Artists in Residence

2017 Artists in Residence

Carefully selected for their superb credentials and talent for working with young people, our Artists in Residence are professional artists at the top of their fields. They share their experience and enthusiasm in an intensive workshop structure, spending the week guiding and inspiring teens to express their own creativity.


Live from Miami, Florida it’s JCC Maccabi ArtsFest! In the Acting/Improv specialty, professional artists work with you to form an ensemble that will explore theatrical performance technique, process, and staging at the professional level. You will learn various traditions of improvisation and theater from slapstick comedy to monologue and scene work. You will be challenged to master your improvisational and acting pieces and to perform for your peers at the Final ArtsFest Showcase.

Lisa Melinn

Lisa Melinn earned a degree in drama from the Professional Actor Training School at Syracuse University. She has taught acting and improv to students of all ages, for Farmington Hills Schools, The Second City/Detroit, Michigan Actors Studio, Water Works Theatre Company, Michigan Youth Theatre, and Oakland Community College’s Theatre Program. This past year, Lisa has definitely stepped outside her “improv comfort zone,” with roles such as Rosencrantz in an all-female production Hamlet, and the epic role of Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth Rex.

Lisa is thrilled to be returning to JCC Maccabi ArtsFest for a fourth year of fun, laughs, friends, and learning! Favorite roles include Zillah in A Bright Room Called Day (The Ringwald), Jessie in ‘Night Mother (Breathe Art Theatre Project), and Tina in Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding (Detroit Actor’s Guild).


Working alongside the Artist in Residence, you will explore dance technique, enhancement, and stretch your skills as a dancer. At ArtsFest you will be on your feet with a professional choreographer as you expand your movement vocabulary, learn new pieces, grow your dramatic and technical range, and perfect pieces that showcase your talent as a dancer and challenge you to learn something new. You will perform these pieces at the Final ArtsFest Showcase.

Jimmy Locust
Jimmy Locust is the artistic director and owner of Locust Performing Arts Center, has shared his talents internationally, working with superstars Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Quincy Jones and Debbie Allen. He has appeared in music videos and films and has performed at the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards and MTV Video Music Awards.

Jimmy was one of the head choreographers for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and was nominated for an American Choreography Award in 2001 for his work on Warner Brothers’ television show Nikki. He worked on the Justin Bieber Tour in 2010 and as choreographer for the CW Television Network’s The Next with hosts John Rich, Joe Jonas, Nelly and Gloria Estefan. Jimmy has also choreographed commercials for both international and national markets, including Sanyo (Japan) with Nicholas Cage and most recently, Rapid Advance (U.S.) which is currently running. He has choreographed for the Stamford Symphony’s Gala and Curtain Call Theatre as well as numerous high school productions. He also designed and wrote dance education curricula for Domus, Chester-Addison Community Center, Stamford Family YMCA, REACH Prep and Horizons.

Jimmy has been a studio owner, master teacher and choreographer in the Fairfield County area for more than 10 years. He is founder and director of Harmony Nation, an anti-bullying educational program that performs at area schools. He also directs Locust Contemporary Dance Works, a youth company with performances throughout the year culminating in a New York City concert, as well as Hip Hop’s Finest and FOCUS Hip Hop pre-professional groups. Jimmy was appointed by the renowned Boca Ballet Theatre in Florida as a returning faculty member for their summer residency program. Recently, he was selected to be an dance adjudicator (2015) and the Dance Artist in Residence (2016) for the JCC Maccabi Games® and ArtsFest®. Jimmy’s multi-faceted lifestyle is chronicled in his reality show Locust Under 5’.

Musical Theater

Learning from professionals with Broadway experience, you will be challenged to master a variety of the best musical theater pieces ever created. Working with the Musical Theater Artist in Residence you will build an ensemble over the course of the week, developing your stage vocal technique, dance, and movement skills as well as song interpretation. These choreographed musical numbers will then be performed at the Final ArtsFest Showcase.

