ABOUT MARQUEE

Marquee’s Mission is to teach and promote positive, valuable life skills in the lives of the children in our community through our musical theatre based educational programs.

Who We Are And What We Do

Marquee Theatrical Productions was founded in 2003 by its current Executive Director, Sheryl Thomas. We are an award-winning, registered charitable, community theatre group and performing arts school, located in Aurora, Ontario. Our goal is to inspire excellence, motivate learning, uplift the human spirit, build confidence and spark a lifelong appreciation for the arts.  By helping children develop their artistic talents and coaching them to strive for excellence, we teach them how to achieve – in the performing arts, in school, and ultimately in life.

Marquee Theatrical Productions strives to provide an environment that meets the needs of all children.  We believe in the interconnection of physical, mental, social and emotional health and work hard to provide an environment that promotes holistic health and wellness.

Our Mandate is: ​​​

  1. To educate and increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of the arts by providing performances of an artistic nature in public places, senior citizen homes, churches, community centres and educational institutions and by providing seminars on topics relating to such performances;
  2. To provide instructional seminars on topics related to the performing and visual arts; and
  3. To produce performing arts festivals for the purposes of educating and advancing the Public’s understanding and appreciation of performing arts and to educate artists through participation in such festivals and related workshops.

Marquee Theatrical Productions offers a variety of educational classes, camps and workshops that, , through the art of Musical Theatre and Drama are centered on teaching acting and improvisation, voice instruction, dancing, stage movement and theatre etiquette. Through this experience, students will develop many valuable life skills such as self-confidence, communication skills, teamwork, leadership, respect, time management, and responsibility, within a group dynamic.

In addition to working with children in the community Marquee also offers performance opportunities for adults. Our productions deliver the highest quality of community theatre, which enriches the lives of those on stage, as well as those in the audience. The adult cast productions will perform one to two productions within a subscription series with performances at the Newmarket Theatre.

Our Staff

Sheryl Thomas

Sheryl Thomas

Executive Director/ Music Director (Intermediate Youth Group)

Sheryl is the founder and Executive Director of Marquee and brings many years of experience in musical theatre both on-stage and behind the scenes. Stemming from an artistic family, Sheryl lives her passion every day through her work and program development at Marquee with the adult and youth educational productions/programs. Sheryl has taught musical theatre in York Region schools through parent council invitations and she also produced the the York Region Celebration of the Arts Talent Search for 12 years. Sheryl continues to work toward serving the community by ensure that Marquee’s productions and educational programs maintain a high level of  professionalism and quality, for which it has grown to become so well known.

Email Sheryl 

Dani Rito

Dani Rito

Operations Manager/ Director (Youth Groups and Teen Group)

Dani started her journey in theatre at the age of 6. She joined Marquee at the age of 14 and stayed right up until college. She graduated from St. Lawrence College’s Musical Theatre Performance program with an Advanced Diploma where she had the opportunity to perform in shows such as RENT, Les Belles Souers, 9 to 5 and Legally Blonde. She also attended Sheridan College where she received a certificate in Performing Arts Preparation and directed a production of Mean Girls. She enjoys all aspects of theatre, from performing on stage to directing, writing and stage managing. Now she has come full circle bringing all she has learned to share with others at Marquee and is very excited for all the adventures ahead.

EMAIL Dani

 

Michelle De Cassan

Michelle De Cassan

Office Administrator

Michelle is Marquee’s office administrator and she takes care of all program registration duties, tuition payments, and more. She also assists in organizing the costumes for all our youth programs.  Chances are that she will be the friendly voice who answers your call at our office.

EMAIL Michelle

Michelle De Cassan

Elissa Chan

Social Media Coordinator

Elissa is Marquee’s social media coordinator. She’s full of fun, fresh ideas and loves bringing them to life on Marquee’s social channels. When she’s not posting content to help keep Members up to date on everything going on at Marquee, you can bet Elissa is looking for the next viral trend for Sheryl and Dani to try!

Ellie Mamatis

Ryan Pierce

Director (Intermediate Youth Group)

Ryan is very excited to be one of the Artistic Directors for the Intermediate Program. He has been involved in Marquee for many years and had the opportunity to perform in shows such as Aladdin in Aladdin Jr, Timon in The Lion King Jr and most recently Roger Davis in RENT.
Since a very young age Ryan has been interested in musical theatre and has continued to pursue this dream throughout his life. He strives to provide a positive and engaging experience for all Marquee members. Ryan has directed multiple musicals, and continues to grow and learn in the professional, caring environment of Marquee.

