Jerry R. Foust is our Artistic Director & Director of Education. A master teacher with over 25 years experience in education, Jerry is responsible for ensuring the quality of classes and performances, hiring and training teaching artists, and developing curriculum. He also directs most of the Mainstage/professional productions at Windy City Music Theatre.
Jerry specializes in working with young musical theatre performers, and has directed numerous productions, including Oliver! Bye Bye Birdie, The Music Man, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Shop of Horrors, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Beauty & the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, and Annie, to name a few. He served as Executive Director and Director of Education at Berkeley Playhouse, a professional musical theatre company and school, for three seasons, where his leadership helped triple the size of the operating budget, quadruple the subscription base, and merge the education and performance programs with a new, permanent 328-seat theatre home. During Jerry’s tenure, Berkeley Playhouse became the fastest growing professional and educational theatre company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He served on the leadership & production team for nearly 30 professional and youth shows, and helped build education programs that served over 400 kids per semester in classes, camps and shows–a number Windy City Music Theatre has now exceeded in just 3 years.
Jerry is a native of Northwest Indiana. He attended the Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts. After receiving a Bachelor’s in Music Education and an Indiana teaching license, Jerry taught high school and elementary music for several years in Indianapolis and the Louisville, Kentucky areas. In 1996, Jerry founded the acclaimed West Clark Summer Theatre cooperative program, and the West Clark Ambassadors, a combined-schools choral group. As a teacher in the San Diego County Schools, Jerry was awarded the Classroom of the Future Foundation’s “Innovate” award for his work integrating technology into the elementary music curriculum in 2006. While in California, he completed a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at San Diego State University.
Jerry served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the San Diego Men’s Chorus from 2004-2009, and was founding director of Opus Q – A Men’s Vocal Ensemble in Berkeley. As a choral conductor and theatre director, Jerry has collaborated with Tony-nominated Sharon McNight, Grammy-nominated Broadway star Frenchie Davis (“RENT”,”The Voice” and “American Idol”), the San Diego Chorus of the Sweet Adelines, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek, award-winning playwright Del Shores, Emmy winner Sharon Gless, and stage/screen legend Sir Ian McKellan, among others.
In 2011, Jerry returned home to Chicago to be closer to his family and friends, and to contribute to the exciting arts education community here. Jerry’s approach to teaching is ensemble-based – every child feels an important part of the “team” and he is guided by the concept of Challenge & Support. “Meaningful student growth happens when students are given artistic, personal, and academic challenges and provided a proportional amount of support – skills, knowledge, motivation, encouragement – to meet those challenges.”
Jerry is a licensed teacher in Indiana and Illinois, and and is rated “highly qualified” under No Child Left Behind.
Alyssa is beyond excited to join Windy City and merge her lifelong passion for Musical Theatre and experience in Education! She received her Masters of Science in Education from Northwestern University, studying internalization of story structure through theatre exercises. Since then she has worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Hamilton Education Program, and the Chicago Humanities Festival. She currently improvises with her Harold team Nightingale and the DelTones at iO, and is an original cast member of Improvised Mythology, Will You Accept this Rose? and Fan/Fiction. She is a co-creator of the video group “Cedarville Community Church” and performs in XVP Comedy Shorts. She provides improv-based corporate workshops with Improve It! and has studied at iO, Second City, and Annoyance. Some of her favorite former roles include Helen of Troy in Trojan Women, Iphigenia in Agamemnon and His Daughters, an Emmy-Award Winning Documentary about the Dah Theatar in Serbia, and every character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Jordan joined the WCMT family in the fall of 2015 as the resident music director. For over 15 years he has worked in professional theater all over the country, including Shadowland Stages (NY), Oregon Cabaret Theater (OR), Desert Star Theater (UT), The Great American Melodrama (CA), and The Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts (CA), where he completed an internship in music directing and began teaching. His musical talents have been used as a composer, conductor and pit musician, musical improv, and even dueling piano shows. He has written eight original musicals commissioned by the Great American Melodrama, which he also directed. He made his WCMT directing debut with the Teen Ensemble’s “Into the Woods” and the Page2Stage “Seussical the Musical” in 2016.
Joaquin is very excited to be joining the Windy City Music Theater team! A Chicago native, he has been a part of the City’s performing arts community form a very young age. You can find him working both onstage and offstage with organizations such as the Quest Theatre Ensemble, Chicago College of Performing Arts, Merit School of Music, and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.
