Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to. 

-Willem DaFoe


sweeneytodd-acttwo-14Ovations Theatre offers inspiring and thought provoking educational and performance opportunities for young musical theatre artists. Our learning environment supports creativity and open-mindedness, dedication and focus, individual expression and ensemble teamwork. Along with singing, dancing and acting, our young people build confidence, problem-solving skills and strong friendships. They gain the fundamentals they need to blossom on-stage and off as they work together to create memorable—and magical—experiences for themselves and their audiences.


Founded by Darnell Morris, Ovations Theatre is the DC-metro area’s newest musical ovations-suessicaljr-2-108theatre education and performance program for young people. Ovations Theatre rehearses in Rockville, Maryland, and performs in local professional venues with the benefit of top-notch staging, lighting, sound, props and costuming. Our season is filled with exciting offerings, including full-scale productions, master classes, workshops and more. Explore this site for complete information and check back frequently for updates. In the words of Pippin, “Join us…we’ve got magic to do!”

rsz_fullsizerender-2MEET OUR STAFF

Darnell Patrick Morris (Founder, Producing Artistic Director) has been a Director, Choreographer and Theatre Educator in the Washington, DC area for the past decade. His students have been seen on Broadway as well as many local professional stages including Signature Theatre, Arena Stage, Olney Theatre Centre, ATMTC, Wooley Mammoth and Summer Dinner Theatre.  Select Directing Credits – OVATIONS THEATRE: Spring Awakening, RENT, Into The Woods Jr, Sweeney Todd and Seussical Jr. STILLPOINTE THEATRE: Caroline or Change. KENSINGTON ARTS THEATRE: Les Miserables, Ragtime, Jekyll & Hyde, The Rocky Horror Show. KAT 2ND STAGE: The Wizard of Oz, A Year with Frog and Toad, School House Rock Live, Willy Wonka, Pippin. BRAVO: Into The Woods JR, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR, The Music Man JR, Fiddler on the Roof JR.  ANNAPOLIS SUMMER GARDEN THEATRE: Into the Woods, Avenue Q, Hairspray, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Awards: City Paper 2015 Best Musical: Caroline, Or Change, 2014 Ruby Griffith Award for Les Miserables, 2013 Ruby Griffith Award for Avenue Q, 2012 Ruby Griffith Award for Hairspray, 2011 Ruby Griffith Award for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, 2009 Ruby Griffith Award for Pippin, 2014 WATCH Awards for Best Choreography and Best Musical for Ragtime, 2014 Best Community Theatre Production of a Musical in DC on broadwayworld.com. This summer he will be directing In The Heights with Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre.

10494551_10153585954333472_6363770564897714008_nMorgan Fannon (Artistic Associate) is incredibly excited to work with Ovations Theatre and all of these exciting, young performers! Morgan grew up performing in youth theater and, in fact, performed with Ovations Theatre’s founder and Artistic Director (Darnell Patrick Morris) in many challenging and wonderful shows! Favorite roles include the Moon in Caroline, or Change (StillPointe Theatre Initiative; Best Musical 2015 – Baltimore City Paper, Best Musical Professional Theatre – DCMTA), Leading Player in Pippin (KAT 2ND STAGE – Ruby Griffith Award), Nehebka in Aida (Toby’s), Sour Kangaroo in Seussical (St. Mark’s Players), Janis Joplin in Hairspray (Lazy Susan), and many, many more!

Theresa_ATheresa Cunningham (Artistic Associate, Production Liaison for 8-12 Grade Productions, Vocal Director of Sunday In The Park With George) is an actor, singer,
dancer, pianist, poet, playwright, and teacher. She attended Syracuse University where she studied musical theatre. She then moved to Atlanta where she worked with several theatres, including Jomandi, Theatre on The Square and Synchronicity. Since moving back to her hometown of Baltimore in 2012, Theresa has been performing and teaching in the DMV area. Favorite DC area roles include: Imagination Stage: Wiley and the Hairy Man (Mama); Stillpointe Theatre Initiative: Caroline or Change (Caroline); Compass Rose Theatre: A Raisin in the Sun (Lena); Olney Theatre Center: Once On This Island (Asaka); Riverside Center: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Armelia); Toby’s Dinner Theatre: Les Misérables (Mme. Thénardier). Theresa won the 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical for her portrayal of Sofia in Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s production of The Color Purple. Upcoming productions include Caroline or Change with Roundhouse Theatre.

liana's faceLiana Ventimiglia (Production Liaison for 3-9 Grade Productions) is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Liana has extensive experience working with children both internationally and locally, and currently teaches at Lee Montessori Public Charter School in DC.  Liana, from an early age, has performed in community theater locally and more recently stage managed for The Washington Revels and The Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre.  She has interned in arts management for The Washington Revels and The Washington Choral Arts Society.

