Meet the Staff

IMG_4083.jpeg

Courtney Sarre

Artistic Director

Courtney Page Sarre, is originally from Toronto Canada. Since 1995, her training and career have been focused on working with children and teens, developing them to become the best

version of themselves, regardless of their personal circumstances. Her early experience as an artist  includes studying theater at Douglas Anderson School for the Arts in Jacksonville, which propelled her to work as a live performer with The Walt Disney Company. Upon graduating from the College of Charleston with a degree in Children’s Theater at the College of Charleston she established the Musical Theater School for Washington D.C.'s Ballet Petite. There, she produced performances for "The White House Easter Egg Roll" two years in succession. In 2007 Courtney, returned to Mount Pleasant where she co-founded the Musical Theatre Center. Under her direction, their students went on to achieve national recognition for their performance skills. In 2018 Courtney struck out on her own to found the Charleston Academy of Musical Theatre (The Academy), with the goal of developing three key skills among all she works with. Their mantra is to ensure that no child who wants to train will be turned away. Courtney dedicated to the belief that all children have talent waiting to be awakened and is determined to provide theatrical development in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment. In addition to her professional work, Courtney Sarre is a wife and mother of two with a deep commitment to the Charleston community. She is an active community organizer and an advocate for the arts and special education for dyslexic children in our school system.

DSC_0128.jpg
MO Headshot.jpg
Jah'mar-12.jpeg

Diana Flaherty

Music Director/Vocal Coach

Formerly an opera singer of international renown, Diana Flaherty has been recognized for the ‘exceptional beauty” of her voice and the “expressive and dramatic” quality of her portrayals. The soprano’s career has encompassed the demanding title roles of Puccini’s Tosca and Turandot, as well Verdi’s Leonora in Il Trovatore, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Luisa in Luisa Miller,  Lina in Stiffelio, Desdemona in Otello, Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Maddalena in Andrea Chénier, Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Nedda in I Pagliacci, and Micaëla in Carmen. Ms. Flaherty has frequented the regional opera houses of the United States, Europe and Hong Kong. In addition to opera, Ms. Flaherty has performed extensively in concert with New York Grand Opera Orchestra in New York City’s Central Park, Cleveland Suburban Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, New Jersey Opera Orchestra and the New Jersey Symphony among others. She is honored to have been selected to record a solo CD of operatic selections from Verdi and Puccini in Krakow, Poland’s with the renowned Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon receiving the Lys D’or Award in Paris, France, Ms. Flaherty performed a solo operatic recital with concert pianist Yuri Boukoff in Paris. Ms. Flaherty is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Jerome Hines’ esteemed Opera Music Theater Institute. She is very fortunate to have studied and worked with some of the industry’s most respected vocal teachers and coaches, among them Jerome Hines, Thomas LoMonaco and Jerome LoMonaco. In addition to her vocal training, Ms Flaherty studied acting with Actor’s Studio  luminaries Robert Lewis, Charles Kakatsakis and Carol Rosenfeld. Since retiring from the stage to raise her daughter, Ms. Flaherty has maintained an active and successful private vocal studio. Her students have been the recipients of national awards of recognition, college scholarships and are regularly admitted to leading leading musical theater programs in colleges and conservatories nationwide. She has a great passion to develop the full potential of her students, and feels blessed to impart the breadth of her professional experience and training to her students.

Michelle O'Donnel

Director of Operations

Michelle has a B.A. from Mount Saint Mary's University.  She was Southern Region Export Manager in the steamship industry before getting married and becoming a mom to two wonderful children. She got involved with fundraising for their school early in their education and held many volunteer positions, eventually becoming the Home and School Association President of Christ Our King - Stella Maris School. Michelle began working as Director of Operations for Charleston Academy of Musical Theater in it's inaugural year, and enjoys working with the instructors and Courtney to grow the company.

Jah'mar Coakley  
Teen Company Choreographer and
Musical Theatre Director

Jah’Mar Coakley is currently a student at the College of Charleston Majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Arts Management. He has been directing, choreographing and teaching children in the Charleston area for five years. He has Choreographed High School Musical, James & the Giant Peach, Seussical, Winnie The Pooh, and most recently worked on CAMT's 2021 Spring Extravaganza.  Assistant Directed The Canterbury Tales, Directed 4 A.M., and Directed/Choreographed 101 Dalmatians and Willy Wonka Kids. He is excited to be able to share his passion of Musical Theater with all of his students because he understands how being a part of theater community can be beneficial for a child. 

