Michael Popovsky - Owner/Director/Voice Instructor
Michael Popovsky has had the honor of performing up and down the east coast with such theatres as Opera Naples (Fl), Opera Delaware, Fulton Theatre, Gretna Theatre, Opera Lancaster, Bootless Stageworks, Opera Seabrook, EPAC, Servant Stage Company and many more. Some of his favorite roles on stage include Schaunard (La Boheme), Harold Hill (Music Man), Man #2 (My Way…Frank Sinatra), Satan (Jerry Springer the Opera), Silvio (Pagliacci), Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf (Into the Woods), Marullo (Rigoletto), Snoopy (You’re a Good Man…) and Lesgles (Les Miserables).
As teacher, Michael is a member of NATS (National Association of Teacher of Singing) and a former winner of the Independent Teacher Fellowship Award. He has spent his teaching career working with ENTs, SLPs and master voice teachers to develop his own dynamic style of teaching. His students have had great success and have attended such programs as Point Park University, NYU, AMDA, Temple and Penn State’s Summer Musical Theatre intensive. His students have also been semifinalists and winners at NATS student auditions and have been cast in professional, semi-professional, community and school productions.
Michael also has more than a dozen directing and musical directing credits to his name including professional, collegiate, educational and community productions. A highlight of his directing resume was directing the area premier of School of Rock for PPAS. Michael’s previous voice teachers include Dr. Thomas Houser, John Darrenkamp, Gweynne Geyer and he currently studies with Master Teacher Robert Edwin.
When not fully engrossed in all things theatre, Michael enjoys playing hockey, golf, watching football and wing night at Dip Co.
Christyn Rutter - Owner/Director/Music Together Instructor
Christyn Rutter studied Music Education at Eastern University in Wayne, PA and was awarded the Gladys M. Howard Scholarship for Music for three consecutive years. Christyn’s primary instrument is the French horn, but she has studied piano, flute, alto saxophone, guitar, ukulele, and bassoon, and can competently play almost every brass and woodwind instrument. While at Eastern, Christyn was a member of the Eastern Winds and the University Choir, performed with a number of local brass quintets, and studied under Bryan Edgett. Christyn has played horn in the pit orchestras in productions of Kiss Me Kate, Jekyll and Hyde, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Honk!, and has supervised music for 13 the Musical. She has also directed many small scenes, plays and musical numbers. Christyn worked with children and teens as a teacher and director of children’s choirs at Wayne Presbyterian Church in Wayne, PA during most of her college career.
After finishing college in 2007, Christyn moved to Los Angeles and married the love of her life, Greg in 2008. In 2010, weary of the bustle of Hollywood, she relocated to her husband’s hometown of Lancaster and has since immersed herself in the vibrant music and arts culture in Lancaster County. In her spare time Christyn is a competitive powerlifter and strongman, and she enjoys traveling to the Adirondack mountains where she is working on climbing the 46 High Peaks. She also enjoys sewing, reading, gardening, and home improvement projects. Christyn and Greg have two children, Ella and Gregory, who you will often find singing, dancing, and roaming the halls of PPAS!
Christyn joined the staff of PPAS in 2014 as the director of the Music Together program, and has since become co-owner and co-director of the company. She is so thankful for this studio and the people who make it a family, and the endless opportunities it provides to share her love and passion for music and performing.
Catherine K. Brown - Voice Instructor
CATHERINE K. BROWN is a voice teacher and performer based in Chester County, Pennsylvania. As a teacher, she is passionate about the human voice and enjoys helping her students explore ways to express themselves more fully. Catherine holds a B.A. in music and German from St. Olaf College. She has completed extensive coursework in vocal pedagogy and child and adolescent voice.
As a private singing instructor, Catherine works with students of all ages and abilities. She particularly enjoys working with children and teens, and her young students have performed with professional theaters (Walnut Street Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Fulton Theatre, Media Theatre, others); with community theaters (Forge Theatre, Barley Sheaf Players, Footlighters Theater); with summer theater programs (Upper Darby Summer Stage, West Chester Summer Stage, French Woods Festival for the Performing Arts); in lead, supporting, and ensemble roles in their school theatrical productions; and in their own bands.
Catherine maintains a home studio and offers private voice lessons during the school year at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. She has taught popular courses in singing and the speaking voice at Chester County Night School.
