Instructors and Staff

Our close proximity to NYC the "Theater Capital of the World" fortunes us with directors who have direct and recent professional experience.  Our professionals continue to sculpt and nurture their own craft in order to present a relevant scope for our students.

photo Carolyn Nielsen

Artistic Director

Carolyn  has been involved in theater and teaching for over 40 years. She grew up involved in her local community theatre and later studied at Lynchburg College in Virginia under a Westover Fellowship. She graduated from Fordham University with a BS in psychology and later from Pace University with a Master’s Degree in Teaching. She began her teaching at the preschool level and in Special Education. An internship with Habitat for Humanity led her to spend a year in the Mississippi Delta, where she also worked as an administrator for Head Start. Carolyn returned to the Northeast, where she originated classes and intergenerational programming for a Junior League-sponsored preschool in Connecticut. 
Upon her return to the New York area, Carolyn’s passion for theater was reignited as a vehicle for building community. She served on the board of her local Community theater and in multiple roles both on stage and off for 13 years. 
Carolyn has taught theater for preschools, elementary schools and after-school programming in Westchester Putnam and Dutchess counties.
As the Artistic Director at Pied Piper Youth Theater, Carolyn’s focus is to inspire her students to be conscientious, empathetic members of a supportive community that expands beyond the walls of the theater. Her programming includes “theatre for a purpose,” where each cast contributes to social, environmental, or local causes during the course of their production. Having two sons with developmental delays who have benefited tremendously from the arts, Carolyn strives to provide a variety of programming that includes any individual who has the desire to express themselves through the arts.  

Beth Cornell

Director, support staff 
Beth has a BA in Theater/ Speech from the University of South Carolina.  She has a MA in Elementary Education from Mercy College and holds a Permanent NYS Certification N - 6.  Beth has been teaching for 20 years in the Dobbs Ferry and NYC School Districts.  Beth has worn many hats at PPYT, including building manager, director, production assistant, prop master and child wrangler.  In the summer, Beth co-directs our teen and intensive summer camp programs.  

photo Rena Gavigan

Director, Choreographer

Rena Gavigan is a director, choreographer, theatre educator, stage manager, costumer, and actor. She teaches musical theatre, improv, theatre dance and acting classes. She’s worked for White Plains Performing Arts Center, Living Room Theatre, Yorktown Stage, Compagnia del Colombari, Clove Creek Dinner Theater, ARC Stages, Ridgefield Theatre Barn and many more. She studied theatre at SUNY Oneonta and Circle in the Square Theatre School in Times Square.

Sam Bass

Sam Bass is an award-winning actor who has been performing throughout New York and Connecticut on stage, and in experimental theater, as well as in films and television. He teaches improv in Connecticut and New York to teens and adults, and adults with disabilities. 

photo Andrea Marano

Director, Choreographer 
Andrea is a director, choreographer and teaching artist based in Westchester County. She has worked at the elementary, middle, high school and college level and has taught theater to a variety of populations including young children and adults with cognitive disabilities. She recently produced an off- Broadway show, “Ciao Bambino” in New York City.  By day, Andrea works as a social worker in Henrick Hudson Schools. 

Michael Roth

Musical Director 

Michael  is a native of Indianapolis with a BA from Butler University’s  Jordan College of Fine Arts in Music Theory and Composition. After graduating, Michael worked as a Piano Accompanist, Choir Director, and as a Music Director/ Vocal Coach for Indianapolis’ Civic Theater. In addition, Michael served as Script-Writer and Composer for Kid Connection, an award-winning touring children’s theater company. In 2000 he moved to NYC, after being selected to be a participant in the prestigious BMI Musical Theater Workshop. Since moving to NYC, Michael has performed in numerous regional theater productions and was Accompanist for "Steps on Broadway" and the Broadway Dance Studio. Additionally Michael has worked as a Teaching Director and Performer for NYC’s ArtsConnection and the Theater Arts Workshop in Armonk. Presently, he works as an accompanist for the Musical Theater Program at City College and teaches private voice and piano locally, as well as in Manhattan. He continues to write and compose and has been published by Oxford University Press.

photo Christine DiTota

Christine is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film and is a member of Actor's Equity.  She has enjoyed performing many roles throughout the region and has performed at the Westchester Broadway Dinner Theatre, The Broadway Theatre, Shakespeare on the Sound, American Theatre of Actors, and many more!
As a director, she has worked at Yorktown Stage, Tarrytown Music Hall, and at numerous high schools in Westchester and Fairfield counties. 
Together with her husband, Christine creates the annual magic of the “Winter Wonderland” at Kensico Dam in Valhalla, NewYork. 

Kirsten Sweeney

Director, Choreographer 
Kirsten is a theatre professional residing in Manhattan, where she has worked since graduating NYU with a degree in Race, Gender, & Disability in Contemporary Theatre. Her recent directing credits include Spring Awakening at PPYT, Kept in the Dark, The Heidi Chronicles, and the world premiere of Our House by Fiona Gorry-Hines. She is heavily involved in arts activism and education, working with Artists Striving to End Poverty since she was chosen as an Artist Fellow with the organization in 2015. Kirsten is herself an alumna of PPYT, and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to return and mentor the next generation of young artists. 

photo Jennifer Jonas


Jennifer Jonas has a BFA in Dance from Boston Conservatory.  Upon graduating, she has been with several dance companies including BalletRox and Eryc Taylor Dance then switched to performing more musicals. Her regional credits include: The Music Man (Zaneeta Shinn), Oliver and Seussical  at Westchester Broadway Theater and Cats (Victoria) at White Plains Performing Arts Center. Jennifer has choreographed for White Plains Performing Arts Center, Palame Productions, Curtain Call, Clocktower Players, Bedford Community Theater, Putnam Valley High and Stamford High.  And has been nominated for multiple Metro Awards.  She has had the privilege to be assistant choreographer to Greg Baccarini, Josue Jasmin and Nicole Corea. She also teaches private dance lessons and shares her love for musical theater with preschoolers at Dramabee during the day.

Mindy Conciatori

Mindy Conciatori has a MS in Elementary Education with NYS certification Preschool-6th. Mindy has been teaching/coaching for over 30 years. Mindy discovered her love of performing as a competitive gymnast and as such she strives to instill the same passion in her students. Mindy has worked alongside Bonnie Ryerson at the JCC in Pleasantville and has been running the summer camp programs at PPYT since 2014. She is currently the Pre-K teacher at Drew Nursery School in Carmel, NY. Mindy also teaches gymnastics at the Patterson Rec. and runs several enrichment programs with the PTO at Matthew Patterson Elementary School.

photo Dan Esposito

Daniel Esposito is over the moon to be back at his second home, Pied Piper Youth Theater! Daniel is in his third year at Manhattanville College majoring in Communications and Technical Theater and minoring in Musical Theater.  He also serves as a Resident Advisor.  

Baylee Wong

Baylee Wong is a graduate of Carmel High School. Since the age of three, she started doing ballet and soon picked up tap, jazz and modern at Pinewood School of Dance. When she was ten, she started taking ballroom lessons at Fred Astaire Brewster. She has competed in all of these styles winning numerous awards such as placing first with her solo and group dances. She has also studied with the Joffrey School over the summer and wishes to pursue dance as a future career. 

  PPYT Board of Directors

Tabetha Hitchcock, President

Fiona Rattray, Vice President

Mary Grgecic, Secretary

Cathlene Campbell, Treasurer

Bonnie Ryerson, Trustee

Patricia Vetterman, Trustee

Karla Booth, Trustee