Originally from Chicago, A.J. Allegra is a local actor, director, and Artistic Director of the successful theatre company The NOLA Project. He received his B.F.A. in Theatre from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU in addition to a Shakespeare in Performance Certification from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London. Local professional theatre credits include “The Misanthrope,” “Cloud Nine,” “The Wind in the Willows,” “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” J.B. Flanagan’s “Wake,” “A Kingdom of Statues,” “As You Like It,” “What, Has This Thing Appeared Again Tonight?” “Assassins” (Big Easy Award), “Poona,” “King Lear,” “Taste,” “Mr. Marmalade” (Big Easy Award), “The Producers,” and “Love’s Labor’s Lost.” He is the author of the play “Oregon Trail,” as well as “Retail! The Musical,” which enjoyed a successful run at the Chicago Comedy Company in 2006. Film: “Spaceage Rumrunners from the Roaring Twenties,” “The Date from ####,” “Like Father Like Edison,” “Maskerade,” “Inventing Adam,” and “The Virginity Hit.”
Blake started dancing at the age of three and has been in the studio ever since. He has toured internationally with “Tops in Blue,” and has toured nationally with “Oliver,” “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bye-Bye Birdie,” and “Annie.” Blake has taught all over the world and his unique teaching styles, combined with his personality and strong varied techniques, keep him in constant demand on the road. He is an award winning director/choreographer of musical theatre, industrials, and national competition winners. He has had the opportunity to inspire many young dancers/singers/artists along the way.
He has directed and choreographed great shows like “Side Show,” “Working,” “Floyd Collins,” “Anything Goes,” “Godspell,” “Nunsense,” “The Fantastiks,” “Steelpier,” “Copacabana,” “A Chorus Line,” “Tommy,” “Singing in the Rain,” “Jane Eyre,” “Bat Boy,” and recently he was selected to create, direct and choreograph a new show at a brand new venue at The National World War II Museum, called “Let Freedom Swing.” His passion is dance and performing arts, but his love is animals. Blake now serves as the President of Dance Teachers United, a national dance teacher organization that serves dance teachers and educators throughout the country. He was awarded Dance Teacher of the Year in 1998. Blake was recently awarded the International Network of Schools for the Advancement of Arts Education, Teacher of the Year.
Receiving his B.A. from Loyola University of New Orleans, Jefferson Turner started in the New Orleans theatre community as a chorus member at Tulane Summer Lyric, and since then has gone on to perform or direct the music at many theatres in the New Orleans area, including Rivertown Repertory Theatre and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, with such shows as “Me and My Girl,” “And the World Goes Round,” “West Side Story,” “At the Club Toot Sweet on Bourbon Street,” and “Oh, Coward!” From Summer of 2004 until Hurricane Katrina, Jefferson was the resident music director for the New Orleans Recreation Department’s Ty Tracy Theatre. Since then, he has collaborated with Ricky Graham, one of New Orleans’ top writer/directors, on the hit cabaret show about post-Katrina New Orleans, “I’m Still Here, Me,” which opened at Le Chat Noir in November 2005. Also at Le Chat Noir, Mr. Turner and Mr. Graham have written their own late night cabaret show and a new Cole Porter revue, as well as a new musical to open in September 2006. In summer of 2006 Jefferson was chosen out of an international audition to attend the prestigious Cabaret Conference at Yale.