AMY ABBRUSCATO | BFA
Room: The Green Room & The Theater | On Faculty Since: 2014
Office Hours: Monday & Thursday 9:00am- 3:00pm
Amy graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Production with an emphasis in Acting. While attending the U of A she completed the rigorous Actor’s Training Program where she focused on American Realism, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Commedia Dell’Arte, Moliere and Restoration acting styles. She is also a certified actor-combatant in rapier and dagger, broadsword, and unarmed by The Society of American Fight Directors. As the Musical Theatre & Acting teacher at NSAA, Amy has directed over 15 productions including Hair, Moon Over Buffalo, A Chorus Line, The Crucible, Chicago, Rumors, Sense & Sensibilty, Legally Blonde and many more!
Amy has had over 20 years of dance training in styles such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop and more! She performed for several years with the Tucson Regional Ballet Company as a member of their Senior Company. Amy has also trained in voice for over 17 years both privately and as a member of numerous vocal ensembles. As a vocalist, she has more than 20 musicals under her belt and has played such roles as Velma in Chicago, Marta in Company, Cassie in A Chorus Line and Nancy in Oliver.
In addition to teaching Musical Theatre and Acting at NSAA, she also serves as the Performing Arts Department Coordinator. She currently lives in Tempe with her husband, young son, & adorable pug, Lucy, and loves every minute of her crazy, busy, wonderful life.
SANDRA BASSETT | MBA
Room: The Music Room | On Faculty Since: 2019
Office Hours: Lunch, By appointment
Sandra Bassett is a classically trained pianist who currently plays 3 instruments (piano, organ and alto sax), and performs locally and internationally as a Vocalist/keyboardist. She sings and teaches several genres of music including Jazz, R&B Motown, and Soft rock. She has extensive knowledge and training in developing choirs, individual singers/performers, and in theater.
She attended Kentucky State University on a full music scholarship, and obtained her MBA in Marketing at Walden University. In addition to her extensive music career, Sandra has spent over 20 years in Corporate America as a National Account executive for several Fortune 500 companies.
MELISSA CYRNEK | BFA
Room: Dance Room & Music Room | On Faculty Since: 2019
Office Hours: By appointment
Melissa graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Fine Arts in Dance performance on scholarship, which is considered one of the top dance programs in the country.
After receiving her degree she went on to dance with Center Dance Ensemble under artistic director Frances Cohen as a resident dancer at the Herberger Theater.
Prior to settling in Arizona, Melissa performed in various productions in Vegas. Danced and modeled with Polaris Ski wear in Minneapolis, joined the Bolder Dance Company for 3 consecutive years, and even performed as a magicians assistant (Ta-Da)!
Melissa has taught as a guest teacher and choreographer for many high schools across the valley and is excited and looking forward to being a part of NSAA and their student body.
Room: Piano Room | On Faculty Since: 2011
Office Hours: By appointment
Jose Marcos Crego Tamayo is a pianist who was born in Havana, Cuba. Marcos started his initial music studies in the Conservatory of Music Manuel Saumell, in his native city when he was just eight years old. Since he was a child, Marcos followed in the footsteps of his father, the great trumpet player Jose Miguel Crego “El Greco”, playing piano and singing on a few records. This paved the way and gave him the inspiration to participate in various musical groups with his classmates. He then attended and graduated from high school at Amadeo Roldán Music School.
After graduation, Marcos’ career took off and he performed with many famous musicians, including but not limited to Los Dan, Talismán, ICRT Orchestra, Top Secret with his father, as well as Klimax, Gardi’s band, Francisco Cespedes, The Arango Brothers, and Afrocuban All Stars. Marcos has also played in many jazz festivals including Pop Kom, Curaçao Heineken Jazz Festival, Jazz Plaza Festival, Benny More Festival, Fiesta del Tambor, Blues Festival, Jazz Fandango Festival, and Pori Jazz Festival.
When he was 21, he produced his first album named Mi Musica, this being start of his career as a musical producer. He also collaborated as a pianist and keyboard player in various albums, such as Top Secret’s volm.1, Klimax’s "Oye como va", “Piloto & Friends”, “Nadie se parece a ti”, Francisco Céspedes’ “Autorretrato" , Hermanos Arango’s "Alafia", Hector Valentin’s "Homenaje a los grandes del son" and many more.
