NYU, where she focused on musical theater and vocal pedagogy. She complemented her education by interning with casting directors and talent agencies, while continuing to produce the shows at Random Farms. She also spent many years as a performer, and is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and Actor’s Equity Association.

For over a decade, Anya was the primary staff member at Random Farms, directing all its productions and defining its core programs. As the popularity of the organization increased, Anya shifted into the role of Executive / Artistic Director, dividing her time between oversight of the artistic programs and administration of the organization’s finances and internal operations. In this role (and finally recognizing the art of delegation!), Anya hired a full-time artistic staff, moved the group into a new rehearsal studio, and began to focus on increasing outreach efforts. This included launching the anti-bullying musical, The New Kid, and an annual Industry Showcase for young performers who are interested in pursuing theater professionally. She now devotes her attention full-time to steering Random Farms as its Executive Director, working closely with the Board Of Trustees, the administrative staff, and the Senior Program Directors to guide the organization into the next chapter.

Anya was one of 15 young entrepreneurs The Huffington Post chose as a winner of the Millennial Impact Challenge. In 2015, Anya co-authored the young reader book series, Stagestruck, based on her story of starting Random Farms as a teenager. She has been invited to speak about the importance of the performing arts for young people at conferences nationwide, including The New York State Reading Association and the Arkansas Reading Association. Anya looks forward to continuing with Random Farms on its exciting journey for many years to come!

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ARTISTIC TEAM

ALEXIS DUERMEYER

Artistic Director

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Favorite musicals:

A Chorus Line
West Side Story
Tommy



 

Alexis has been directing and choreographing at Random Farms since 2008 and now fills the role of Artistic Director for Random Farms, overseeing all artistic programs and directing the Mainstage and Edge productions each year.

Alexis has a B.F.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU) where she studied at the Atlantic Theater Company as well as musical theater at Cap 21.  In addition, she has taught children of all ages throughout the country with programs such as Camp Broadway and Broadway Bound Kids. During her time as an actor, Alexis appeared in numerous productions throughout New York City as well as National Tours.

In 2007, Alexis became the Associate Artistic Director of Random Farms, taking a leadership role in guiding the artistic programs while directing many of the Workshop, Jellybeans, Mainstage, and Edge productions, as well as the anti-bullying musical, The New Kid. In 2015, Random Farms made another big stride in its path to growth by transferring the reins of artistic leadership from Anya to Alexis and promoting Alexis to the role of Artistic Director. Alexis now works closely with Anya and the Program Directors to develop the long-term artistic goals for Random Farms, including selecting the shows, evaluating and refining the various programs, and expanding the program staff. She continues to direct the Mainstage and Edge productions.

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JULIE SCHWARTZ WEBB

Program Director

(Workshop, Jellybeans, Kids For A Cause, Acting Classes)

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Favorite musicals:

Cabaret
Sweeney Todd
The Fantasticks 

 

 

 

Julie has been a Random Farms Director and Senior Director for both the Workshop and Jellybeans programs since January 2010. As part of our full-time Artistic Team, she also directs the Kids For A Cause program and teaches acting classes and private acting lessons.

Julie received her B.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Wagner College, graduating suma cum laude. She then went on to work as a director and actor for Missoula Children's Theatre, touring domestically and internationally to work with thousands of children around the globe to put on musical theatre performances within their own communities.

Julie performed at American Girl Place Theatre for over a year in Circle of Friends as Aunt Cornelia and other female adult characters from the American Girl series, as well as Bitty Kitty in Bitty Bear's Matinee. Other favorite roles include Rapunzel in Into the Woods (The Theatre Company at DeBaun Auditorium), Isabel in Scrooge the Musical, and Young Heidi in Follies (both at Snug Harbor Cultural Center).

Through New York Cares, Julie created and ran an after-school acting club in a small school in Washington Heights that would not otherwise have a theatre program. Along with other volunteers, Julie has given the group a solid foundation in theatre, with behind-the-scenes workshops, scene studies, field trips to see live performances, and several school play performances. Julie is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.

