The Syracuse Children’s Theatre staff are accomplished performers and directors whose specialties span acting, directing, dance/choreography, vocal/music, costume and set design. Please click on the names of our staff to link to their bios.
Todd Ellis – Executive Director
Todd is the Executive Director and Founder of Syracuse Children’s Theatre (SCT), which began operations in January of 1999. Under Todd’s leadership, enrollment in SCT programs increased from 250 students in the first year to over 800 students in the most recent school year, representing a 400% growth. Prior to founding SCT, Todd co-founded and served as Producing Director of Syracuse Civic Theatre, which produced professional quality community theatre at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center from 1995 to 2008. In Syracuse Civic Theatre’s 14 seasons, Todd produced over 100 full-length musical, dramatic, and Shakespearean productions, which included over 2,000 students performing in leading and chorus roles. From 1990 to 1994, Todd served as Assistant Professor of Theatre at Kentucky Wesleyan College where he taught classes in acting, directing, and public speaking and directed 12 theatrical productions. At Kentucky Wesleyan, he also developed the Classics for School Program, which offered productions such as Romeo and Juliet, All My Sons, The Pirates of Penzance and Hamlet to more than 10,000 students. While attending graduate school at Florida Atlantic University, Todd served as personal assistant to Broadway director and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Joshua Logan, and directed current Broadway star and three-time Tony nominee Marc Kudisch in two productions.
Todd holds an MFA in Directing from Florida Atlantic University and a BA in Speech & Theatre from Kentucky Wesleyan College. Todd has won numerous awards for his productions and leadership in the theatrical community, including two Syracuse Area Live Theatre (SALT) awards for productions through the Syracuse Civic Theatre. Email Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kellie Ellis – Associate Director
Kellie is the Associate Director for Syracuse Children’s Theatre (SCT), having previously served as Director of Creative Dramatics and Director of Acting. Kellie is a member of New York State Theatre Education Association. She has directed numerous shows for SCT, including: Disney’s High School Musical 2, Disney’s Camp Rock, 13 The Musical, Beauty and the Beast, Wipeout, Night at the Wax Museum, and The Little Mermaid. As an actress in Central New York, Kellie’s favorite roles include: Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You like It, Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, Bombalurina in CATS, Wicked Witch of the West, in The Wizard of Oz, Edith Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter, and Curly’s Wife in Of Mice and Men. Kellie has also performed with Bless the Mark Players at the Sterling Renaissance Festival and the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway One Act Theatre Festival in Galoshes.
Kellie holds a BS in Communications from Ithaca College. In 2011, she received the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce 40 Under 40 Award for her civic involvement, volunteerism, and contributions to the growth of Syracuse Children’s Theatre. When not in rehearsal or on stage, Kellie teaches Zumba, Zumbatomic, and Aqua Zumba at Syracuse University, Fayetteville Family YMCA, Jewish Community Center, and SCT. To contact Kellie by email – email@example.com
April Woltersdorf – Music Director
April Woltersdorf joined the Syracuse Children’s Theatre team in January of 2014. Since then, she has worked as Music Director for numerous SCT productions, as well as Director for Legally Blonde Jr, the 6th-12th grade production in spring 2015. April has been very active in musical theatre, performing regionally in favorite roles such as The Sour Kangaroo (Seussical) and Maria (The Sound of Music). As an undergraduate, April student taught in Jamesville and Oswego, was Music Director of Syracuse University’s all female a cappella group (The Mandarins), and performed in multiple University ensembles (including Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, and SU’s select vocal jazz ensemble).
April holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Syracuse University and is currently working towards her Masters of Science in Music Education, with a Graduate Choral Teaching Assistantship. April most recently served as Interim Director of Operations at the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Director of the Syracuse Community Teen Choir, Music Director at Eagle Hill Middle School, Section Leader and Soloist at DeWitt Community Church, and a Say Yes to Education Enrichment Specialist at Dr. King Magnet Elementary School. In addition to directing and performing, April has a very strong interest in conducting, beatboxing, and arranging, and continues to arrange music for local community choirs and a cappella groups.
Ashley Squairs – Marketing/Administrative Assistant
Ashley joined the Syracuse Children’s Theatre team in 2015 as the Marketing/Administrative Assistant. Previously, she was an executive assistant at a theatrical production and brand management company in New York City. Ashley has grown up doing theatre, and has performed regionally in the Upstate NY area. Her favorite roles include Hope Cladwell (Urinetown), April (Company), Titania’s Attendant (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Ilse (Spring Awakening). In college, Ashley was a part of Theatre League, where she served as Treasurer and Vice President. Ashley graduated with a BS in Musical Theatre from Nazareth College in 2014.
