StarStruck Theatre Co-Founder
Jennifer, the Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of StarStruck Academy & Theatre, caught the acting bug in 3rd grade as Lafcadio the Lion at PS 114 in New York. At 11, she played Grace Farrell in ANNIE, and she never looked back! She and her husband, Peter Jones, created StarStruck in the year 2000 when they saw a need for young people to spread their wings and enhance their confidence through the art of musical theatre. She most recently directed the sold out smash hits FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, LEGALLY BLONDE, A CHORUS LINE and PIPPIN. Other favorite directing moments: INTO THE WOODS, 13 THE MUSICAL, NEXT FALL, LA CAGE aux FOLLES, THE LAST 5 YEARS and CABARET. She won the Broadway World’s Best Director Award for the play NEXT FALL and is a recipient of the Martin County Arts Council “mARTie Award” for Outstanding Performing Artist. Jennifer was awarded Best Direction for ANNIE Jr. and ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Jr. at the Music Theatre International Junior Festival in Atlanta and directed the Florida State premiere of the musical, SUMMER of ’42. She has had the incredible opportunity to work with legendary composer, Stephen Schwartz, creating student versions of his musicals, MY SON, PINNOCHIO and CHILDREN OF EDEN and has produced and directed the world premiere Junior and School Editions of many musicals including RENT, SWEENEY TODD and HAIRSPRAY. Jennifer’s favorite onstage roles include Velma Kelly in CHICAGO, Sally Bowles in CABARET, Sandy in GREASE, Tessie Tura in GYPSY and Golde in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Jennifer’s life not only revolves around her StarStruck family, but also, the loves of her life, her husband and partner in ALL things, Peter Jones, and her two incredibly wonderful children; Amanda, a businesswoman in NYC and Kevin, a senior at Carnegie Mellon. “Understanding the impact I have on my student’s lives inspires my energy, and focuses my goals, each and every day.”
StarStruck Theatre Co-Founder
Peter has been a music educator and music director for more than 25 years. He has performed in theaters throughout New York and Florida either onstage as a character or accompanying the show behind a piano. Memorable onstage performances include the Emcee in CABARET, Billy Flynn in CHICAGO, Mozart in AMADEUS, Nathan Detroit in GUYS AND DOLLS, and many others. Peter had the privilege of accompanying the late Broadway legend, John Raitt (OKLAHOMA, CAROUSEL) for Mr. Raitt’s one-man show in Stuart. Peter also collaborated with Broadway composers Stephen Schwartz (MY SON, PINNOCHIO and CHILDREN OF EDEN) and Stephen Sondheim (SWEENEY TODD) to help create student versions of their musicals. Peter is the recipient of a “mARTie Award” from the Martin County Arts Council for Outstanding Performing Artist. He has been featured in numerous local and national magazines and newspapers for his work as a performer and as a musical theatre educator. During the week, Peter enjoys teaching private lessons in music theory, chord chart piano improvisation, advanced piano (classical, pop, rag) vocal coaching and musical theatre audition prep. Peter and his wife, Jennifer, are excited to be celebrating 16 years of musical theatre education on the Treasure Coast.
Assistant to the Artistic Director, Dance Instructor
Rebecca Beery is a professional tap teacher and choreographer with fifteen years of experience. Rebecca studied with internationally acclaimed tap dancer and master teacher, Debbi Dee, and is featured in multiple Debbi Dee Educational Tap Videos. Based in South Florida, Rebecca received her early training from Charlotte Klein School of Dance in Massachusetts at the age of 3. A graduate of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, she attended Oklahoma City University as a Dance Performance Major and was a member of the American Spirit Dance Company's Regional Touring Company. She has been a licensed Zumba® Fitness instructor and has a B.A. degree from the Florida Atlantic University. Rebecca’s choreography has won numerous first place awards and her students have earned many special honors including Best Technical Execution, Best Performance, Most Promising Performer and Overall High Scores. As a dancer, she has performed in New York, Massachusetts, Tampa, Miami, Ft. Myers, California, Puerto Rico and at Disney World in Orlando, winning several awards and honors including Dancer of the Year Finalist at the 2002 Dance Olympus national competition. Rebecca has participated in various dance conventions including the New York City Dance Alliance, Dance America, the St. Louis Tap Festival in Missouri and the Renditions and Rhythms tap conference in Chicago. Rebecca teaches tap at several dance studios across South Florida and continues to develop her choreographic voice.
