Erica Ascher, Co-Director and Co-Founder of Professional Youth Theatre, holds Bachelors degrees in Musical Theatre and Communications from Syracuse University. She was heavily influenced by professors Elizabeth Ingram and Victor Lazarow during her time in Syracuse's prestigious musical theatre program. Erica also studied voice for many years with Columbia University professor Helen Grossman. Erica is a classically trained vocalist but also specializes in musical theater and pop vocals. After graduating from Syracuse, Erica continued on to a successful career in television. In addition to acting, she discovered that she had an interest in producing. After working on the Ricki Lake Show, Erica continued on to work as a producer at The Maury Povich Show. During her time there, Erica wrote scripts, booked and briefed guests, edited segments, and supervised members of her production staff. She also took her production skills to the film world and contributed to several independent films. Erica's years in production gave her great insight into the components of a successful performance. This, mixed with her education from one of the finest musical theater programs in the country, inspired her to want to pass on her knowledge to young students. Erica began taking voice lessons at the age of five and performed throughout her youth in regional theater productions. She feels that this experience was invaluable to her development and looks forward to bringing quality musical theater education to the South Shore.
Brooke Robyn Dairman, Co-Director and Co-Founder of Professional Youth Theatre, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Columbia University (Masters). A trained dancer, Brooke began her performance career immediately after completing her education. She danced with multiple jazz and modern dance companies before launching a successful musical theater career in New York City in 2007. She continues to perform professionally as a member of the Actor's Equity Association. National tours: Peter Pan (Tiger Lily, Peter u/s); Damn Yankees (Lola u/s); Hello, Dolly! starring Sally Struthers (Mrs. Rose, Minnie Fay u/s); How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Punky Who); and All Shook Up. In addition to performing in and dance captaining All Shook Up, Brooke had the honor of choreographing this national touring production which gave her invaluable experience and insight into the show-development process. Brooke has also choreographed several well-reviewed professional regional productions throughout the country and takes great pride in having served as dance captain for many acclaimed choreographers. Brooke was the Dance Training Advisor for NYCinMA, a pre-professional musical theater training program in Boston, and she has taught master classes in dance and theater throughout the country. In addition to her performance career, Brooke is the Co-Director of The Dance Loft and enjoys bringing professional-caliber education to her students. Visit Brooke's website for more information.
Lisa Bronshteyn is a professional musical theatre actress and dancer. She has appeared on Broadway in the revival of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone and has toured the US with White Christmas and Hello Dolly! She has also worked at several acclaimed regional theatres all over the country including Sacramento Music Circus, North Shore Musical Theatre, and Westchester Broadway Theatre. She also played the role of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy at The Music Theatre of Wichita. Lisa began dancing at the age of four and grew up in the competition world where she won numerous titles and overall high scores as both a dancer and choreographer. She received her BFA in musical theatre from Pennsylvania State University. Lisa has been a member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 2007.
Rachel MacKenzie is thrilled to be joining the wonderfully talented creative team at Professional Youth Theatre. She holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance for Musical Theatre and an Advanced Certiﬁcate in Vocal Pedagogy from New York University. She also holds undergraduate degrees in Piano, Voice, and Anthropology from UMass Amherst. Currently Rachel serves as an Adjunct Voice Faculty Member and Staff Accompanist at NYU and enjoys a versatile freelance career as a performer, music director, and educator. She is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists. As a performer Rachel can been seen in shows, concerts, and cabarets. Favorite roles include Tracy (Hairspray), Madame PeePee (Grand Hotel), Alice (A…My Name Will Always Be Alice). Rachel has sung backup vocals for many concert series and artists including Robin de Jesus, Ben Rauhala’s Broadway Loves series, Laura Osnes’s Broadway Princess Party at 54 Below, Symphony Space’s All In The Family concert, and a gala to honor legendary director Hal Prince at Capitale. Rachel also had the honor of providing vocals for Grammy-nominated Chandrika Tandon's newest Soul Chants album. Rachel has been teaching, accompanying, and music directing for ten years. This past summer, she made her directorial debut to a sold out run of Heathers at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts in Massachusetts where she also co-directed and music directed a Cabaret series and Audition Workshop with Tony-Nominated Actor Jere Shea. As an educator Rachel strives to offer her students the highest level of technical instruction, but more importantly, hopes to inspire them to collaborate with other artists and tell their stories and the stories of those before them through music and text.