To contact Ashley by email – Ashley@sctkids.com
Brett Roden- Assistant Music Director
Brett is thrilled to join the creative team this summer at SCT. He is currently a senior at The Crane School of Music studying Musical Theater Arts. His music direction credits include Seussical (Madrid-Waddington HS), Annie Jr. (Manlius Pebble Hill Summer stock), Seussical Jr. (VVS MS), Oliver (Oneida MS) and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (VVS HS). His most recent performance credits include Murray in Die Fledermaus (Crane Opera), Mark in Rent (Covey) and Archibald in The Secret Garden (VVS HS).
Chloe Leibrick – Director
Chloe has worked with Syracuse Children’s Theatre since she was ten years old, first in the capacity of a student and later as an employee. She is excited to return for her 8th summer as an SCT Camp Counselor upon the near-completion of her undergraduate education. She will be returning to SUNY Brockport in the fall to wrap up her NYS certification requirements with student teaching, and will graduate with a dual major in Spanish Adolescent Education and Dance this December. Chloe also earned the Departmental Scholar Award, given to one student each year per department, for both the Department of Dance and the Department of Modern Languages. She plans to go on to graduate school in the spring for her TESOL and ESL certifications.
Chloe’s favorite part about SCT is getting to dive into the wonderful world of theatre with amazing students and an incredibly close staff. The highlights of her summers have often taken place at SCT, and she knows this one will be one of the best yet!
Katie Straub – Choreographer
Katie Straub is the dance instructor for the summer sessions. This is her third summer teaching at the Syracuse Children’s Theatre. Some of the past shows that she has choreographed for included “Twinderella,” “Jungle Book,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Snow White.” In High School she was involved in the play, “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” where she played the role of June and “Anchors Away,” where she played the role of a stewardess. She attends college at SUNY Fredonia and will graduate with her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance, and her Bachelors in Childhood Education in May of 2016. While at Fredonia she has been actively involved in the Fredonia Dance Ensemble for four years. She has been dancing since she was three years old, and is trained in classical ballet, modern, tap, and jazz.
Rachel Anthony – Choreographer
This is Rachel Anthony’s first summer at Syracuse Children’s Theatre. Rachel is the choreographer for Into the Woods, Jr. and Guys and Dolls, Jr. Currently, she is working on earning her Early Childhood Education Degree at Onondaga Community College. She has danced at Tawn Marie’s Dance Centre for 15 years, and is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, and lyrical. Rachel looks forward to working with many talented children and educating them with the technique and art of dance.
Rachel Heyman – Music Director
This is Rachel’s third summer back at Syracuse Children’s Theater and she could not be more excited. At SCT, she has music directed five shows and worked as a private voice instructor. Rachel is a senior music education major with a concentration in voice at Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she is the music director of the all-female acapella group Main Squeeze. Main Squeeze has performed all over New York State, is working on their second album, and was recently a finalist in the national Schick Rock Your Legs acapella competition. She is also highly involved with the theater organization First Year Players. With this group the past two years she served as assistant music director for RENT and vocal coach for The Addams Family. She is a member of the Syracuse University Singers where she is a section leader and an advisory board member. This summer, the University Singers won the 44th Florilège Vocal de Tours in France (international choral competition) and have been invited to compete for the Grand Prix next year in Varna, Bulgaria.
As a performer, Rachel has participated in many musicals. Some favorite roles include Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, Aunt Em in The Wiz, and a featured ensemble member in The Wedding Singer. She has studied voice with Elizabeth Quackenbush, Patti Thompson, and Donna Miller.
Whitney Tracy- Director
Whitney has been with Syracuse Children Theatre since she was six years old. Beginning as a student at SCT, Whitney enrolled in summer, fall, and winter classes throughout grade school. When she was thirteen, she began volunteering with the 4-6 year old age group. By the age of sixteen, Whitney was employed in many positions such as dance assistant, assistant director, and director. Whitney has been serving as the director of summer productions for grades 1 through 5 at SCT since 2013.
Whitney thoroughly enjoys working with children. Traveling to West Africa twice and Belize once, Whitney has experienced a wide variety of teaching styles and educational disciplines that have molded her educational values through the years. As a Dean’s List scholar, Whitney is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Inclusive Education at SUNY Fredonia. In September, Whitney plans to move to New York City to complete her student teaching degree requirement.
Outside of theatre, Whitney enjoys being outside, being with friends, practicing yoga, and playing fetch with her new rescue dog.