Contact us at Burtwoodschool@aol.com or call 508-946-1071
Meet Our Staff
Lorna J. Brunelle
Artistic Director, Producer – On Camera Acting, Acting, Voice, Public Speaking, Pageant & Audition Preparation
A graduate of The Boston Conservatory, the arts have always been center stage in Lorna’s life. At the age of twenty-four, she opened the doors of The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts in 1995. The school is a bustling haven for artists of all ages. Her students, ranging from toddler to adult, have had success in all areas of the arts. In the fall of 2000, Lorna joined the team at Boston Casting Inc., as an On Camera Acting instructor, Casting Associate, and Casting Director. She has worked on several projects including a few of her favorites: FEVER PITCH, THE GAME PLAN, FURRY VENGEANCE, CROOKED ARROWS, the TV game show DEAL OR NO DEAL, the TV show MARKET WARS and the film CROOKED ARROWS, TED, AMERICAN HUSTLE, TED 2 , JOY, and STRONGER. Lorna can be seen in the wedding scene of the trailer for the movie TED 2 in the front row wearing a yellow and black dress and a large black hat.
During the spring of 2013, Lorna worked on the David O. Russell films AMERICAN HUSTLE and JOY as private acting coach for David’s son Matthew. Hundreds of her students/ clients have landed jobs in TV, commercial, film, live theatre, and voice over work. Many of her students/clients have been finalists on American Idol, The Voice and The X Factor. Her students/clients have also appeared on MTV Made. FUN FACTS: Many of her students were on the TV shows ZOOM and FETCH. Audiences may remember her student Brett Manley from the movie TED. During a financial recession in 2010, Lorna tuned out the naysayers, followed her heart and opened THE ALLEY THEATRE. This thriving cultural center is booked nearly year round with plays, concerts, musicals, comedy shows and private events. A few months after she opened THE ALLEY THEATRE, she released her first book Dirty Bombshell – From Thyroid Cancer Back to Fabulous. The book became an Amazon best seller within two months. In 2016, she released The Buoy Projects which ranked #2 on the Amazon best seller list (in the breast cancer category) for that summer.
The Boston City Council named October 22 LORNA J. BRUNELLE DAY for her outstanding humanitarian work. The Massachusetts General Hospital honored Lorna Brunelle as one of the hundred people selected (nation wide) in 2012 for their efforts to eradicate cancer. Lorna sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park.
In 2011, Lorna was invited to join the cast of the NBC UNIVERSAL/STYLE NETWORK Reality TV Show WICKED FIT. Based in Boston, Lorna appeared in eight out of the eleven episodes. Although the show wasn’t picked up for a second season, Lorna learned a lot about Reality TV. Lorna has a passion for working with children with special needs. Since 2010, she has partnered with the world renowned Chamberlain School serving as an arts curriculum coordinator. Lorna was a consultant and teacher for The Massachusetts Department of Education, serving as the creative and performing arts teacher for physically challenged children at the Massachusetts State Hospital School in Canton, and as a Shakespeare teacher and curriculum consultant for students in state facilities including Taunton State Hospital, Plymouth House of Correction, and Camp Squanto, in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
As a pageant consultant Lorna has prepared title holders from all the country for the Miss America, Miss USA, Ms. Globe and Miss National American Miss pageants. Lorna is The Official Vocal Sponsor of the Miss Massachusetts and the Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen Pageant. Since 1999, Lorna’s students have won over 350 crowns and thousands of dollars in scholarship. She is a state approved judge for the Miss Massachusetts pageant. In her spare time, Lorna loves giving back to her community.
She has served as a volunteer on many political campaigns and coordinates over forty fund-raising events each year for Veteran’s organizations, food pantries and The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She is a guest speaker at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and spends much of her time trying to raise Thyroid Cancer Awareness. She was featured in a national PSA about thyroid cancer nerve monitoring and a documentary about Mass Eye and Ear. Lorna has received many awards for her community service and her efforts to raise thyroid cancer awareness. A self proclaimed Domestic Diva, Lorna lives in Middleboro with her husband Roger in the historic 1840 Ebenezer Soule House. In honor of her stepson Brent who died of a heroin overdose, she and her husband Roger work tirelessly to raise awareness for families facing substance abuse addiction.
