NexGen Youth Theatre was created 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. As performers themselves, Bethany and Magnus know the importance of being surrounded by other people who take the performing arts seriously from an early age. The transition from hobby to professional life is tough, and with NexGen they wish to bridge that gap. Bethany and Magnus bring with them experience from working with over 50 schools and theater companies and strong connections both in the academic and performing side of the arts.
Artistic Director, Co-Founder
Bethany is an actress, teacher, director, and choreographer based in NYC and Long Island. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from SUNY New Paltz, where she was named one of the Outstanding Graduates of her class. She also graduated (with honors), from LIU with her Masters Degree in Childhood Education, and holds teaching certifications in Childhood Education, Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and Theatre Education. Teaching and coaching credits include: Broadway Dance Center, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, Pierson Middle-High School, Bay Street Theater, TADA! Youth Theatre, and for the last five years as part of the faculty at Gateway Playhouse. She has been fortunate to direct and/or choreograph many shows for children and adults, such as The Little Mermaid, The Drowsy Chaperone, 101 Dalmations, Seussical Kids, Beauty and the Beast Jr., Godspell, The Boyfriend, Really Rosie, Willy Wonka Jr., Aladdin Jr., Shrek, 13, Fame!, and The World Goes 'Round. As an actress, Bethany has performed in everything from independent film, to radio and theatre. Most recently, Bethany was seen in Eco: The Musical at the New York Musical Festival, in Andromeda with the Neo-Political Cowgirls, and appeared as a specialty tap performer in a musical review featuring Kathryn Crosby and Sarah Rice. Favorite regional credits include: Love, Loss, and What I Wore (BroadwayWorld.com nomination – Best Actress in a Play), The Graduate (Elaine Robinson), Cabaret (Frenchie), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive), Ruthless! The Musical (Lita Encore), Company (Jenny), and The Tempest (Iris/Boatswain). She is also a competitive ballroom dancer.
Magnus Tonning Riise
Executive Director, Co-Founder
Magnus Tonning Riise is a Norwegian/American performer and performing arts teacher, born and bred in Norway where he attended a High School of Performing Arts focusing on voice and piano. After high school he moved to London where he studied at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and graduated with a BA (Hons) in Performance Musical Theatre. During his time at Mountview he was hired as the school's Young Peoples Musical Director, making him the youngest person to hold this position at Mountview's Saturday School. He booked his first professional theater job at only 8 years old, working alongside some of the top theater professionals in Norway. After that job 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. As well, he has been a Teaching Artist for many years in Norway, the UK, and more recently the US working at companies like TADA! Youth Theatre, Wingspan Arts, and Broadway Bound Kids. His recent 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. You can regularly see Magnus perform in cabarets around the city alongside some of the Broadway greats and work-shopping new material from the next generation of Broadway writers.
“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"
RECENT GUEST TEACHERS
MAX VON ESSEN
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.
ANTHONY CHATMON II
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).
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
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, PA, Bandstand, Bull Durham, Sweet Charity, Smokey Joe’s Café, Gigi, Beautiful – 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 Neverland, Billy Elliot, In the Heights, and Swing!. She has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and NYC's Town Hall. Please check out more information and updates!
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.
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".