Meet the Staff

Merrideth

MERRIDETH ZIESSE

Owner, Director, Choreographer

Born and raised in NYC, Merrideth studied dance at the prestigious June Claire School of Dance. Merrideth has a BA in theatre from High Point University and received her MFA in acting from Florida Atlantic University. She has performed throughout the United States from the outdoor dramas of Theatre West Virginia to the NYC national tour of Gypsy. Locally, you may have seen her in the Onstage Atlanta’s production of Parallel Lives or as Ruby in Stage Door Players’ Dames At Sea. Merrideth also teaches tap dancing at The Studio Atlanta Dance and is thrilled to train the artists of tomorrow through her company, MZStageworks.

 

 

marcie

MARCIE MILLARD

Business Manager & Instructor

Marcie has been with MZStageworks since its inception has been an instructor since Thoroughly Modern Millie. She graduated with a BA in Theatre Performance and Management from Berry College and has performed in theatres all over the city. Marcie can be seen this summer performing in Les Miserables at The Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville!

 

 

michael

MICHAEL T. VANN JR.

Instructor

Michael is a Georgia native and a Kennesaw State University alumni with a B.S. in Human Communication. Michael is no stranger to the stage and has an extensive background in performance, dance, and directing. Michael has directed theatre for over 10 years. When he’s not working on the stage, you can find Michael in a different facet of the entertainment industry. He is an Associate Producer for Fox 5 Atlanta. Michael isn’t a stranger to film and television. He has worked with industry greats like Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon, and Robert De Niro.

 

kc

K.C. MARTIN

Acting Coach

K.C. Martin is a native of Atlanta and has been a part of MZStageworks since the beginning. He studied theatre and performance studies at Young Harris College and Kennesaw State University. K.C. has worked for theatre companies in the Atlanta area such as The Johns Creek Players where he directed Annie last summer and played Corny Collins in Hairspray the summer of 2011.

 

 

rachel

RACHEL MILLER

Musical Munchkin Instructor

Rachel studied musical theater at the American Musical Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she ultimately produced and performed in her own one woman show “Kissing Frogs”. She has lived in Atlanta for 9 years with her husband Eric and has been working as a performer as well as a teacher at MZStageworks. Rachel has enjoyed her voyage on the Good Ship Lollipop with her very talented shipmates.

 

 

Dan

DAN BALMER

Sound Operator & Teaching Assistant

This is Dan’s seventh semester with MZStageworks and these kids continue to amaze him each and every class! Dan first joined the MZStageworks family for Aladdin. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis and has over 20 years of theatrical
experience.

 

 

linda

LINDA BINIASZ

Costume Creation

Linda has always had a knack for art and creativity. A little over 20 years ago she bought a business with her husband, Mark, creating custom T-shirts, jackets, sports uniforms and more. Linda joined the MZStageworks family five years ago when her son, Richard, joined the program. She’s been hooked on the theatre world ever since and loves using her talents to make costumes!

 

 

saraSARA SMITH

Set Design/Graphic Design

Sara graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from the Art Institute after attended Pima College as a theatre major. Growing up, Sara danced from the time she could walk, and was very active in musical productions. Her favorite roles were Gloria in The Wizard Of Oz, Mrs. Darling in Peter Pan, and Martin from Little Shop Of Horrors. These days, Graphic Design takes up most of her time but the theatre is still a place she calls home, so she is very excited to be involved with MZ Stageworks!

 

 

Angelo Cerniglia

Angelo Cerniglia

A Florida native, Angelo grew up in a very theatrical family. The black sheep in his family are those who didn’t pursue a career in the performing arts. Since graduating from Shenandoah Conservatory with a B.F.A. in Theatre for Youth and a minor in Dance Education he has traveled the country teaching and performing. He recently spent four years at Riverside Children’s Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida, directing and choreographing. Some of his favorite credits include: The Rocky Horror Show (choreographer), Cats (Mungojerrie), The Wedding Singer Regional Premiere (Bad Hair Guy), Xanadu Jr. Premiere show (choreographer), Disney’s The little Mermaid (Choreographer) , and Little Shop of Horrors (choreographer). He is so excited to be teaching with MZstageworks! REMEMBER: WHEN IN DOUBT, STEP TOUCH IT OUT!

 

 

BJ Brown

Musical Consultant

BJ is an Atlanta-based pianist and keyboardist. An accomplished accompanist, he is in demand as a music director and performance keyboardist for many Atlanta area theatres.
A varied career has led to the development of BJ’s extensive and unique skillset. From playing Chopin or Mozart with precision and grace, to programming a keyboard and troubleshooting a monitoring system, to coaching a vocalist, to creating transpositions and transcriptions on the computer, to recording and mixing a song in his studio, he pretty much does it all (and then some) where a keyboard is involved.
Classically trained but equally at home playing rock, country, Broadway, and blues, he has performed on tour with the Atlanta Pops orchestra in Taiwan and also plays for touring shows at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. BJ has been working for the last few years with the Atlanta Lyric Theatre  as sometimes assistant Music Director, primary show keyboardist, tracks expert, and/or rehearsal pianist.