Staff - ACADEMY OF MUSIC

Staff

Legal:
A. Craig Brown, Esq.
Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, P.C.
60 State Street Northampton, MA 01060


Before joining the Academy of Music Theatre, Executive Director Debra J’Anthony served as the executive director of the Shea Community Theater in Turners Falls, Mass., for sixteen years. During her tenure there, she was awarded the Community Theater Association Back Stage Award and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate Official Citation. In addition to her work as an arts administrator, Debra taught flute and chamber music at Stoneleigh-Burnham and Eaglebrook schools, and has performed professionally as a musician throughout North America and Europe. Her passion for the arts takes many forms. Debra is a published poet, and is a current board member of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce and the Hampshire Regional Tourism Council. Debra is a member of the Paradise City Cultural District Committee, the national planning committee for SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and New England Presenters.


Melissa Cleary Pearson is delighted to be returning to the Academy of Music Theatre as Theater Manager. During her 6 year hiatus from the Academy, she held a position as Audience Services Manager for the UMass Fine Arts Center and as an events coordinator for the Downtown Northampton Association. She is an active member of the arts community serving as Treasurer of the Board of Directors at the Northampton Center for the Arts and rehearsal captain for the Legible Bod(ies) dance company. She teaches ballet at the Children’s Ballet and Movement Company. Melissa is a UMass Theater graduate.


Michael Abbatiello graduated from The Ohio State University with a BFA focused in Media and Performance with Choreography. He has performed and taught internationally with companies such as Dante Brown|Warehouse Dance, BARE Dance Company, and Maya Orchin Dance. During his tenure as a professional dancer, Michael worked as Master Electrician, Light & Set Design, and Technical Director for Marlboro College, Celebrity Dance Competitions, The Vanderbilt Republic, and Two Planks Theatre Company.


Susan Dillard is a music and theater educator and performer with a deep connection to Western Massachusetts. Since 2005, she has been a part of the music and theater scenes as a student at Northampton High School and later at UMass Amherst. In 2014, Susan moved to Oklahoma City to complete her master’s in Music Theatre at Oklahoma City University. After graduating in 2016, she taught voice lessons as OCU faculty until moving back to Western Mass in the summer of 2021. Since 2013 Susan has been co-directing the Summer Musical Theater Workshops at the Academy and she is so excited to continue her work with the youth program as Director of Education.