IMG_0100Valerie A. Higgs (Music Director of Spring Awakening and HEATHERS) has musically directed/conducted/accompanied various theater productions in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and the DC Metro area.  In 1996, Valerie music directed the world premiere of The Three Willies, a multimedia opera conceived by the late avant garde jazz violinist and composer, Leroy Jenkins, in collaboration with multimedia performance artist/poet, Homer Jenkins, and choreographer/dancer, Rennie Harris at the Painted Bride Theatre in Philadelphia.  She was nominated for a Washington Area Theatre Community Honors award for Outstanding Musical Direction for Kensington Arts Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde in 2011, and chosen by DC Metro Theater Arts as Best of 2012 Musical Director for Quotidian Theatre’s production of James Joyce’s The Dead.

1292794_10205172365814219_8473508101534141444_oEben K. Logan (Choreographer of Spring Awakening and Hairspray JR) Eben K. Logan (Choreographer of Spring Awakening and Hairspray JR) is happy to work with OVATIONS THEATRE.  Previous Choreographer credits include Beauty and the Beast Jr. and Hairspray Jr with BRAVO.  She served as Co-Choreographer and was the recipient of a WATCH Best Choreography award, alongside Darnell Morris, for Ragtime at KAT.  Select Professional Acting Credits: Felicia’s 1st Understudy/Featured Dance Ensemble in the National Tour of Memphis The Musical, A Honey in Jelly’s Last Jam with Signature Theatre, Fred’s Wife and Ghost of Christmas Present and Past U/S in Ford’s Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, Gary Coleman in Constellation Theater’s Avenue Q, Whatshername in Keegan Theater’s American Idiot and Looking for Roberto Clemente with Imagination Stage.  Upcoming productions include Ragtime with Ford’s Theatre.
Patricia “Pep” Targete (Choreographer of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.) is a Professional Actor/Choreographer and Dance Teacher in the DC Metro area. She is a 2 time Helen Hayes nominee, receiving ensemble nominations for Memphis The Musical and Ragtime, both through Toby’s Dinner Theatre. She was recently seen in Keegan Theatre’s explosive production of American Idiot and West Side Story  and In The Heights at Little Theatre of Alexandria. Other professional credits include The Kennedy Center, Cumberland Theatre and Maine State Music Theatre. Pep choreographs for local high schools and has extensive experience in teaching ballet, jazz and tap to kids of all ages as a teaching artist through Imagination Stage, ATMTC and various dance studios in the area. 

IMG_20160119_115642Arielle Bayer (Music Director of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr and Hairspray JR) holds a degree in Music Education from Shepherd University and has been a music teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools for ten years.  Over the years, Arielle has worked as Music Director with summer theatre camps, including Adventure Theatre, Glen Echo Children’s Theatre, and Imagination Stage.  Additionally, Arielle serves as Music Director for many local community theatre groups, including DTC, RMT, FtP, PTC, KAT, and MP.  She has also been involved as Music Director with the student theatre groups K2S, DTC Kids, and Act II @ Levine.


Mayumi Baker Griffie (Music Director of Sunday in the Park with George) is an accomplished Music Directed and Composer.  She studied voice at the University of Maryland, College Park School of Music. She has performed with the UM Symphonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the University Jazz Band as both a pianist and singer.  Music Direction credits include: KENSINGTON ARTS THEATRE: Rocky Horror Show, Jekyll & Hyde (nominated for Outstanding Musical Direction), Ragtime (won WATCH award for Outstanding Musical Direction).  HOWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE: The 25th Annual… Spelling Bee and Ragtime.  KAT 2ND STAGE: A Year with Frog and Toad, Wizard of Oz. ACADEMY OF HOLY CROSS: And the World Goes Round, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, High School Musical, High School Musical 2, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Annie, Grease, My Fair Lady, A Year with Frog and Toad, A Chorus Line, 42nd Street.