Alumni

C-R Kids Alumni

C-R Kids is proud of the fact that many of our alumni have gone on to significant achievement in a variety of fields. In addition to some individuals who are studying to become doctors and leaders in business, others have become accomplished arts administrators, stage managers, dancers, opera singers, stage, film, television professionals and actors.

But, perhaps the greatest award of all is the past decade that C-R Kids has spent impacting the lives of thousands of Upstate New York children. In the words of  C-R Kids alumni and professional actor, Charles Franklin (Broadway - Book of Mormon), "If I didn't have the theatrical opportunities I had as a C-R Kid, I simply wouldn't be where I am today... I'm still practicing and learning today, but I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to get a head start with C-R Kids."

Lexi Rabadi

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"I owe some of my best qualities as a young woman and as an actor to the community theatres that nurtured them as I grew up. To them, I owe my sense of self and inner confidence, my appreciation for long hours of hard work and my desire to play, laugh, and create. Whether I had decided to pursue a career in this crazy business or not, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Some of my fondest memories growing up were made at Cohoes Music Hall with Jim and Tony and the friends I met there and still think of daily. As I write this, I am two short months away from graduating Pace University with a degree in Musical Theatre, and though I am unsure of what the future holds, I am beaming with excitement, and I know that I have my roots to thank for getting me here! So, thank you Jim and Tony! Please continue changing lives and shaping young artists!"

 

Charles Franklin

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"If I didn't have the theatrical opportunities I had as a C-R Kid, I simply wouldn't be where I am today. When I left for NYC to pursue a career in theatre, I already felt comfortable enough in my choice and in myself to completely commit without hesitations. And performing at a young age is an amazing learning experience. It's thrilling and terrifying being up in front of strangers and being expected to fully commit to just BEING for a while, but it's important to get all of the practice you can actually DOING it as soon as you can. I'm still practicing and learning today, but I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to get a head start with C-R Kids."

Alison Lehane

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"I am proud to say that I'm currently finishing up my B.S in Biomedical Engineering at Clemson University in South Carolina. I plan to eventually attend medical school and hope to go on to a surgical specialty from there. Theater has helped me in more ways than one giving me confidence to speak in front of others and the ability to work in a team environment. C-R Kids especially is close to my heart as I met many amazing people through the program that I considers to be life-long friends."

Dan Macke

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"I am currently a student at the University of Hartford, The Hartt School studying Musical Theatre and working with C-R Kids was incredibly influential to me as a person. I grew up taking social refuge in theatre and as a result it taught me many valuable life lessons. One lesson I could always take away from C-R Kids was to respect EVERYONE you come across, because everyone is equal. Whether it's the director, sound designer, light designer, stage management, or fellow actor; your relationship with that person will flourish if you nurture it the right way!"

Sydney Paluch

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"I am currently a junior at Union College double major in English and Political Science with a double minor in Women and Gender studies, and theater. Also a proud Sewards fellow, in the Law and Public Policy program. I have been able to study abroad in York, England where I was able to attend workshops and performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Specializing in Shakespearean Studies and Political Theory, I am currently working on my thesis titled "The Ambiguity of Antony and Cleopatra: Interrupting the Repetition of Phallocentric Schemes of Objectification Through the Gaze", and have been accepted as one of only twenty students for the America Shakespeare Center's 2016 Masters Shakespeare Intensive. This upcoming year I will be applying to grad schools, as it is my goal to ultimately become a college English Professor, specializing in Shakespearean studies.”

“I was blessed enough to perform in several C-R Kids shows, and they are truly some of my most treasured memories. The level of professionalism is unparrelled, and Jim and Tony truly made me feel at home. Working as part of the family gave me the confidence to go after my dreams; as Tony took a girl who was ashamed of her "chorus voice" and showed her that she could still shine as a dancer and actress. I can never thank him enough for that. Currently, I also work as the Consortium Actor's choreographer, a place I never would have been able to achieve without the magic of C-R Kids.”

Richard Gatta

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"I worked with Jim and Tony on numerous production for C-R Productions and for C-R Kids. Their dedication to their work in the arts is unparalleled. They have given me so many valuable skills and life lessons, all of which were instrumental in me reaching my goals and achieving my dreams. C-R Productions & C-R Kids enriches the lives of thousands of people in the Capital Region through their love of the arts and I consider myself lucky to have been part of that.

