Artists in Residence

2015 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 Fort Lauderdale 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 to perform for your peers from JCC Maccabi at the Final ArtsFest Showcase—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Lisa Melinn

Thrilled to be returning to JCC Maccabi ArtsFest for a second year of fun, laughs, friends, and learning, Lisa Melinn began her life in the theatre at age five, when she played Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. After getting bitten by the acting bug, Lisa spent most of her childhood singing show tunes and performing in plays. She also spent three summers studying and performing at The Hampton Playhouse in Hampton, N.H. Lisa began acting professionally while still in high school, recording voiceovers for regional and national radio commercials.

Lisa earned a bachelor’s 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. 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).

Culinary Arts

Culinary Arts at JCC Maccabi ArtsFest offers you the opportunity to be hands-on in the kitchen with professional chefs who will engage you in every aspect of running a kitchen and preparing great food. From choosing the right ingredients, learning new cooking techniques, and to understand the history and culture behind food; you will work alongside the Artist in Residence (and special guest chefs) to learn how to plan a menu and understand the process of transforming raw ingredients into delicious dishes. Your culinary creations will be showcased, served, and devoured by guests and your peers from the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest at the Final ArtsFest Showcase—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Chef Leslie Harrow

Enthusiastically joining us for his first JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, Leslie Harrow was born in Philadelphia and raised in North Miami Beach. He got his start in Italian trattorias, and progressed from chef to executive chef over the past 10 years with Executive Caterers and has become a leader in kosher catering. Leslie opened a restaurant and sold it after winning Best of Miami 2008, because he liked the ever-present challenges of kosher catering.

Leslie takes an approach to culinary as an innovator. He is a pioneer of molecular gastronomy in kosher dining, and constantly pushes culinary boundaries. Thanks in part to the Food Network people have become foodies and demand better food options, from ceviches from Peru to pho from Vietnam. Leslie looks to set the trend and show that not much is impossible, even when it’s kosher. While bridging the gap from the “old school to the new school” he takes a fresh, healthy approach by incorporating use of exotic fruits and regional spices from around the globe.

Leslie is looking forward to bringing own unique process of REINVENTIVE—thinking out of the box to change what’s deemed the norm; FRESH—from floral to fragrant, from spicy to subdued, adapting a fresh healthy clean approach to the art of culinary, and CULTURED—bringing a diverse range of culinary trends from around the world to the JCC Maccabi ArtsFest teens.


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 a piece that showcases your talent as a dancer and challenges you to learn something new. As the culmination of your work, you will perform a piece for the other specialty groups and your peers from JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest at the Final ArtsFest Showcase—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Ron Hutchins

Eager to debut in his first JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, Ron Hutchins is the recipient of the 2014 Silver Palm Award for Outstanding Choreography in five productions throughout South Florida last season. He is the winner of two Broadway World Regional Awards (Miami 2014) for Best Director (Ain’t Misbehavin’) and Best Choreographer (42nd Street). He was also honored with a 2015 Carbonell Award for Best Choreography for 42nd Street and a Carbonell Award for Five Guys Named Moe, as well as being a nominee for The Will Rogers Follies and Chicago. The Joseph Jefferson Committee has also acknowledged his work for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Arizoni for Disney’s Aida.

Ron has choreographed a multitude of musicals across the United States and served as guest artist for some of the country’s finest musical theatre programs. Ron just returned from Beijing where he served as choreographer for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for Peking University and Seven Ages Productions that is currently running throughout 2015.

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 for your peers from both ArtsFest and the JCC Maccabi Games at the Final ArtsFest Showcase—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Eric Gutman
Back and better than ever for his second year as a JCC Maccabi ArtsFest Musical Theater Artist in Residence is Eric Gutman. Eric lives in Huntington Woods, Michigan with his wife and two daughters. He is a regular at such theatres as Tipping Point Theatre in Northville, Meadowbrook Theatre in Rochester and the Gem/Century Theatres in Detroit – where he has performed in countless shows including the Michigan premier of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical, Next to Normal.

Before his move back home, his claim to fame was performing for almost three years in the Tony and Grammy Award-winning sensation Jersey Boys. In his run with this extraordinary show, Eric performed over 1,000 shows in six different roles (including three of the Four Seasons) as well as one of the few actors to play live instruments on stage. Eric has also been a company member for over ten years with the Off-Broadway and touring companies of Forbidden Broadway and Forbidden Hollywood where he has played in over 100 different theatres across the Country as well as a featured performer with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Eric made his feature film debut in the highly acclaimed motion picture Real Steel opposite Hugh Jackman. Other on-camera credits include the films North of South, West of East and The Giant Mechanical Man; and Musical Guest spots for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC). Other broadcast appearances include regional commercials, singing the National Anthem for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bears, as well as the last MLB All-Star Game held at the old Yankee Stadium.

Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. He has been a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association since 1999 and The American Federation of Musicians.