Samantha Varona

Dance Instructor/ Choreographer (Intermediate Youth Group)

Samantha started dancing at the age of five. After twelve years of being classically trained and  in the competitive world, she decided to pursue her movement career. She then attended Ryerson University’s Performance Dance Program, BFA. After her first year, Samantha booked an original trilogy of musical productions to tour Europe that led her to make the decision to leave Toronto. At 19 she moved to New York City to train and expand her movement vocabulary at the prestigious Broadway Dance Center. Here she was able to work with the industry’s top choreographers and for acts from Icona Pop to Neyo. After a couple years in NYC, Samantha made her trek across the pond. Samantha, had the opportunity to educate children and adults across the United Kingdom. Here, she was co-choreographer for multiple musical theatre productions; “Oliver!” and “Rent”. Itching for another expansion of knowledge, Samantha was accepted into an internship in Los Angeles to dance with a groundbreaking company, Dana Foglia Dance. Ranging from toddlers to adults of any age, Samantha believes dance is for everybody. Dance is not only on the corner of artistic expression and athleticism but is also a universal language. Every class with Samantha comes with her three principles on growth: challenge, patience and fun!

EMAIL Sam

Kayla Kushnir

Stage Manager (Intermediate Youth Group)

Kayla has been a Marquee veteran for 12 years. She has performed in over 29 musicals, titles include The Genie- Aladdin Jr, and Jack Kelly- Newsies. She is aspiring to obtain a BFA in musical theatre.
Kayla has a passion and extensive experience in all aspects of theatre. Most of all, Kayla enjoys building rapport with fellow cast members and giving back to the activity that has been her love through the years.

Aisling Ferris

Apprentice Director (Intermediate Youth Group)

Aisling has been with marquee for almost 10 years, performing in many shows playing, Mimi Marquez in RENT, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, and Jasmine in Aladdin. She is very excited to learn about directing and grow as a performer. She has always had a love for performing and has enjoyed expressing this love while getting to be a part of the Marquee family.

Sydney Hall

Director (KinderStages)

Mary Ridgley

Music Director (Elite Youth Group)

Mary is a recently retired music teacher with 20 years of experience instructing instrumental, vocal and Orff music with YRDSB.  Her passion for music started early when she joined her church choir at age 7 and she has never looked back. Mary has studied with an RCM vocal coach and started performing in musical theatre productions in her teens (St. Andrew’s College and Theatre Aurora) along with her close friend, Sheryl Thomas.  She has also taught vocal music privately for many years.
Mary has developed a strong love of choral music and has been a member of the Elektra Women’s Choir and the Bach Choir while living in Vancouver. She has also sung locally with Tapestry Chamber Choir and is currently a member of the Marion Singer of Greater Toronto. She recently joined the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Mary continues to be an active member of the music program at Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora where she sings, conducts an orchestral ensemble, and leads a handbell quartet.
In her spare time, Mary enjoys gardening, crafts, reading and long walks.
Mary feels blessed to have had so many opportunities to follow her passion for music throughout her career and is looking forward to being part of Marquee’s musical team.

Bob Riddell

Choreographer (Teen Group and Elite Youth Group)

Bob Riddell has had a varied career over the years as a dancer, actor, teacher, choreographer and director which has taken him all over Canada, the U.S.A and the United Kingdom. He brings a wealth of experience and passion for the performing arts, especially dance. He started dancing at the Anne Holtz Studio in Ottawa and eventually moved to Toronto to pursue a career in Musical Theatre. Some of his highlights were dancing in “Anne of Green Gables” in Charlottetown, the wartime revue “Meet the Navy” and touring with the Broadway Bound musical “Durante”.  Now he’s pleased to be working with performers of all ages choreographing and directing throughout the G.T.A. Marquee has been an enriching environment and through this he has had the pleasure of developing and working with many people’s talents and skills. He is thrilled to do what he loves do.

*The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission of Canadian Actor’s Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance Opera Theatre Policy(DOT).

Ellie Mamatis

Jadon Trelour

Dance Instructor/ Choreographer (Teen Group)

Jadon is a professional dancer, singer and actor from Toronto. She is a graduate of Randolph College for the Performing arts, and has been training in dance her whole life. Jadon loves musical theatre, and is passionate about the important role dance plays in the arts. She is excited to share that passion with everyone at Marquee.

