About Broadway Upstate Children's Theater

Broadway Upstate was founded in the spring of 2012. The vision was to create a theatre company for children in the Adirondack area that provided a learning environment as well as a performing experience putting on professional level musical theatre productions.

The company’s inaugural production was Jonathan Larson’s Rent which played at the Hudson River Music Hall’s brand new Black Box Theater in July of 2012. The musical was a huge success, playing to sold out crowds at every single performance. Broadway Upstate‘s first youth production, Charlotte’s Web – The Musical, which was staged by the late Fran Williams, also did exceedingly well, filling the recently closed Sanford Street School’s gymnasium.

The following year, Broadway Upstate began co-producing a string of family friendly musicals with the Charles R. Wood Theater. Many of those productions have broken records by selling out entire runs.

 

Staff Members

Rachel J Seebode

Rachel J. Seebode was born and raised on the east end of Long Island. Her love for dance and the theater was very apparent at an early age. Rachel began studying dance at the age of 5 and was in her first musical at the age of 9. The stage felt like home to young Rachel and she lit up whenever she stepped foot on any stage. Rachel went on to study theater and dance at the University of Buffalo earning her BA in theater and dance in May of 2000. After graduation Rachel moved to the city to jump on as many auditions as she could. Rachel’s highlight from her days living in the city was performing at the off Broadway venue, The Duplex Cabaret Theatre in Greenwich Village. She was also lucky to be able to perform on Spirit Cruise lines while living in the city.

Rachel’s career took her up and down the east coast performing, choreographing, & teaching. Rachel’s favorite roles have been Rosalia in “West Side Story” , Betty Blake in “Will Rogers Follies” and Cha Cha in “Grease”. Rachel continues to share her love for theater and dance with the next generation of artist as she is the Executive Director of the Broadway Upstate School of Performing Arts.  

Rachel is  a proud member of
SAG AFTRA. She resides in the beautiful Adirondacks with her husband Keith and daughters, Gabriella Rae and Savannah Joan.

Lisa Higley

Lisa currently resides in Queensbury with her husband Drew and their two children, Ryan and Ava.  Along with teaching dance, she teaches a 4th/5th grade special education classroom at Queensbury School.  She feels fortunate to work with children with special needs and says that her students bring a smile to her face each and every day.  She is also involved with the Tri-County United Way.  Doing service work is something that is very important to Lisa and she tries to do as much as her schedule will allow.  Lisa grew up in Queensbury and trained at ARDT with artistic director Pamara Perry, whom she credits for encouraging her to follow her passion and to always give 100%.  When Lisa graduated high school, she moved to NYC to pursue her education at NYU and train in dance.  While there she studied at Alvin Ailey and Broadway Dance Center.  She had the privilege of working with the great ballet masters Dorit Koppel and Natalya Stavro.  She also trained under the direction of Jermaine Browne, Luam, Keflezgy, Chio Yamada, Rhapsody James, AmountBoyz, and many other great hip hop talents.  While in NYC, she discovered her interest in choreographing and was able to do so for various dance groups at NYU, including the Student Korean Association.  Lisa also had the privilege to work with Shawnette Heard, Janet Jackson’s video director, and had the opportunity to open for Ludacris and Simple Plan back in 2005 at Parkfest.  Since being back in her hometown, she has choreographed for Saratoga Spa Catholic and Queensbury’s high school musical productions, as well as Broadway Upstate.  She is also a club advisor for dance club at the Queensbury Intermediate School.  She feels very fortunate to be at Broadway Upstate to share her passion and hopes to ignite the love for dance in others.  Her favorite quote: “Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.”

Tracey Wesley

Tracey Wesley has cultivated a life-long passion for theatre, graduating in 1981 with a BA degree in Theatre Arts from Castleton State College (now Castleton University). She went on to study acting and voice in London, participating in workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In recent years she took a summer acting course at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. Tracey is a classically trained soprano and has been a featured soloist with the Granville Area Chorus and Vermont Opera Theatre.

Tracey acted for many years prior to finding that her real passion was directing young people. Teamed with her techie husband Dave (BA, Visual Arts, Middlebury College) she developed an award-winning drama program during her 23 years at Long Trail School (LTS) in Dorset, Vermont. In addition to performing in Dorset, she and her husband have taken productions all over the state of Vermont with the Vermont State Drama Festival. She is a past president of the Vermont State Drama Council as well as being a member of the New England Drama Council.

Her productions have been nominated numerous times to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and she and her husband have had the pleasure of taking three productions to that audience.

At LTS Tracey taught numerous acting and directing courses along with International Baccalaureate (IB) classes in Theatre Arts.

She has mentored students in playwriting and they have taken first place in the Dorset Theatre Festival Young Playwrights Competition on several occasions. A group of her IB students collaborated during a class and wrote a play that was subsequently published.

Tracey has many former students who are working professionally in the theatre world today and she is excited to be a part of Broadway Upstate.

Lexi Parker

Lexi has grown up in Lake George for her entire life, and was a graduate of
Skidmore College. She has taught the past four years teaching kindergarten at
Whitehall Elementary School, and this year will be switching to teaching PreK.
She loves working with the youngest learners and being one of their first
introductions to school! Lexi has 15 years of dance experience, and spent her
childhood training at ARDT. Lexi has done ballet, jazz, and hip hop throughout
her dance career, and also had the opportunity to return and teach a Let’s
Dance class at ARDT. Lexi is currently working on obtaining her Master’s Degree
in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology through the University
of Albany, and is so excited to get back into the dance world this upcoming fall
at Broadway Upstate.