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NexGen Youth Theatre was founded in 2017 by Bethany Dellapolla and Magnus Tonning Riise to provide young people who are seeking a future in the performing arts a training ground to hone their skills. Since its inception, NexGen has lit up off-Broadway stages across the city with a slew of productions through our MainStage series, including "Spring Awakening", "RENT", and "Cabaret". Alongside our productions, we have hosted many Broadway guest workshops, and taught countless in-school and after-school classes throughout NYC.

About: About
About: TeamMember


Artistic Director, Co-Founder

Bethany is an actress, director, choreographer, intimacy director (IDC Professionals Level 4), and teaching artist based in NYC and Long Island. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from SUNY New Paltz, where she was named the Outstanding Graduate of her class. She also graduated (with honors), from LIU with her Masters Degree in Education. Teaching and coaching credits include: Broadway Dance Center, Gateway Playhouse, Bay Street Theatre, TADA! Youth Theatre, Westhampton Beach PAC, and Pierson Middle-High School. She has directed and/or choreographed many shows for children and adults, such as Cinderella, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Little Mermaid, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Wedding Singer, Beauty and the Beast, Anything Goes, Seussical, Annie, The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, 13, Fame, and The World Goes 'Round. For NexGen, she has directed/choreographed Zombie Prom, Into the Woods, Rent, and Company, and choreographed Spring Awakening, Cabaret, and The Prom. As an actress, Bethany has performed in everything from independent film, to radio and theatre, what she considers her home. Favorite Credits include:  Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast ( nomination - Best Actress in a Musical), Steph in Reasons to Be Pretty ( nomination - Best Actress in a Play), and the Fairy Godmother in a touring production of Cinderella. She is a proud SAG-AFTRA member, ballroom dancer, and book nerd.



Executive Director, Co-Founder

Magnus Tonning Riise is a Norwegian/American actor, recording artist, songwriter, and performing arts teacher from Norway, where he attended a high school of performing arts focusing on voice and piano. He graduated with a BA (Hons) in Performance Musical Theatre from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. During his time in London he was hired as Mountview’s Young People's Musical Director, making him the youngest person to hold this position at Mountview's Saturday School. He booked his first professional theater job at 8 years old, working alongside some of the top theater professionals in Norway. He continued to work as a freelance performer on stage and screen, both as a child and an adult. Some of his favorite theatrical performances were in shows like Peter Pan, Annie, Back to the 80's, The Producers, Spring Awakening, and playing the lead in the original musical Yusupov in London. He has worked as a Teaching Artist for over a decade in Norway, the UK, and the US since he relocated to NYC working at companies like TADA! Youth Theatre, Wingspan Arts, Chickenshed NYC, Broadway Bound Kids, Children's Acting Academy, Ocean Beach Youth Group, and Dwight-Englewood School. For NexGen he has directed the MainStage productions of Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Carrie, and The Prom. Credits include BBC's Rocket's Island in the UK, Emmy winner and Oscar nominated Jim: The James Foley Story on HBO, and starring in the television pilot Truth Slash Fiction, which won Best Comedy at SeriesFest in Denver, at itvfest in Vermont, and became the top trending topic on Twitter worldwide after the release of the trailer. His debut album was covered in international media in over 15 countries, including a feature in HuffPost.



Education Assistant, Teaching Artist

Joyelle Watkins is a stage manager, actress, teaching artist, and theatre maker based in New York City. She received her BS in Educational Theatre with double minors in American Sign Language and Dramatic Literature from New York University. She began working with NexGen Youth Theatre in Spring of 2019 and has been in many roles with the company from actor, to stage manager, to production manager, and was officially brought on to the team as education assistant in Fall 2022. Some past credits include: Into the Woods (Baker’s Wife), The Secret Garden (Marry Lennox), Esther: A Dance Musical - Broadway workshop (Production Assistant/Assistant Stage Manager), Peter and the Starcatcher (Assistant Stage Manager/Ensemble), and Matilda the Musical showcase (Director). With NexGen, she has been a part of Spring Awakening (Assistant Stage Manager/Light Board Operator), Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Mother; Granny; The Giant), Cabaret (Stage Manager), RENT (Assistant Production Manager), The Prom (Production Manager), and Company (Stage Manager). She is also a professional beauty and special effects makeup artist, having worked on several indie short films, music videos, and student thesis films.

“Ms. Bethany is an amazing teacher. I learned so much from her about how to act… She is kind and patient and really cares about her students. She has an amazing sense of humor and it was a joy to be in class with her.”