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DANIELLE ROTH

Program Director (Workshop) 
Head Of Voice Studio 

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Favorite musicals:

Sunday In The Park With George
Sweeney Todd
Little Women 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Dani is both a Program Director at Random Farms and head of the Random Farms Voice Studio. She has been working with Random Farms since 2008, first as a voice teacher and later joined the full-time staff as a Program Director. 

At a young age, Dani was accepted into Manhattan School of Music’s Preparatory Division, where she received a foundation in classical repertoire and training. She also participated in NYU’s CAP-21 Preparatory Division, where she studied Meisner and Strasberg acting techniques. Dani graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wagner College with a B.A. in Theatre Performance and Speech.

As a young performer, Dani was signed with Shirley Grant Management for several years, where she worked in voice-overs - most notably in radio commercials and singing on educational CDs for children. She went on to perform in several repertory theaters and off-Broadway houses. It was at HSRT in Michigan that she discovered her love of children's theater (while playing the role of Junie B. Jones). In addition to building a performance resume, Dani worked as the personal assistant for Broadway composer, Neil Berg, on several industry readings, as well as his touring production of 100 Years of Broadway, where she worked with such names as Liz Calloway, Danny Zolli, and Rita Harvey.

Dani still continues to take classes, as well as voice lessons, to continue to expand her own teaching abilities. The performing arts have held a special place in her heart for her entire life and she brings this passion to her work as a voice teacher and director at Random Farms. She believes in the power of music and art, and has seen firsthand how it can truly change lives. Dani hopes to help each student hone their craft through healthy singing, positive reinforcement, personal connection and, of course, FUN!

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BRET FOX

Program Director
(Jellybeans, Workshop, Acting Classes) 

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Favorite musicals:

Sweeney Todd
A Chorus Line
Baby 

 

 

Bret joined Random Farms as a full-time Program Director in 2015, working on the Jellybeans and Workshop productions, and teaching acting classes. He brings a wealth of experience as a professional musical theater performer and as a seasoned performing arts instructor.

Since the age of four, Bret has been a performer both locally and professionally, and his journey with Random Farms has really come full circle! Being a Westchester native, he enlisted the help of Random Farms founder, Anya Wallach, back in 1998 to jump-start his career as the Child Swing in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. He then went on to originate the role of "Nathan Lukowski" in the first and second National Tours of The Full Monty. In addition to numerous television and film credits, his favorite onstage appearances include Ragtime, Spamalot, tick, tick... BOOM!, Spring Awakening, and various parades and shows at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

 

 

 

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SARAH BOYLE

Program Director
(Jellybeans, Workshop, dANCE Classes) 

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Favorite musicals:

Parade
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
A New Brain/
Sweeney Todd 

 

Sarah is the latest addition to the Random Farms team, joining us in Fall 2016 as a full-time Program Director. She will be working on Jellybeans and Workshop productions, in addition to teaching dance classes. She hopes to inspire a new generation to the their best selves through movement and song.

At a young age, Sarah had a passion for dance and at age 13, she began to teach and choreograph at her local performing arts school. Later, at Rutgers University, Sarah discovered her love for musical theater and served as a Director/Choreographer and, eventually, Artistic Director for the Livingston Theatre Company. During her junior year of study, she decided to combine her love for theater and education by establishing Rutgers' first-ever Musical Theater Outreach Program, which traveled for free to high schools around New Jersey. Since graduating, Sarah has spent time in Orlando working in the entertainment department at Disney and sailing the seven seas as a children's entertainment manager with Royal Caribbean. Sarah has spent her last 6 summers as a Director/Choreographer at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, as well as lending a hand at several schools and theatrical venues around the tri-state area. Sarah is very excited to plant her feet on solid ground and join the Random Farms team!

 

 

ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM

PIPER GUNNARSON

Managing Director

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Favorite musicals:

Sweeney Todd
Tommy
Once 



 

Piper is the Managing Director for Random Farms, working closely with Anya, Alexis, the Board Of Trustees, and the administrative staff to ensure that Random Farms operates smoothly and to help plan for its future. She is involved in many of the behind-the-scenes projects, including fundraising, marketing, operations, and strategic planning.

