Nikki Snelson - Acting, Dance, Staging
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, actress, singer, dancer and choreographer Nicole ‘Nikki’ Snelson made her professional debut at the age of 16. She furthered her training with the BFA Musical Theatre program of the Boston Conservatory. She has danced for such prestigious choreographers as Emmy-Award winning Marguerite Derricks, Baayork Lee (recreating Michael Bennett’s original A Chorus Line choreography), and Tony Award winning Jerry Mitchell. She has also studied voice under Liz Caplan. In 2012, she became an Associate Artistic Director at The Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s Summer Stars program.
In 2010, Nikki starred as Velma Kelly at the Maine State Music Theatre’s production of Chicago. Earlier in the year she participated in the reading of a new musical comedy, The Sphinx Winx, in New York City. In 2011, she directed a production of the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ in Singapore.
Originating the role of the new, female villainous Mad Hatter, Nikki starred in the world premiere of Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure. The new Frank Wildhorn musical had it’s premiere production at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts from November 2009 through January 2010. The show then transfered to Houston’s Alley Theatre for a run in early 2010.
In 2008, Nikki headlined the First National Revival Tour of A Chorus Line, starring in the iconic role of Cassie. The revival featured musical staging by Bob Avian and choreography by Baayork Lee, recreating the legendary original production by Michael Bennett.
After creating the role in the world premiere in San Francisco, Nikki would originate the role of Brooke Wyndam in the 2007 Original Broadway production of Legally Blonde: The Musical. In September of 2007, the musical was broadcast nationally on MTV. Performing with the musical on Broadway for over a year, she was also featured on the reality casting show Legally Blonde: The Musical: The Search for the Next Elle Woods in 2008. Nikki would leave the Broadway company to play Cassie in A Chorus Line, a dream role from her childhood. In 2011, she returned the role of Brooke at the St. Louis’ MUNY Theatre.
Other credits on Broadway include starring with the original cast of the 1999 Tony Award and Grammy Award winning Broadway Revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Nikki made her Broadway debut starring as the ingénue Winnie Tate, starring opposite Bernadette Peters. She also
Charity starring Christina Applegate. Nikki has also starred in the national tours of tick, tick...BOOM! as Susan, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Hello Dolly! starring Carol Channing, and Showboat. Off-Broadway she starred as Violet Zipper in the musical How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes, and in the NYMF’s production of Have a Nice Life, which won the Best Ensemble Award. Nikki also starred in the Asian Premiere of tick, tick...BOOM! in Singapore.
On the screen, Nikki has been featured on several TV shows, including Desperate Housewives, as Chelsea on ABC’s All My Children, and in the 2005 Showtime movie Reefer Madness. The documentary Every Little Step followed Nikki and several other actors during the audition process for A Chorus Line. She appeared in the 2007 film Across the Universe, by acclaimed director Julie Taymor.
When Nikki is not performing on stage or screen, she can be seen hosting musical theatre workshops around the world, from St. Louis to Las Vegas to Buenos Aires to Bangkok. She also is an active staff member for the Broadway Dreams Foundation. Nikki is slated to direct a few productions abroad within the next year.
Peter Thoresen, Music Director
Peter Thoresen is an award winning voice teacher, performer and music director. His students appear regularly in national tours and productions on and off Broadway, including Matilda, Something Rotten, Kinky Boots, Flashdance, and Liberty: A Monumental New Musical. His students record regularly for the Columbia and Broadway Records labels, and have performed at the Tony Awards and at venues from Manhattan to New Zealand. Active as a music director, Peter collaborates regularly with his students and other performers in Manhattan and regionally throughout the United States. Recent credits as music director include engagements with Lake Dillon Theatre Company (Lake Dillon, CO) and Columbia University in NYC, and he recently returned from Turkmenistan, where he worked as a teaching artist with American Voices.