Alexandra Vlachos (Matilda on Broadway)

“Bethany and Magnus are nurturing, supportive, and truly care about helping each and every person in the class perform to their fullest. I definitely grew as a performer and became more comfortable with Ripley-Grier Studios and the professional mt world over those ten weeks, and I owe it to the care that they put into working with everyone in the class. NexGen is a haven in the chaos that is Ripley.”

Eliana Kavouriadis (Emerson College for BFA Theatre Performance)

“The best part about educational theatre is its ability to transform young people through the opportunity to perform. The process of creating character and rehearsing music, dance and story facilitates growth in confidence and ability, while also honing the skills of those who wish to pursue a career in the arts. This production very clearly achieves the goals of NexGen Youth Theatre.”

Virginia Jimenez (Times Square Chronicles)

Review of MainStage production of "Zombie Prom: Atomic Edition"


About: Testimonial
Copy of Broadway MasterClass - Max von E


An American in Paris (TONY Nominated), Anastasia, Les Mis

Max von Essen is a Tony nominated singer and actor best known for his role as Henri Baurel in the award winning production of An American in Paris on Broadway. He recently finished a year long run in the Broadway production of Anastasia as Gleb Vaganov and then toured the United States as Marvin in Lincoln Center Theater's revival of Falsettos. Other Broadway credits include Evita, the revivals of Les Misérables and Jesus Christ Superstar, Dance of the Vampires, and the closing company of the original Les Misérables. Additional New York credits include Yours Unfaithfully for the Mint Theater, Death Takes a Holiday for the Roundabout Theater Company, The Jerry Springer Opera at Carnegie Hall, Hello Again (Drama League nomination) for The Transport Group, Finian's Rainbow for the Irish Repertory Theater, The Fantasticks at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, and many others. Tours include Xanadu, Chicago and West Side Story.


Max's concert work has brought him all across the country and Canada, including The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and a recent sold-out solo run at the famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. Recordings include An American in Paris (earning Max a Grammy nomination), Evita, Death Takes a Holiday, Finian's Rainbow, Love Songs of Andrew Lloyd Weber, Broadway by the Year: 1928, Broadway Unplugged and his debut solo album, "Call Me Old Fashioned: The Broadway Standard" now available on iTunes. Television and film credits include Law & Order: SVU, Elementary, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, Royal Pains, Gossip Girl, Seven Lovers, Sex and the City 2 and Submissions Only (webseries). @maxizpad.

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Be More Chill, Hadestown, Into the Woods, Book of Mormon

Broadway: Hadestown (Ensemble, u/s Orpheus/Hermès), Be More Chill (Dance Captain, u/s Michael, Rich, Jake, Squip). National Tours: Fiasco Theater’s Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Prince), The Book of Mormon (Doctor).


Select Credits: West Side Story (Hollywood Bowl), Bernstein's Mass (Disney Concert Hall), Freedom Riders (NYMF), Hairspray (Dallas Theater Center), Lempicka (NYC Lab).


TV: “Bull” (CBS), “The Other Two” (Comedy Central), “Law & Order: SVU” (NBC), “Blue Bloods” (CBS). 



Aladdin, The Light in the Piazza, The Little Mermaid

Jacob Gutierrez is currently in Aladdin on Broadway! Where he performs in the ensemble and understudies both Aladdin and Omar. Some favorite roles include Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza, Flotsam in The Little Mermaid, and Dan in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Regionally, he’s performed at Music Theatre of Wichita, Dallas Theater Center, and spent several years with Disney Cruise Line. Aside from performing, Jacob has taught at musical theatre performing arts programs in NYC. Beyond that, he enjoys time with his dog, spending time at the lake, and escaping the city to be in nature. Proud Oklahoma City University graduate.



MJ the Musical

Aramie Payton is a performing artist and teacher, hailing from Chicago, IL. Currently the Standby for MJ and Michael in MJ the Musical on Broadway, Aramie has a career that has spanned 20 years in the entertainment industry including work on international and national tours, commercial voiceovers, commercial dance, theatre and TV/Film. The joy is in spreading all that he has learned and experienced with aspirants and professionals, alike. // @mynameisaramie 

Daniel Quadrino, Guest Teacher at NexGen Youth Theatre


Wicked, Newsies, Bye Bye Birdie, NBC's Peter Pan Live!