Zeke begins work with us on October 25.
BIO COMING SOON!
Allyce Torres is an actor and teaching artist from San Diego, CA. She has taught for several groups across the country including Source 4 Studios, St. Croix Falls Festival Theatre, The Lowell Milken Education Center, and Halcyon Theatre. Allie is a proud ensemble member at Halcyon Theatre and The Head of Artist Relations for Something Marvelous. She holds a BFA in Acting from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Steve is making his acting and teaching debut with Windy City Music Theatre in Fall 2015, and he is super excited to have the opportunity to work with such a variety of talented performers. Steve received his Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from Western Michigan University and his Masters of Music in Opera Performance from Wichita State University. Notable roles include: Lucas in Bare: a pop opera with The Cuckcoo’s Theater Project, Leaf Coneybear in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Coach Bill Johnson in Good News!, and Jamie in The Last 5 Years. You can see Steve next in Windy City’s production of Mary Poppins! Many thanks go out to his friends and family for supporting his life choices.
BIO COMING SOON!
Kevin Carr is an elementary teacher at St. Ferdinand Catholic School in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. He received his B.A. in Theater and Psychology at Oberlin College, and he has completed his M.A. in General Education at Northwestern University. During his time at St. Ferdinand, he has had the fortune to teach a variety of age groups, including Kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th-8th Grade. Additionally, he has directed the Theater Club in his school and also tutors students after school each week. In the past, Kevin has done volunteer work for Redmoon Theater and has acted in a variety of shows in Oberlin College. He has also worked as the Theater Counselor for Wediko Children’s Services in New Hampshire and as a counselor with the Mad Factory in Oberlin, OH, teaching and performing with children from the community in a production of Once Upon A Mattress. Now in his third semester, Kevin is exhilarated to work with Youth Company Chicago and is looking forward to nurturing a new generation of actors and actresses!
Victoria Montalbano has a degree in Drama from Syracuse University, and has been an actress, improvisor, and teaching artist in Chicago since graduating in 2006. Some favorite performances include Arms and the Man (Louka), Much Ado About Nothing (Ursula/Verges), As You Like It (Le Beau/Audrey), Macbeth (Witch/Murderer/Porter), Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Hermia), Hay Fever (Clara), and the long-running hit, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding (Donna/Terry). She is currently a student at the world famous iO theater. With Youth Company Chicago, she was the lead teaching artist/director for The Wizard of Oz (Summer 2013), The Jungle Book (Fall 2013, Beaubian Elementary, St. Edward School), and Schoolhouse Rock, Live! (Winter Break 2013). To find out about her upcoming performances, classes, and comedic insights, visit her website, www.victorianotvicky.com.
LaShera Moore is a Chicago native. She is a freelance songstress, vocal coach and graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she received a B.A. in Vocal Performance. She has worked with Gallery 37, Weddington Company, and the Journeymen Theater Company, among others. As a youth theatre teacher, she has directed or co-directed titles like Oliver, Willy Wonka, Annie, and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, to name a few. LaShera was honored to sing at Koko Taylors’s funeral in June 2009; and in November 2011, she performed at Maggie Daley’s wake. LaShera currently performs with The Forte Band, singing lead and backup; and alongside with drummer/bassist Keelan Jones in his company, Backbeatz Productions and The Keelan Jones Experience. She has been a teaching artist at Windy City Music Theatre for three years, and has appeared in WCMT Mainstage productions of Oliver! and Cinderella.
Caitie Hays graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan with a degree in Musical Theatre and is excited to be performing in Chicago. Before college, she toured the world for two years with the group the Young Americans performing shows and providing workshops in schools. Caitie loves singing, dancing, acting, and getting to share these passions with children. Caitie was last seen in WCMT’s production of Narnia, and is currently serving as Stage Manager/Assistant Director for Once Upon A Mattress.
Roy is overjoyed to be returning to Windy City Music Theatre as an actor and teacher. He is currently playing Jojo in WDCMT’s Page2Stage production of Seussical the Musical. He has also appeared with WCMT in the role of Starkey the Pirate in Peter Pan (Summer 2016). Catch him later this fall in the main stage production of A Little Princess. Other credits in Chicago include work with Polarity Ensemble Theatre, The Other Theatre Company, and RandomActs. Endless thanks to Jordan, Jerry, and the rest of the cast/creative team for such a wonderful experience, and all of the love to his family for their support. Proud graduate of Oklahoma City University.
