Director, Choreographer, Musical Theatre Acting, Dance
Mickey, her husband Chuck, and their 4 kids moved to the Augusta area in 1997 after an extensive North American tour with the Broadway musical CATS. They had been based out of Chicago where Mickey and Chuck both performed in area dinner theaters.
Mickey has performed in or choreographed many musicals including Hello Dolly, Gypsy, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, the Wiz, the King and I, and the National Tour of Evita. She also performed in many children’s theatre productions, industrial shows, TV and print ads. She has studied theatre arts across the country and has worked under the direction of Harold Prince and Andrew Lloyd Weber.
After settling in Augusta, Mickey saw there was a lively theatre community here but it lacked a young actor’s musical theatre group. MTW, Musical Theatre Workshops was conceived! Ms Mickey has been teaching children of the CSRA musical theatre acting for over 15 years. Her background in professional theatre has made her a unique mentor and teacher. Ms Mickey’s performing career includes Broadway touring companies, regional theatre, industrial shows, commercial and print work, choreography and extensive directing of children’s productions.
Her enthusiasm for being creative and helping the younger actors find their gifts is contagious. Her goal is to bring out the gifts that God has given to all the kids that pass through MTW no matter their age. To help them gain confidence and let their voices be heard!
Melanie Wade Larsen holds a Master of Music degree in Music Performance from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Additionally, Ms. Larsen holds a B.M. in Vocal performance from Augusta University and was awarded the Lucie C. Ruzicka performance award. In November 2017 her article, “Shaking It Up: From Rn to Vocal Instructor and Performer” was chosen for national publication in Classical Singer Magazine. Her love of opera prompted her to develop “Opera Out & About” which is formulated to introduce elementary age children to the art form.
Ms. Larsen is an active local performer and can be heard singing repertory from classical, music theater, and jazz genres. Performing highlights include singing for internationally- known composer Libby Larsen while at USC, and performing the roles of “First Touriere” and “First Novice” in the concert version of Suor Angelica with the New York Lyric Opera in 2012. Locally, Ms. Larsen has been a featured soloist with the Augusta and Columbia County Choral Societies and the Columbia County Orchestra. Opera credits consist of comprimario roles with the former Augusta Opera and playing the role of “Hare” in A Day at the Beach, a children’s opera by composer Dick Maltz. Music Theatre highlights include the role of “Old Woman II” in Les Miserables with the Augusta Players and serving as chorus director for The Music Man with the Aiken Community Playhouse. This year will mark her third appearance for Silent Movie Night and she will be singing concerts for both the Westabou and Arts in the Heart festivals.
Ms. Larsen has been teaching voice since 2007 and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Her teaching uses concepts from the Alexander Technique, solfege /sight-reading exercises to increase musicianship, and emphasizes healthy vocal production. She accepts students ages seven and up.
Claire has been in theatre since birth, making her debut in the ballet the Nutcracker with the Columbia County Ballet, carried onstage by “grandmother”. Since then, she has been seen onstage with MTW in Hello My Baby, JOJO in Seussical, Alice in Wonderland and many more. One of her favorite roles to date is Peter Pan, 2016, with GRAYT productions, flying around the Imperial Theatre. She has also worked with the Augusta Jr Players.
In 2017 Claire, along with MTW’s JTF team, won Best Ensemble as well as best student choreographer, for their work in Honk Jr, at the JTF festival in Atlanta, GA. Claire enjoys assisting with the choreography for the JTF performances as well as the kids ensemble performances.
George Kasarjian, tenor, voice/sight-singing teacher. Originally from Berkeley, California, Mr. Kasarjian has enjoyed a long and varied musical career that has taken him to such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and the Kennedy Center. Mr. Kasarjian has performed in Italy, Germany and Hungary, as well as all over the United States. Some of his favorite opera roles include Nemorino (L’Elisir d’amore), Frederic (The Pirates of Penzance), Don Jose (Carmen) and Manrico (Il Trovatore).
Mr. Kasarjian was soloist and section leader at New York City’s famous
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Rockefeller Center, where he had the great
honor of singing for both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. Solo credits
at Saint Patrick’s include Cesar Franck’s The Seven Last Words of Christ and
Schubert’s Ave Maria with full orchestra. Mr. Kasarjian also was a soloist
and section leader at the iconic Riverside Church in Harlem. Most recently, Mr. Kasarjian was a featured soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Augusta Choral Society. Other oratorio credits include Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelsohn’s Elijah and Bach’s Magnificat and Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Mr. Kasarjian was a founding member of Opera Collective, a New York
City-based group dedicated to making opera more accessible, in connection with the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Music Under New York program, which sponsors free public performances throughout New York City.
Mr. Kasarjian has many years of teaching experience, having maintained
a voice and sight singing studio in New York City. He is now establishing a studio in the Augusta area, and is now accepting students of all ages, experience levels and genres.
Vocal Instructor and Music Classes for the very young
Kristen Kasarjian received her Bachelor’s of Music from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she majored in classical vocal performance. She enjoyed a varied career performing in operas, concerts, and recitals in New York City, where she lived for twelve years, as well as in Italy, Austria, and Hungary. Kristen and her husband George were founding members of Opera Collective in NYC, a group with a mission to make opera accessible through free public performance and outreach programs, as well as being a support network for up and coming opera singers in the city. Opera Collective became the subject of two documentaries and has been featured in the NY Times and on CNN. Kristen’s true passion lies in teaching. She has been a teacher for nearly 10 years with Music Together, a program that promotes early musical development and family music making for children birth to age five and their parents/caregivers, and she recently founded her own Music Together Center in the CSRA called Tiny Bird Music. She served as the Youth Music Director at St. Mary Parish in Greenwich, CT for 5 years and as the Music and Education Director at the Church of the Atonement in Tenafly, NJ for 3 years. She taught Pre-K through 8th grade music at several schools in NYC through Creative Classrooms and has been teaching private lessons for over 20 years. She believes that everyone is innately musical, and she loves to share the joy and fulfillment that learning to make music can bring. Kristen recently relocated to North Augusta, SC with her husband and two small and very loud children. They are all enjoying the open spaces, fresh air, and amazing people and hope that they can contribute to the already thriving musical community here.
Shay is a homeschooled senior, he has been taking classes at MTW for over ten years, he has been seen as Grasshopper in James and the Giant Peach, Herb in Junie B Jones, Stromboli in My Son Pinocchio, among many others! He has also done productions with the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, Augusta Jr Players, and Greater Augusta Youth Theatre! Last year he assistant directed Alice in Wonderland Jr. and in 2018 he was the Vice President of the Columbia County Teen Thespian Coalition.
Shay has also been apart of the MTW Junior Theatre Festival team for 3 years and in 2017 he was selected as a JTF All-Star and got to perform in front of over 5000 people!
Elementary Drama Teacher
Mrs Christi Wildes is a mother of three -Madeyn, 18, Cameron, 16 and Kathryn, 11 years old. She has been married to Al Wildes for 21 years. Christi has a teaching agree and has been performing in the Augusta area for many years including The Augusta Players, The Augusta Broadway Singers and multiple churches. Christi was co-owner and founder of Singing Princesses and Pirate Parties through January of 2019. Her passion shifted to youth and theater as she worked in the homeschool community. Christi has a desire to help others, especially young people, learn how to be more confident and bring out the best in themselves. She wants to help guide them to use what they learn to build up others. She is a private voice teacher/coach and is a theater teacher in various homeschool co-ops.She is also a soloist on the DOVE award winning album from First Baptist North Augusta’s choir CD project, “Your Word” . She looks forward to getting to know the kids at MTW!