Maureen Whalen Office Administration, Producer, Business Manager
Maureen Whalen first became involved with Burt Wood soon after it’s inception when her daughter Molly was cast as an orphan in the 1995 summer production of “Annie”. Starting off as a ‘Volunteer Mom’ she was soon hired on as Burt Wood’s Business Manager – and organizer extraordinaire! Along with her numerous responsibilities in the office, she was also seen as Mrs. Darling in Burt Wood’s production of “Peter Pan” in 1996. It is Miss Maureen’s love of feather boas, disco music, dancing and overall zaniness that keeps the office running at an upbeat and fun filled pace; but it is her organizational abilities and business know-how that keep the school running smoothly. Fun Fact: Maureen’s daughter Molly competed at Miss America as Miss Massachusetts 2011. Maureen lives in Middleboro with her husband Bob and dogs Buddy and Izzy and enjoys camping in their “beach house” on wheels.
Our TEAM -Instructors
Dana Bettinson Banjo, Electric Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Dana is joining the Burt Wood School of Performing Arts. For many years Dana has been teaching music on the guitar while playing professionally and working full time as a handler of fine art/crafting technician and a craftsman of fine signage. Originally from Braintree, Dana and his wife have made their home in Carver for the last 28 years. He has played in rock and roll bands, wedding ensembles, duos and trios in the South Shore area since 1972. He enjoys playing most styles of music and always brings terrific energy and enthusiasm when teaching and guiding students of all ages to begin or supplement their musical education. Several years ago Dana started teaching beginners on the 5 string banjo and the electric bass guitar in addition to primarily acoustic guitar instruction. As well as playing and teaching guitar, Dana also sings and composes music for church worship at the Central Congregational Church in downtown Middleboro. Dana’s students are always taught to read music and have an understanding of music theory. Basic skills and techniques are stressed in order to create a lifelong enjoyment of making music. Dana believes music is fun because of the fundamentals.
Richard Bois Costume Design, Stylist, Image Consultant, Pageant Preparation Instructor, SELFIE
Richard joined the staff of The Burt Wood School in 2009. His love of history and style perfectly pairs with his love of the arts. Audiences rave about his costume design for Burt Wood main stage productions. He has acted in countless productions but local audiences remember his unforgettable portrayal of Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. When he isn’t creating looks for the stage, you can find Richard in the salon helping his clients to feel beautiful. From hair cuts, to hair styling, to manicures, to clothing styling; Richard makes life more glamorous.
Richard has been helping people look and feel fabulous for over twenty years. Richard is a graduate of Empire Cosmetology Academy in Boston and was a makeup artist at Mac cosmetics. He worked for WKRON TV (Channel 4) on the shows Hyper-Tech and First Cut as a makeup artist in San Francisco. While in San Francisco, Richard was the makeup artist and hair stylist on independent films for Ragamuff Productions.
Since moving back to the east coast, Richard has been the costume stylist, hair and makeup specialist and actor for over 40 theatrical productions. He has been a personal stylist for girls competing in the Miss America and Miss USA pageant systems and has been the in house personal stylist and costume designer for The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts since 2008. Richard is a stylist at Headquarters Salon/ Body Zonez on Thatcher’s Row in Middleboro.
The youngest of six, at a very early age Richard learned the art of living a good life on a budget. He mastered the art of shopping at flea markets, consignment shops, thrift shops and yard sales. Richard believes anyone can live an aesthetically beautiful life no matter what the budget.
Matthew Bruffee Acting, Directing, Pageant Preparation, Interview
Matthew has directed memorable Burt Wood School of Performing Arts productions of Little Women, The Little Prince; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; The Crucible; The Miracle Worker; Miracle on 34th Street; The Diary of Anne Frank; A Christmas Carol: Scrooge & Marley and It’s a Wonderful Life. He will be directing the Burt Wood production of Alice in Wonderland in the spring. He teaches acting (privately and in group classes) as well as a coach and director for other groups studying theatre and performance at BWSPA. He has been a judge in many local pageants as well and is available for pageant preparation coaching sessions.
He holds an MFA degree in Performing Arts Management from The City University of New York at Brooklyn College, and a BA degree from Hofstra University in Theatre with a double minor in Dance and Visual Art. He worked in the in New York City in many different managerial executive positions for Carnegie Hall, City Center Theatre, Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, Thomas Martin Events, Bay Street Theatre Festival, Broadway Cares/Dancers Responding to AIDS, Cortez & Co./Contemporary Ballet, Jack Morton Worldwide, Big Apple Events and Production Group International.