Joshua is appearing this Fall in Windy City Music Theater’s production of Seussical the Musical (Horton the Elephant). Previous credits include Greathouse Theater’s Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf) and Kentucky Conservatory Theater and Blackbird Dance Theater’s Little Shop of Horrors (Orin Scrivello), Cabaret (Herman/Lady/Ape), and Jesus Christ Superstar (James) in Lexington, KY. Joshua received his B.A in Music and Theater from Asbury University and is currently living in Uptown, Chicago with his wife, Berenice.
Kenyai O’Neal just graduated from Rockford University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. He is known for his roles as Marvel Ann from Psycho Beach Party and Blue Ski in his one man show Blue Ski’s Last Goodbye, and recently played roles are in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz where he played Uncle Henry, Munchkin, Scarecrow, Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion and Oz and in Anansi the Spider where he played Anansi the Spider. Kenyai would like to thank God for the opportunity, his mother, who has supported him from the beginning, and his Roommate, Nick for putting up with all the singing. Kenya’i is appearing as an actor in WCMT’s 2016-17 season: Mr. Mayor in Seussical, Pasko in A Little Princess, and Schroeder in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown!
Christopher Young appeared in Windy City Music Theatre’s Fall 2015 production of Once Upon A Mattress. He most recently served as choreographer for Seussical the Musical. He has a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance and Acting from the University of Mississippi. Chicago performing credits include Miracle! (Hell in a Handbag!), Musical of the Living Dead (Cowardly Scarecrow), Zombie Prom (Cult Camp), Kill Your Boyfriends (Pride Films and Plays), and Unraveling Veterans (Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble). Other favorite roles include Leaf Coneybear (Spelling Bee), Rolf (The Sound of Music), Morded (Camelot), and Feste (Twelfth Night).
Allyssa O’Donnell is a Chicago based actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, director and teaching artist. She is passionate about teaching young performers and introducing them to the art of theatre. Performing credits include Spamalot (Metropolis Performing Arts Center), Guys and Dolls (Light Opera Works), Snow White (Chicago Kids Company), and Chicago (Legacy Theatre in Atlanta, GA). She can also be seen performing as Princess Catalina at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, and Velma the flapper at Tommy Guns Garage. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Ball State University.
Aidaa Peerzada is so happy to be working with WCMT for the first time this year! She has worked for The Children’s Theatre Company in NYC and some of her favorite credits as a performer include Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor at The American Players Theatre. She holds a BFA in theatre from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.
Susan is glad to be back with Windy City Music Theatre as a teacher. She performed as Sophie in the first-ever Page2Stage show, The BFG, in Fall 2014. She also appeared in Oliver! with the Company in summer 2014, and is currently a member of the cast of Once Upon A Matteress. Susan is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory and I.O. Chicago. Past Credits include Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins (Alice), Scarrie the Musical (Diana), Peter Pan and the Pirates (Peter), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Betty Jean), and A Country Christmas Carol (Jane/Fanny).
Zachary Flax is very excited to be making his Windy City Musical Theatre debut. He recently moved to Chicago after touring for three years for both the National Theatre for Children and Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre. Past credits include: Mr. Mushnik in Little shop of Horrors, Beast in Beauty and the Beast, and Al Delvecchio in Happy Days: A New Musical. In Summer 2015, he served as Assistant Director for WCMT’s Teen Ensemble production of Little Shop of Horrors. He can be seen in WCMT’s Fall production of Once Upon A Mattress as King Sextimus the Silent. He’d like to thank his Friends, Family, and amazing girlfriend for their continuous support.
Jimmy is making his Chicago debut and he couldn’t be more excited to do it with Windy City Theatre as both teacher and performer. Recent credits include: Oklahoma! and Pippin (Grandstreet Theatre), A Year With Frog and Toad and The Drowsy Chaperone(Shawnee Theatre). Jimmy is a proud, recent graduate of the BFA Musical Theatre Program at Western Illinois University. Hailing from the small town of Genoa, IL, Jimmy is now a resident to the city of Chicago and cannot get enough of its amazing theatre scene! Follow his journey at: www.jimmycapek.com