In demand as a performer, Broadwayworld.com has described Peter's singing as ‘spellbinding' and his recent New York performances in Heartbreak Express (world premiere) and The Fairy Queen were critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Opera Magazine, Opera News, and the New York Observer. Peter grew up in Chicago, where he was a child actor and performed in over 500 performances of musicals and operas. This grew into a love of performance that has ultimately led to solo engagements with Lyric Opera of Chicago, the American Opera Theater, Monterey Symphony and Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. He serves as a coach for a variety organizations in New York, including the Manhattan Girls Chorus and American Symphony Orchestra. Peter is the founder of a thriving private voice studio in Manhattan, and serves on the faculties of Broadway Kids Auditions (BKA) and Musical Theater College auditions (MTCA) as a vocal techniques coach and music director in New York. He holds a doctor of music degree from Indiana University, and his articles are regularly featured in trade magazines including Classical Singer Magazine. For more information, visit www.peterthoresen.com @DrPetesTweets
John Ferguson, Academy Founder, Pianist
John Ferguson currently resides in Bangkok, Thailand where he carries out his dual roles as pianist and Executive Director of American Voices. His performing and artistic direction activities include over one hundred concerts, academies, workshops, broadcasts and masterclasses per year throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
John Ferguson first studied music at the High School for the Performing Arts in his hometown of Houston, Texas and completed his studies at the University of Texas at Austin where he received his Master’s Diploma. Additional studies took him to Paris where he was a student of Nadia Boulanger and to Geneva where he studied with Maroussia le Marc’hadour.His piano teachers have included Danielle Martin, Eugene List and Edith Lateiner-Grosz.
In 1993, John Ferguson founded American Voices to fulfill the need for quality, constructive American cultural programming in the newly independent nations of central and eastern Europe. Since then, the focus of American Voices has expanded to include any country where a scarcity of exposure to American culture exists with a focus on nations emerging from conflict or isolation.
In Europe he has appeared in prestigious venues such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Théatre de la Ville and Radio France in Paris, and Bonn’s Kunst- und Austellungshalle. Festival appearances include the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation’s ‚Flaneries de Reims‛, Germany’s ‚Altmark Musikfest‛ , ‚A(r)tlantische Tage‛ and ‚American Music Week-Bonn‛. Radio and television broadcasts have reached millions in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Germany, France, and India to name only a few.
In the Middle East and Asia, he has founded the innovative summer youth performing arts academy program, Youth Excellence on Stage, YES Academy in Iraq (since 2007), Lebanon (since 2009), Thailand (since 2009) and Syria (since 2010). The YES Academy has been featured on ABC Nightly News in the United States and viewed by millions in local broadcasts in Iraq and the region.
John Ferguson’s recordings include ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ with the Junge Philharmonie Thüringen and ‘Saxofolies’ for EPM. He has been producer and artistic director for several recordings on the American Voices label; ‘Jazz Bridges Afghanistan’, ‘American Voices Around the World’, ‘Jazz Bridges Burma’ and ‘Jazz Mugham Bridges Azerbaijan’.
Ken Fury - Hip Hop
Ken Fury, originally from Colorado, moved to New York City in 2005 and began working in theater and as a street performer, while simultaneously traveling abroad to compete and judge in break dance competitions. He has won over thirty of the top dance competitions and has had the honor to judge some of the largest dance events worldwide. He has choreographed for and performed in films and commercials including, Starburst, Toshiba, I love New York, Blender's Pride, K-Swiss and many other independent projects.
As an educator, he has worked in dance studios and schools in his community along with working as an adjunct professor teaching dance and movement at New York University's TISH School of the Arts in the Experimental Theatre Wing. He has also taught at the Seoul Institute of the Arts in South Korea and has worked as a cultural ambassador with the University of North Carolina and the U.S. Department of State's program Next Level, where he traveled to Zimbabwe, Africa using art and dance as a tool for conflict prevention, cultural exchange and teaching entrepreneurship skills.
