musical theatre FACULTY

chip gallagher


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


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


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.



Heather considers it a privilege to tell stories through the magical art forms of theatre, dance, and song.Primarily an actor/singer, Heather has performed and directed professionally for the past 18 years in the US and Japan.  She is also a voiceover-artist, acting teacher, dialect coach, yoga instructor, SAFD certified fight director, and a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association since 2007.  Ms. Mayes holds an MFA in Acting from University of Virginia, and a BA in Theatre from Messiah College.  She also studied acting at Temple University and  The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. Most recent directing projects: Here’s A Tip, She Loves Me, and Woman Up! for Governor’s School for the Arts Department of Musical  Theatre, and upcoming Mamma Mia for Salt Performing Arts in West Chester, PA. (Fall 2019). Most recent acting roles: Miss Jones in How to Succeed in Business, and Ursula in The Little Mermaid for Virginia Musical Theatre.  She also performed an original solo cabaret Victory: Surviving Life, Love, and Other Mysteries at the Zeiders American Dream Theatre in Virginia Beach.  She is former artistic director of The Veteran Artist Program where she directed Telling: Baltimore, and her original 8-cast cabaret Baltimore on Broadway.  She performs locally in the piano/vocal duo Scarlett Blue, with the Richmond-based jazz trio Triple Crossing Jazz Project, and also leads worship for Trinity Church, Virginia Beach. Past honors: Two Irene Ryan nominations during her graduate work at UVA, including her thesis role as Amanda in Noel Coward’s Private Lives.   Heather represented Virginia/North Carolina at the 2005 National Society of Arts and Letters Competition for Musical Theatre, and was the talent competition winner at the 2003 Miss Virginia Pageant representing Hampton/Newport News.  She also completed a year-long educational children’s theatre tour of Hampton Roads with Virginia Stage Company, bringing two productions to area schools.  She was in the first national tour of Respect:  A Musical Journey of Women, and performed in the final cast of the Broadway review show Encore! at Tokyo Disneyland.  Courses taught for GSA include:  Acting I&II, Physical Acting, Scene Work, Monologues, Audition Technique, Dialects, Diction, Acting for Dancers, Meisner Technique, and Senior Pre-screen prep/coaching. 

Michael Kaiser


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.


Lauren Sinclair


Lauren Sinclair began her ballet training at Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts. She is a graduate of the Kirov Academy of Ballet. Lauren danced professionally with Ballet Austin, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and Elbert Watson Dance Company. She received her Bachelor degree from Old Dominion University in Communication and Psychology. Lauren is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Pilates Mat instructor. She teaches for the Dance, Musical Theater, and Vocal Departments.  

Kelley Schlaepfer


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


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.

Other part-time and guest faculty:

Nasia Thomas
Guest Artist
Gabriela Gomez
Guest Artist

GSA alumnae.  Attended Elon University.

Broadway: Caroline Or ChangeBeautiful - The Carole King Musical

and Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Matt Kunkel
Guest Artist
Matt Redmond
Guest Artist

Director- Broadway National Tours, Regional Theatre

John Leggio
Guest Artist
Van Hughes
Guest Artist

Broadway: Deaf West's Spring Awakening, American Idiot, 9 to 5, and Hairspray. Off-Broadway: Whisper House (The Civilians), Son of a Gun. (Beckett), Saved (Playwrights Horizons). Regional: Almost Famous (Old Globe), When We're Gone (Lyric Theatre), A Little More Alive (KC Rep, Barrington), Rocky Horror Picture Show (Bucks County).  Film: Sex And The City: The Movie I & II, Rachel Getting Married. TV: “Royal Pains,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “One Life To Live.”  As a composer, Van scored the films Sequence Break and Space Clown and co-authored the musical Burn All Night (ART). B.A. in Theatre from Fordham University.  Van is a GSA alum from the Musical Theatre Department.