Meet Our Teachers!rockstar

Ashley Bowen Mondragon
STUDIO OWNER | VOICE | PIANO | MUSICAL THEATRE | WOODWINDS
ashley mondragon

Ashley, founder and teacher of Rockstar! Studios, has been playing and performing music for over 30 years. She earned her BA in Music from the Conservatory of Music from Kean University focusing on classical voice. Her primary instrument, in the beginning of her career, was saxophone, specializing in Jazz Improvisation. Ashley has been teaching voice for over 19 years creating a niche with Musical Theater performers as well as Rock, Pop and Classical Singers both on a professional and recreational level!

Ashley has been the Musical Director for the JP Stevens Theatre Company for the past 19 years, as well as the MD for the Academy of Performing Arts in Scotch Plains and numerous studio and community theatre productions. Ashley specializes in Vocal Coaching, Instruction and Health and all of her vocal students are taught with the same classical technique focusing on posture, breathing, articulation, vowel placement and diaphragmatic support. Her students not only become well trained singers and performers, they also build confidence, social and public speaking skills, as well as decreasing performance anxiety and nervousness for all levels of skill and interest for the precollege, college and professional singer! She has a unique and out-of-the-box way of teaching her students, regardless of their experience level. Ashley brings a new edge to all of her lessons and individualizes each one to help bring out the Rockstar! in all of them!

David Mondragon
GUITAR | BASS | PIANO | UKULELE | DRUMS | MUSIC THEORY | COMPOSITION | ROCK BAND
David

David received his bachelor's degree from Kean University in Classical Guitar Performance and has been teaching Guitar, Bass, Piano and Music Theory/Composition for over 20 years. He has been playing music since he was 9 years old and originally started on the clarinet and piano, then fell in love with the guitar at age 11. Since his teen years, David has been a member of the hard rock/heavy metal band E. Town Concrete, touring the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan. The band's music videos were featured on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball, several Playstation video games, and on a Budweiser commercial for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team. David is also the newest member of long time friends and veteran rockers, 40 Below Summer, taking the country by storm with continuing tour dates. Additionally David performs with numerous other bands as well as experience playing acoustic, & electric guitar, ukulele, banjo and mandolin in Musical Theatre Productions. 

 

Mariana Santiago-Jimenez
VOICE | PIANO 

Mariana
 
 
Mariana is a mezzo-soprano and is a graduate of Kean University, with a B.A. in Music with a concentration in Vocal Studies. Furthering her education Mariana has been studying Music Therapy for 2 years at Montclair University. Music has always been a part of her life and she has been singing for over 20 years. Mariana has been teaching Voice, Piano, and Music Theory for over 10 years. During Mariana’s time at Kean University she participated in the Opera Workshop program as well was a featured soloist for Kean University’s Concert Choir and Choral which performed Mozart’s Requiem in 2010, and 2012. In 2010 Mariana studied abroad with the “Italian Operatic Experience” in Montecatini Terme, Italy. In 2015 she was a featured as a Young Artist for the choral group Ars Musica.  Mariana has been in several competitions such as NATS in 2008 (National Association of Teacher of Singing) placing in 2nd and in the National Classical Singer Competition making it to the quarter finals in 2013.

Mariana was the lead singer of a symphonic heavy metal band called “Infinitus Mortus” for over 5 years. Now she continues to sing and grow her singing career with concerts as well as working currently as an alto section leader and soloist at Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit, N.J.  Mariana has incorporated what she has learned and continues to learn as a Vocalist and Musician and has culminated it into her style of teaching.

Joseph Whitfield
DRUMS | PERCUSSION | GUITAR | PIANO | UKULELE
Joseph

Joseph Whitfield has a bachelor's degree in music education and been actively teaching since 2003. His passion for world music is shown through his continual seeking of knowledge, his appreciation of all styles, and his diverse performance repertoire. Joseph is actively involved in performing and teaching many styles such as Orchestral, Latin, Rock, Jazz, Hindustani music, and more. Joseph's diverse array of experience is fueled by this love and respect for the musical arts and the linking of the different genres. With this appreciation he is able to fuse a wide variet of styles to bring a unique quality to the programs he is a part of, incorporating a well-rounded view to expand the minds of all his students.