He has worked in Boston in event management for MIT Sloan School of Management, and in real estate finance for Kensington Investment Company. He recently consulted on The District Center for The Arts courthouse revitalization project which hopes to bring a professional theatre/event space to downtown Taunton. Also in Taunton, he is the president and a theatrical director for the Rogue Theatre Company. With Rogue, he has been involved in all of their productions over the past five years either directing, producing or with set production.
Jackie Bruno Modeling and Elegance
Jackie Bruno is now a familiar face at New England Cable News. She’s the weekend evening anchor and reports for the popular Morning Show during the week. But, before she started her career in Broadcast Journalism, Jackie had a long career as a working model. At the age of 13, she starred in her first commercial for a local bridal store. From that point on, Jackie was a fixture in New England fashion shows and photo shoots. She’s appeared in Seventeen Magazine, Boston Magazine, Improper Bostonian, and was the 2003 Cover Model for Grace Ormonde’s Wedding Style Magazine.
In 2003, Jackie used her modeling experience to help her win the title of Miss Massachusetts Teen USA. She went on to place in the top five at the nationally televised Miss Teen USA. After graduating with honors from Boston University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, Jackie won the title of Miss Massachusetts USA 2008. She made Massachusetts proud, placing in the top ten at Miss USA
Jackie’s also been featured as a coach for MTV’s Made and has appeared recently on “Say Yes to the Dress.” She’s been able to navigate the worlds of modeling, pageants, journalism, and reality television with grace and elegance. She is excited to help young girls realize their full potential. She says “This class will go far beyond modeling. Walking with poise and grace is important. Building confidence is the ultimate goal. Modeling is a business… You have to think of yourself as a business person, as a brand. What you do now can help or hurt your brand. I’ll help the girls think about their short and long term goals.”
Jared Craig Acting, Director
Jared Craig is an alumnus of the Burt Wood School of Performing Arts and received the Louisa Burt Wood Pratt Scholarship in 2003. Jared graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the School of Theatre at Boston University. He has also studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Jared has worked as a professional stage actor in New York City, Boston, and abroad; he has performed with the American Repertory Theatre, the Huntington Theater Company, Speakeasy Stage Company, and others. He has performed in three tours of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in France and has appeared twice at the prestigious Festival d’Automne à Paris. Jared will be teaching the Theatre Class at PCC this summer and is a co-founder of Entertainment 2 Affect Change, a charitable organizationaimed at educating undeserved populations through entertainment.
Melissa Donnelly Voice, Acting, On-Camera Acting, Audition Prep, Director of Summer Arts Festival
Melissa joined the staff in 1999. A native of Middleboro, Melissa earned a degree from Hofstra University, with the help of the original Louisa Burt Wood Pratt scholarship. With the Hofstra Chamber Singers, Melissa toured the East Coast and Great Britain. Along with her many featured roles, she has also performed for NFL Quarterback Boomer Esiason, N.Y. Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Billy Joel and former President George Bush. She has also shared the stage with Tony award winning Broadway Diva Betty Buckley and 2005 American Idol Top 10 Finalist Constantine Maroulis.
Stacy Dawson, Voice and Piano
Middleboro native Stacy Dawson will be joining the team at The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts in Middleboro this month. A graduate of Middleboro High School, Stacy has a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Therapy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and a Masters in Neurologic Music Therapy from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
In 2006, Stacy became a certified music therapis…t and began working at Peterson Rehabilitation Hospital in West Virginia. From there, she became the music therapist for twenty schools throughout the Waco, Texas Independent School District.
Stacy and her husband moved to Middleboro in 2012 and she began working as a teacher at a preschool in Plymouth.
The following year, Stacy was hired as the music director at The Sacred Heart Church in Middleboro. Mrs. Dawson was also a music therapist for the Pilgrim Area Collaborative for two years. A former chamber singer who toured Europe and flutist in a symphonic band, Stacy teaches choir, voice and piano. She has been a cantor and accompanist for weddings and funerals for 17 years.
She resides in Middleboro with her husband Scott (a music teacher), their daughters Emaline (age 4), Lucille (age 1), and their German Shepherd Brady. While raising her young daughters, Stacy remains a per diem music therapist and loves being a member of the Sacred Heart family. Stacy begins teaching this month at The Burt Wood School. She will be offering voice and piano lessons. To register or for more information, please call 508-946-1071.
