musical theatre

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Tyrese Avery

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We are over-the-moon excited to introduce you to Tyrese Avery, a brilliant young artist in New York City.  He is a spectacularly talented singer, actor and dancer.  Tyrese is an 11th grade student at Democracy Prep Endurance High School in Harlem and is actively involved in the performing arts program there.  He has stolen the show countless times, in numerous productions.  In addition, he is an award-winning member of his school's speech and debate team and is a member of a musical group called HIS-TORY.  We are so happy to have had the opportunity to interview him to learn more about his art and why it’s important to him, who his musical inspiration is and how arts education has impacted his life.  One thing we know for sure is that this young man is a bright shining star!  

What is your art medium?

Music has always been my first love. However, I’ve taken up acting and dancing and found that I have a place in all three. I’ve never been a visual artist in terms of drawing or painting, but performing arts is my calling. There’s nothing like it for me! 

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Why is your art important to you?

My art is really the only thing I have to call my own. As a minority, and as a minor, a lot of things can be taken from you without question. Even your will power may be taken. On the contrary, nobody can ever take away your art and what speaks to you. Art is the one thing that is very unique to me and it runs throughout my family’s blood. However, nobody before me has had the opportunity to excel and practice their art. 

What do you want your art to say?

I want my art to engage youth and adult audiences alike. I want to bridge the gap so parents and children better understand and communicate with one another. 


What project are you working on now?

Fools In Love (April, May)

Cinderella (June) 

West Side Story (June)

Who is your favorite artist?

I find it hard to narrow it down to one artist, but, growing up Michael Jackson was a huge influence for me. May he rest in peace. 



How has arts education impacted your life?

 Without arts education via the likes of the talented Jerry Phelps, Sarah Rosenberg, Luis Cardenas, Norberto Troncoso, Lisa Kowalski, Dominic Colon, Kaitlyn Kenney, and Julie Haggerty, I would not be where I am today. Truly these individuals have changed my life and I am eternally grateful for it. 




Tyrese Avery, a Junior in High School, is a scholar who has a yearning for learning when it comes to the arts. He is constantly engaging in extracurricular activities such as Speech and Debate, School musicals, and Open Hydrant Theater Company on weekends. His past projects have included Lion King Jr. (Rafikki), Hairspray Jr. (Link), Aida (Mereb), High School Musical (Zeke Baylor), and In The Heights (Benny). His upcoming endeavors include Fools in Love (Puck), West Side Story (Tony), and Cinderella (Prince). Other projects that are in the works include a workshop of a play in which he plays a Harry Potter like character (HP) who is the imaginary friend of the protagonist. This is a coming of age story of the protagonist who watched her parents go through cheating and separation. He also has his own musical endeavors with his colleague and partner Clayton Fountain (ClayClutch) as part of their musical group, HIS-TORY. Tyrese is also an acceptant of the BADA Conservatory program in Oxford England. 







Everyday Artist Spotlight: Angela Shultz

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We are beyond pleased to introduce you to an exceptional theatre and cabaret artist, Angela Shultz, who is a triple threat: brilliant singer, stunning actor and accomplished producer! Most recently, she co-founded The Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan, a non-profit theatre that is committed to diversity and social justice.  Angela has done it all and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask her some questions to learn more about what inspires and drives her work, what role arts education has played in her life as well as get the inside scoop on what she’s currently cooking up in the arts world.


Why is your art important to you?

Music, especially, is the one thing that has been incredibly consistent in my life. I've moved around and relationships come and go, but I've always had an outlet when I sing. Sometimes I can understand what I'm feeling in a more succinct way because another artist has put words and music to those emotions, and I don't know where I'd be without that! How cheesy is that?


What do you want your art to say?

Whether I'm singing/acting or producing (which I do more of these days), I love how the arts can give voice to people who are often voiceless. I love to perform characters who say things that are difficult to express. As a producer, I love that we get to share stories of people you don't always encounter face-to-face in real life. I'm also passionate about presenting new work. There are endless numbers of talented people in New York City (and around the world, of course) and some simply need to find an audience.


