Staff Profiles

MSSA—Marilyn AbbottMarilyn Abbott, Director

Around camp, Marilyn is affectionately known as “The Queen.” She founded the MSSA program in 1986, bringing to it her wealth of experience in dance, theater, and the arts. Formerly, she was co-founder and director of Act/Tunes Youth Theater which was based at Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts in Concord center. With a degree in Physical Education and Dance, she directed the Acton Dance Company for 11 years and choreographed numerous shows throughout the MetroWest area. 


Nina AraujoNina earned an MA in Child Development from Wheelock College Graduate School and was a classroom teacher for 22 years. She completed her video production graduate coursework at Harvard University Extension School and now produces videos for educational use through Go Beyond The Classroom, LLC. She co-produced "The Lightbulb Salesman" which won an audience award at Harvard in 2009. She has been teaching at MSSA since 2009.

Sharon BisantzSharon runs the Drama Program in the Fine Arts Department at Lowell High School and has been directing MSSA plays since 1997. She started her training at the Martha Graham School in New York. With a BA in Dance from SUNY Brockport, she moved to Boston, where she now has a long list of choreographer/director credits for her work with college, community, and youth theaters including MIT, Tufts, Lyric Stage, Back Alley Theater, Turtle Lane Playhouse, and Alexander Children’s Theater. Her improvisation and acting classes fill up fast at MSSA. 

Jan ChapinJan is our versatile and skilled department head for the Visual Arts, with 15 years at MSSA. A graduate of RIT in Rochester, NY, Jan first worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world before getting her M.Ed. in Art Education. As a Certified PreK-12 Art Educator and Fine Arts Director in the Andover Public Schools, she has crafted a 20-year career in teaching art to children. Interdisciplinary curriculum development, multi-arts programming, and arts advocacy are areas of strong professional interest.

Cam CrossOur stellar Music Department head, Cam has played lead trumpet for the Peter Duchin Orchestra featuring recording artists Tony Martin, Helen O'Connell, and Kay Starr. Further credits include the Celebrity Orchestra-Cruise Lines, the Burlington-Discover JazzFest, the Mary Lou Williams Big Band, and the Paquito D'Rivera Big Band. Cam has a B.A. in Music Education from Ohio State and teaches at Constellation Schools in Ohio as well as Vermont Jazz Camp at St. Michaels College in Vermont.

Donna DawsonA graduate of Mass. College of Art and Design, Donna is an elementary art specialist for the Reading Public Schools. She specializes in painting and mixed media. Her work is in private collections throughout New England as well as in Denmark. Entering her 12th year in the MSSA Art Department, Donna will again offer her popular courses in illustration, watercolor, and printmaking.

John EldridgeJohn is the Music Director for the Greasepaint Kids and Act 2 Players shows, as well as an instructor in instrumental music (such as Intro to Jazz and Making the Band), vocal technique, a cappella, and musical theater performance. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University with degrees in Music and International Studies. He has played in every kind of performing ensemble, from symphonic to percussion. A freelance pianist and theater technician, John maintains a private studio where he teaches piano, voice, and music theory.

Kelly LopezAn MSSA alumna, Kelly returns for her lucky 13thsummer. She went to Roger Williams College and Trinity Rep/Rhode Island for her BA and MA Theatre degrees. She taught middle school drama for 14 years at Beaver Country Day School, and now teaches drama at Wayland Middle School.  She will be directing The Little Mermaid with the Act II Players this  summer.   

Michele Boll MacKenzieMichele is a past recipient of an Artist's Foundation Fellowship in Drawing from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. Her work hangs in many private and public collections, including DeCordova Museum’s permanent collection. A multimedia artist, Michele has worked extensively in scenic art in theaters throughout the region. She was nominated for an IRNE in Scenic Design for her work in Into the Woodsat Turtle Lane Playhouse (2008). Michele graduated from Brandeis University and holds a Master's Degree from Tufts University. A professional art educator, she teaches ceramics, sculpture, and Advanced Placement Studio Art at Medford High School.

Nancy RobertsNancy Roberts has been photographing for over 35 years and has taught photography to students of all ages. She lives in Carlisle and works in her darkroom at the Emerson Umbrella for the Arts in Concord. She studied at the Maine Photographic Workshops and has an MFA in photography from Ohio University.

Rachelle VachonA MSSA veteran of 13 years, Rachelle received a BA in Theatre Arts at California State University at San Jose. She founded Volcano Storytellers’ Children’s Theatre Company on the Big Island of Hawaii and spent four years in San Francisco as a professional actress and a commercial acting coach. With an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College, she then became head of the Drama Department at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord. She designs costumes for and performs in local theater productions, including shows at Theatre III, the Concord Players, Alexander Children's Theatre, and Theatre at the Mount.

William YusahWilli Web headWilliam Yusah instructs improvisation/comedy courses and directs Greasepaint Kids productions (for ages 8-10 years old). He is also the quick-witted MC of Noontime Shows. He majored in English and Theatre at Bowdoin College and is completing his Master's degree in English and Theater Education at New York University. During the school year, he resides in Brooklyn, New York where he teaches the fourth grade and high school. William is also the outreach coordinator for Amy Poehler's Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre and Command Center staff for IMG's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

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