Deeply committed to professional development, Catherine is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Music Teachers National Association, the New York Singing Teachers’ Association, and the Voice Foundation. She has attended vocal pedagogy seminars at Penn State University (Bel Canto - Can Belto), Eastman School of Music (Summer Institute on Vocal Pedagogy and Performance), Westminster Choir College (Seminar on Children’s Voices), and the Voice Foundation (the annual Voice Symposium). In 2016, she attended an Estill Voice Training Course, Level One (Figures for Voice Control) and Level Two (Figure Combinations for Six Voice Qualities).
Catherine has appeared in opera and musical theater productions at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Barley Sheaf Players, Concert Operetta Theater, Dramateurs at the Barn, Forge Theatre, Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Chester County, Rowan University Opera, and the Savoy Company. She has performed the role of Lillian Galletta in Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America with the Chester County Pops Orchestra.
Since 2011, she has worked as a television background actor in New York City (ABC’s Pan Am and NBC’s 30 Rock) and Philadelphia (NBC’s Do No Harm). She continues her own training through private study of singing, acting, and dance.
Before opening her voice studio in 2009, Catherine worked in public relations for seven years, holding positions at the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Academy of Vocal Arts, and Inglis Foundation. She also taught English and music in Germany on a Fulbright grant.
Francois Byers - Piano Teacher / Resident Music Director
Francois Byers is a teacher, keyboardist, film composer, and pianist from Winston Salem, NC recently moving to the Lancaster County area as of October 2017. He graduated from Berea College in 2012 with a BA in Piano Performance. He received the Marjory J. Flynt scholarship two consecutive years and was also awarded the Community Church Award for music dedication to local communities in Winston Salem, NC and Berea, KY.
Francois has been teaching piano to all ages for nine years as of 2017. As a teacher, Francois’ unique studio lessons consist of multi-faceted teaching approaches including the instruction in the classical repertoire, developing one’s own sound through improvisational techniques, and teaching students to play music of current song-writers such as Fiona Apple, MGMT, Beirut, and many others. Francois has studied under multiple teachers including the notable Eugenia Carter, Robert Rocco, Clifton Mathews, and Javier Clavere.
Other projects in which Francois is currently involved in include the keyboardist for the Delta Gypsy Grass and Theatrical Dark Folk band Bjorn and Francois, film composer for director Bishen Sen’s short film Clara, and performing solo piano recitals whereby he relates thematic elements of classical repertoire to the personality of the composer. In his spare time Francois enjoys watching sports, playing poker, storytelling, stand-up comedy, and creating games.
John Darrenkamp - Master Voice Instructor
John Darrenkamp began his operatic career with the Lancaster Opera Workshop in 1957 and stayed with them until 1965. John was awarded a 4 year scholarship at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, and sang numerous compramario roles with The Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company while at School.
In 1969, John Darrenkamp made his professional debut in Barcelona singing Manon and Maria Stuarda.
He joined New York City Opera Company in 1969 and sang leading roles with them for 7 years.
He sang in the Community Concert Series with Columbia Artists for 10 years and sang concerts all over the United States and Canada.
John joined The Metropolitan Opera Company in 1979 and sang nearly 500 performances with that company over a 22 year career.
He also sang with The Ambassadors of Opera in the Far East singing operatic scenes in Hong Kong, Seoul, Manilla, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. John sang lead roles in the musicals Annie Get Your Gun, Brigadoon, Man of La Mancha and South Pacific. He has also acted the role of Dracula.
John has taught voice and opera at Vassar College and York College and taught voice for 20 years at The Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster, PA.
Since retiring from The Metropolitan Opera Company, he has directed opera for Opera Lancaster and the operas he has directed are The Elixir of Love, Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticanna, La Boheme and Tosca.
Michael Hadary - Voice Instructor
Michael Hadary (Mike) is thrilled to be joining the music faculty at Popovsky Performing Arts. Currently, Michael is working as a Professor of Studio Voice and Musical Theatre at Lebanon Valley College while working to complete his Master of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre Vocal Pedagogy at Penn State. At Penn State he has been studying under the tutelage of Mary Saunders-Barton and Dr. Norman Spivey. Previously, he has earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from NYU, studying voice and pedagogy with Michael Ricciardone and Dr. Brian Gill and a Bachelor of Music from James Madison University studying under Dr. Sonya Baker. Michael has also studied voice, acting and movement (Feldenkrais, Alexander, Open Source Forms, Yoga, Fitzmaurice) with such industry professionals as Meg Bussert, William Wesbrooks, Andrew Belser, Stan Tucker and Katie Agresta.