 

 

Erin Rooney
PIANO | FLUTE | UKULELE

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Bio Coming Soon!!

 

Aiden Horne
GUITAR | BASS | REPAIRS   

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Bio Coming Soon!!

 

 

 

 

Darlene Bowen Rich
ACTING | YOGA 

Darlene

Darlene Rich is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NYC, Thomas Edison State College, and The College of New Jersey. She began her yoga practice as a part of the acting training (movement for the performer) while attending AADA; continuing both yoga and acting studies through formal degrees and certification programs. Her philosophy follows the age old adage- when you teach something you then, and only then, begin to master it. Darlene holds degrees in Literature, Theatre, and Masters in the Art: Teaching Secondary English as well as a Teaching Certification for K-8, Theatre and Speech and Communication. Darlene’s acting/performing credits - gratefully too many to list- includes Off-Broadway world premiere’s including Visions of Kerouac at the Lion Theatre, NYC, and The Hunting Scenes of Lower Bavaria at the Vandam Theatre NYC. Darlene was a resident member of the Shelter West Company under the Artistic Director and mentor, Judith Joseph. While working as a professional actress Darlene continued her studies at HB Studios with Frances Chaney, Aaron Frankel. Austin Pendelton and William (Bill) Hickey. She studied voice with James Gassett and continues her vocal training with Ashley Mondragon. She also studied dialects with David Christopher.

Darlene was introduced to yoga in 1974 in Manhattan while attending the Academy of Dramatic Arts. Yoga has continued to be a integral part of her life moving from be a student of yoga to a teacher in 2004 with her 200 hour YTT. She has continued to become certified in many styles and practices including, Yin Yoga, Masala Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Trauma and Addiction and is currently completing her Kundalini Certfication. She has studied with Shiva Rae, Angela Farmer and Emily Conrad as well as many other wonderful instructors throughout the years. Darlene is thrilled to be leading the Acting Program at Rockstar! Studios, bringing to the private sector her teaching and directing skills of theatre, musical theatre, improvisational theatre, Shakespeare studies and yoga for the performer that she honed for the past 25 years at JP Stevens High School.

 

Samantha Tirone
DANCE  

Samantha

Sam is an MSU Theatre Studies and Dance graduate. Sam has retired from 12 years of Competitive Dance and 20 years of performing on stage. She has choreographed over a dozen shows for multiple community theatre companies throughout the state including Westfield Players, EVP, Main Street, JP Stevens High School and most recently Rockstar! Studios. She has choreographed for 8 years at WHS. Sam has also choreographed award winning routines in the world of Competitive Dance. Additionally she has worked with MAMS in Matawan and choreographed for their middle school productions as well as their summer theatre workshop program.

 

 

Theresa Orth
DANCE | CHOREOGRAPHER | YOGA

Theresa

Theresa began dancing at the age of 2 and was invited to join a competition team at age 4. She trained in all genres of dance from Central Jersey Dance & Gymnastics including being on the Central Jersey Dance Company from age 2 to 18. She was also a member of the All Star Team, Jersey Girls Dance Team from age 11-18 and was co-captain for the 2012-2013 season. In 2013, Theresa won first place and overall high score for her ballet solo. She also trained in ballet at New Jersey Ballet throughout most of her college years. Theresa loves teaching ballet to her students because it is the foundation of dance and it especially helps with their technique in other genres of dance. It is a joy to see the smiles on their faces after accomplishing something they have worked toward on the dance floor. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Deaf Studies from The College of New Jersey. She hopes of going to graduate school for her Doctorate of Audiology Degree in 2019.