Laurie Thomas

Randy Sandler

Music Director (Teen Group)

Randy is an accomplished piano player and musician, having studied music since the age of 6. He has loved music and musical theatre for as long as he can remember and has many years of experience accompanying vocalists and performing himself.

Randy has had the pleasure of performing in 2 recent Marquee adult productions and also serves as vice president on the board of directors.

Professionally, Randy works in the financial industry on the business side of technology. But in the evenings, you’ll always find him jamming to showtunes and is very excited to be working with a talented group of teens this year.

Laurie Thomas

Colin Frotten

Music Director (Teen Group)

Originally from Nova Scotia, Colin Frotten is a pianist, tenor, and music director who performs regularly throughout the country. Past performance highlights include work with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, the Fredericton Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven’s 9th), and Opera Atelier (Dido and Aeneas). Previous operatic/operetta roles include Renaud in Gluck’s Armide (Halifax Summer Opera Festival), Camille de Rosillon in The Merry Widow and the title role in Händel’s Acis and Galatea (Maritime Concert Opera), Don Basilio/Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro (Opera York), and Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Opera by Request).
Musical theatre credits include Anthony in Sweeney Todd (First Act Productions), and George in The Wedding Singer (Curtain Call Players). As a music director, Colin most recently worked with First Act Productions on their 2019 production of Dogfight, and First Act Youth Company’s productions of Theory of Relativity (2020) and their filmed adaptation of Pasek and Paul’s EDGES (2022).
As a passionate educator and arts advocate, Colin has an active private piano/voice studio and is currently working as Communications Director for both Choral Canada and the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts.
Laurie Thomas

Nicole Strawbridge 

Stage Manager/ Dance Captain (Teen Group)

Nicole Strawbridge is a graduate of The Randolph College for the Performing Arts where she studied voice, acting, & dance. She has performed in and around Toronto for various festivals, corporate events, and musicals. Favourite stage credits include Miss Honey – Matilda The Musical, Julia Sullivan – The Wedding Singer, Jo March – Little Women, Mary Poppins – Mary Poppins, Cosette – Les Miserables, Woman 1 – Songs For A New World, and Serena – Legally Blonde. Aside from being on stage, she also works behind the scenes as a stage manager, producer, director, choreographer, and audition coach.

Nicole is extremely passionate about theatre education and mentorship. Having owned and operated the First Act Youth Company for 9 years and guiding young artists through technique, audition preparation, and production, she is excited to join the team at Marquee and continue to provide new young artists with the skills needed to pursue their dreams of performing.

Jason Silzer

Director (Drama Youth Group)

Jason has been a lover of theatre since he first discovered it. When he was thirteen, he appeared in his first show, a community theatre production of Camelot. In high school, he began learning light design, and directed his first plays. Through university, while obtaining degrees in Engineering and in English Literature, he continued to act, appearing in productions of The Imaginary Invalid, Tis Pity She’s a Whore, and Bent.

Since then, he has had hands-on experience in almost every aspect of theatre production and performance. He has acted in or directed over forty community and independent theatre productions, receiving a Thea award for direction of Down Dangerous Passes Road, and nominations for his direction of Almost, Maine, and Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Jason has studied direction under Richard Rose, adjudication under Ron Cameron, and has taken workshops in theatre intimacy. He has served on boards of both community and professional theatre companies, worked as crew, front of house, box office, and development.

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Jason saw approximately 100 shows every year. Jason has a keen interest in providing unbiased, encouraging, and reflective feedback as a way of sharing his love of theatre with others, and helping people grow in their expertise and craft.

 

Cara Crisolm

Cara Chisholm

Vocal Coach (Private Vocal Lessons)

Cara brings to the stage more than 30 years in the entertainment business. Versatility has been the key to her success. With a background in Musical Theatre, Cara has performed in the Canadian major musicals, The Phantom of the Opera (Princess/Christine) and the original Canadian cast of Les Miserables, playing both Cosette and Eponine at different times. She also played Ariel, The Little Mermaid, in London, England. Now married with two children, Cara now performs a one woman show all over Canada. Cara will strive to bring out the best in each student through teaching skills in voice technique, confidence building, body language and a lot of positive reinforcement!! She looks forward to sharing her expertise and passion for singing with the wonderful Marquee students. ​Book your vocal lesson today!

EMAIL Cara