In 2010, he ventured into music. The intertwining of his poetry, painting and dance form his musical style. Without any prior musical training, he felt he was free from strict technicalities and rigid forms. This allowed him to experiment freely. Two years later he released his first album "Flowers Fall Asleep" and his second album "Moonlight Bloom" which followed in 2013. Shortly after, he created his solo performance, which drew upon his background in theater and dance. It debuted at the music venue The Bowery Electric in New York City, followed by a local tour. He has performed at Central Park summer stage, Performance space 122, Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
FDRMX’s - Interview with Ken Fury
FDRMX Ken Fury - Close To Me Video Feature
Short and Sweet "Moonlight Bloom" Album Feature: NYC LA
Short and Sweet "Flowers Fall Asleep" Album Feature: NYC LA
A Drop of Red Dye in Water- Ken Fury interview with Next Level
Inside The Fury - UDEF Tour Interview
Dance Mogul Dance Magazine - Interview
Flava Dance Magazine - Interview
Fabian "Farbeon " Saucedo - Hip Hop Lyricism, Performance and Music Production
FARBEON is a Hip Hop artist, educator and agent of change that epitomizes the Hip Hop Renaissance. As a poet, emcee, singer and photographer, he has graced stages, panels and classrooms across the United States and abroad. In addition to rocking shows with The Last Poets, Rob Swift, Fishbone, The Coup, Wordsworth, Rhymefest, The Visionaries, J-Live, Method Man, Camp-Lo, Blu, Aloe Blacc & DJ Exile, he has co-taught classes with Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, Sadat X and Fab Five Freddy.
FARBEON has released 5 records, including his debut album, “Collective Memory” which was produced by Foundation (1090 Records) and which remains a classic nearly 12 years after its release. As well, FARBEON has expanded his performance range to include the use of loop stations, effects pedals and live computer production. His music has been featured in television and film. FARBEON has consistently toured
nationally and internationally since 2008.
With over a decade-plus in education, FARBEON works to develop pedagogy that holistically integrates the arts, academics and social youth development. He has taught Poetry, Performance, Song-Writing, Photography & Hip-Hop History and Culture at high schools, universities and community centers throughout the United States and abroad. FARBEON is the Founding Director for The Hip Hop Re:Education Project and NYC Project Director for the BronxBerlinConnection, a year-round cross cultural exchange program that uses Hip Hop to explore and express the unique experiences of urban youth around the world, the critical challenges they face and the solutions necessary to enact change in their communities.
FARBEON dedicates his time behind the camera lens to documenting Hip Hop’s revolutionary urgency and transformational potential. He has had the honor of documenting Hip Hop pioneers, practitioners and fans at concerts, exhibitions, workshops and cipher-jam sessions the world-over. FARBEON has exhibited work in NYC at La Galleria at La MaMa, B.O.B. Bar and alongside pioneering Hip Hop photographer Joe Conzo at the Bronx Music Heritage Center. Farbeon’s photos and writing have been featured both in print and digital media,
including in the House of World Cultures (Berlin, DE) publication Translating Hip Hop.
Singer Songwriter: Ravi Hutheesing
Ravi helps singer-songwriters of all levels attain success in every aspect. He shows them how to develop ideas that are hitting "writers' block," and then refine and record them for both demo purposes and ultimately a marketable product. In terms of the performance, he offers techniques to better execute both the singing and accompaniment independently, and then marry the two as a stronger union (many singer-songwriters are plagued by poor accompaniment skills). Being a successful singer-songwriter is largely about being an effective story teller through song and performance, so Ravi works with students to develop audience communication and presentation skills not just as an artist performing, but also as an entertainer between the songs--ultimately enabling them to draw from their own personalities in order to build memorable shows and a loyal fan base. Ravi also brings a wealth of knowledge on artist-entrepreneurship, giving his students the needed business skills to promote their art into sustainable careers including branding, booking, distribution, publicity, networking, and good general business practices.
Singer-songwriter Ravi is a former member of triple Grammy nominee Hanson (three Billboard Top 10 songs including a #1); has four music instructional DVDs on Truefire; is published by Simon & Schuster and multiple music trade magazines; has over a dozen endorsement deals with musical instrument manufacturers; and is a regular "artist-in-residence" and international lecturer at Berklee College of Music in Boston, National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM--USA, Russia, and China), and others renowned institutions.