Monday, August 28, 2023

Axelrod Performing Arts Academy Announces Fall Registration

Fall registration is now open for the Axelrod Performing Arts Academy 

WHEN: Classes run September 13, 2023, to June 19, 2024. 
WHERE: All classes are held at the academy’s studios at Bell Works, 101 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel.

This semester’s offerings include Moana Jr., Disney’s Freaky Friday and a new Christmas spectacular, Polar Express, directed by Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater’s cofounder, director and choreographer, Gabriel Chajnik. 

The Axelrod Performing Arts Academy is the educational arm of the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, which has its main stage in Deal Park (Ocean Township). Instructed by a faculty with roots in the professional dance and Broadway theater worlds, APAA students receive conservatory-level training emphasizing technique, style and discipline. In addition to its highly experienced faculty, APAA also offers classes led by its resident guest teaching artists throughout the year, including Nicolas de la Vaga (Radio City Music Hall), Andrea Weber (Merce Cunningham), Kerry Butler (Broadway's Mean Girls), JohnJohn Tarrayo (So You Think You Can Dance), Gabby Soto (Broadway's Wicked) and Lane Napper (VictoriousiCarly). 

Executive Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco, who oversees the professional theater program at the Axelrod, also works closely with the APAA staff.  

“We are thrilled to have recently hired Mary-Kate Schmidt as our new academy director,” he said. “She has been adding new levels of leadership to our staff.”  

Schmidt has decades of experience in the musical and dance worlds and has directed for St. John Vianney High School, among other schools. She is a former English and music teacher and holds a master’s degree in educational leadership.  

“What an exciting time to join the APAA staff,” enthuses Schmidt. “As the Axelrod looks to open a second stage at Bell Works – in addition to their stage in Deal - we are thrilled to be able to offer students more performance opportunities than ever before.”  

The new director of the Junior Musicals program is Justin Christopher Odon, who has directed local youth programs in the area, including the Basie Academy and Phoenix Productions in Red Bank. 

“I am eager to watch the future growth as we begin this new chapter for the academy,” said Elise Feldman, president, and founder of AXCBT and APAA. “We remain proud to be part of the Bell Works community where we have our state-of-the-art studio, home to both APAA and AXCBT.  We thank Bell Works for their ongoing support.” 

If you have any questions about classes, auditions or pricing, please contact Academy Director Mary-Kate Schmidt at or (201) 615-3037. Prefer to register in person? Reach out to schedule an in-person consultation at the AXCBT Studios at Bell Works.