Founded in 1981 by Edward E. Belasco in Northern California, Belasco Theatre Company has trained thousands of students. The company ran strong for nearly 30 years and students involved moved onto attend colleges such as NYU, University of Michigan & some have made it perform on Broadway. Edward E. Belasco, now retired, remains Chairman of the Board.
BTC in Southern California was founded in 2004 by Ed’s daughter, Shanti Belasco Glynn. In it’s ninth season, BTC South continues the tradition of excellence and hard work, training kids to perform in Broadway-style productions. Professional choreography, costumes, sets & music all come together to help create high quality shows every time.
Shanti Belasco Glynn – Director & Founder
Shanti founded the Southern California division of Belasco Theatre Company in 2004. It is an extension of the Northern California division, which ran for 25 years. She set foot on the stage at the young age of 7 as a student of BTC, singing and dancing her heart out in a variety of musical shows such as: A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Grease, Oliver, Gypsy and Cats to name a few. Dancing and performing for over 20 years, Shanti is trained in ballet and musical theatre dance. She began choreographing at the young age of 13, went on to dance at UCLA and trained with the Eric Morris Actor’s workshop in Hollywood. She holds a degree in Psychology from UCLA, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master’s in Multicultural Education. Prior to opening BTC, she taught 4th grade for 4 years with the Torrance Unified School District. She also teaches now at del Sol School.
Melissa Harding – Vocal Director
Melissa started performing at age 10 with BTC in Northern California. Studying private voice since age 9, she has appeared in countless musical theatre productions, playing roles such as Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Diana Morales in A Chorus Line, both Sandy and Rizzo in Grease, Mei Li in Flower Drum Song, The Mistress in Evita, and Delee in Smokey Joe’s Café at the Covina Center for the Performing Arts. In 2008, she traveled to China with Santa Monica College to perform in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of Shandong University of the Arts in Jinan. She also appeared in “Cesar and Ruben,” a new musical written and directed by Hollywood veteran, Ed Begley Jr. Vocal credits include singing on the Sixx:AM record, “The Heroin Diaries,” as well as Motley Crue’s album, “Saints of Los Angeles”. She also recently performed with rock band “30 Seconds to Mars” featuring singer/actor Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), as well as singing on their latest album, “Love, Lust, Faith, & Dreams”. She lives in Los Angeles and continues to pursue musical theatre and acting, as well as being an avid songwriter. Her album, “Set Me Apart”, featuring all original songs, is available on iTunes!
Lauren Blair - Choreographer
Lauren Blair, has been studying dance and performing in musicals since she was 5 years old and began choreographing and teaching dance 16 years ago. She has since taught tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and ballroom dance to students of all ages in studios, high schools, and colleges including College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department, The Otto M. Budig Academy of Ballet, St. Monica Catholic High School, and California State University Los Angeles. In 2008, while traveling to Shandong University of the Arts in Jinan, China to perform in the university’s 50th anniversary celebration, she had the opportunity to lead a dance workshop with a group of their students, so she can happily say she has taught internationally. Lauren finished her M.A. in Theatre Arts and Dance at CSULA in 2013 and is currently employed as faculty choreographer in the Theatre Arts department at Santa Monica College. Favorite choreography credits include Spamalot, Beauty and the Beast (National Youth Arts Award for Outstanding Choreography), White Christmas, The Full Monty (StageSceneLA Outstanding Choreography), and Singin’ in the Rain. The number of shows she has choreographed hit 30 this summer with The Producers at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, in which she also enjoyed playing the role of Ulla. Performing was her first love, but her true passion is teaching!
Amber VanBuskirk – Stage Manager & Class Assistant
Amber first stepped on stage at age 4 and found her way to BTC at age 10. Since then, she has appeared as Reno in Anything Goes, Rizzo in Grease, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, Natalie in All Shook Up, and many others. After graduating as a cast member, she is now on staff assisting where needed, whether it be vocals, choreography or staging. She began working with children at age 15 as an assistant vocal instructor for Performing Arts Workshops. It was then that her passion for music was born. She has traveled to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall as featured as a soloist. Recently, she has begun writing music of her own and plans to pursue a career as a singer and songwriter.
Tina Zarro – Costume Designer
Tina is delighted to be the resident Costume Designer for BTC. Other recent projects include Maggie’s Getting Married (Torrance Theatre Company) Epic Proportions (Theatre Neo), Free (Theatre Neo) at the Ford Theatre, Don’t Drink the Water and Little Women (MBCC theatre). She has designed for the CLOSBC (including Crazy for You, Peter Pan, and Damn Yankees), Hermosa Playhouse (including Marvelous Wonderettes), Orange County Shakespeare Festival (Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night’s Dream), El Camino College (including The Seagull), and she was nominated for an ADA Award for her work on Theatre Neo’s Voice on the Prairie.