In January 2012, Marcos received two Grammy Nominations as he performed on Edwin Bonilla’s album “Homenaje a los Rumberos” under Sonic Projects Records. Marcos currently resides in Phoenix and is the piano instructor for the New School for the Arts and Academics in Tempe, AZ and since 2013 is the pianist of the very well known cuban band The Afro-Cuban All Stars directed by Juan de Marcos Gonzales, the creator of the Buena Vista Social Club.
MADDIE FAIGEL | BA
Room: 6B & Green Room | On Faculty Since: 2015
Office Hours: Thursdays 3:40-4:30pm (in 6B)
Maddie Faigel teaches History and Drama at New School for the Arts & Academics where she also co-manages Thespians. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where she majored in Theatre Arts and History. She primarily trained as both a production and new play development dramaturg and is a registered member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. Maddie has presented research at their 30th annual conference in front of theatre artists from around the world. She has been published in a number of academic journals for her historical research--primarily in 20th century American Theatre. Maddie has been on faculty since 2015
Room: Music Room & Green Room | On Faculty Since: 2018
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday at Lunch, By appointment
Vincent Thiefain is a graduate of ASU's jazz program where he studied under the direction of Ben Hedquist, Michael Kocour and Jeff Libman. He is also an alumni of the Paradise Valley Community College and Scottsdale Community College programs under the tutelage of Keith Kelly and Eric Rasmussen respectively. He is a freelance bass player based out of Tempe and has performed with some of the best local and national musicians and educators, including world class Jazz drummer Lewis Nash. While studying at ASU Vincent also had the opportunity to play with artists such as: Benny Golson, Lewis Nash, Cyrille Aimee and others.
He has appeared on several records recorded by young musicians around Phoenix including one original band trio entitled "Mothra is Back". Vincent has been a part of The Nash Education Intern program, an outreach program centered around coaching highschool big bands around the valley in improvisation and fundamentals of Jazz. You can usually find Vincent performing around the valley with peers in places such as; The Nash, Lost Leaf, Spinelli's Pizzeria and other venues. This is Vincent's second year at NSAA.
MATT VENTRE | BA
Room: 2A, Music Room | On Faculty Since: 2017
Office Hours: Daily at Lunch or by appointment
Matt Ventre has been a professional musician around the southwest for the last ten years. When not teaching, he currently is working and touring as a session guitarist for TAD management and can be found as a regular around the Phoenix country music scene. Mr. Ventre holds a degree in Art History and is excited to be joining the academic program at NSAA this year teaching humanities. Mr. Ventre is also the former principal guitarist for Arizona Broadway Theater and will be the musical director for this year’s production.
JENS WINSHIP | BA
Room: 2A, 2B, Theater | On Faculty Since: 2016
Office Hours: By appointment
Mr. Winship received his BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where he also studied history, politics and government. This year he is teaching Government & Economics, and Theatrical Production. He is co-sponsoring the Thespian’s club with Ms. Faigel. Mr. Winship is excited to engage students in cross-curricular study in all of his classes, and help students practice good academic, social, and civic skills.
LUKE YOUNG | MEd, BFA
Room: 2A, Green Room, Theater | On Faculty Since: 2012
Office Hours: Tuesday 3:15 - 4:00pm, Wednesday 12:10 - 12:45pm
Luke Young graduated from the University of Arizona (UofA) with a BFA in Theatre. While at the University of Arizona, he completed the rigorous Actor’s Training Program, where he focused on American Realism, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Commedia Dell’Arte, Moliere, and Restoration acting styles. Luke also completed Rio Salado College’s Teacher Preparation Program and has received his Secondary Teaching Certificate in English, Structured English Immersion and Dramatic Arts. He has also completed his Master’s in Education Degree with a focus in Instructional Leadership at Northcentral University. He worked previously for Arizona Theatre Company managing their Education Department and outreach, and in his spare time directs theatre productions and writes screenplays.