Claire has been an Arts Education Instructor and Music teacher since 1985. She has taught as Musical Director for no less than six highs schools of the Camden Diocese, and currently is the Music Department Chair at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ. Claire is also Owner and manager of Celebrations; a wedding planning and services company. While at Holy Spirit Claire has been responsible for Budget Preparation and initiated and administered the Spirit of Music Fund, raising over $125,000 for the Holy Spirit Music dept. She specializes in music theory and college preparation as well as advanced and honors programs for both band and choir.
Claire Newell Collins
This Somers Point native is the director of Educational Programming at The Gateway Playhouse and teaches fifth and sixth grade English at Jordan Road School in Somers Point, where he has directed their annual school musical for the past fifteen years. Additionally, he is an adjunct at Atlantic Cape Community College and Stockton University. As an advocate for arts in education, Phil has participated in and facilitated teacher professional development sessions across the state on arts-infused instructional strategies. Getting bitten by the theater bug after starring as the dog in an elementary school production Peter Pan, Phil has directed, designed, starred in, and held just about every technical position in many educational, regional and community productions, including Directing the Gateway to the Arts productions of The Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, Disney Magic and Mayhem and Shrek the Musical. BS: Arts Administration/Technical Theater/MSED: Education - Wagner College (Staten Island, NY)
Karen Cleighton has a BFA in Dance Education from The University of the Arts, where she was on faculty in the musical theater and dance departments, along with teaching jazz and tap in the Temple University's Musical Theater program.
Currently, Ms. Cleighton teaches at Chartertech HS for The Performing Arts in their dance and musical theater programs. She has choreographed many educational, regional and professional productions, including Thoroughly Modern Millie (Media Theatre; Barrymore nomination for best choreography in a musical), Spelling Bee, (Media Theatre), On The Sunny Side Of The Street, (East Lynne Theatre), Oliver, Crazy For You, A My Name is Alice, Berlin to Broadway, Bat Boy, Nine and Legally Blonde, along with West Side Story (BroadwayWorld nomination, best choreographer) and Shrek through Gateway to the Arts. In her "spare time" she works at various entertainment companies providing dancers, choreographing, producing shows and DJing. She is a certified Zumba and Spin instructor!
Chelsey Jean Smith
Chelsey Jean Smith is a Cape May County native and graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory with her BFA in Musical Theatre in 2013. She has since performed professionally, primarily in the Greater Philly area, on stages such as the Walnut Street Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre, the Eagle Theatre, and here at the Gateway Playhouse. Chelsey has an affinity for performing for and working with children; in 2014, she originated the role of ‘Cinderella’ in the world-premiere of Cinderella: The Fairy Godmother’s Tale, presented at the New York Children’s Theatre Festival in NYC. She is a proud member of the Shaken Not Stirred Players and currently lives just outside of Philly in Haddon Township, NJ, where she teaches Pilates and is pursuing a career in sustainability in education.