Program Director
Musical Theatre Performance

Stephen Agosto (Director/Choreographer) is a graduate of DePaul University (Acting, BFA) and The Neighborhood Playhouse, home of The Meisner Technique. He has directed, choreographed and/or provided musical staging for such shows as The Drowsy Chaperone and The Lucky Stiff (The Blue Hill Troup, NYC); Triangle Logic (Crosshatch Theatre Co.); A Christmas Story: the Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse; Asst. Dir.); West Side Story (Westminster); Modotti (Off-Broadway); Cabaret, Assassins, Laughter on the 23 rd Floor, and The Wild Party (Fordham University); and Scene and Be Seen (The Neighborhood Playhouse) to name a few. In 2011, Stephen directed The New York Musical Theatre Festival’s “Best of Fest” winner, Crazy, Just Like Me. He has directed various concerts and cabarets around the city including three shows for Joe’s Pub at The Public Theatre and Separate: Battle Songs of Youth at Ars Nova. He is the winner of the 2001 MTI Young Director’s Fellowship where he directed the world premiere of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler’s musical Dear Edwina.

In the world of arts education, Stephen has co-written numerous programs including “Across the Pond: The Musical Theatre Bridge Project,” an arts exchange program with London’s famed BRIT School as well as The Broadway Mentorship Program. He is also contributor of Musical Theatre curriculum for the New York City Department of Education.

In 2010, Stephen began as Director of Musical Theatre at Talent Unlimited High School for the Arts in Manhattan. For TUHS, he directed and choreographed The Nutcracker; Little Shop of Horrors; Into The Woods; You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown; NINE; Little Women: The Musical; Godspell; and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. For his production of Godspell, he and his students were Circle in the Square “Teens on Broadway” honorees, recipients of “Special Honors” from the Gershwin Theatre Awards, and recipients of The Shubert Organization High School Theatre Award (Top Honors). Stephen’s program received a special grant from Exploring the Arts founder and acclaimed recording artist, Tony Bennett. Mr. Bennett tweeted, “I just heard the Musical Theatre kids at TUHS. Mr. Agosto provides the best training!”

In addition to directing, Stephen holds teaching artist positions at Paper Mill Playhouse, Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory, and Fordham University as well as guest teaching at numerous colleges and universities. He is the co-founder/conceiver of Paper Mill Prep, a program to prepare students and their families for college BFA auditions. Prior to directing, Stephen enjoyed a career as an actor, having been seen regionally, on tour, and in New York City in over 40 plays and musicals.

Regina McAllen Headshot

Music Director
Musical Theatre Performance 

Regina McAllen is a graduate of Westminster Choir College with degrees in Piano Pedagogy/Performance and Music Education. She is currently the Vocal and Choral Director for the performing arts magnet program at Howell High School (FPAC). She has travelled the world with her choirs (London, Montreal, Florida, Bahamas, Washington, Ireland, Scotland, Bermuda, France, and Spain) and has been invited six times to perform at Carnegie Hall with artists such as Kate Winslet, Sarah McLachlan, Zachary Levi, Jackie Evancho, Steven Van Zandt, and Darlene Love. She has been the President, Vice-President, Secretary and pianist numerous times for the All Shore Chorus Association and the NJ American Choral Directors Society Repertoire and Standards Chair for Male Choirs. She has been pianist and guest judge for the “Rising Stars High School Classical Musicians Competition” and is a faculty consultant for the AP Music Theory Examination. Regina also teaches and accompanies at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn and is a reader for the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

In 2013 Regina was a quarter finalist for the 2013 Grammy Music Educators Award, and the following year she was 2014 Teacher of the Year and was featured on NJTV’s “Classroom Close-Up” in an episode entitled “Meet the McAllen’s.” In 2015 the Howell High School Choir placed 1st in the nation for All State and All National Chorus acceptances. That same year, Regina was a finalist in the 2015 Princeton University Distinguished Teaching Award. She is the Algonquin Theater’s “2016 Arts Educator of the Year,” which was presented by Tony Danza. Last year she was personally invited by President Barack Obama to perform at The White House Holiday Reception.


Acting For the Stage

Frances Mercanti-Anthony is an actress, writer, director, and teacher originally from Haddonfield, New Jersey. A graduate of Fordham University, Frances has performed professionally since making her Off-Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Mr. Marmalade in 2005. She made her Broadway debut in the 2006 eight-time Tony award winning musical Spring Awakening where she played piano teacher to Skylar Astin, and mother to Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff. Her numerous professional credits include the Broadway productions of Don’t Dress for Dinner, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the 2011 Olivier Award winning West End import Jerusalem, where she performed opposite Academy Award winning actor Mark Rylance.

