Instructors and Staff

Our close proximity to NYC the "Theater Capital of the World" fortunes us with directors who have direct and recent professional experience.  Our professionals continue to sculpt and nurture their own craft in order to present a relevant scope for our students.

photo Carolyn Nielsen

Carolyn grew up "doing theatre." As in, performing with the local community theatre, taking classes and eventually majoring in theatre in college. She abandoned the theatre however, in search of a way to contribute to the greater good and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She taught Special Education and then Early Childhood Education, and later worked with Habitat for Humanity and Head Start in the Deep South. She eventually returned home and earned her Master's degree in Teaching.

Upon her return to the vicinity of her childhood home, Carolyn restored her love for the theatre when she wandered into the local community theatre looking for a diversion and a way to make new connections.

At that point married and pregnant with her first child, Carolyn discovered the magic that is the community created through theatre. From collaborating with fellow actors young and old, to contributing to the local commerce to learning new skills, it is true that you can save the world through the theatre!

Carolyn has enjoyed many roles on stage as well as producer, costumer, production assistant, prop and make up master, and whatever else needs doing during a production.

Carolyn has combined her passion for teaching, creative and performance arts, and community building, and now owns and operates DRAMA MAMMAS; an early literacy- based theater program for preschoolers.

Michael Roth

MICHAEL ROTH is a native of Indianapolis with a BA from Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts in Music Theory and Composition. After graduating, Michael worked as a Piano Accompanist for the Performing Arts School of Indianapolis. He served as the Choir Director for All Souls Unitarian Church and Music Director/ Vocal Coach for Indianapolis’ Civic Theater. In addition, Michael served as Script-Writer and Composer for the touring children’s theater company, Kid Connection – an award-winning troupe that performs at schools throughout the Midwest. In 2000 he moved to NYC, after being selected to be a participant in the prestigious BMI Musical Theater Workshop. Since moving the NYC, Michael has performed in numerous regional theater productions in such roles as George in "Sunday in the Park With George", Archibald in "The Secret Garden" and Tony in "The Most Happy Fella at the Village Light Opera". Michael was Accompanist for "Steps on Broadway" and the Broadway Dance Studio. Additionally Michael has worked as a Teaching Director and Performer for NYC’s ArtsConnection and the Theater Arts Workshop in Armonk. Most recently he has joined forces with John and Bonnie Ryerson at PPYT.  Michael has served as Music Director for some of their most successful youth productions including "Cinderella", "Hairspray" & "Seussical". Presently, he works as an Accompanist for the Musical Theater Program at City College and Teaches private voice and piano in Manhattan. He continues to write and compose and has been published by Oxford University Press.

photo Andrea Marano

Andrea is a director, choreographer and teaching artist based in Westchester County. She has worked at the elementary, middle, high school and college level and has taught theater to a variety of populations including young children and adults with cognitive disabilities. Her most recent credits include Seussical Jr. at Mamaroneck Avenue School and Grease! at The University of Scranton. She is incredibly humbled to return to Pied Piper Youth Theater after directing The Sparrow back in 2014.

Sabrina Johnston

Originally from Seattle, Sabrina came to New York in 2001 to study Theater at the Acting Conservatory at SUNY Purchase. Since graduating with a BFA, she has performed and directed for Middle School, Highschool and Community Theaters throughout Westchester.  

photo Beth Cornell

Beth has a BA in Theater/ Speech from the University of South Carolina.  She has a MA in Elementary Education from Mercy College and holds a Permanent NYS Certification N - 6.  Beth has been teaching for 20 years in the Dobbs Ferry and NYC School Districts.  She designs set and props for productions (since fall 2014).  Beth assists with and subs for workshops at PPYT.  In the summer, Beth co-teaches the terrific summer camp programs.   Beth's goal is to streamline the volunteer opportunities at PPYT.