Rock Band

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 a band successful. Finish off your week by performing live at the Final ArtsFest Showcase for your peers from JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

jnelsonJosh Nelson
Joining us for his ninth summer is Artist in Residence Josh Nelson. Josh is 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.

Recently 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 USA (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 (z’’l). 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.

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 2015 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 for your peers from JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest—at the Final ArtsFest Showcase—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Alfredo Pichardo
Excitedly making his JCC Maccabi ArtsFest debut Alfredo is a 21 year veteran in the television industry in South Florida, and is currently in his 9th year teaching at Cooper City high school. He has earned 2 Emmy nominations and was honored as teacher of the year in 2011 by his peers. Alfredo’s advanced TV production class, better known as CTV, is nationally recognized as one of the top High School TV programs in the Nation. With Alfredo’s leadership, they have won several distinguished awards from the Florida Scholastic Press Association, District and National competitions and winning 2 first place and a third place Excellence award among others from the Student Television Network for their weekly news show.

Alfredo is still actively freelancing in the industry working on Lifetime channels shows with O2 Media Production and the Billboard awards and Premios Juventud at Telemundo Networks.

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 a final exhibit for the Final ArtsFest Showcase for your peers from JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Tyler Smith
Ready to hit the ground running in his first summer with JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, Tyler is a studio artist who applies his talents across a number of disciplines. He has received a number of professional honors since receiving his MFA from Indiana University. After attending Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture with a Ford Foundation grant, he spent the summer in Cortona, Italy, with the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program. The next year found him in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he was awarded with a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

While showing regularly at 55 Mercer Street Gallery in New York City, he began a 20 year freelance career in theater and film as an art director, set designer, and special effects artist.

From his Davie, Florida, studio, Tyler continues to make art and develop illustrated picture books. As an active member of his artistic community, he is the resident set designer for the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre, an exhibit designer, lecturer, and educator. With Rhode Island School of Design and Nova Southeastern University to his credits, he currently teaches studio art and art appreciation at Broward College and is very excited to get into the studio with the Visual Artists 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 2015 ensemble. Under the guidance of your Artist in Residence, you will be challenged to learn a variety of songs for the Final ArtsFest Showcase for your peers from JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest—the grand finale of JCC Maccabi.

Caryl Fantel
Joining us for her JCC Maccabi ArtsFest Artist in Residence debut, Caryl has credits from Off-Broadway to regional theatres and concert halls throughout South Florida and around the U.S. She is Music Director of the annual Carbonell Awards ceremonies at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Recent credits include the Stars of David tour, produced by Daryl Roth; a Carbonell nomination for Music Direction of the celebrated production of Assassins with Zoetic Stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center; staged readings at Palm Beach Dramaworks and the new musical development series at The Arts Garage in Delray plus productions with Slow Burn Theatre and many others.

A private teacher, workshop presenter and arts-in-education advocate, Caryl is a member of the Broward Cultural Council and, in addition to projects with professional theatres, she works regularly with schools, community groups, and the musical theatre programs of NYU, AMDA and others.

Coordinator, JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, Fort Lauderdale 2015

Rachel Klein
Rachel is more than a teacher and a children’s theatre director, she has been working professionally as a performer for most of her life. Her performing has taken her all of the states as well as abroad. Some of her credits include Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (Tel-Aviv Performing Arts Center and Jerusalem Theatre), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Fireside theatre, Wisconsin), Tony and Tina’s Wedding (Broward Center), Gypsy (Royal Palm dinner theatre), I Write the Songs (IP Casino, Biloxi Mississippi), and La Cage aux Folles (tour).

Rachel is so thrilled to be part of such an amazing experience and team by coordinating ArtsFest.

Continental Director, JCC Maccabi ArtsFest

reluttermanRandy Ellen Lutterman
As Vice President, Arts and Culture for JCCs of North America, Randy Ellen Lutterman provides leadership and support, communicating with JCCs across the continent about arts and culture programming. As Director of JCC Maccabi ArtsFest, Randy is responsible for the on-going development of the mission, vision and content for ArtsFest. She is innovating and growing this amazing summer arts immersion program for creative teens so that it can be experienced by more young people across the continent.

Randy has a twenty year background in arts consulting, producing and developing new artists and new work. She is the Founding Director of SpringboardNYC at the American Theatre Wing, an award-winning college-to-career transition program for students starting their arts careers in New York City. She created and developed the program for Musical Theatre Works, a NYC not-for-profit theatre, where she was Executive Director for five years. At MTW, she co-created and launched the MTW Resident Writers/New Works Program, which commissioned and developed dozens of new musical theatre pieces that went on to have future lives in regional, not-for-profit and commercial houses around the country. Randy also developed and produced MTW’s “A Class Act”, which received an Off-Broadway co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club, and then a Broadway run where it earned 5 Tony nominations including Best New Musical. As an actor, Ms. Lutterman has appeared on television, in film and in theatre in both the U.S. and Canada. She has been coaching actors professionally for ten years, specializing in audition technique and preparation. Her students have been accepted at many of the best MFA programs in the country.