Center Stage steps up education programs

The Center Stage Education Center, with a vision of teaching students theatrical skills that will prepare them to succeed in all aspects of life, has expanded its educational opportunities for the new year.

New for the winter/spring session, which begins on Jan. 13, the education center has brought in new staff members and class offerings. There will be after-school programs for students of all ages and an opportunity for students to take classes in performance and technical theater — from lights to sets, costumes to sound.

The education center will also offer its annual Teen Musical Theatre Workshop production, Musical Theatre Workshop Jr., and private instruction in voice and performance.

“Here at the Center Stage Theatre Education Center, children and teens grow into confident, young adults with valuable skills which are transferable to many areas of their lives,” said Lenore Wszolek, Center Stage Theatre director of administration. “In addition, we offer high school students opportunities to complete community-service hours and internships/capstone projects at Center Stage Theatre.”

To achieve those goals, Wszolek said the center has added new staff to teach the new course offerings.

Tom Simonetti from Valley Shakespeare Festival will be teaching classic Shakespeare. Simonetti is the founder and executive director of Valley Shakespeare Festival. He splits his time between New York and Connecticut and works as an actor/dramaturge for such companies as the Signature Theater, the Looking Glass Theater, Co., and the Classic Stage Co.

Sandy Morrill, a sixth grade language arts teacher in Shelton, will be teaching “Acting and Improvisation” on Thursdays during the winter/spring session. Morrill has been involved in nearly every aspect of stage production from building sets to lighting to acting. She has appeared in various community theater productions, including performances at The Little Theatre in Newtown.

Michelle Lambert will be the new resident vocal instructor and coach. Lambert has been teaching voice and musical theater performance for the past 20 years at her private studio and Greenwich High School. She teaches vocal technique, song performance, audition preparation, and stage movement. She studied graduate level classical voice at the Yale School of Music and received a certificate to teach from Penn State for Classical to Musical Theatre Training in the Voice Teachers Program. Lambert recently won “Best Voice Lessons of 2019” from

There will also be an Introduction to Costuming class this session under the direction of resident costume designer Diane Chuba. Chuba has been a member of the Center Stage Theatre family for the past 13 years and manages the theater’s in-house costume shop. Students will learn the process and research and organizational skills needed to design costumes for a production and will be provided hands-on experience as they develop their sewing skills.

In the fall, Center Stage Education Center plans to expand its workshops by offering classes to adults through Valley Adult Education.