The Gardens Players is the Church-in-The-Gardens sponsored Musical Theater Program for kids run by director/choreographer Betina Hershey Russo and accompanied by musical director Sunny Knable. Four levels of instructions are available for children grades 1 through 12. Children enrolled get to sing and learn acting based on Spolin’s theater games. During the second semester they participate in the Garden’s Players Annual spring musical production. Emphasis is on fun, trust, focus and courage.
Current Students & Alumni of the Garden Players have attained high levels of achievement, including: appearing in an Adele commercial during the Grammy Awards, singing the national anthem at the US Open, being accepted into Professional Performing Arts School, Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of the Performing Arts, Frank Sinatra High School, Talent Unlimited, Mark Twain, appearing on Saturday Night Live and more. Congrats!
All classes are held in The Church in the Gardens at 50 Ascan Ave,
For more information please contact Betina Hershey at 917-204-5647, or by e-mail:
Betina Hershey is the director for the Garden Players Musical Theater Program at The Church-in-the-Gardens. She also teaches ballroom to elementary school students through Dancing Classrooms (as in Mad Hot Ballroom), songwriting through Making Books Sing, and travels to teach swing dancing around the world (Japan, Bermuda, etc.). She has taught beginner through advanced jazz and ballet classes as Wagner College, and at Studio E, as well as ballet and tap at USDAN performing arts summer camp. She is a principle dancer in the Disney film, Enchanted and the Julia Roberts film, Mona Lisa Smile. She has also toured the country and world as a performer. Favorite roles include Meg in Phantom of the Opera (National Broadway Tour), Anybodys in West Side Story (LaScala Opera House, Italy), Fleta in Iolanthe (City Center, NYC), Luisa in The Fantasticks, Hilda in Plain and Fancy, Mrs. Popov in The Brute, Jackie in Pump Boys and Dinettes. She has played her own songs on WFUV radio, at the legendary Bottom Line and more. Her original musicals premiered by the Garden Players have gone on to be performed in theaters and festivals all over the world including NYC, Washington DC, Jordan, Jamaica, Germany, and more. Degrees: summa cum laude BFA in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College; Tamaris Dance Award from LaGuardia HS of the Performing Arts.