Daniel Quadrino received his BFA in Musical Theatre from Pace University (Class of 2014). Broadway credits include: WICKED (ensemble, Boq understudy), NEWSIES (Albert, Crutchie/Davey understudy), and BYE BYE BIRDIE (Teen ensemble, Hugo Peabody understudy). Regional: Fully Committed (Sam + 40 others) at Theatreworkshop Nantucket. The Muny's 99 Season (Newsies) and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (Newsies). Daniel is a singer/songwriter and has sold out three solo concerts at Feinstein's/54 Below and performs at concert venues all over New York City. He appeared in NBC's Peter Pan Live! as one of the Lost Boys (Bunting). His debut single Where To Begin is available wherever digital music is sold. Keep up on Instagram: dannyquadrino



Wicked, The Rockettes, Gigi 

Currently performing in Wicked on Broadway, Alison has worked extensively throughout North America alongside some of the industry's most revered creatives and performers.  Some favorite projects include the Broadway revival of Gigi (Swing, Dance Captain), The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rockette), Fiorello! for Encores! at City Center directed by Gary Griffin and choreographed by Alex Sanchez, and Morris Panych's Moby Dick at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.​ On top of a Broadway performance schedule, she works as a choreographer and coach for aspiring and emerging Broadway artists.. She is on faculty at Marymount Manhattan College and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City.

Alison Solomon, Guest teacher at NexGen Youth Theatre


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beautiful, Sweet Charity

Alison Solomon is the Associate Choreographer for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Other recent projects include The Honeymooners, Scotland, PABandstand, Bull DurhamSweet Charity, Smokey Joe’s CaféGigiBeautiful – the Carole King Musical, and more! Her favorite television credits are "Boardwalk Empire", “Dora’s Explorer Girls”, ABC’s “The View” with Ben Vereen, and a commercial for Acer Electronics. Alison has had the amazing opportunity to work alongside some of the industry’s best choreographers, including Andy Blankenbuehler, Joshua Bergasse, Lorin Latarro, Al Blackstone, and Josh Prince. As a performer, credits include Finding NeverlandBilly ElliotIn the Heights, and Swing!. She has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and NYC's Town Hall. Please check out for more information and updates!



Musical Theatre Writers Collective

Alex Ngo is an NYC-based music director, composer-lyricist, and arranger. He graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory in 2019, where he wrote and staged his first full-length musical, Retold. He has music directed and accompanied in New York, Ohio, and Michigan, including at Interlochen Summer Camp.

Alex is currently a member of the Musical Theatre Writers Collective, headed by Sam Carner. You can view his latest one-act musical here.



Something Rotten, On the Twentieth Century, The Prom

Jarred Lee is a NYC-based musical director and vocal coach. He studied vocal performance at Montclair State University while also keeping a busy career as a pianist.


He has worked as an associate keyboard programmer on Broadway: SOMETHING ROTTEN, AMERICAN PSYCHO, ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, THE PROM; Off-Broadway: BROOKLYN NIGHT; National Tour: HELLO DOLLY.


Jarred is currently on the adjunct faculty for the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.

IG : Jayradlee



In My Life, West Side Story, South Pacific

Musical director/keyboard player nationally and in the NYC area. Productions include: CURTAINS (Theatre Under the Stars, Houston); Broadway: IN MY LIFE (Music Box Theatre); FOSSE; THE SOUND OF MUSIC, CURTAINS, HAIRSPRAY, PETER PAN, ON THE TOWN, 1776, OKLAHOMA, FUNNY GIRL, GREASE and PIRATES (Papermill Playhouse); SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE, NUNSENSATIONS, 8-TRACK SOUNDS OF THE 70’s (Downtown Cabaret Theatre); NUNSENSE A-MEN (47th Street Theatre); and WHITE CHRISTMAS, KISS ME KATE, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, HAIRSPRAY, MY FAIR LADY, SINGING IN THE RAIN, NINE, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, GYPSY, AIDA, ANYTHING GOES (Westchester Broadway Theatre). Off Broadway/Regional: OLIVER, CRAZY FOR YOU, SWEET CHARITY, EVITA, SOUND OF MUSIC, and many others. Recent National Productions: WEST SIDE STORY, SOUTH PACIFIC, SHOWBOAT. National/tours: ANNIE (Fox Theatre-Atlanta), CHICAGO, THE WHO’S TOMMY, and GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES.

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Twelfth Night (Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park)

Kimberly Hale grew up in Iowa where she studied Performing Arts & Musical Theatre at Iowa State University. She currently works in New York City as a Teaching Artist (specializing as a Director/Choreographer) and also works as an ASL-English Interpreter. She was the ASL Music Coach for the 2018 Public Theater/Shakespeare In The Park hit production of "Twelfth Night" by Shaina Taub (New York Times Critic's Pick). Other recent projects include choreography for Actionplay's original musical "Welcome To My World" and the debut of the NYC DOE All IN(clusive) All-City High School Theatre Ensemble production of "Next Stop".

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