TEACHING ARTISTS
Our faculty consists of an extraordinary team of Teaching Artists who are veterans of the music scene with bodies of work reflecting their exceptional breadth and talent in the NYC singing community. In the spirit of expansion and genre variety, the team is ever-growing, and we will continually welcome new masters to our roster of Teaching Artists.

Karen Mason

Karen Mason has starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, and recording: and "has few peers when it comes to ripping the roof off with her amazing voice that knows no bounds!"

Karen is a twelve -time MAC Award winner and has won the MAC Award for Major Female Vocalist of the Year for six consecutive years. She has also won the 2006 Nightlife Award for Major Female Vocalist and has three Bistro Awards.

Ms. Mason most recently garnered rave reviews starring as The Queen of Hearts in WONDERLAND on Broadway. She originated the role of Tanya on Broadway in Abba's MAMMA MIA!, and was awarded a 2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress.

Her other leading roles include Norma Desmond in SUNSET BOULEVARD, which she performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; Velma von Tussel in the final Broadway company of HAIRSPRAY; "Monotony" singer, Mazeppa in JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY; Rosalie in CARNIVAL (another Drama Desk nomination); plus featured roles in Broadway's TORCH SONG TRILOGY; and PLAY ME A COUNTRY SONG. Karen won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND, and starred Off-Broadway in her own show KAREN MASON SINGS BROADWAY, BEATLES AND BRIAN.

Her television appearances include the hit dramas ED and LAW & ORDER: SVU. Film credits include SLEEPING DOGS LIE and A CHORUS LINE. In regional theatre, Karen starred in the 1st National Tour of A CHRISTMAS STORY as Miss Shields, in the world premiere of the stage production of WHITE CHRISTMAS, (playing the Rosemary Clooney role at St. Louis Muni Opera), SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida), GYPSY (Sundance Theatre in California), the world premiere of ONE TOUGH COOKIE (Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago), HEARTBEATS (Goodspeed Opera House in NY) and COMPANY (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Most recently in New York, Karen starred in the one-woman musical about Dorothy Parker YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE.

Karen has headlined Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Feinstein's at The Regency, Rainbow & Stars, the Algonquin, Arci' Place, The Supper Club and The Ballroom in NYC; The Cinegrill and the UCLA/ASCAP Concert Series in Los Angeles; The Plush Room in San Francisco; and Davenport's in Chicago. She has shared concert stages with Michael Feinstein, Jerry Herman, Chita Rivera, Luciano Pavarotti, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli, and John Kander & Fred Ebb, among others. Karen has given concerts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Tokyo and Osaka. Her starring symphonic performances include The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Michael Berkowitz, The Philly Pops with Peter Nero, The New York Pops with Skitch Henderson, The Oklahoma Philharmonic with Joel Levine, the premier performance of The Chicagoland Pops, The Indianapolis Philharmonic, and the St. Louis Symphony with John McDaniel.

Her highly acclaimed recordings include her newest single, IT'S ABOUT TIME, written by Paul Rolnick and Shelly Markham; her 2009 MAC AWARD-winning Right Here/ Right Now, 2005’s The Sweetest of Nights, the MAC Award-winning When The Sun Comes Out, as well as three other CD’s: Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!, recorded live at the West Bank Café; Better Days, featuring songs by her longtime composer/arranger, Brian Lasser (including the 1998 Emmy Award-winning song "Hold Me"); and Not So Simply Broadway. Karen has been featured on the soundtrack of the original cast CD of Wonderland; Jeffrey (Varese Sarabande), the studio cast recording of Wonderful Town (JAY Records), the original cast album of And The World Goes Round (RCA Victor), The Child In Me, Vol. 1 (Harbinger Records), and Lost in Boston ll (Varese Sarabande).

karenmason.com

Carmen Cancél

Hailed as a singer possessing a “crystalline timbre and intense acting ability,” (L'Arena​, Verona, Italy) Puerto Rican soprano, Carmen Elisa Cancél received high praise for her performances as Countess Almaviva in ​Le Nozze di Figaro​, Puccini's ​Suor Angelica​, Mrs. Fiorentino in Kurt Weill’s ​Street Scene​, Musetta in L​a Bohème, and as Donna Elvira with the Operafestival di Roma production of ​Don Giovanni at the Palazzo della Sapienza in Rome.