C-R Productions gave me my first taste of professional theater with their production of West Side Story in 2004. Since then, I have toured with numerous national and international broadway productions; “Grease", “The Pajama Game, “Fiddler on the Roof" “Cinderella” and served as the Assistant Resident Choreographer for the Tony Award winning "Billy Elliot” in Brazil. I received a BS in Business Economics with a concentration in Arts Managment from SUNY Empire State College and serve part-time as Assistant Artistic Director for Northeast Ballet Company in Upstate New York.

Currently, I live in New York City working as the Dance Captain for Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s new musical “Bright Star” which is playing at the Cort Theater on Broadway.

Thank you Jim and Tony!"

www.richardgatta.com

Taylor M. Collins

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"Since my days with C-R Kids and C-R Productions, I have gone on to receive my BFA from Pace University in lower manhattan. I have travelled the country which shows such as 'Catch Me if you Can' directed by Jack O'Brien (Hairspray, The Full Monty) and internationally with 'A Chorus Line' directed by Baayork Lee (Orig. A Chorus Line). Off-Broadway and Regional theatres that I've had the opportunity to work in as a professional actor are: The Public Theater, Maine State Music Theater, Ogunquit Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, and Gateway Playhouse. While in my off time I work collaborating with new projects with BC Beat/ Choreography and Composer Residency with Jennifer Jencuska. I am also a proud member of the Actors Equity Association."

Nicole Zelka

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"Tony and Jim's passion for their company and giving young people the opportunity to be treated like working professionals was one of the huge reasons I decided to pursue this as a career. I am studying at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and C-R Kids shows were one of my favorite parts of high school and being able to learn so much from both Tony, Jim, and other students around the Capital Region."

Kathleen Macari

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"I’m proud to say that I’ve worked with three shows with C-R Kids during my high school years, that including “Footloose”, “Legally Blonde”, and “Once on This Island.” I went on to study theatre at Niagara University received a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance as well as minors in Dance in Fine Arts. I am currently starring as Suzy in “Wait Until Dark” at Kavinoky Theatre in Buffalo, and will continue on to move to Colorado in June to work with Thin Air Theatre Company for five months." 

"My experience with C-R Kids was nothing but great! I was always treated like a professional, pushed to do the best I could, but my limits and any soft spots were always treated with care. The shows were always something I was immensely proud to be a part of and share with the audience, and the process of getting to the show was enjoyable and always a learning experience! I can't recommend being a part of it enough to people!"

Kiley Hinkle

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"As I am quickly approaching graduation from Rider University with a BFA in Musical Theater, I can't help to be grateful for the experiences I had in theater growing up in Albany. It was programs like C-R Kids that helped me discover my love for theater, and discover that I wanted to pursue it as a career. I was very on the fence about it for a long time, but doing shows and participating in summer workshops really made the decision for me: I needed to follow my passion. I could not have made such a big decision without the support of people like Jim and Tony! This program made all of the difference in the world as I was facing one of the most important decisions in my life, and I have no doubt it will continue to do the same for so many other young artists!”

Daniel L. Charlebois

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“I grew up in Cohoes, NY and spent a lot of my high school years at the Cohoes Music Hall with C-R Kids and C-R Productions. I attended Clarkson University and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I'm a Radio Frequency engineer for C Squared Systems in Auburn, NH. I began working with C-R Kids and C-R Productions in 2004 with ‘West Side Story’ and continued through 2008. I was never on stage but took great pride in being an integral part of their production staff. I ran spotlight, was backstage crew, and a rigger in the fly system. Most of all, I worked in the scenery shop and built many scenic pieces over the years. I've taking a lot of those skills I learned building the sets and props and still build today. But I can honestly say the experiences I got with C-R Kids have benefited me greatly. I met so many great people on stage and behind the scenes.”

Sara Donnellan

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"I will be graduating from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music in December 2016 with a degree in music composition. Being involved with musical theater throughout my childhood and adolescence helped me become a better musician and person in ways I wasn’t even aware of at the time. Jim and Tony always emphasized professionalism and putting on the best show possible for our audience while also having fun. Through my experience with C-R Kids, I learned how to be part of a team but also how to develop my own voice as a singer, an actor and a storyteller. The productions I was involved in with C-R Kids had so much heart. It was clear that everyone in the cast was extremely proud of what a bunch of young people could do when they worked together under excellent direction. I can’t recommend C-R Kids enough!"

Mission Statement

 

To nurture, advance and create a community of young artists, fortifying their lives and those of their families, schools, communities and beyond, through the study and performance of theatre.

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