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 most recently he is starring in current 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"