Daren Jacobs Guitar, bass, trumpet, drums, drum circle, vocal, band
Raynham resident Daren Jacobs joined The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts in 2010. Daren has a Bachelors of Arts in Music with a minor in Education from Bridgewater State College. Daren was the music teacher, band and choral director for Bridgewater/Raynham school systems, and a public school music and choral director in the Taunton school system for years. Daren has been teaching private lessons for the past 15 years. Daren has performed at The Boston Esplanade, Lupos, and The Middle East Café. His students have performed at several sporting events including The Brockton Rox, The Providence Bruins, and various benefits, galas, and inaugural events. Daren has been the featured bass player in The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts summer arts festival pit band for the past four years. Daren lives with his wife Liz and their son Andrew.
Megan Jepsen Voice, Acting, Percussion
Megan Jepsen is a Middleboro native who recently graduated from The University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in Theatre Arts. She began her training at Marymount Manhattan College in New York where she was a student in the Musical Theatre Program. While at UMASS, she also studied On Camera Acting with Michael Fennimore. She has several years of experience on the tech crews for many shows at The Burt Wood School. In the summer of 2015, she was the stage manager for Beauty and the Beast and was a production assistant for their production of Gypsy. Megan’s background in acting, on camera acting, musical theatre, singing, and piano, makes her an awesome addition to The Burt Wood Squad. She is excited to help teach the importance of the arts to the students of The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts! To register for summer or fall lessons with Megan Jepsen call 508-946-1071
Amanda Kelly M.E. Modeling & Elegance-A Young Girls Guide to Becoming Her Best “M.E.” (Modeling Class)
Braintree native Amanda Kelly, Miss Massachusetts 2009, offers M.E.Modeling & Elegance-A Young Girls Guide to Becoming Her Best “M.E.” Students learn how to dress for any occasion, how to care for their skin, nails, teeth, and hair, how to select and apply make up, how to avoid gossip and other unbecoming social behaviors, proper web etiquette, how to handle and manage daily not so pretty problems with peers, how to walk down a street or runway with perfect posture and poise, how to be graceful and gracious, with manners, a strong image and perfect diction and speech, the art of letter writing and thank you cards, runway and photo shoot techniques, how to select the best accessories, how to exude confidence from within, how to make healthy food choices, the importance of exercise, how to nail an audition or interview, how to select a pageant, how to lend a hand in the community, how to select a modeling or talent agency, how to say NO to unhealthy temptations and still be HIP, how to compose a resume, how to make an lasting positive impression!
Jane Kent: Stage Manger (pictured with interns Grant and Erin)
Jane has been a teacher in the Carver Public Schools for many years. Burt Wood families know her an awesome stage manager who helps the actors, but she Jane has spent much of her life performing on stage as an actor. When not in the classroom or theatre, Jane enjoys time with her family (and cat) and tutoring students.
Andrew Osborne Film Production, Improv Workshops
Andrew Osborne, who has worked at The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts for many years. Andrew Osborne received a B.A. in English from Harvard University in the spring of 1991. While in college, he was a comedy writer for The Harvard Lampoon, an arts reporter forThe Harvard Crimson and studied acting with Brian Cox (X2,The Ring), Ken Howard (30 Rock, The White Shadow) and the American Repertory Theater’s David Wheeler. After graduation, he studied improvisational acting with Lisa Kudrow (Friends) and Patrick Bristow (Curb Your Enthusiasm) at the famed Groundlings Theater. In 1993, he became a screenwriter for the Motion Picture Corporation of America, where he co-wrote the HBO Original Movies Soldier Boyz (uncredited) and Behind Enemy Lines. In 2000, he co-wrote On_Line, an independent feature which screened at the 2002 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, followed by theatrical distribution in 2003 and a 2004 video/DVD release. In 2008, Andrew received an Emmy for his work as a staff writer on the Discovery Channel game show Cash Cab. His other credits include numerous indie films, computer games and theatrical productions. He is also a writing, acting and filmmaking teacher with past and current classes at UCLA Extension, the Tufts University Experimental College, Quincy College, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Brookline Adult & Community Education, Boston Casting and the Burt Wood School.
Julie Parcels Voice, Acting, Musical Theatre, Show Choir Summer Arts Festival
Julie Parcels has been teaching at The Burt Wood School since 2009. Miss Parcels grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts and now resides in Raynham. She began studying musical theatre, acting, and voice at the age of nine. She attended Cardinal Spellman High School where she was President of the Drama Society and Vice President of Choir. During her time there, she performed in several shows including Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, The Miracle Worker, and Carousel.
