is a musical theatre-loving, cat-snuggling, dog-loving, showtune-singing director and voice teacher who strives to share her love for the performing arts with children of all ages. She grew up listening to musical cast recordings with her sisters and parents, and began voice lessons when she was a young teenager. Miss Megan starred in multiple productions in her high school's musicals (Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Luisa in The Fantasticks) as well as musicals put on by her voice teacher's studio (Fantine in Les Miserables, Lois Lane/Bianca in Kiss Me Kate, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance). She decided in high school that she wanted to attend college and major in Musical Theatre so she could continue her study of music and acting.
Miss Megan attended Rider University's School of Fine and Performing Arts for two years and worked with esteemed faculty members to develop her craft including Trent Blanton, Robin Lewis, Raymond MacAnally, Carol Bellis, and Greggory Brandt, among others. She maintained a high GPA throughout her time at college and earned her place on the Dean's List for multiple semesters. Miss Megan loved all of her classes and enjoyed her time at Rider, but she was not able to stay for as long as she would have liked.
In 2011, Miss Megan was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and subsequently, a seizure disorder and suffered with the symptoms of these illnesses as well as other difficulties brought on by the diagnoses and treatments of these disorders. For almost three years, she spent all her time on the couch experiencing extreme symptoms every minute of every day. She had lost her ability to participate in normal everyday activities, let alone perform or work on a show.
In 2014, Miss Megan was able to handle a little bit of work, and she became a voice teacher at her alma mater voice school, Rising Stars Voice Studio. She also worked as an acting teacher for Central New Jersey Ballet Theatre. These jobs were very important, as they began her teaching career, and were also part-time so she was able to work and still take care of her health. She enjoyed her time at both of those places very much, but she began to miss the process of putting on a show. Miss Megan is not always able to work within the parameters of someone else's schedule, which made it difficult for her to find a way to participate in someone else's production.
In 2015, Miss Megan's mom (Ms. Elena) suggested she write a children's play. The first Top Cat Stage Production, SOCK, was born. Miss Megan worked on a curriculum for a weekly one-hour lesson for 12 weeks that would teach kids about theatre and let them rehearse and perform SOCK. Ms. Elena went to work posting signs and advertising this new program that would run in the recreational room at a local Moose Lodge. Five kids signed up and the first Top Cat Stage Production program began.
Soon after, one of the parents mentioned that the Burlington County Library had a nice auditorium and suggested they might be willing to let us run the program there. After talking with the youth services department, Miss Megan discovered that there was a great need for low-cost arts programs in the community. She asked if she could charge $5 for materials and fees and was told if she did that, there would be people who would not have been able to participate. Many schools have cut their arts programs (and those that haven't don’t always provide the same opportunities to each child since there are so many children involved in one production), and recreational arts programs are often very expensive. At the library, we provided free 12-week programs in which the kids learned about theatre, rehearsed a short play, and performed for a small audience.
Miss Megan spent three years running programs at the library and at one point had nearly 60 students enrolled in her programs. There were beginner, intermediate, and advanced level programs for students of all abilities, and every single child involved in a program would get a principal role in the show that was being performed. There were multiple programs and classes including a group of kids who wrote their own variety show, an acting class, an improvisational group, as well as programs that included music and culminated in a concert or musical revue.
In 2018 the library could no longer hold us as we needed more time to accommodate all of the students who were interested in participating. Ms. Elena searched for a studio that would provide space for Miss Megan's programs to continue.
Top Cat moved into Bruni Square in June 2018 and that month we had our first performance. Since then Miss Megan has been working hard at making the studio Top Cat's home, and the kids have been thriving in the new space. Since moving, Miss Megan has changed the format of the 12-week program a little bit and now the kids participate in the creation of the play, creation of props and set pieces, and costume shopping. This program was not only created as a way for Miss Megan to work and take care of her health; Top Cat Stage Productions' goal is to teach and serve children looking for a healthy, fun way to express themselves for as low a fee as possible. Miss Megan has learned more from the kids than she could ever teach them, and she is so excited to continue to grow Top Cat and learn even more!