IMG_4189.PNG

Charlotte Marchell
Teacher/Choreographer

Charlotte Marchell is a local performer and student at the College of Charleston. Charlotte has recently appeared in Mamma Mia! and Beauty and the Beast at the Dock Street Theater with Charleston Stage. She has trained at the Musical Theater Center as a member of their performance troupe under the direction of many wonderful teachers including Courtney Sarre for the past eight years. Her training includes ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. Some of her favorite roles include Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Natalie/Ed in All Shook Up. In addition to performing Charlotte has enjoyed teaching musical theater and choreographing for the past three years.

Teaching Headshot 2020.jpg

Natasha Nast 

Choreographer

Natasha Nast, a Baltimore, Maryland native, began her training in ballet, jazz, and tap at the age of 2 and went on to dance competitively until high school when she began her formal training in ballet and modern at the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Russian Ballet Academy of
Maryland. Upon graduation, Natasha joined the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre as a graduate student where she was one of the few dancers selected from the program to perform numerous company roles in a variety of full length classics choreographed by Marius Petipa (restaged by Terrence Orr), Derek Deane, and Anna-Marie Holmes as well as other works by choreographers, George Balanchine, Mark Morris, Dwight Rhoden, Harald Lander, and Lew Christensen. Aside from her work with the company, Natasha performed principal roles in Graduate Program productions and various outreach performances including a series of performances alongside Grammy Award winning recording artist, Daya, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Natasha spent four years dancing in Pittsburgh prior to moving to Charleston in 2017 where she is currently dancing as a company member with the Palmetto City Ballet and Unbound Ballet Project.

 

Natasha is experienced in teaching ballet, jazz, contemporary, and more to students ranging in age from toddler, to pre-professional teen, to adult. Alongside teaching daily classes, she specializes in setting classical repertoire, choreographing original pieces, and preparing students for competitions and company and college auditions. Natasha is thrilled to be working with the Charleston Academy of Musical Theatre this summer and looks forward to continuing on in the coming school year.

Headshot 2.jpg

Kailey Jones 
Stage Manager/Teacher

Kailey Jones is an actor, singer, dancer, advocate, and world-traveler. Kailey has been working professionally, regionally, and educationally across the United States for the last 10 years in a vast variety of venues including the Tivoli Theatre (Chattanooga, TN), Lied Center (Lincoln, NE), Garden Theatre (Winter Garden, FL), Straz Center (Tampa, FL), Syracuse Stage (Syracuse, NY) and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (Orlando, FL). Kailey is a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Musical Theatre (2021) who has recently relocated to the Charleston, SC area for a taste of the low country and further theatrical opportunities within the United States' southeastern region.

Gillian2021.jpg

Gillian Richard
Teacher

Gillian Richard has studied dance since the age of two and trained in musical theatre under the Direction of Courtney Sarre for eight years. For the past four years she has taught, choreographed and directed at several local studios. Gillian is also a seasoned veteran of the stage, with local performance credits including Elle (Legally Blonde), Arista (Little Mermaid), and Kim (Bye Bye Birdie). She received the Outstanding Female Performer at the international Junior Theatre Festival, was a member of the first touring cast of Debbie Allen’s Brothers of the Knight and recently performed with Kristin Chenoweth. She has performed professionally with Charleston Stage for three seasons and was dance captain for two shows. She is currently a student at Amherst College majoring in economics and training in dance under the direction of Jenna Riegel.

Kristi Lentsch, MD

Health/Covid-19 Advisor

Dr. Kristi Lentsch completed her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University where she was a Presidential Scholar. She then attended the University of Louisville School of Medicine where she obtained her Doctorate of Medicine. Dr. Lentsch is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine. She is board eligible for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. 

She has more than 15 years of clinical experience working with patients in settings that include hospitals, ambulatory clinics and telemedicine. She has spent the last few years focused on telemedicine and, most recently, primarily focused on assisting in identifying and assessing patients with Covid-19 symptoms. Within this role and context, she has also advised several groups with how to decrease risks of transmission and offered advice on how to structure activities/environments to limit exposure. When cases are identified or exposures reported, she has helped identify best methods to obtain testing and provided guidance for quarantine and notification of individuals at risk.