musical theatre FACULTY

chip gallagher

DEPARTMENT CHAIR, chip.gallagher@gsarts.net

Chip Gallagher,  has been a part of The Governor’s School for the Arts for the past 31 years. A published arranger and composer, he has served as director and musical director for Paramount’s King’s Dominion, Virginia Musical Theatre and The Virginia Stage Company. He is currently Artistic Director for Virginia Musical Theatre. Performing credits include King’s Dominion, Walt Disney World, King’s Productions, the 1984 Presidential Inaugural Celebration, and Virginia Musical Theatre’s productions of The Student Prince, Funny Girl, The Boyfriend, Tintypes, Guys & Dolls, Can-Can, Phantom, Bye, Bye Birdie, White Christmas and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Chip teaches Belt Tech, Audition Tech, and Musical Theatre Workshop.

jeff warner

CHOREOGRAPHER + ASSOCIATE CHAIR, jeff.warner@gsarts.net

Jeff Warner, first began performing in college with a group called “The New Virginians” at Virginia Tech, where he was an architecture major. Since then, he has been performing professionally for over twenty years - for theme park shows, cruise ships, and musicals with regional theaters. Jeff has performed in and/or choreographed over thirty productions with Virginia Musical Theatre and is very proud to have spent the past nineteen years as choreographer and dance teacher for the Musical Theatre Department of The Governor’s School for the Arts.  Jeff teaches Jazz, Broadway Styles, Broadway Literature.

Allan Decipulo

MUSICAL DIRECTOR, VOCAL COACHING, allan.decipulo@gsarts.net

A talented pianist/accompanist, Allan is the musical director and vocal coach in the Musical Theater department.  Allan has worked for many arts educational institutions including Broadway Dance Center, Ballet Arts, City College of New York and Arena Stage in Washington D.C.  Along with accompanying for auditions, rehearsals and vocal classes in New York, he has had the great pleasure of serving as Music Director and Vocal coach with other Broadway Artists in “Take It From The Top”, a New York City based organization which presents performance workshops for aspiring teens across the country. Since moving back to the Hampton Roads area, Allan has accompanied for the Hampton Roads Men’s Chorus, the Children’s Chorus of Virginia, and has played keyboard for Virginia Musical Theatre and Governor’s School for the Arts productions. Currently, Allan is the resident Musical Director for Virginia Musical Theatre, a Teaching Artist for Young Audiences of Virginia, Music teacher at the Stratford School, and serves as pianist/organist at VBCC.  Allan received his bachelor’s in Piano Performance from Radford University.

Michael Kaiser

BALLET, MUSIC THEORY

Michael Kaiser has been on faculty at The Governor’s School for the Arts since 1990. Michael Kaiser studied classical ballet with the Tidewater Ballet and Virginia Ballet Theatre. His professional credits include: The Virginia Ballet Theatre, The Chamber Ballet of Williamsburg, The Wilmington Dance Theater, The Virginia Opera, The Virginia Symphony, The Charleston Ballet and the Tidewater Musical Theatre. Michael has a BA in Music Composition he is also on faculty at Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University.

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Lauren Sinclair

BALLET

Lauren Sinclair began her ballet training with Sandra Balestracci in Williamsburg, VA. Lauren is a graduate of the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC where she trained under the tutelage of Alla Sizova, Nikolai Morozov, and Ludmila Morkovina. During her ten year professional dance career, Lauren performed with Ballet Austin, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and Elbert Watson Dance Company. Her performances included roles in Serenade, Allegro Brillante, Cinderella, Coppélia, Nutcracker, and many other classical and contemporary works. She has a BS in Communication from Old Dominion University (ODU) and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) and Certified Pilates Mat instructor. Lauren strives to create a supportive environment for all her students, so they can learn and grow to their maximum potential without a fear of failure. She has a passion for the mental health of dancers and is a Mental Wellness Certified Dance Educator through Danscend. She is also trained in the following programs: Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), SugarFoot Therapy (SFT) Injury Prevention for Dancers, and Flexistretcher (FLX). Lauren has been on the faculty of The Governor's School for the Arts (GSA) since 2012, teaching for the Dance, Musical Theatre, and Vocal Music Departments and has choreographed for Dance and Vocal Music. Lauren joined ODU as an Adjunct Instructor in 2020. She teaches Master Classes in the Hampton Roads area and for the Regional High School Dance Festival. 

Kelley Schlaepfer

TAP

Kelley began dancing at the age of 2 under the direction of her mom, Bobbi Powell, and Helen Allsbrook, founders of Bobbi and Helen School of Dance.  She furthered her dance education at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and various workshops and dance conventions to include instruction by Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio and Wade Robson.  At the age of 16 Kelley began her teaching career.