Piper earned her B.A. in Theatre from the University of California, San Diego, after which she spents a few years working in performance and production before shifting her interests to the administrative side of the nonprofit theater industry. Within the administrative side of theater, Piper has worked in institutional and individual fundraising, event planning, program management, outreach, and board governance. Piper later earned an M.A. in Leadership For The Arts at NYU, where she focused on the historical evolution of the nonprofit theater model and combined elements of nonprofit management and the entertainment industries to identify stronger strategies for leading nonprofit performing arts organizations.

Prior to joining Random Farms, Piper was the General Manager / Producer for the Gallatin Arts Festival, the Director of Development for the Abingdon Theatre Company in NYC, and has consulted for numerous nonprofit theaters on fundraising and strategic planning. She also worked in the Education/Outreach Department for the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and apprenticed with the Lark Play Development Center on program management.

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JACKIE TOPOLESKI

Business Manager

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Favorite musicals:

RENT
Sunday In The Park With George
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackie is the Business Manager for Random Farms, overseeing financial operations alongside our Executive Director, Managing Director, and Board of Trustees.

After earning her B.A. in Theatre from Montclair State University, Jackie has spent the last decade honing her skills in accounting and finance in some of the busiest entertainment offices in the New York City area. She was most recently the Director of Finance for an international entertainment producer headquartered in New York City. Prior to that she worked in the Finance Department of Stage Entertainment USA and was delighted to be a part of the team during their successful run of Sister Act on Broadway. While at Stage Entertainment, Jackie was also heavily involved with the daily financial operations for their subsidiary off-Broadway theater, New World Stages.

Jackie gained the invaluable experience and found a true passion for non-profit while serving as Business Manager at the illustrious Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. Jackie is extrememly honored to have been a part of the theater's resurgence that saw the world premiers of Little House on the Prairie and Newsies, as well as the US premier of the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Miserables.

Jackie is beyond excited to be a part of Random Farms Kids Theater as she has a real passion for providing amazing theatrical opportunities to kids as well as a true thirst for being part of an organization whose work betters their community.

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REBECCA NICHOLS

Operations Manager

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Favorite musicals:

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Violet, The Musical 







 

 

Rebecca Nichols is the Operations Manager, managing the registration system for our programs. She is the go-to person for parents who need assistance when enrolling their children in our programs, and she works closely with both the Program Staff and Administrative Staff to help our programs run smoothly.


Upon earning her B.A. in Theatre from Montclair State University, Rebecca spent the next ten years working in production in various theaters in Manhattan, including six years with the Off-Broadway multiplex, New World Stages, where she eventually served as Director of Operations. She was thrilled to work with such productions as Avenue Q, Million Dollar Quartet, The Gazillion Bubble Show, and Altar Boyz. She then took a two year hiatus from New York, traveling to Manitowoc, WI where she served as the Production and Facilities Manager for the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc campus.  There she gained a new and revived appreciation for arts in education, and all that it brings to the surrounding community.
 
Rebecca is ecstatic to now continue bringing theater and the arts to communities, and especially kids, by working with Random Farms. She is honored to be a part of this fine organization.
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AMANDA ACARD

Marketing Manager

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Favorite musicals:

Wicked                                         Legally Blond                             Jersey Boys


 


Amanda is the Marketing Manager for Random Farms, overseeing the marketing practices of the organization and working on increasing the promotion of programs. Her key responsibilities include developing and updating e-blasts, posters, fliers, social media, playbills and our website.  

Amanda earned her B.S. in Speech Communications from Syracuse University. She has spent the last 16 years working as a marketing professional at major monthly and weekly consumer magazines including: GQ, Lucky, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Departures, Star and OK! Weekly.  She has also worked as a media planner for advertising agencies supporting high-level entertainment, automotive and travel accounts. Amanda has spent many years honing her marketing skills including: creative writing, custom research and event management.

