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Meet Your Teacher


Sarah Atwell - Dance 

Beginning Musical Theatre, Tuesday

Intermediate Musical Theatre, Tuesday

Sarah Atwell received her BA in International Studies with a Minor in Dance from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. New to Matthews Playhouse this year, Sarah loves the movement side of Musical Theater. She enjoys the choreographic process from beginning to end. From teaching fundamentals in the classroom to the final bows on stage, Sarah is passionate about seeing it all come to life. Outside of Matthews Playhouse, Sarah has choreographed for various middle and high school shows, including Grease, Jr., Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella, throughout the triangle area and is currently teaching contemporary/modern classes at local studios.  

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Sarah Baumgardner- Music & Acting

Music - All Musical Theatre Classes

Acting - Advanced Musical Theatre, Mon/Wed

Acting - Intermediate Musical Theatre, Wed

Sarah Baumgardner is a graduate of Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA where she received her BA in Vocal Performance and a BS in Psychology.  She has done Masters work in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and received a Masters of Divinity from Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, OH. Sarah has thoroughly enjoyed providing private music instruction and vocal coaching over the past 15 years in New Jersey and Ohio, and is thrilled to now be on staff at Matthews Playhouse! An avid sacred music performer, Sarah is most often found singing for local church events, and is the Minister of Music for a Charlotte area congregation. She has also enjoyed being a featured soloist with the Westminster College Choir, the National Honors Choir, and she has prepared roles for opera and musical theater. Most importantly, Sarah’s passion is in encouraging others to explore their musical gifts and she brings that enthusiasm to each class and lesson.


June Bayless - Artistic Director

June Bayless is the Founder AND Artistic Director of Matthews Playhouse.  June received her BA in Theatre (w/an emphasis in Directing) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master’s in Theatre (emphasis in Theatre management and Creative Dramatics) from Penn State. June worked professionally in theatre as an actress, stage manager, company manager, and director in PA, NYC, MO, and NC as well as doing some commercial work as an actress.  Before starting a family, June worked as a producer at the PBS station in State College, PA.  She returned to Charlotte in 1989 and worked as the Director of Education at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte where she also taught classes, created an outreach program, and performed as an actress.  Wanting to pursue her directing career, June started Matthews Playhouse in 1995 and has since directed over one hundred children, adult, and class production shows.  


Lakeetha Blakeney - Acting 

Advanced Acting, Monday

Lakeetha Blakeney is a native of Concord, North Carolina.  She received her BA in Theater and African American Studies from UNC Greensboro, and she was awarded an MA in English Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. 


Lakeetha worked with various theater companies in St Louis MO.  Upon returning to the Charlotte region a few years ago, she worked as a performer with The  Touring Company of The Children's Theatre of Charlotte, and she has continued to work as a teacher both there and at Matthews Playhouse for the last few years. 

"I have been teaching theatre for several years now and what I love most is helping students to cultivate their gifts and talents. I also love introducing students to theater and performing arts and watching them grow."


Ron Chisholm - Dance 

Advanced Musical Theatre, Mon/Wed

Intermediate Musical Theatre, Wed

Ron Chisholm has performed in every type of entertainment medium:  Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, cruise ships, theme parks, music videos, TV, industrial shows and movies.  On Broadway he was assistant choreographer and performed in “Into the Light” with Dean Jones.  He was also assistant choreographer and Young Vincent in “Follies” starring Juliet Prowse and John Cullum, and toured with Gavin MacLeod in “High Button Shoes”.  On TV he has performed with such stars as Carol Burnett, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Ben Vereen and The Pointer Sisters.  In Charlotte he has directed, choreographed and/or produced over 300 shows.  Ron is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Dance program at CPCC. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Angie. He is the proud father of Bryan and Caroline.


Stefanie Nicholson - Acting

Beginning Musical Theatre, Tuesday/Thursday

Intermediate Musical Theatre, Tuesday

Intermediate Acting, Thursday 

Stefanie Nicholson received her BFA in Theater/Performance from the University of Georgia.  Stefanie has toured professionally with Patchwork Players in Columbia, SC and has been teaching and directing in the Charlotte area for over fifteen years.  Since joining Matthews Playhouse in 2003, Stefanie has taught summer camps and directed year-long theatre classes.  Stefanie loves working with children and “believes theater promotes teamwork, builds self-confidence, and strengthens imagination.”

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Cassie Prodan - Winter '21 Education Coordinator

Cassie Prodan (MPH’s Production Manager) was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC, Throughout college and after graduation, Cassie worked at various theatre companies in both South and North Carolina, including the Revolutionary War outdoor drama Horn In The West in Boone, NC.  A stage manager by trade, Cassie also has experience with costuming and wardrobe, props design, directing, and stage combat.  Cassie is thrilled to be a part of the staff here at Matthews Playhouse and is looking forward to another great year!

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