AMY ABBRUSCATO | BFA
Room: The Green Room & The Theater | On Faculty Since: 2014
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday at Lunch, By appointment
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, 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 2017 she established Triple Threat Phx, a Musical Theatre program which offers troupes, classes, and private study for young Musical Theatre artists around the valley. Amy currently lives in Tempe with her husband, young son, & adorable pug, Lucy, and loves every minute of her crazy, busy, wonderful life.
ELIZABETH BROWNLEE BLAIR | MFA
Room: The Music Room | On Faculty Since: 2019
Office Hours: By appointment
Elizabeth has been performing since she was three years old. She has worked with greats like; Hal Prince, Jason Robert Brown, Paula Wayne, Tommy Tune and more! She was a part of the renowned group, New World Connection, while attending the “Fame” school of the south, NWSA, featuring alumni like Alex Lacamoire of “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen”. After earning her MFA from UNLV, she moved to New York City where she was lucky enough to work as an Equity Performer for more than 10 years. In the Valley, Elizabeth works as an educator, performer, director and private vocal and piano coach. She’s extremely excited to be a part of the NSAA team and help train the future singers of Broadway and beyond!
Room: Piano Room | On Faculty Since: 2011
Office Hours: Daily at Lunch, 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 five 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: 3B & Green Room | On Faculty Since: 2015
Office Hours: Monday & Friday at Lunch
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. This is Maddie’s fourth year at NSAA.
LISA HAMMOND | MEd, BFA
Room: Dance Room | On Faculty Since: 2015
Office Hours: Tuesday 10:30 am-12:00 pm, Wednesday & Thursday 2:30-4:00 pm
Lisa graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Fine Arts in Dance on scholarship, which is considered one of the top dance programs in the country where she performed all over the country such as the American College Dance Festival where they received the top award. She also has a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University.
She performed with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines traveling throughout the Caribbean as well as various production companies at corporate events. She is currently the Associate Administrative Assistant and featured dancer with Scorpius Dance Theatre which has won several Best Of Phoenix New Times awards for Best Contemporary Dance Company. She has performed throughout the Caribbean, Scotland, England , and across the US.
In addition to NSAA, Lisa has taught at Mesa Community College, Highland High School and various dance studios around the valley. She is currently the Co Artistic Director of Desert Star Dance. She has won several choreography awards and high point awards at regional dance competitions. Lisa is passionate about teaching young adults and enjoys seeing them grow into young artists.
Room: Music Room | On Faculty Since: 2018
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday at Lunch, By appointment
Course: Jazz Ensemble
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.
Room: Music Room | On Faculty Since: 2017
Office Hours: Daily 8:30-8:50am, Lunch & After school by appointment
Matt Ventre has been a professional musician around the valley since 2007. He has worked with various artists over the last few years and has done several tours as an opener for the Toasters. Currently, Matt is working as a country artist as the lead guitarist for the Shane Paul band and is also currently active with Desert Dixie and Silver Sage. Additionally, Matt is doing acoustic work with local singer Kim Weston, is working and traveling with TAD management, and is the principal guitarist for Arizona Broadway Theater. In addition to his performing credentials, Matt has worked as a session musician for several upcoming country artists and has released four albums of original music.
JENS WINSHIP | BA
Room: 2B & The Theater | On Faculty Since: 2016
Office Hours: Afternoons 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.