Amanda is very excited to be a part of Random Farms Kids’ Theater and bring her energy and enthusiasm for marketing to the organization! 

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FEATURED INSTRUCTORS AND ARTISTS

Our featured artists and instructors have robust careers in the arts at Random Farms and beyond.
Their frequent work in our studio and on our productions makes them an integral part of the Random Farms family.


LINDSEY BLACKHURST

Resident Voice Teacher

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Favorite musicals:

Into The Woods
Bridges Of Madison County
A Little Night Music
The Secret Garden 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsey has a background as both a performer and an educator. As a performer, she has performed in musical theatre, operas, contemporary American plays, and Shakespeare’s classics both regionally throughout the United States and abroad. She is an experienced educator, having taught middle school chorus and drama, directed student plays, coached students through New York State School Music Association solo festivals, taught group singing to adult beginners, and worked with private students ages 11- older adults. She has been teaching students at Random Farms since 2015 through private voice lessons and group voice classes.

She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Colorado-Boulder and and MA, EdM in Music Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University. In 2016 she will also begin teaching K-5 music and chorus at Greenacres Elementary School in Scarsdale. From 2008-2014, Lindsey taught chorus and drama at Bronxville Middle School, where she also directed and music directed the middle school musical each year in a variety of styles. She has worked for ESF Camps as the Musical Theater Specialist, and taught performing arts to campers at Salem Spotlight. In addition to teaching voice both to young people and adults, Lindsey is the co-founder and music director of Immersion Youth Repertory based in Rochester, MN.

Lindsey believes that working on one’s singing technique need not be a mystical venture, but it is filled with results beyond those we could dare to expect at the onset. The technique Lindsey teaches combines vocal exercises and repertoire to help each student become an artist capable of independence, creativity, and excitement. The exercises are designed to work through the process of singing, allowing students the ability to employ their own unique voices. Lindsey teaches using plain language that is developmentally appropriate and grounded in anatomy and the physical practice of singing. Using a strong understanding of vocal anatomy and development, she tailors her explanations so they are developmentally appropriate for all ages.

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JOSEPH BREWER

Resident Voice Teacher

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Favorite musicals:

Parade
Legally Blonde
Titanic 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Joseph Brewer is a native of Georgia, who moved to New York in 2015 and has been working actively as a singer, music director, and teacher ever since. He teaches voice lessons at Random Farms and is the private voice and piano instructor at the Harvey School in Katonah, NY. 

Joseph began performing at an early age. As a boy soprano, he performed in an operatic version of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He holds a bachelor of music in Vocal Performance from the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. After graduating, Joseph started working for the Springer Opera House, the historic State Theatre of Georgia. During his time at the Springer, Joseph taught four consecutive summers of musical theatre classes for the Theatre Academy, a summer program serving children grades K-12. He also toured the country with Springer Theatricals, working as the Band Leader and pianist for their national tour of Honky Tonk Angels. He is currently the baritone section leader for the choir at Greens Farms Church in Westport, CT.

Before moving to New York, Joseph spent several years teaching and performing in Chicago. He worked as a singer and musician in several churches, spending two years as the Music Director at Church of the Incarnation. He was a Resident Voice Instructor and Music Director for the Wilmette Park District for two years, working on several productions with both adults and children.

With his voice students, Joseph likes to focus a great deal on breath technique, as it provides the solid foundation on which all successful and healthy sound is produced. Other important techniques such as sight-reading, rhythm studies, and character development are also fully explored as they are excellent tools for independent study as well as audition preparation. When it comes to musical theatre, Joseph is a wealth of knowledge and resources. He has an extensive collection of musical theatre scores and loves the challenge of fitting the right song with the right student and/or audition. He makes every effort to stay up-to-date with contemporary musical theatre repertoire, while also constantly expanding his knowledge broadway classics. Lastly, Joseph is a goofball and likes to have a great time! 

