Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Things To Do

June 28, 2012

Homegrown artists lead Playhouse classes

CROSSVILLE — Musical Theater and dance join hands again this year at Cumberland County Playhouse (CCP) as Playhouse dancer/performers and education alumnae Leila Nelson and Aven Chadwell lead the CCP’S Performance Education Program to new heights. Nelson joined returning Education Director Weslie Webster, and professional actor/teacher Greg Pendzick as lead teachers in the Triple Threat Summer Camp. Chadwell returns from her American Dance Festival, Belmont University and Nashville Ballet advanced training to help launch and lead CCP’s Fall Dance and Theater Education term in mid-September.

Nelson and Chadwell both “grew up on the Playhouse stage,” trained in dance and theater by Eldar and Lilia Valiev, Jim Crabtree, Kiersten Mays, Broadway veteran Jeremy Benton, Weslie Webster, Nicole Begue and Jennifer Austin. Tap, jazz and musical theater dance specialist Nelson is resident choreographer for the year-round professional theater, and director of The Music Man, just opened for an all-summer run as the theater’s flagship show. Chadwell, who starred as Princess Clara in CCP’s Nutcracker opposite Russian soloist Evgueny Tourdiev, brings to the stage and studio exceptional ballet and modern strength, plus cross training and teaching in multiple styles. She continues training with Nashville Ballet and Belmont University.

Nelson joins CCP company members Weslie Webster, Greg Pendzick, Donald Frison, Chaz Sanders and Jensen Crain as instructors for CCP's Triple Threat Summer Camp. For four decades, CCP has trained young performers to appear alongside seasoned professionals — and for some to go on to their own "triple threat" careers, including 2012 guest director and Broadway veteran Jeremy Benton, now in rehearsal (assisted by Nelson and national tour veteran Britt Hancock) for the Ginger Rogers musical, Backwards in High Heels, opening July 27.

The 2012-'13 Playhouse Performance Education year will begin in mid-September and continue through late April or Early May. Finalized schedules will be published later this month, and it is expected that fees and payment policies and performance opportunities will be comparable to the 2011-'12 season.

To receive more information, or sign up for the 2012-13 training programs, please call Meka Doxtator Barrier at 931.484.4324, or email mdoxtator@ccplayhouse.com.

Currently at the Playhouse: Leila Nelson’s production of The Music Man (rated G sponsored by Crossville, Inc.) opens June 22; See Rock City (rated G) through August 17; Smoke On The Mountain (rated G, sponsored by Cracker Barrel Old country Store) through August 10; and the uproarious musical vaudeville/medicine show Cowboys (rated G, sponsored by The Beef & Barrel, The Blind Zebra and Red’s Ale House) plays through mid July.

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