Valerie is originally from Illinois and has an extensive background in gymnastics and dance. After competing until she was a level 9 gymnast, she decided to pursue the art of dance which is truly where her heart and soul lies. Valerie passionately traveled the United States competing in contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and tap and won many high point awards and scholarships in solo, duet, trio, small group, and large group categories. In 2007, she graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science and danced for UGA's dance team all 4 years. After graduating, she moved to Atlanta and began dancing for the NBA Atlanta Hawks dance team as a professional dancer. While in Atlanta, Valerie further fed her passion of dance by becoming a contemporary dance instructor for Dance 101, one of the largest and most prestigious studios in the city of Atlanta. She is also a certified health and fitness specialist, a fitness nutrition coach, and a post rehab-conditioning specialist. The last 5 years of her life have been dedicated to helping others achieve fitness and life goals through being a master level personal trainer at the Concourse Athletic Club in Atlanta. New to the Stuart area, she can't wait to start a new chapter of life with the StarStruck family, and continue to spread her love and passion for the art of dance.
Loretta Miller is a former soloist with The Boston Ballet & former member of Pennsylvania Ballet. Ms. Miller trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet in NYC on a full scholarship. She has worked with many greats including Violette Verdy, Rudolf Nureyev, Alberto Alonso, Lupe Serrano, and Fernando Bujones. She is a former faculty member of Steps and The Broadway Dance Center in NYC, Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL., and was a guest teacher at University of Florida. She has choreographed more than thirty ballets. Ms. Miller is well versed in the Vaganova, Cecchetti, Cuban, and Balanchine techniques; a broad array, which uniquely prepares her students for every style of dance.
Maxey Koch received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Florida State University. She graduated from Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach and danced with REACH Dance Theatre Collective. She attended summer training programs with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Thodos Dance Chicago. At FSU, she performed in student and faculty pieces and also appeared as a guest performer with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In Chicago, she performed in freelance projects and for several professional dance companies: Chicago Verge Dance Company, Esoteric Dance Project, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Piel Morena Contemporary Dance and Tapestry Dance Company. Maxey toured in Mexico with Piel Morena Contemporary Dance to perform at “Encuentro Danza Contempanea”. Maxey enjoyed the outreach component with Piel Moreana Contemporary Dance, dancing in the Chicago Public Schools. Maxey returned to South Florida to be near her family and has since performed at “Project Dance” & Tapestry Dance Company in Orlando. She is also a certified instructor for Pilates ProWorks. Maxey currently teaches math at Stuart Middle School and is happy her path has led to StarStuck Performing Arts Center where she is excited to continue her passion for dance as an instructor.
Hip Hop Instructor
Vickie attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communication Studies and Family Child Sciences. Vickie had extensive involvement at FSU and in the Tallahassee community as a performer in FSU’s Flying High Circus for 4 consecutive years. Locally, Vickie grew up in Port Saint Lucie, attended Lincoln Park Academy and has an extensive and diverse performing background. Vickie discovered her love of hip hop at Urban Fire Dance Studio where she taught and performed throughout the Treasure Coast and at regional conferences Hip hop taught her how to believe in herself and overcome challenges despite defeating circumstances. Vickie’s goal as a hip hop dance instructor is to create an atmosphere where kids can discover the same connection, empowerment, and acceptance as she did growing up. After her most recent service experience working on education reform and intervention in Jacksonville, Vickie is more passionate than ever to use dance to empower students. Vickie is thrilled to be back home as part of the StarStruck family, and is excited to re-connect to her passion for hip hop in her home community.