As a crossover artist, Ms. Cancél was proclaimed “flawless” and “completely believable” (​Creative Loafing Tampa​) in her performance as the title character of ​Maria’s Song,​ a musical drama focused on the desperate need for immigration reform in the US. Ms. Cancél enjoyed success as Sarraghina in Maury Yeston’s Nine ​with the Bruges Festival in Belgium, where she also performed
in ​Shakespeare Cabaret​, a musical revue of the writings of Shakespeare and his influence on musical theater. She has also performed in ​Fall Pieces, ​at Dixon Place, and a reworked play version of ​Maria's Song a​t Players Theatre in NYC. No stranger to the concert stage, Ms. Cancél has sung the soprano solos in Handel's ​Messiah ​and Pergolesi's ​Stabat Mater ​as well as the Requiems of Fauré and John Rutter. Her singing has taken her throughout the US and to Italy, Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and her native Puerto Rico.

As a voice teacher in NYC, Ms. Cancél trains high caliber singers in all genres of music from classical and Broadway styles to world music, jazz, rock, and cabaret. In her six years as Director of Programs and Development for Musical Dream Inc, she created the organization’s Vocal Arts Training Program and forged a youth choir partnership with The Father’s Heart Ministries on the Lower East Side of NYC. She served as the organization’s primary vocal instructor and mentored many talented young singers through its music training programs.

Ms. Cancél holds an Artist Diploma in Voice Performance from the University of South Florida as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Clearwater Christian College. Additionally, Ms. Cancél holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology. She is active in music ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, and when she is not on the musical stage or in the voice studio, Ms. Cancél enjoys reading, running, cooking with friends, and taking in art exhibitions and musical performances of all kinds. One of her greatest joys comes from volunteering her time with Hope For New York (HFNY) working to diminish social injustice throughout New York City. She is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Opera America.


Gabrielle Stravelli

“​As she dipped and swooped, twirling notes and phrases with a confidence and playfulness that recalled Ella Fitzgerald in her prime, Ms. Stravelli began interpreting lyrics with a ferocity that her vocal pyrotechnics accentuated.”​

--Stephen Holden, New York Times

Award-winning vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli has garnered critical acclaim and a loyal following through her rich sound, original songs and her unique take on material from the new American songbook as well as classic standards. A trained actor, Gabrielle has a soulful sensitivity for the story in the lyric and was called “a powerhouse of individual expression” by The Village Voice.

Most recently Gabrielle headlined the 2018 WBGO Jazz on the Mountain Festival, toured Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Azerbaijan as a United States Department of State “Jazz Ambassador” and toured the US promoting her new album, “Dream Ago” which has received rave reviews from Downbeat Magazine, The Huffington Post and LA Jazz Scene among others. She headlined the 2016 Eleuthera Jazz Festival, a four-country US State Department-sponsored international tour in the ​American Music Abroad​ Program and premiered Rooms of Light,​ a new song cycle by renowned jazz pianist Fred Hersch. She has toured the US with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performing Wynton Marsalis’s ​Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration, h​as been featured in 92Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists Series, at the Caramoor Festival, with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops and the Santa Rosa Symphony. She holds a BFA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

gabriellestravelli.com

Kristine Zbornik

The New York Post called her a madcap mix of Ethel Merman, Lucille Ball and Bette Midler, her father called her a lazy piece of shit that would never amount to anything, you decide.

