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Melody in the News

This article appeared in the July 2018 issue of CT Magazine.

These Two Leading Ladies Have Left Broadway Behind, But Not Their Love of the Theater


Former Broadwy performers Carole Schweid of Westport, left and Melody Libonati of New Canaan on the stage of the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan.

Carole Schweid and Melody Libonati never knew each other, but have lived parallel lives. Both grew up determined to become stage actresses and did, starring in legendary Broadway shows in the 1970s. Both married and moved to Connecticut to raise their families, then each founded and nurtured what are now thriving theater companies in Westport and New Canaan. And now they’ve finally met.

Some 40 years ago, at the Shubert Theatre on Manhattan’s W. 44th Street, Carole Schweid was a featured actress playing the spunky Diana Morales in the smash Broadway hit A Chorus Line.


At the same time, one block over at the Royale Theatre, Melody Meitrott (Libonati) was charming audiences as the fresh-faced Sandy Dumbrowski in the long-running musical Grease.

The two 20-somethings, from New Jersey and upstate New York, respectively, sang key songs solo, the pinnacle of show-biz success, living the big-stage dreams they’d always imagined.

Grease was closing in on a record 3,388 performances, making it Broadway’s longest-running show ever. A Chorus Line was still in its infancy, but would overtake Grease, eventually totaling 6,137 performances.

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Musical Theatre Artists Join Faculty



Musical Theatre Artists
Rachel MacIsaac & Christopher Hudson Myers
Join "Conservatory" Faculty

Two new professional teachers, Rachel MacIsaac and Christopher Hudson Myers, will be joining the Conservatory this fall to teach dance and music theatre. Rachel is a graduate of the University of the Arts with a degree in Dance Education and most recently was on the national tour of MAMA MIA. Rachel has extensive teaching experience in NYC as well as throughout the states.

Christopher has been in the Broadway production of MAMA MIA for the past six years. His degree is from Southwestern University and he specializes in acting, improvisation, dance, choreography and music theatre.

Both of these new artists are excited to share their love and enthusiasm for the arts as well as help to create collaborative team players with great communication skills that will help produce well-rounded individuals and strong leaders.

Student joins Cast of Broadway Musical MATILDA


Christian Camporin - Conservatory Student singing at Spring Recital.

The Conservatory is celebrating the fact that one of its young performers, Christian Camporin of New Canaan, has joined the Broadway cast of the Tony Award-winning musical, Matilda. Christian has appeared in Summer Theatre of New Canaan (STONC) productions of My Fair Lady, Carousel, South Pacific, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and as Flounder in Little Mermaid.

Christian began his theater training at age four at the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan and has continued to study musical theater, dance and voice.


A Night of Stars in Concert features Conservatory Students

Performing Arts Conserva StarsOver twenty stars from Broadway and Fairfield County will perform in A NIGHT OF STARS IN CONCERT December 7th to benefit the Summer Theatre of New Canaan and support their successful arts education programs. Broadway, Regional and local professional artists will be performing the popular show tunes from such great Broadway shows as South Pacific, Carousel, My Fair Lady, Big River, Grease, Camelot, The Music Man, Jekyll & Hyde, Rock of Ages, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat, Hair Spray, Mary Poppins and more. "This concert will be a night to remember" beams Melody Meitrott Libonati, Artistic Director. "We are overwhelmed by the talent and generosity of the musical theatre artists performing".

Featured artists performing...  

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'Stepping Out' steps onto high school stage


Published Thursday,
November 14, 2013

A British comedy, "Stepping Out," written by Richard Harris in the 1980s, will be performed by New Canaan High School Theatre.

The show runs Nov. 21 to 23 at 7:30 p.m. on the NCHS stage.

Set in a dingy church basement in North London, the show revolves around a weekly adult tap-dancing class and the interconnections of all the characters involved. The characters include eight uniquely different students,

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Conservatory Student featured in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

New Canaan News Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rachel Guth, of New Canaan, is a member of the cast of Curtain Call's production of "Fiddler on the Roof," which will be staged at the Kweskin Theatre in Stamford beginning Friday, Nov. 15.

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Conservatory Student sings on Jewel Christmas Album

Pop & Rock vocal student Mallory, got to work in a recording session and sing on the Jewel Christmas album for this holiday season.  

Emily Bendinger, Mallory's vocal instructor, is a NY singer, voiceover artist and coach who has performed on hundreds of recordings, commercials, movie soundtracks, industrials and records, as well as on concert stages worldwide. (see bio) Emily has had  Conservatory students sing on other projects including David Friedmans (see bio) recent album.  

David Friedman: Creating a life through words and music

Janis Gibson, Hersam Acorn Arts & Leisure  October 13, 2013

After years of successful contributions to the entertainment industry “behind the scenes” as accompanist, vocal coach, vocal arranger, conductor, composer, collaborator, songwriter, record producer, life coach and occasional instructor at the Performing Arts Center in New Canaan, David Friedman is stepping into the spotlight with the recent release of two CDs and a book. Both the music — A Different Light: David Friedman Sings His Own Songs and Let Me Fly: David Friedman Sings More of His Own Songs — and the book, The Thought Exchange: Overcoming Our Resistance To Living A Sensational Life, reflect a positive outlook on life.

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New Canaan student cast in ‘Pippin’ revival on Broadway 2

By New Canaan Advertiser 

Nine-year-old West School student Ashton Woerz is returning to Broadway in the revival of the musical "Pippin" in the role of Theo.

He made his Broadway debut at 7-years-old in "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." Since then, he has performed in the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" national tour and Yale Repertory Theatre's "Marie Antoinette." He has also been involved in the development of new shows, including "Big Fish" (coming to Broadway this fall), and "My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life" (off-off Broadway). He has enjoyed many film and TV projects along the way, too.

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The Performing Arts Conservatory Begins 10th Anniversary Season

By New Canaan Advertiser | September 6, 2013 in Featured News, Happenings

The Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan begins its tenth season with classes beginning the week on Sept 9. Students from across Fairfield County attend programs, classes and workshops. Group classes in music theatre, pop/rock vocal performance, dance (jazz, tap,. ballet), acting, improv, college audition prep and screen writing for high school students, and fairy tale theatre are taught by a staff of highly skilled, experienced performing artists. The "Conservatory" specializes in private classes in all styles of voice instruction (musical theatre, pop/rock, classical, opera, sight singing and western regional and all state prep), Broadway Style dance (jazz and tap), Acting and Piano.

Under the direction of Melody Meitrott Libonati, ...  Read more

From Broadway to Conservatory: Jodi Stevens Finds Balance in Life

From - FEATURES Written by Lois Alcosser
Friday, 11 November 2011 10:30

Actor, singer, music teacher Jodi Stevens has joined the professional faculty of the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan, where the slogan, "Performance Skills for Life" is shorthand for an amazing range of voice, piano, dance, acting, musical theater classes that can start in kindergarten and go right through to adult instruction. Ms. Stevens, the conservatory's newest addition, will be teaching voice, acting and musical theater.

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Master Class with
Voltaire Wade-Greene 
From Broadway's HAMILTON


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Vocal Masterclass 
with Kelli O'Hara 


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