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What project are you working on now?

Stomping Ground Theatre Co. is producing Cover: A Play About Trafficking on March 23-24. It's a compelling play by Joy Powell which is inspired by the work of The Covering House in St. Louis. The plays tells the story of the sex trafficking survivors and the women who helped them.


Who is your favorite artist?

Too many to name! I am, of course, a huge fan of my lifelong friend Brett Kristofferson. His musical theatre work is incredibly rich and powerful and is an absolute thrill to sing or experience as audience.


How has arts education impacted your life?

My early teachers taught me so much about loving music and theatre, but also about how important it is to work hard no matter what you're doing. Arts education taught me how to be independent and figure things out for myself, but it also taught me the value all members of an ensemble bring to a project. It gave me confidence and focus, and a way to understand some parts of the world around me.




ANGELA SHULTZ National Tour: Titanic (Alice Beane), NYC Theatre: York Theatre reading – Paris Through the Window (Muse), Assassins (Sara Jane Moore – 5th Floor), Falsettos (Cordelia - Wingspan Arts), The Wasp Woman (Phyllis Futch/reading) and Halloween Hullabaloo (Workshop). Regional credits: Titanic (Alice Beane), Nunset Blvd (Reverend Mother), Closer Than Ever, The Secret Garden (Martha), Company (Marta) Bat Boy (Ruthie/Ned), Nunsense (Rev Mo and Hubert), Godspell (Joanne and Sonia). She is the 2010 recipient of the Hanson Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, as well as a 2012 Nominee for Best Female Vocalist. Angela also directed Hector Coris’ 2010 MAC Award-winning performance in Life is Wonderful. Education: Master’s in Theatre Education (Fontbonne University), Bachelor of Music (Missouri Baptist University). Angela also directed cabaret shows for Jerry Phelps and the recent Off-Off Broadway production of Steel Magnolias. She taught for Professional Performing Arts School in NYC as well as Fontbonne and Missouri Baptist Universities, and Stages St. Louis. Angela is a co-founder of Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan. For more info, please visit

I Was A Shy Kid. No, really!

by JANELLE L. Bristol

I was a shy kid. Most who know the adult me would balk at this declaration but it’s true. Three year old me was most comfortable either behind my mother’s skirt or sitting high above on my granddaddy’s shoulders. I could sit in a room surrounded by family and friends and disappear into my land of make believe with a book, my Barbie village, or paper and crayons. My mother, being a bit of a wallflower herself wanted me to have more, do more, experience…more, all in an effort to bring me out of my shell. Taking me to my first Broadway show at the age of 3 (Annie), she witnessed first-hand how I would light up like the brightest light on Broadway. She saw how enamored I was with the entire production - the costumes, the sets, the songs, the choreography - the thrill of it all was painted on my tiny face. And so, as many loving mothers would do she made sure I was exposed to all facets of the arts - music, dance, theater, visual art. The schools I attended had rich music and art education classes. My afterschool program had a theater department where we had full productions of The King and I (I played Anna) and The Wiz (guess who was Dorothy) to name a few. This was not by accident. My mother saw a light in me and she nurtured it the best way she knew how – by choosing environments where her wallflower child could blossom. And blossom I did. I found my voice. I discovered my confidence. These environments unlocked who I was truly meant to be. My world of make believe became my reality - I was surrounded by stories and how they were told. I loved ever second of it. I still do today. 

Today, I may not work in the arts. However, I thrive because of the influence of the arts. I doubt I'd still be stuck behind my mom's skirt at this age but without art education, I'd definitely be stuck. 



Janelle L. Bristol is a native of Harlem, New York. She currently works as technology instructor/instructional designer  for a major New York City cultural institution.  An avid life enthusiast, you'll never find her without a good book, her journal, her phone, and her passport.