High paying jobs: WICKED, Madame Morrible, Tour; A Catered Affair, Broadway; Mamma Mia – Rosie, Las Vegas; 9 to5 – Roz, 1s​ t​ National Tour;

Low paying jobs: Into The Woods, Shakespeare in the Park/Delecort Theatre, NYC, Jack’s Mother; Old Jews Telling Jokes; Tales of the City, The Eugene O’Niell Developmental Program; Roadshow, the Public Theater; Shlemiel The First – Off B’way Skirball Center; Forbidden Broadway: Cleans Up It’s Act (Original Cast) and 20t​ h​ Anniversary (Original Cast); Splendora-Sue Ella Lightfoot, Chelsea Playhouse; I Will Come Back - Friend of Barbara, The Players Theater; An Evening with Joan Crawford - Ethel Merman; REGIONAL: Man of La Mancha – Housekeeper, Damn Yankees – Sister, Mae Peterson – Bye, Bye, Birdie all at Goodspeed Opera House; Nine, Papermill Playhouse, Schlemiel The First – Yenta Pesha, OKLAHOMA! - Aunt Eller; Hank Williams Lost Highway – Mamma Lilly; 101 Dalmatians - Cruella DeVil.

I’m paying jobs: Varla Jean Merman is The Bad Seedling - Christine (Lead) Tweed Prods.; Blood Orgy of the Carnival Queens; The Club – Bertie; Cabaret and one person shows: Jackie Hoffman & Kristine Zbornik Joe’s Pub; Holiday Hams Lead; Blow Up World; Ball of Confusion; Serving Mankind; Zbornik In A Trunk.

Created cabaret/one-woman shows for over 25 years throughout the universe.

kristinezbornik.com

Lennie Watts

Lennie Watts is a 15-time MAC, 5-time Backstage Bistro, 3-time Nightlife, and a 2014 Broadway World Award Winner. He is the only person to receive awards as an outstanding vocalist, director, producer, and booking manager. He has been active in the New York cabaret scene for over 25 years.

In addition to directing in small cabaret venues, he has directed events at Symphony Space, Town Hall, and BB King Blues Club. He has toured nationally and internationally with productions of “The Music Man” (Marcellus) and “The Wizard of Oz” (Lion). He has performed at Town Hall in several concerts, including “Broadway Unplugged” and “Broadway By The Year, 1949,” and can be heard on the cast recordings of both shows. As a theater director, he has directed productions of “How To Succeed in Business…”, “Godspell,” “Dames at Sea,” “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “Phantom.”

Watts is the creator of “cab lab, “Summer In The City,” and “The Arrangement Experience and Boot Camp,” all critically acclaimed professional cabaret performance workshops. He has been teaching and conducting workshops in NYC and around the country for over 20 years. He is on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College, and has been a Master Teacher at The Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference for the last 3 years, and will be returning in August. He created and produced the award winning “Under The Covers” series. “The Village Voice” calls him “A one man cabaret army!” He is the 2013 MAX Award Winner for Outstanding Major Artist for his critically acclaimed show, “Bloody Bloody Lennie Watts.” Lennie was recently named One of the 50 Most Influential People in Cabaret, and is currently the President of MAC.

lenniewatts.com

Danielle Epstein, LCSW

Danielle Epstein is a licensed clinical social worker with experience providing psychotherapy to children and adults as well as in-home psychiatric crisis management.  She holds a Master’s degree from the NYU Silver School of Social Work and is currently in the process of completing a 3-year certificate program in psychotherapy at the William Alanson White Institute.

Before becoming a therapist, Danielle enjoyed a career as a performing artist appearing in productions from the worlds of Shakespeare and musical theater to the popular immersive theater production, Sleep No More.  She garnered particular attention for her cabaret performances being awarded both the Bistro and MAC awards as well as critical praise from such publications as the Village Voice and the Huffington Post.  In merging her work as a performing artist and a therapist, Danielle is committed to empowering artists in the ever-important work of investigating and reflecting the human experience as a way to promote curiosity, courage and understanding wherever and whenever possible.   

YOUR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

DONATE HERE

CLASSES

Arrangement Experience
Master Series
Sing Your Story
ZEN Singing - Being in the Zone
The Training Room

Instagram feed

S=singer I=inspire N=nurture G=grow E=empower R=raise the bar