At 19 Kelley changed the direction of her path to pursue a professional performing career.  She spent 7 years as a featured dancer, dancing and singing at Kings Dominion and Kings Island and moved on to directing and choreographing shows for the various theme parks within Taft Attractions, Kings Productions and Paramount Parks.  In 1989 Kelley was one of six performers chosen from hundreds to perform for our troops in an overseas, Department of Defense USO Show touring Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.  Kelley also had the pleasure of performing in several Industrial Shows with such celebrities as Ben Vereen, Tony Danza, Lee Greenwood, Florence Henderson and Nell Carter.

In 1992, Ray Kennedy Entertainment hired Kelley for their cruise line and she traveled the world dancing and singing aboard various cruise ships including the renowned Queen Elizabeth 2, the Sagafjoord, the Crown Monarch, the Crown Jewel and the Enchanted Isle.  A few of her musical theatre credits include Victoria (The White Cat) in excerpts from Cats, Baby in excerpts from Sweet Charity and Louise in excerpts from Gypsy.  After 3 years performing on cruise ships, Kelley moved into a director/choreographer position with Crown and Cunard Cruise Lines.  

Janelle Spruill

JAZZ

Janelle Spruill graduated from The Governor’s School for the Arts in 2003 and earned her BFA in Dance and minor in Media Studies from Marymount Manhattan College in 2007.  While there, she performed works by Twyla Tharp, Doug Varone, Martha Graham and many others.  She was a member of the Elizabeth Higgins Dance Theater from 2004-2008.  She has been a scholarship student at The Ailey School, The Gus Giordano Dance School, American Dance Festival, and Garth Fagan Dance where she also had the opportunity to work and dance with the company.  She has been a teacher’s assistant at Broadway Dance Center for Shelia Barker and was a Rehearsal Assistant for the Richmond Ballet’s production of "The Nutcracker" in 2009 and 2013-2015.  She has performed numerous times with the Virginia Symphony and with Lyric Opera Virginia’s production of "La Traviata" as well as "The King and I" as "Angel George" in 2012.  She was a dancer in the Virginia Arts Festival’s production of "Leonard Bernstein’s Mass" in 2010.  She is Dance Masters of America certified in jazz dance and has taught at many DMA dance conventions. She has also taught at The Regional High School Dance Festivals Norfolk and at The National High School Dance Festivals in Miami, Florida and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She has been on faculty at The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia since 2009 teaching and choreographing for both the Dance and Musical Theatre Departments.  Her works have recently been accepted to The Richmond Choreographer’s Showcase and The Regional High School Dance Festival.  She has choreographs for The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Arts Festival "Rhythm Live Project", Norfolk’s Grand Illumination Parade and for Todd Rosenlieb Dance.  She was Associate Director of the TRDance Ensemble from 2014- 2020.

Nasia Thomas
Guest Artist
Gabriela Gomez
Guest Artist
John Leggio
Guest Artist

amber romano

Amber Romano, native of Rhode Island, received her early classical ballet training at Festival Ballet and Heritage Ballet. She spent summers training at prestigious schools such as Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She began her professional career with the Nashville Ballet in Tennessee. For four years, she had the opportunity to perform in countless productions, her favorites including George Balanchine's Serenade and a demisoloist role in Waltz of the Flowers in The Nutcracker. In 2016, Amber moved to Norfolk, VA to join the TRDance and Virginia Ballet Theatre companies. Amber first began teaching ballet in Nashville and has found a passion in sharing her experience and love of dance with students of all ages.

patrice covington

Patrice Covington is an Emmy award-winning actress, singer, author, and model. She is best known for her role as Squeak in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple, National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha as Erma, and Amazon Prime’s A League of Their Own as Gracie. She has traveled the world providing background vocals for legendary performers like Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera, among others. Since 2020, Patrice consistently lights up the holiday charts with her soulful rendition of “My Favorite Things”. Off stage, she serves as a celebrity ambassador for Kids in the Spotlight and provides performance education and coaching through her program, The Galaxy Method. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Patrice’s motto is "Don't be a star...be a galaxy.” @patricecovington

evan meares

Evan Meares is a 2022 graduate from the Musical Theater Department at The Governor's School for the Arts. He has performed in numerous productions over the years with GSA, Virginia Musical Theater, and other local theaters. While he pursues his post-secondary education at Old Dominion University, he will be continuing to pursue his passion for the piano through his new role as an accompanist at GSA.

Van Hughes
Guest Artist