Joseph is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and has competed and placed at both the state and regional level. Some of his favorite stage credits include Legally Blonde (Nikos/Padamadan), Rent(Steve/Squeegee Man/Fruity Boy/Homeless Man/Cop), Into the Woods (Jack), Guys and Dolls (Rusty Charlie), and The Wizard of Oz (Tin Man). 

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DAVID CRONIN

Resident Voice Teacher

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Favorite musicals:
The Wild Party
Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Sunday in the Park with George

 

 


 

 

David Thomas Cronin is a New York City based actor, vocalist, director and educator who started teaching voice lessons at Random Farms in 2016.

David recently graduated with his Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance and Music Education from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music. David has been an elementary school music teacher at a private school in Middle Village, Queens for three years.

David’s philosophy of music education focuses on the growth of the student through understanding the anatomy of their instrument, text and poetry, Alexander technique, body awareness and overall musicianship. Through the studying of voice, students are challenged to think about their bodies and the art form of song as the marriage of melody and text. Students explore empathy and grow as an actor, musician and individual.

Students will be encouraged to explore all colors of their instrument in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere; a “safe place” for questions and mistakes. With a classical foundation and extensive contemporary performance experience, David aims to teach a technique where students find their own unique sound through exercises and repertoire of several genres of music appropriately chosen for their vocal development.

David has directed immersive theatre for children pieces as well as student-run and mainstage operas at the conservatory and various community theatre productions. He has also sung principal roles with several regional theaters and opera companies.

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TERRI CANZIANI

Resident Costume Designer 

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Favorite musicals:

Something Rotten
Once On This Island
1776 


 

Terri is a theatrical costume designer and a familiar face at Random Farms. She has designed and coordinated costumes for most of the Random Farms productions over the past ten years and continues to create the costume design for the Mainstage, Edge, Workshop, and Jellybeans shows.

Terri holds a BFA (Honors in Drama) from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and a Masters Degree from Hunter College School of Social Work. Terri started as a parent volunteer at Random Farms in 2005 and began working as the Resident Costume Designer in 2007. She has designed close to 50 shows for Random Farms and has enjoyed watching the programs and the children grow.

Terri has also designed shows for KJK Productions Inc and The Broadway Workshop.
"Most of my history was learned through theatre growing up. We try to keep the shows as historically accurate with costumes, wigs and accessories as possible. I love teaching the children why certain clothes or shoes were worn during a certain time period, or the unusual name of a particular costume piece they are wearing."

 

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ANDREW COURTNEY

Resident Costume Design Assistant

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Favorite musicals:
Gypsy
Annie
Anything Goes 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Andrew is the Senior Costume Assistant on most productions throughout the year as well as the Summer Workshop Costume Designer here at Random Farms. He has been working alongside Resident Costume Designer, Terri Canziani, since 2013.

Andrew's love for the stage and gingham pinafores began early in his life, during daily viewings of The Wizard of Oz when he was still in diapers. He would reenact scenes from his favorite movie musicals using sheets and other household objects as costumes, much to his mother's dismay. In high school, Andrew was featured in many productions, his favorites being: Once Upon a Mattress, Oklahoma! and Grease. He began his journey with Random Farms as a favor to his best friend and former costume assistant, Samantha Roche, in the summer of 2012. He never imagined how rewarding the experience would end up being for him. He has since worked on every Workshop, Jellbeans and Mainstage show in varying capacities. He is thrilled to to work with such an amazing and fun organization.

 

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BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Ellen Best, Co-Chair 
Stacy Wallach, Co-Chair
Anya Wallach, President
Sarah White, Secretary
Suzanne Alexander
Lindy Bergstein
Stephanie Carroll
Kyle Groff
Dean Shapiro

 

 

EX OFFICIO

Susan Conniff, Treasurer


     

 

 

 

HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS

FEATURED STORY
75 Random Farms kids on Broadway and counting...!

TICKETS

COMING SOON!
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

March 24 - 26
Click for more... 

RANDOM FARMS GALA

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OUTREACH

- Anti-bullying
- Community Service
- Scholarships
- Arts Education
- Leadership


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Random Farms Kids Theater, Inc. is a NY state non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
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