Meet the 2021 Guest Faculty
Claudia Benack – Associate Teaching Professor, Voice, Carnegie Mellon University, received both her BFA and MFA degrees in Vocal Performance from CMU’s School of Music where she studied voice with Beatrice Krebs and Opera Workshop with Mildred Miller. She continued her vocal studies with Ellen Faull of the Juilliard School, the late Margaret Hoswell of the Manhattan School of Music, and Gary Race, formerly of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Iowa. Benack is a member of NATS, Sigma Alpha Iota, and has served as Vice-President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of NSAL. As a performer, Benack is comfortable in a broad range of settings. In the operatic genre, she is an award-winning lyric soprano: MTNA National First place winner in Voice (1983), NSAL Regional winner and National semi-finalist (1987) and recipient of the Minna Kaufmann Ruud Fund grant. She was a leading soprano for twenty years with Pittsburgh Opera Theater, and performed frequently with Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pennsylvania Opera Workshop, and other regional opera companies. Benack also boasts an impressive array of musical theater credits. Favorite productions include BABY (Arlene), THE SOUND OF MUSC (Maria), Guys and Dolls (Sarah), OKLAHOMA! (Laurey), A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Charlotte), OF THEE I SING (Benson), and MY FAIR LADY (Eliza). Benack is a true advocate and promoter of healthy singing through solid vocal technique and training and continues her studies in vocal teaching by attending singing workshops throughout the country and working with numerous vocal therapists and throat doctors. She also maintains her own thriving private studio. Benack’s favorite part of her career has become watching and enjoying former and present students appear in countless national tours and regional productions. Broadway shows that presently have or have had her students as cast members include 42ND STREET, JERSEY BOYS, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, MARY POPPINS, WICKED, 9 TO 5, DRACULA, FLOWER DRUM SONG, RENT, THE PAJAMA GAME, GOOD VIBRATIONS, ALL SHOOK UP, THE PRODUCERS and PACIFIC OVERTURES.
Kevin Covert – Director of Musical Theatre and Assistant Professor of Theatre, Shenandoah University. As an Actor, he has been seen in the Original Broadway casts of SPAMALOT, MEMPHIS (Fred Astaire Nominee 2010), and most recently the hit revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING starring Daniel Radcliffe, Darren Criss and Nick Jonas. Kevin can be heard on the Original Broadway Cast Albums of all three. He has toured the country with SOUTH PACIFIC, CATS, GRAND HOTEL, and the 50th Anniversary production of OKLAHOMA!. In addition to being a Broadway Actor, Kevin also serves as one of Tony Award Winner Christopher Gattelli’s (NEWSIES) associates, working with him on the Broadway revival of SOUTH PACIFIC as well as the World Premier of EMMET OTTER at the Goodspeed Musicals. He has directed and choreographed all across the US. Kevin has studied with Jose Quintero, Craig Carnelia and Fred Chappell. Kevin is a proud BFA Music Theatre graduate of Florida State University.
Victoria Bussert – Director of Musical Theatre, Baldwin Wallace University. Victoria has been working as a professional director for more than 30 years. New York credits include THE GIG at Manhattan Theatre Club, DUST AND DREAMS at the YorkTheatre and concert stagings of THE BREAK UP NOTEBOOK: THE LESBIAN MUSICAL, FACTORY GIRLS and THE CIRCUS IN WINTER at New World Stages. Regionally, her work has been seen at Goodspeed Opera, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Firebrand Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland Playhouse, Dobama Theatre, Beck Center for the Arts, Pegasus Players, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theatre where she serves as Resident Director; her opera direction has been seen at Anchorage Opera, Piedmont Opera, Pennsylvania Opera Theatre, Skylight Opera and Cleveland Opera. Victoria directed national tours of INTO THE WOODS, BARNUM, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, GUYS AND DOLLS, THE SECRET GARDEN and THE WHO’S TOMMY. International credits include the Danish Premieres of AVENUE Q (2012 Reumert nomination) and [title of show] for the Fredericia Theatre along with the Danish and London premieres of LIZZIE. Victoria is the Director of Music Theatre for Baldwin Wallace University.
Kim Shively – Professor of Performing Arts, Elon University, Kim Shively is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Performing Arts at Elon University where she teaches acting and directs. A member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Shively has enjoyed a professional career in Theatre, Television, Commercials, Hosting and Voice-over. Professional credits include work with Shakespeare Orange County, Laguna Playhouse, and the Asolo Rep; roles on GUIDING LIGHT, AS THE WORLD TURNS, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, CSI:MIAMI; the short film YOU GOT THIS; and appearances in over a dozen national commercials both on camera and as a voice-over artist. After successfully teaching and coaching actors in Los Angeles for over a decade, Kim is passionate about training working actors who live dynamic, creative lives and know how to shape culture through generating their own work and content. As a director, Shively has worked for various organizations developing and producing content. Recent directing credits include THE WOLVES by Sarah DeLappe, the university premiere of MOMENT by Deirdre Kinahan, TROJAN BARBIE by Christine Evans, and a world premier workshop of THE INFERIOR SEX, by Jacqueline Lawton, all at Elon University. Shively has also presented her research and led workshops at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), North Carolina Women’s Theatre Festival, and South Eastern Theatre Conference (SETC). Her pedagogical research has been published in The Players Journal (NIU), Methods (Pace), she has a chapter in the volume on acting, Objectives, Obstacles and Tactics in Practice: Perspectives on Activating the Actor published by Routledge ,and articles about her practical work and research on Theatrical Intimacy in the University have been published in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (JDTC) and the special issue of Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (PURM) focused on “Mentoring Undergraduate Creative Scholarship.” Her upcoming book, co-authored with colleague Kevin Otos, Applied Meisner for the 21st Century Actor will be released by Routledge in the Spring of 2021 and will be the first acting text to focus on an ethical approach to the acting studio and pedagogy.
Shively is an Associate Faculty for Theatrical Intimacy Education, an organization dedicated to training and equipping theatre professionals and students in best practices for theatrical intimacy work.
Kim earned a BFA in Theatre Performance at Chapman University and an MFA at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory.
Mark Madama, Professor of Musical Theatre, University of Michigan, Mark is going into his twenty-second year as a Professor in the Musical Theatre Department at the University of Michigan. His students have been awarded Academy, Tony, Grammy, Golden Globe, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Obie Awards. Besides teaching, he also is an award-winning director and writer. He’s directed productions in major theatres from coast to coast, Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic. As a writer, Mark’s writings have appeared in theatre books and journals. Included in his work Mark has with partner Wayne Bryan, co-authored a revised version of GOOD NEWS!, which has received over 300 productions. He also teaches master classes throughout the country, preparing hundreds of students for their college audition process.
Kate Watson Gelabert, Head of BFA Music Theatre Program, Florida State University, has choreographed the majority of musicals presented in the Fallon, Lab and Studio theaters since 1981 as well as several works produced by the College of Music and the School of Dance here at FSU. Kate has worked as a guest instructor/choreographer for the Pennsylvania Centre Stage Theater, Seaside Music Theater, Florida Dance Association, The Musical Theater Project of Tampa (directed by Ann Reinking), Southern Ballet Theatre (now Orlando Ballet), Walt Disney World, the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training and the Universidad Nacional Departments of Theatre and Dance in San Jose, Costa Rica. Kate was a National Panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) core program, youngARTS and a founding member of the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance – International (MTEA). She has received the FSU Teaching Award and is a two time recipient of the FSU Teaching Incentive Award. Kate is also the 2008 Guardian of the Flame recipient for the College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance.
Call 561-651-4376 for more information.