Madelin Marchant
Madelin Marchant has been involved in the performing arts since the age of seven. She studied classical piano, musical theater and directing, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from Florida International University and a masters degree from Florida State University School of Theatre. She has been the theater program director at South Miami Middle School Center for the Arts since 2000, and every year approximately 150 fifth grade students audition for only 24 available spots in the theater program for the upcoming school year. For the past six years she has been the chair for the District 4 Junior Thespian Festival.

Madelin has directed and choreographed many full length plays and musicals including 13, Pippin, Anything Goes, Annie, Fame, Grease, The Pajama Game, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Drowsy Chaperone, and many social awareness plays geared to teens that deal with juvenile delinquency, bullying and suicide. Her favorite roles on stage have been Joanne in Company, Gittel in Seesaw, Berthe in Pippin and her dream role, Mama Rose in Gypsy. This past year she has appeared in several short films and one independent docu-film entitled, The Rafter, about the first rafter who left Cuba in 1964, which is premiering in August 2017.

Madelin’s students have appeared on the Disney and Nickelodeon Channel, Days of our Lives, One Life to Live, Hannah Montana, Jane The Virgin, Step Up, Recovery Road, Shameless, among others, and on Spanish soap operas, commercials, on Broadway, on Broadway tours, and at professional regional theaters all over the country. Many alumni have been accepted into top college theatre programs and have received scholarships and more recently, the Silver Knight award from the Miami Herald.

Rock Band

– In Memory of Max Sudakow

Discover what really makes a band rock! Under the guidance of a professional musician you will experience the art of songwriting, performance techniques, and the changing world of music. Working with your Artist in Residence, you will form a band and learn what it takes to make it successful. Finish off your week by rocking out and performing live at the Final ArtsFest Showcase.

Josh Nelson

Joining us for his 10th summer is Josh Nelson, a gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose work is celebrated and integrated into the repertoire of congregations, camps, and communities around the world. Whether appearing solo or with an elite ensemble of world-class musicians, Josh’s presence and performance style is high-energy and captivating. His music builds community, lifting up congregations and concert audiences alike through experiences that are at once energizing and deeply moving. Classically trained and equally versed in rock, jazz and world music, Josh combines his broad range of influences into a breathtaking musical style that is accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Josh previously served as director of jazz programs and an adjunct professor at Boston University. He performs professionally on as many as 13 different instruments (though not at the same time) he is most widely considered an extraordinary guitarist, pianist, and vocalist.

Hailed by Time Magazine as a “star of the New Jewish Music,” Josh is the music director for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial Convention and faculty for the Hava Nashira Music. He also serves as a member of the URJ faculty of expert practitioners, is the recipient of a PresenTense NYC Fellowship, and is an active member of the Schusterman ROI Community. Josh leads High Holiday services at New York’s historic 92nd St. Y, and is the founder and creative director of THEWAREHOUSE, an alternative Shabbat experience for unaffiliated young Jews in major metropolitan areas.

Performance highlights include: International Symphony of Peace Prayers, Mt. Fuji, Japan; March of the Living, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland; South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin, Texas; Limmud Conferences, Warwick, U.K. and Istanbul, Turkey; international conventions for each of the major youth movements in the United States (NFTY, USY, BBYO, etc.); URJ Biennial Conventions; the USCJ Centennial Convention; JCCs of North America Biennial; CAJE conferences; and JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, Jewish music festivals, synagogues, concert halls, and JCCs across the country. Most recently, Josh entered into an artistic collaboration with Neshama Carlebach, daughter of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Their unprecedented partnership merges two very different Jewish journeys and traditions into a singularly meaningful and uplifting musical experience that brings newfound unity to the Jewish people, both in the diaspora and Israel.

Josh lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his two young sons and a goldfish named Dorothy.