She was accepted into the BFA Musical Theatre program at Emerson College in Boston, graduated with a BA in Theatre Education and a minor in Dance. During her time there, she studied extensive classes in scene study, directing, voice, musical theatre, comedy, and dance.
Lucy Record Choreographer Summer Arts Festival
Ms. Record is a renowned West Coast Choreographer who has won numerous awards for her professional work. She has been named Best Choreographer by the Santa Monica Theatre Guild several years in a row, and also won first place in the celebrated Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Competition for middle schools for her work with “THE MUSIC MAN.” Ms. Record created, designed and is teaching the Musical Theatre class at the prestigious Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles. She joins us every summer while she enjoys time at her home in Wareham, Ma.
At the Burt Wood School, Ms. Record has worked on “Oliver” (2000), “Bye Bye Birdie” (2001), “Anything Goes” (2002), “Grease” (2003), “Footloose” (2004), “Fame” (2005), “Those Summer Nights” (2006), “High School Musical” (2007), Thoroughly Modern Millie” (2008), “The Wiz” (2009), “Godspell” (2010), “42nd Street” (2011), “West Side Story” (2012) and “Back to the 80’s” (2013) and “Peter Pan” (2014).
Susan Schobel Piano, Tech Theatre, Director
Susan Schobel is a 2002 graduate of Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville. In 2006 Miss Schobel graduated from Wagner College where she dual majored in Music and Elementary Special Education. From there Susan attended Bridgewater State College and obtained her Masters in Education and Special Education. Since 2006 Susan has been teaching 2nd grade at the Mary K. Goode School in Middleboro. While in NYC for college, Susie had the opportunity to work behind the scenes on numerous stage productions with the Wagner College Theatre Department. She also worked with the Broken Watch Theatre Company, an off-broadway theatre company located in Manhattan. Miss Schobel was a student at The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts for six years and was the recipient of The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts scholarship in 2002.
Betty Sylvia: Sewing for Students
Lifelong seamstress and costume designer/maker Betty Sylvia is the sewing teacher for students at The Burt Wood School of Performing Arts. For many years, Betty has been the resident seamstress for The Burt Wood School. She has been making costumes and clothing for over fifty years. Betty specializes in special occasion dresses, and costumes for live theatre.
Set Design & Construction
Roger Brunelle M.I.B. – Set Design & Construction
Roger Brunelle – husband of Burt Wood’s Artistic Director – has been involved with the school since before it even opened it’s doors. Not only has he actually built doors and rooms for the actual school, but ensured it’s smooth re-opening in November of 2000 – when the school moved to a larger facility. Roger, along with Bob Whalen, is one of the sole Burt Wood builders – having constructed every recital and production stage and/or set. An invaluable member of The Burt Wood team (especially during the summers) Roger’s innovations have inspired everything from flying monkies and grand, flowing staircases to an entire ocean liner on stage. Roger is also an integral part of Burt Wood’s M.I.B. – ‘Men In Black’ – or notorious stage crew.
Roger is also the satisfied customer (a.k.a. the ‘Smiley Man’) in all of Compass Bank’s promotions and advertising, which was seen in print work and also in billboards along Rts. 195 and 140. Roger is a member of the Painter’s Union out of Boston where he is a Political Director. He lives in Middleboro with his wife Lorna. He enjoys working on their historic house, The Ebeneezer Soule Home.
Robert Whalen M.I.B. – Set Design & Construction
Bob Whalen, one of Burt Wood’s notorious ‘Men In Black’, became involved with Burt Wood and the theatre because of his daughter Molly. Since his first exposure to a production, Bob’s numerous talents have repeatedly been put to the test – and he never fails to amaze and inspire. As one of the chief builders of everything from Cinderella’s carriage to The London Bridge, Whalen Construction continues to be an integral part of Burt Wood. Along with making it snow, a witch disappearing in a ball of fire, and sending confetti flying in celebration of Cinderella’s marriage, Bob is also a member of Burt Wood’s M.I.B. – or ‘Men In Black’ – a much sought after Stage Crew. Bob also enjoys learning the ins and outs of ‘the business’ as he accompanies his daughter Molly on her many auditions. Bob spends his ‘free time’ building beautiful homes in the local area and is a Town of Middleboro Building Inspector. He lives with his wife Maureen and their dogs: Buddy and Izzy.