Joan Christensen & Jackie Ianniello
Maureen Lyden Ruhe
Our highly trained staff is dedicated to supporting the development of performers of all ages in theater, dance and music. In particular, our instructors and staff use proven methodologies and highly effective techniques to help children grow theatrically and socially. Through this program children gain confidence and experience and have often moved on to illustrious programs at the high school and collegiate level.
Joan is entering her 32nd year as the owner and director of Joni's Dance Center in Hamden. She has taught dance for the last 48 years and continues her studies locally and in New York. Joan has choreographed many shows including Guys & Dolls and Footloose at the High Lane Club.
Cindy Simell-Devoe has worked as the Assistant Director at Act 2 Theatre on the Albertus Magnus College campus under the direction of Albert DeFabio for 12 years. Her tenure there included such productions as Evita, Guys and Dolls, Company, Pippin and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Cindy directed the Whitney Players premier production of Damn Yankees in 2003, followed by Anything Goes, The Wiz, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Odd Couple (Female Version). High School Musical, Beauty and the Beast, The Magical Land of Oz, Back To the 80's: The Totally Awesome Musical, Seussical Jr., Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, Godspell, Annie, Pippin,Disney's The Jungle Book Kids, Young Frankenstein and most recently Honk, Jr., Annie, Jr. and Hairspray. In keeping with the educational mission of the company, she has conducted nine acting workshops, each involving more than two dozen young people in intensive drama coaching through the production of small, one act plays, monologues, theater games and cooking.
She has also directed Guys and Dolls Jr, and Footloose at the High Lane Club as well as The Magical Land of Oz at West Woods School in Hamden with a cast and crew of over 180 children, and The Jungle Book for North Haven's Ridge Road School.
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She also choreographed The Magical Land of Oz at West Woods School in Hamden in the spring of 2002 and assisted the choreographer for the North Branford High School's production of Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar. She has choreographed all of the Whitney Players productions including Damn Yankees, Anything Goes, The Wiz, Joseph and the Amazing Technecolor Dreamcoat, High School Musical, Beauty and the Beast, The Magical Land of Oz, Back to the 80's, Seussical Jr., Willy Wonka, Godspell, Annie, Pippin, Jungle Book, West Side Story, Footloose, Hairspray, Godspell Jr. , 13 the musical and Young Frankenstein.
Her students, the Joan Lynn Company Dancers, have performed at numerous benefits and community events including the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, numerous nursing homes, and benefits for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the March of Dimes. Her company also performed in the Gal-Mar benefit to keep teens off the street.