Michael has taught full time on the faculty of Valdosta State University and adjunct at NYU Steinhardt and Tisch. He has also had private voice studios in Chicago, New York and Orlando. Through the years he has taught performers from Broadway Shows/National Tours including Spamalot, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sweeney Todd, Carousel, The King and I, Mamma Mia, Sister Act, Les Miserables, The Producers, Jersey Boys, Annie, Joseph…, Cats and more. As a director/music director Michael has helped mount professional and academic performances of Mary Poppins, 42nd Street, Evita, The Wiz, The Spitfire Grill, Les Miserables, Always Patsy Cline, Sugar, Singing in the Rain, The Little Mermaid, and many cabarets, showcases and industrials.
As a performer, Michael has appeared Off-Broadway in Sky Boys and regionally in Company, 110 in the Shade, Mary Poppins, 42nd Street, Oklahoma, Songs for a New World, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Into the Woods, The Spitfire Grill, Forever Plaid and more. In the concert world, he has toured the east coast and also performed with Broadway Stars Linda Eder and Robert Cuccioli and Grammy Nominee Chandrika Tandon. Michael is a current member of NATS and AEA and a former member of NYSTA.
Devon Lutz - Director of Dance
Devon Lutz holds a BA in Theatre and Dance from James Madison University. While in college, Devon performed in the Virginia Repertory Dance Company, JMUs pre-professional dance company. Under the direction of Shane O’Hara, VA Rep performed in a number of different cities including; Richmond, Charlottesville, Washington DC and Brooklyn, NY. After graduating, Devon moved to Philadelphia and began performing and creating with femme. Collective, a group of artists committed to helping women share work in the city. In Lancaster, Devon has performed with Rev9 Dance Company and at the Fulton Theatre.
As a choreographer, Devon has presented her work at the American College Dance Festival, James Madison University and Philadelphia, PA. She also has the honor of working under Cody Smith as one of the choreographers for Hempfield High School’s Dance Theatre. This is where she found her love of teaching and working with students.
Devon is thrilled to join the PPAS team! She is excited to teach and share her love of dance with all of the students of PPAS!
Debra Macut - Director of Acting
Debra Macut holds a BA in drama and psychology from Franklin and Marshall College and an MFA in Acting from Catholic University of America. Ms. Macut is also a proud member of the Actors' Equity Association (AEA). Ms. Macut has enjoyed a successful career in professional theatre, having performed throughout the U.S. This includes a 10 year residency at Stage One in Louisville, Ky. and a world premiere production of "The Great Gilly Hopkins" at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway, in which she originated the role of Maime Trotter. Debra also has experience with industrial work including film, commercials, and voice-overs.
Ms. Macut's teaching background is extensive, with over 20 years of experience including workshops on general acting, children's theatre, and Shakespeare. Debra has taught college level courses at Indiana University Southeast and acting for young people at Harrisburg Area Community College and Penn State Harrisburg.
Christa Schimitsch - Voice Instructor
Christa Schimitsch, a native of Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, is currently the Director of Choirs at Manheim Central High School. Additionally she serves as the vocal coach for Manheim Central's theater department and is on their marching band staff. On the weekends, Christa runs youth and children’s music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. At Trinity, she instructs Pre-School Music, Children’s Choir, and Youth Choir.
Christa is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Music Education. At Penn State, she studied voice with Jennifer Trost and performed with numerous ensembles, including Concert Choir, Essence of Joy, Oriana Singers, and Penn State Opera Theater. She was chosen for Voice Jury Honors on numerous occasions and participated in several collaborative and solo recitals. Christa competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing vocal competitions throughout her collegiate career and was selected as a Finalist and Semi-Finalist at every adjudication. Currently, she studies voice with John Darrenkamp and has participated in performances with OperaLancaster and Susquehanna Stage Company.
Megan Witkovsky - Acting Instructor
Megan Witkovsky holds a B.A. in Theatre (Acting concentration) and Speech/Theatre Education from Ball State University in Indiana. Megan was bit by the theatre bug at a young age while participating in a local summer theatre program. After graduating high school, she started teaching and directing at this same summer program that made her fall in love with theatre, and decided she enjoyed teaching just as much as performing!