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.


Emily Curro was born and raised in Western Massachusetts. Before joining the Academy of Music team, Emily lived as an avid performer and production stage manager. Her work took her all over the country and overseas to China for over a year, where she performed with the Shanghai Repertory Theatre. After slowing down on the travel train, Emily received her MFA in Theatre Management from Florida State University and joined the Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival as the Associate of Marketing and Development. She believes the arts are an integral part of how we form communities; how we perceive and communicate with the world around us and with each other. She is thrilled to be coming back home, to join this gem of an organization, and to work tirelessly to raise awareness and support for the arts on a professional level in her community.


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.


Martha Potyrala, Education Director, joined the Academy six years ago co-directing its Summer Musical Theatre Workshops. Since that time she has co-directed the winter musical theater Academy Youth Productions of Camp Rock, Fame Jr., The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr. and Into the Woods, Jr.  She comes to the Academy through education experiences in Springfield Public Schools and Holyoke Community College. She teaches musical theater dance at Pioneer Valley Ballet, performs with the company, and develops outreach performances for area schools. She earned her B.A. at Curry College and M.Ed. at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Tanya Ritchie (aka Tanya O’Debra), a writer and performer on hiatus from Brooklyn, NY, is thrilled to join the Academy of Music as the Box Office Manager. As one half of the ECNY Award nominated comic sister duo, The O’Debra Twins, Miss O’Debra has spread mirth and filth all over NYC. Their annual O’Debbie Awards garnered a Best of New York Award from The Village Voice. Published by Original Works, her play Radio Star has been produced nationally and internationally, receiving numerous awards and accolades. Other theater credits include Patrice O’Debra in Straight Up Vampire (Joe’s Pub), The Evil Queen in Snow White (The New Acting Company) and Amanda McCloud in The Ultimate Stimulus (Dixon Place). Her newest Play, Shut UP, Emily Dickinson, is in development. She is currently an English major at Smith College.