In 2013, Frances took a break from the Broadway stage and accepted a position as the creator and director of the theatre program at the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School: A String Theory School. While there she designed the curriculum and taught the acting program for hundreds of students from grades 7-11 at a brand new performing arts school in the middle of Center City Philadelphia. She directed 2-3 productions each during her three-year tenure at PPACS, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, original premiere works written by both herself and the students, and most recently The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman and the Members of the Tectonic Theatre Project. Frances currently splits her time between New York and Philadelphia where she continues to teach and perform. She is thrilled to add exit 9 to her weekly commute and to join the faculty at Rutgers where she will once again have the opportunity to spend time nurturing and appreciating the talents of our next generation of great performers.

Vocal Technique
Music Theory

Marian is an accomplished singer and theatrical artist who brings a versatile background to her work on stage, the teaching studio and directing. A veteran of national Broadway tours and major regional theatre productions, her favorite roles include: Cosette in Les Misérables (Broadway National Tour), Christine in Phantom, Mother in Bright Lights, Big City, Marian in The Music Man, Fleur in Esmeralda (World Premiere), Mary Jane Wilkes in Big River and Fiona in Brigadoon. She has been featured with several orchestras around the world, including the Shanghai Symphony and the Concordia Orchestra at New York’s Lincoln Center. Her career has taken her to many stages here and abroad, and to other venues such as churches, cabarets, cruise lines, theme parks, dinner theaters and benefit concerts.

She has three solo recordings: “This Must Be Love”, celebrating love songs from many genres, a jazz CD – “Live at the Saturday Club” with renowned jazz pianist Bill Schmearer, and most recently, “Amazed By You” – all new music written by pianist/composer Matthew Quayle. She can also be heard as a guest artist on Gail Levinsky’s recently released “Tipping Point”.

As a teaching artist and clinician, Marian holds workshops and assemblies in educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to universities. She has a Bachelor of Music degree and a Performer’s Certificate of Merit from the School of Music at the State University of New York in Fredonia and earned her Actor’s Equity Association membership with the Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s Young Artist Program. As a member of National Association of Teachers of Singing, she has been teaching private voice students for over twenty years. She was an adjunct voice teacher and the Musical Theatre Artistic Director at The Hill School in Pottstown, PA and  has been a member of the faculty at New England Music Camp for twenty-two years, where she is the Artistic Director of their Musical Theatre Program. Stage Directing credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Brigadoon, Into The Woods, The Addams Family, and Little Women.

Marian is thrilled to be working with the next generation of artists at The Rutgers High School Musical Theatre Academy.

Vocal Technique

Lauren Barchi has been a teacher and performer in the New York City/ New Jersey area for almost ten years. She is currently going to Rutgers University for an Artist Diploma in Opera. While at Rutgers she has been seen as La chouette in L’enfant et les sortilèges and Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites.
Ms. Barchi received her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College. While at Ithaca College, she performed as the First Lady in The Magic Flute. After completing her education at Ithaca College, she obtained her initial certification to teach K-12 music in New York and pursued a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy from New York University. Lauren had numerous performance opportunities at NYU, which included: Soprano soloist in Stravinsky’s Les Noces, a soloist in a Kurt Weill review and Monica in The Medium. Ms. Barchi was also an adjunct voice professor at NYU and taught voice lessons to undergraduate students.
Other favorite roles she has worked on include: La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Susannah (Susannah), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serial), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Norina (Don Pasquale), and Lady Billows (Albert Herring). She was also a soloist with the Ridgewood Concert Band. Most recently, she sang the role of Aline (The Sorcerer) with the Westchester Gilbert and Sullivan Group.
Lauren Barchi started teaching at a very young age; from teaching her friends art songs for competitions to assistant directing her school’s musical. While at Ithaca she taught, kindergarten, 5th-grade guitar and chorus, jazz chorus and small group lessons to middle and high school age students. While at NYU, she taught undergraduate students of differing majors and took classes in the science of singing, voice disorders, and vocal repertoire.
Ms. Barchi is comfortable teaching all genres of music. She has extensive experience teaching musical theater, classical, opera, pop, rock, R&B and jazz. She has helped many of her students find their voice, be confident and prepare for auditions, competitions, and performances.

Musical Theatre Dance

Ivette Sosa Dempsey has over 15 years of experience in show business and teaching various styles of dance. She has performed in numerous musicals and stage productions including West Side Story at the famed La Scalla Opera House in Milan, Italy; Latinologues on Broadway and Yo soy Latina at the TONY award-winning Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick to name a few. Ivette is best known as a member of the pop singing group Eden’s Crush where she toured with superstars ‘NSYNC and Jessica Simpson performing her Billboard #1 hit single “Get Over Yourself.” Her TV and Film credits include Chasing Papi, Disney’s Even Stevens, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and various commercials and music videos. Most recently, television audiences can hear Ivette sing “Imagine” in the UNICEF national campaign. Ivette is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a BFA in Dance.