Star Reporter

Star Reporters are the official news outlet of JCC Maccabi. As a Star Reporter you will work with professionals to interview artists, athletes, coaches, Artists in Residence, host families, and everyone involved with the Games and ArtsFest. You will share the stories of JCC Maccabi 2016 via blogs, Twitter, newsletters, photography, and video production. Star Reporters will work onscreen and/or behind the scenes to report the exciting news of each day, including the opportunity to be a narrator at the Final ArtsFest Showcase.

Alyssa Weiss Allen

Alyssa has a Master of Science in television production from Boston University. She has worked on television shows for PBS, Animal Planet, and Warner Brother’s Television. Alyssa produced a pilot, documentary, and won several awards as a playwright in New York and Miami. She directed Beth Am Community Theater’s first production, Legally Blonde the Musical.

In addition to teaching at Beth Am Day School, Alyssa runs two children’s musical theater classes, the fourth grade TBAM news program, and directs the Performing Arts Summer Camp. Her best production by far, is her son Jonah.

Visual Arts

Learn to express your inner voice with professional artists who will guide your creation of a series of projects for your personal portfolio. Collaborate and explore new mediums with your fellow artists using a variety of art materials to create original artworks. Your work will be prominently displayed throughout the week and in an exhibit at the Final ArtsFest Showcase.

Courtney Einhorn

In search of self-fulfillment, Courtney wanted to add some color to her life so she picked up a paint brush and has yet to put it down. In doing so, she has found a true outlet for her creative freedom to flow, which has transformed into a full fledged passion. With Courtney’s artistic style—bold, colorful and filled with texture—the possibilities are endless.

Born and raised in Miami, Courtney is strongly influenced by the city’s vibrant colors, which shines through in her paintings. Courtney’s purpose in her creations is to elicit an uplifting energy from the viewer; the most common words she hears when people describe her work are, “happy, cheerful, vivid.”

Courtney is proud of all she has accomplished thus far. She has been recognized in Ocean Drive Magazine, The Miami Herald, Miami New Times, Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine, among others. Most notably, Courtney was chosen to paint live during Pitbull’s 2015 New Years Eve concert, and has painted live at various South Florida events. Courtney her own painted parking meters in Wynwood, her own artwork on a Miami Dade County bus, paintings on pillars in downtown Miami, and much more! She exhibits at Art Basel and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival every year. Courtney’s colorful work can be seen all over Miami in restaurants, galleries, hospitals, offices, and schools. She enjoys giving back to the community and speaking to children at schools about the importance of the arts. She truly looks forward to this summer at JCC Maccabi ArtsFest.

Vocal Music/Glee

Be part of the hottest vocal ensemble around! Vocal Music/Glee is an opportunity to hone your pitch, harmony, and vocalization along with performance techniques. Led by professional artists, you will explore your vocal instrument, and enhance your onstage skills both as an individual and as a member of the ArtsFest 2016 ensemble. Under the guidance of your Artist in Residence, you will be challenged to learn a variety of songs for the Final ArtsFest Showcase.

Coreen Duffy and Alan Mason

Coreen Duffy serves on the faculty of the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where she conducts the Women’s Chorale and teaches conducting, choral arranging, music in Hebrew culture, choral literature, and music history. Coreen is the founding artistic director of the Second Avenue Jewish Chorale of South Florida, which has performed locally and nationally. A composer-conductor, her choral works are published by Walton Music, ECS Publishing, and Pavane Publishing. Coreen served two terms as repertoire and standards chair for Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives for the Florida chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and has designed special Jewish choral music performance and interest sessions at two National ACDA Conferences (Dallas, 2013 and Chicago, 2011).

Coreen earned her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, a Master of Music from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, and a law degree and bachelors’ degrees in music and English from the University of Michigan.

Alan Mason is one of the nation’s most distinguished directors of sacred Jewish music concerts and religious services, and is the President of the Guild of Temple Musicians. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami and is a retired Associate Professor of Music from Barry University. Alan is an accompanist for the American Conference of Cantors, the Cantors Assembly, the Union for Reform Judaism, and is the conductor of HaZamir Miami, a chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir.