Stephanie GARZA Michaels, Artistic Director
Stephanie is a dynamic musical and theatrical program developer, director, and passionate educator committed to elevating the diverse and unique voices and stories of her students. Stephanie, a native of Troy, Michigan is an alumna of Interlochen Arts Academy, the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and was the youngest member of the Hal Prince Music Theatre Workshop and the Oberlin Institute of Vocal Pedagogy. She was fortunate to work with many greats in the fields of music and theatre including Marni Nixon, Barbara Cook, Joanna Merlin, Paul Gemignani, Cheryl Studer, and Beverley Johnson among many other notable influences. She has continued her commitment to personal and professional growth, receiving her M.Ed in curriculum and Development in Theatre Pedagogy, Somatic Voicework TM certification, Estill voice training, Soul Ingredients vocal training, and Diversity and Inclusion training through multiple institutions.
Stephanie has appeared in many musical theatre and operatic roles on the New York stage, regionally, and on National Tour. Stephanie’s Favorite roles include Norma Desmond in “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” Aldonza in “Man of La Mancha,” Hesione in“Triumph of Love,” Dinah in Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti,” in New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Rose Maurrant and Mae Jones in Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene,” and countless other roles.
In addition to her stage work, she has concertized in some of the nations leading music venues and has appeared with the New York Times and Santa Fe Concert Series and locally with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She frequently performs with her husband, baritone Neil Michaels. For the past nineteen years, she has been thrilled to often serve Temple Israel as a Cantorial Soloist, educator, and Community Music Presenter.
Stephanie is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and maintains a flourishing voice studio. For the past nine years, she has been an Instructor of Voice and Lecturer in Music and Theatre at Oakland University. She served on the faculty of Frankel Jewish Academy for four years as instructor of vocal music and Vocal Director for the theatrical productions, which were presented at The Berman Center for the Performing Arts.
Stephanie created and directed a musical theatre program for high school students in 2011 and her students from that program have gone on to the highest levels of theatrical training and professional careers. She may be seen in the film, Shoah Ambassadors, directed by Keith Famie. Stephanie is a member of Actors Equity.
Most recently, Stephanie founded and serves as Artistic Director for the professional theatre company, IGNITE! Productions, and its training program, SPARKS! Stephanie’s favorite role is that of mother to her two adorable and talented children, Elliana and Shane.
Shawn McDonald is Temple Israel’s pianist, and also Minister of music at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor. He received his Master’s Degree on a fellowship at the University of Michigan and undergraduate degrees from Eastern Michigan University in voice and organ. Shawn has portrayed numerous operatic roles, and has performed in concert with the Alma Symphony, the Clarion Symphony, the Ypsilanti Symphony, Friends of the Opera of Michigan, the Verdi Opera Theater, and the Tuesday Musicale of Detroit. Shawn has been a member of faculty at Marygrove College as Director of Vocal Activities, where he helped to produce, design, and musically direct productions. He was also co-founder of Arbor Opera Theater, which he led as artistic director from 2005-2018.
Dance Instructor and Choreographer
Amanda Lehman has been a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer based out of NYC for over a decade. She received her training on the prestigious Richard Ellner Scholarship at Broadway Dance Center. Amanda is a featured dancer and choreographer for Transcendence Theatre Company’s Broadway Under the Stars in Sonoma, CA. Her work in California gained her a Broadway World award for Best Choreography. Most recently, Amanda choreographed and performed in a national Ford Car commercial. In fall of 2017, she choreographed Bullets Over Broadway at Oakland University. She has performed in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and was an original cast member for Disney’s Finding Nemo the Musical at Walt Disney World written by Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award winner, Robert Lopez. Amanda performed in Footloose directed/choreographed by Emmy Award winner, AC Ciulla. She has done several productions of Randy Skinner’s Tony Award winning Broadway musical 42ND STREET including the Moscow, Japan and US National touring companies. You could find Amanda performing with the cast of Rock of Ages at The Cutting Room’s Rock’ N Roll Debauchery cabaret. Traveling to over 80 cities and 7 countries, Amanda performed abroad with the Irish Dance show Spirit of the Dance. At the start of her career Amanda spent a summer performing at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania and six months at sea on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas. As a former competitive dancer and title holder she is currently on staff adjudicating and teaching master classes for several national dance conventions and competitions in the US and Canada. Amanda is currently on faculty at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and loves working with the next generation of dancers at nationally acclaimed competitive studios throughout Michigan and Ohio. Several of her students have gone on to have successful careers in the industry in addition to getting accepted into some of the most prestigious college Musical Theatre and Dance programs such as University of Michigan, Pace, Oklahoma City University, Julliard and Point Park. She has taught at the collegiate level in New York City at the American Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (AMDA) conservatory and CAP21 in Manhattan. She was a substitute faculty member for Sheila Barker at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Amanda is on the board of advisors for the California School of the Arts in San Gabriel Valley. She was a published columnist for Dancer Magazine and was featured in Dance Teacher Magazine’s April 2006 issue. In addition to performing in many Broadway revue productions, some of Amanda's favorite regional theatre credits include: A Chorus Line, West Side Story and Music Man. She has choreographed for the Miss Connecticut pageant, America's Junior Miss, and Nike’s Step it Up challenge. Amanda could also be seen in the CBS commercial America for the Arts and is well known in Tokyo for NHK's television documentary Broadway Dreams: The Life of a Dancer. Amanda is a proud AEA, SAG-AFTRA, AGVA member.
DANCE INSTRUCTOR AND CHOREOGRAPHER
Mark is the current owner of Annette and Company. He started dancing at the age of five, and has been teaching since he was fourteen. He has also judged national competitions. After touring with "West Side Story" in Europe, he began teaching for the Dupree Dance Expo, Manhattan Dance Project and Broadway Dance Center. His work was most recently seen at Brooklyn College and the University of Michigan. Mark has also choreographed benefits for Juvenile Diabetes. He is now back at the studio sharing his award winning choreography with all our students!
Stephanie Gettings grew up dancing competitively at Raedene’s Dancin’ Stars Studio in Macomb, MI, starting classes when she was 5. She competed in several styles, including jazz, tap, musical theatre, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, pointe, hip-hop, and pom. Her self-choreographed solos received several Top 10, Top 5, and performance awards at regional competitions.
She is a recent graduate of Oakland University, where she received her BFA in Musical Theatre. While in college, she taught various classes at nearby studios and choreographed for several shows including Alice In Wonderland Jr., Island Song, and even a number for her senior showcase at OU. She was dance captain twice in college, for both “Into The Woods” and “The Who’s Tommy”.
Since graduating, Stephanie has been consistently working as a dancer at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. Over the summer, she was a dancer for the popular show “Vertical Impact” as well as the family friendly “Peanut’s Block Party”. For Halloweekends, she will be dancing in the new production “Boneyard Battleground”. Stephanie is so excited to share her knowledge of her professional experiences with others and continue her passion of performing on the weekends.