 

Julia Foti
DANCE | CHOREOGRAPHER | YOGA

Julia
Julia Foti is a current Rutgers University student pursuing a BFA  in Dance with Mason Gross School of the Arts and B.S. inpsychology. She grew up in a competition studio but since then,  she has performed works by Randy James, Stephanie Batten Bland, Dance Heginbotham, and John Evans. Julia hasperformed in various dance productions in NYC with MuhammadMoves and Artist. Over past summers, Foti had the opportunity tostudy with Paul Taylor Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance  Group, and Yin Yue Dance Company. Julia is a certified vinyasa  yoga teacher, RYT 200-HR TT, with Om Factory NYC. With herextensive knowledge in dance and yoga, Julia hopes to createencouraging environments for young dancers to explore their creativity and gain confidence in themselves.

Janine Weekely
DANCE | CHOREOGRAPHER 

JanineJ

 

Guest Teaching Artists

Laura Bell Bundy
THEATRE | MUSICAL THEATRE

Laura Bell Bundy is an actress, recording artist, songwriter, director, producer and mother.

At the age of 9 years old, Laura Bell had her stage debut at Radio City Music Hall.  Since then she has originated the stage roles of Tina in Ruthless (Outer Critics/ Drama Desk Nominations), Amber in Broadway’s Hairspray, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical (Tony Nomination), played Glinda in Wicked and recently received an Ovation nomination for her role of Charity in Reprise 2.0’s ‘Sweet Charity.’  

She’s appeared in over 100 hundred episodes of Television including roles on Perfect Harmony, Good Behavior, American Gods, How I Met Your Mother,  The Guest Book, Angie Tribeca, Idiotsitter, Hart of Dixie, Fuller House, Documentary Now, AJ & The Queen, and Anger Management, and over a dozen television pilots that were not picked up!  Films include Dream Girls, Jumanji, Life With Mikey, Adventures of Huck Finn, After The Reality, and the award winning Beauty Mark among others. 

"LBB” has toured in concert worldwide since 2010.  She's penned hundreds of songs as an EMI/Sony songwriter (2009-2016) including her Universal Records album, Achin’ & Shakin’ which debuted on Billboard’s Top 5 Country Music Chart, and has a gold record in Norway.  She was nominated for CMT Breakout Video for Giddy On Up. Her Big Machine album “Another Piece Of Me” received rave reviews in 2015 with all four music videos written, directed, & produced by Bundy.   Her music has been featured in several video games including Just Dance 3, Just Dance Now, and Guitar Hero. 

LBBTV is Bundy’s production company founded to forge her own creative path, launching successful sketch comedy web series Cooter County & Skits-O-Frenic with millions of views on Youtube including her comedy song “You Can’t Pray The Gay Away.”  She has directed over 30 sketches and music videos.   Laura Bell developed “Mashville” for Netflix as creator, composer and lyricist. She is currently developing ‘Girl Time’ — a women’s history sketch comedy show for Free Form as creator, writer and executive producer.

LBB is the founder of Double Standards, a non-profit that supports the equal treatment of women.  

 
Matthew Petrucelli
THEATRE
Matthew

Matthew Petrucelli is a New Jersey native actor and educator. He received his BFA in acting from Montclair State University, and is currently working towards his MFA in acting at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.He holds his New Jersey Teaching Certification as a Teacher of Theater for grades K- 12. He taught and helped build the drama curriculum at BRICK Peshine Academy in Newark, NJ. Matthew also spent a year training at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London where he received extensive classical training.

As an actor, Matthew has performed in various productions in the US and Europe ranging from musicals, plays, and devised original works. Matthew was seen in J.M. Meyer’s Bride of the Gulf at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure both in London on the Globe Stage, and in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Matthew has been in various musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, and Annie.

 

Matthew is a graduate of JP Stevens High School, and a former student of Rockstar! Studios, where he was taught and mentored under Darlene Rich and Ashley Bowen. He is excited to work alongside such talented faculty, and to be part of the Rockstar! team.