Drum & Percussion Instructor
Brian is a 34-year-old Drummer/Percussionist/Educator Brian Menendez is fluent in a variety of settings from Jazz and Blues to Classical and Pop. He has shared the stage with artists including Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Kenny Garrett, Bunky Green, Keith Javors, Eddie Kirkland, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Mulgrew Miller, and Maria Schneider. Currently, he is engaged in performances in the USA and abroad at music festivals and venues with the “Albert Castiglia Band”. Brian has an Associate in Arts degree from Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, FL and a Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Performance with high honors from the prestigious University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.
As an educator Brian has taught privately since 1998 and worked with all ages and skill levels from youngsters to baby boomers. Brian has been a guest clinician for students from middle school to high school in classroom settings and one on one. For more information, please visit www.brianmenendez.com for updates and events.
Beginning Piano, Beginning Guitar, Trumpet, French Horn, Voice
Michael earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. USA performance credits: Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Show and played in the nationally televised 'World's Largest Concert' with the OakRidge Boys and the St. Louis Children's Choir. He was featured playing Mozart's first Horn Concerto in D with the Ozarks Festival Orchestra the year before he moved. LONDON performance credits: St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abby, and the internationally televised 2007 London New Years' Day Parade. Seeking warmer weather, less tornadoes, and more alligators, he moved to Florida where he performed at Universal Studios and Disney. Michael has taught over 1,000 students beginning piano lessons. Locally, he plays the French Horn in the Indian River Pops Orchestra and the Treasure Coast Symphony. He began teaching French Horn and Trumpet lessons in 2006 and has had many students win awards at district solo contests and audition into All-District Band. When not saving the world from misspelling Tchaikovsky, Michael ponders the meaning of "Salt Life" and can often be observed in his natural habitat at local music venues. Michael is a vocalist, instrumentalist, conductor, and composer who lives to share, teach, and explore the endless possibilities of music. He is excited to join the StarStruck team teaching even more children on the Treasure Coast and helping them grow as young musicians.
Casey has worked in technical theatre in southeast Florida for almost 10 years at local and regional playhouses. He is a member of the Actor's Equity Association and has appeared onstage professionally in many productions. Casey has been a StarStruck team member since 2012 where he has been a part of every show providing his expertise in either lighting or sound design as well as other technical aspects of StarStruck productions including scene design and construction.
Missy Weigel has been the resident stage manager at StarStruck since 2004, but has been stage managing alongside Peter and Jennifer since 1998, for the Barn Theatre's production of Pippin. Missy a Stuart native, joined the U.S. Army after graduating Martin County High School. While serving Missy toured the globe stage managing the U.S Army Solider Show. In addition she also wrote, directed and produced two multi-media theatrical presentations complete with pyrotechnics for the Air Defense Artillery for which she received the Army Achievement Medal. She has stage managed and assistant stage managed at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, El Paso Playhouse and the Lyric Theatre. Some favorite credits include ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, AIDA, CHICAGO, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, LOST IN YONKERS and TINTYPES.
Brent is a graduate of Purdue University where he received his BA in Visual Communication Design. He is a certified High School Graphic Arts Instructor, Photoshop Design Program Instructor, Award Winning Costume Designer, Patent Design Illustrator, Professional Artist, and Fine Art Instructor. Brent has worked with StarStruck since 2013 creating magical scenery pieces and props primarily made out of recycled items. Recent StarStruck shows include: SHREK, 13 THE MUSICAL, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, HELLO DOLLY and most recently, the mysterious forest for INTO THE WOODS. Brent was born in Shelbyville, Indiana and moved to Florida in 1986. Brent married his wife Jennie in 1988 and together they have 3 boys, Brent, Ben, and Nick.