We're so proud of Stephanie Kurtzuba, last year's Acting the Song instructor and frequent master class teacher, for landing a role in a major feature film (we'll keep you posted on what and when). Unfortunately, that means she'll have to leave the studio for a while to work on the film. The good news is that theater education legend Susan Speidel will be joining Joe Elefante for Acting the Song this semester.
Susan Speidel appeared in the off-Broadway production of OLIO, A MODERN VAUDEVILLE and in THE STUDENT PRINCE, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and KING ISLAND CHRISTMAS at New Jersey’s acclaimed Paper Mill Playhouse. Other regional theatre credits include NUNSENSE, CHICAGO and ALL SHOOK UP! at Surflight Theater; DAMES AT SEA, CINDERELLA and SNOOPY at George Street Playhouse; COMPANY, NINE, THE THREE MUSKETEERS and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG at the Forum Theatre; as well as leading roles in GYPSY, FUNNY GIRL, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, GODSPELL, PETER PAN, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, BRIGADOON, INTO THE WOODS, HELLO DOLLY, ANNIE, and MAME.
She has appeared with the Seattle and Portland Symphonies and is a frequent guest soloist with Florida’s Key West Symphonic Pops, appearing in the inaugural concert of the Pops in 2001 and returning to sing with them almost every season since. She also played the title role in the Pops’ acclaimed concert version of HELLO DOLLY, directed by Lee Roy Reams, and appeared as Stella Deems in a concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES.
She has performed sold-out cabaret shows at New York clubs such as Judy’s Chelsea, The Duplex, and Broadway Baby Bistro, as well as at Bob Egan’s Cosmopolitan Club and the legendary Odette’s in New Hope. Other appearances have included New Jersey’s famed Stockton Inn, McGloone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park, and The Lobby Cabaret in the Tennessee Williams Performing Arts Center in Key West.
Susan’s directing credits include HAIR at the Bickford Theatre, PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES and A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING at Surflight Theatre; THE SOUND OF MUSIC, BYE, BYE, BIRDIE and ALL SHOOK UP! at Plays-In-The-Park; A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, THE APPLE TREE, and ME AND MY GIRL at Villagers’ Theatre; and MAN OF LA MANCHA, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and eleven annual productions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Chatham Players.
She served as Director of Education for New Jersey’s acclaimed Paper Mill Playhouse from 1988 to 2008 and created a wide range of educational initiatives including the award-winning Adopt-A-School Project, cited by the Kennedy Center as a model program, and The Rising Star Awards, which as been replicated by 13 other theatres nationwide.
Graduates of her programs at Paper Mill include Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, as well as many other Broadway performers including Matthew Scott (JERSEY BOYS, A CATERED AFFAIR, SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM), Russell Fisher (JERSEY BOYS), George Psomos (SOUTH PACIFIC), Monette McKay (MEMPHIS), Lael Van Kuren (SISTER ACT), Jonathan Schwartz (SPIDERMAN), Jared Gertner (THE BOOK OF MORMON) and Rob McLure (AVENUE Q and the upcoming CHAPLIN).
Susan was a two-time recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Excellence in Theatre Education, received the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Applause Award in 2000 for her work with gifted and talented students and received the Alliance’s 2007 Leadership Award for her contributions to the field of arts education in New Jersey.
In 2007, she was named Chairman of the Performing Arts Department at Morristown-Beard School, a co-ed independent school in Morristown, NJ for grades 6 to 12 where she oversaw the design and construction of the school’s new performing arts center, The Theater at Founder’s Hall. At MBS, she teaches theatre, directs school productions and produces a wide array of performing arts events.
In addition, she has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Kean University, where she taught Acting, Children’s Theater, Creative Drama, Theater Management and Musical Theater Performance. She also taught Theater Management and a survey in Arts Education in the Arts Administration Master’s Program at Seton Hall University.
She is a member of Actors Equity Association, ArtPride/NJ, the Speech Theater Association of NJ, The American Association of Theater Educators, The Educational Theater Association, The American Federation of Teachers, and the Association of Partners in Education.
A graduate of Rahway High School, she holds a BA in English from Montclair State College and an MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. She earned a Masters in Liberal Studies from Kean University in 2008, graduating with distinction. She also received Kean’s 2005 Women’s Studies Scholarship Award and was named to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Liberal Studies at New Jersey’s Drew University.
For more information about our performing arts classes, visit www.elefantemusic.com/performingartsclasses.shtml.