Since its founding, Crystal has trained 23,000 students ages 6 to 21 in musical performance techniques. Pre-school classes were added when CT alumni and certified teacher/director Samantha Kulish began the program in 2008. During the summer Crystal works with the Recreation & Parks Department to provide “Arts In The Parks” camp sessions with performances at the theater.
Many Crystal alumni have achieved professional music careers. They include brothers Kyle and Nathan Brenn, who both appeared in the West Side Story, which won the 2009 Tony Award as Best Revival of a Musical; Robin DeJesus, who was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award as Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance in In The Heights and a 2010 nomination for La Cage au Folle;Remy Zaken, who appeared in Spring Awakening, winner of the 2007 Tony Award for Best Musical; Kyle Wrentz, who appears in Tony-Award winning The Lion King; Alex Quiroga who plays in Wicked all over the world as well as favorite Arts in the Park instructor; Dave Vogel who performed Little Mary Sunshine in Chicago on Broadway and is currently on world tour with the show.
Crystal Theater has produced more than 54 world premiers of original works by its staff and students. The diverse subject matter ranges from historical dramas (Revolution Norwalk, 1777, Living the American Dream and Whistleville) to serious social issues (Without Passion or Prejudice, Coming Of Age and Pulaski Park Rules)to light-hearted comedies (Twelve Dancing Princesses and Goose Alley Gang) to holiday favorites (Save Santa’s Workshop and The Red Shoes-which is on our schedule for this December) as well as student-written shows such as Kyle Brenn’s The Pirate Chamber and Silent Knight. Through its subsidiary, Crystal Theatre Publishing, these musicals have been made available to other theater groups. Crystal shows now are being performed from Harare in Zimbabwe to Hong Kong to Calgary in Canada.
In addition to the Kemenys, Crystal’s founders include, David L. Jackins, who teaches acting and the technical aspects of theatre, and artist Mariner Pezza, who serves as a writer and technical advisor. Char Fromentin of Dance Dimensions is the resident choreographer. The current teaching staff also includes playwrights Samantha Kulish and Joan McFarland, choreographer Stacey Curti, acting assistant Gregory Kisken, voice instructor Arden Anderson-Broecking and stage manager Debra Poruban. An adult class is taught by Broadway director Doug Taylor.