Terry M. Sandler

Terry M. Sandler is thrilled to join the Pied Piper team this summer with Shrek Jr. He brings with him over twenty-five years of theatre experience and training. Over the years, Sandler has worked professionally as an Actor (, Writer/Director for the stage and screen, award-winning filmmaker, visual artist, and theatre arts educator.  In 2000, Sandler wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning short film, Corey, which aired nationally on the Independent Film Channel, Bravo, and Women’s Entertainment Channel. From that amazing experience, Sandler received wide-spread recognition at film festivals, screenings, and on websites; and won Best Narrative Short at the Putnam Film Festival, NY.  As a playwright, Sandler’s plays have received staged readings and productions throughout New York City, upstate New York, and Cleveland, Ohio.  His anthology “The Mommy and Me Fishing Trip” is available to read on This summer, look for his upcoming published play in the 2015-2016 Best American Short Plays (sold at Barnes & Noble).  As an educator, Sandler has taught theatre for numerous colleges, universities, performing arts centers, private acting coach, and currently teaches theatre for Peekskill City School District.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts with a Musical Theatre Concentration from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a Master’s degree in Educational Theatre with a concentration of Playwriting from New York University. He looks forward to letting his “freak-flag-fly” with Shrek Jr. 

photo Mindy Conciatori

Mindy Conciatori has a MS in Elementary Education with NYS certification Preschool-6th. Mindy has been teaching/coaching for over 30 years. Mindy discovered her love of performing as a competitive gymnast and as such she strives to instill the same passion in her students. Mindy has worked alongside Bonnie Ryerson at the JCC in Pleasantville and has been running the summer camp programs at PPYT since 2014. She is currently the Pre-K teacher at Drew Nursery School in Carmel, NY. Mindy also teaches gymnastics at the Patterson Rec. and runs several enrichment programs with the PTO at Matthew Patterson Elementary School.

Bonnie Ryerson

Bonnie Ryerson has had a rich and varied career as an actor/director. Passionate about theater from a young age, as a teenager she spent her summers working with writer/director Israel Horovitz at The Gloucester Stage Company as an actor and stage manager. She went on to attend The Boston Conservatory of Music as a drama major where she received her BFA. As a professional, Bonnie has worked at the Blackburn Equity Theater, The Lyric Stage, Worchester Foothills Theatre and The Dover Repertory Company. She toured a one-woman show, “Staying on Track”, for the National Cancer Society. She is a veteran of two national tours with the Hampstead Players. Her New York credits include, “Vital Signs” at the Samuel Beckett Theatre, “Montevideo” at The Harold Clurman, and “Perfect Crime” at The Duffy Theatre. As a commercial actor she has many national TV/Radio spots to her credit, Friendly’s Ice Cream, Parade of Shoes, Bally’s Total Fitness among them. As a teacher, Bonnie has worked at the Worchester Children’s Theatre, Sprouts Outreach, The American Dance and Drama School and the Performing Arts High School in NYC.

  John Ryerson

If hindsight is indeed twenty/twenty, it is clear that the trajectory of John’s life in the performing arts was squarely set on him creating musical theatre. Born into a musical family, (his dad, Artie Ryerson, played guitar with jazz legend Charlie Parker as well as Elvis Presley! His brothers Art and Rich and sister Ali are accomplished musicians – Ali’s latest jazz flute cd reached last year’s Billboard top 10!). But the musical gene did not have the same hold on John as his siblings, as the ensuing years found him exploring other forms of expression. Today, John is as much a Songwriter/Musician as he is a Playwright/Actor – a good combination to create musical theatre! As an actor, John studied at The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in NYC as well as with Lee Strasberg at the Strasberg Institute and the famed Actor’s Studio, NY and LA. He attended Wesleyan University as a Film/Music major. John has been a resident actor at The Bristol Valley Playhouse, The Bucks County Playhouse, The Arena Stage, Wash., DC., and enjoyed a couple of National Tours with The Hampstead Players. As a musician, John was the songwriter, lead singer and keyboard player for the band, STRUGGLE. STRUGGLE played the original band club circuit in Boston and NYC including the famed NY rock club, CBGB’s. The band produced two well received albums, and their video, “You Gotta Be Kidding”, played on MTV. Along with his wife, Bonnie, John created the Pied Piper Youth Theater almost twenty years ago. As co-directors, they have mounted more than fifty productions and have had the unparalleled pleasure of seeing young people grow and develop as actors and people. To their list of productions, John has contributed original plays and musicals: “Tech-night (The Day of The Big Show”, “The Record Release Party”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”, “Monologue Showdown”, “Alice In Wonderland”, “Jack and The Beanstalk” among others. His rock musical, “Piper’s Song” was produced at The Gene Frankel Theatre, NYC to enthusiastic audiences.