The original inspiration for Star Kidz dates back to 2001, when Alyson Isbrandtsen was asked by a summer camp to develop and teach a music program. “Knowing that I had 10 groups of campers of all ages coming each day, I knew I needed to create a program that would keep them entertained and interested, so I decided to combine singing, acting and dancing in each session."
After that summer program became such a hit with parents and students, Alyson thought about creating a unique performing arts program that would teach the same three disciplines in a single class. Based on her years of experience as a performer and singing teacher — as well as her observations of her own kids and their friends — she had concluded that kids learn best in classes that offer variety, fun and individual attention.
In 2003, Alyson and Suzanne joined forces and Star Kidz was launched as a 4-week pilot program with 40 students. Star Kidz was an immediate hit and before long had over 90 students — ranging in ages from 4-14. Within a year, Suzanne and Alyson carefully selected a professional staff of teachers and expanded to locations across Westchester and had over 300 students enrolled. Star Kidz-Westchester’s biggest hit.
Alyson and Suzanne believe that what makes Star Kidz unique is their commitment to nurturing each child’s individual needs. This approach allows students to focus better on each area of performing arts without getting bored, receive individual attention and stay engaged in a fun, creative, supportive setting.
Raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Alyson grew up in Show business booking her first National commercial at the age of 7 (Twining’s Tea). At 10 years old, she landed the part of Duffy in the first national touring company of Annie. Her other credits include Off Broadway shows, several national commercials, voiceovers, and various film and TV roles.
Alyson received extensive training in theater arts and gained experience working with record producers, writing and recording Pop and R&B songs. She studied voice at the Lucy Moses School of Music, and with renowned New York City voice teachers in classical and various voice methods. She studied Meisner and Method acting techniques with Greg Zittel, The Neighborhood Playhouse, Stella Adler and HB studios. In dance, she trained at Phil Black, Steps, and Broadway Dance Center.
Alyson began her transition to the other side of “the business,” working in New York City as a talent manager. With these connections, Alyson has held successful workshops through Star Kidz with top NYC casting directors, talent agents and managers from Broadway and the Film/TV industry. In 2019, Alyson created AI Talent which incorporates all aspects of her private business. She also conducts regular workshops in singing, acting, and auditioning at summer camps and in the NYC area.
She has been a highly regarded singing teacher for over 25 years, developing singers and actors of all ages who have appeared on TV and in Broadway and National touring companies including Stranger Things, Frozen (Broadway), School of Rock (Broadway), Waitress (Broadway), The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Broadway and Nat’l Tours), Les Misérables (National Tour), Fun Home (National Tour), Mary Poppins (Papermill Playhouse) and more. She also still continues to scout talent on behalf of agents and managers in NYC.
Alyson lives in Westchester with her husband Rob and 3 children, Jordan, Danielle and Tyler, and their dog Riley.
Suzanne moved to NYC at the age of 20 and spent 13 years in show business performing as an accomplished singer, actress and dancer whose credits include Grand Hotel on Broadway and the leading role of Grizabella in the Vienna company of Cats. She also worked as a recording artist and performer in Europe. Suzanne completed the two-year acting program and master courses at the William Esper Studio, and studied voice and dance with leading teachers in NYC.
Following her career as a performer, Suzanne graduated from The Culinary Institute of America for Pastry and worked in NYC restaurants. But when Suzanne realized how much she loved children and wanted to work with them, she joined the inclusion program at Greenwich Elementary School, where she worked for three years before co-founding Star Kidz singing, dancing, & acting classes for children in New York.
Suzanne was thrilled to join forces with Alyson at Star Kidz, where she has been able to unite her love of children and teaching with her experience as a performer. She has 3 grown girls and lives with her husband in Yonkers. She is proud to be a grandma, too!
Born in Brooklyn, raised in Los Angeles, Hannah returned to NYC after graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Hartt School of Music. She spent many years pursuing a career on the stage performing Off Off Broadway and touring the country in various children's theater companies. More recently she was the lead singer in the local band, Four Chicks, Two Mics, and performs, when given the chance, in various Westchester theatre productions.
Hannah resides in Westchester with her husband Dan, two daughters, Ella and Georgia (who sadly want nothing to do with performing) and their dogs Pepper and June.
Natalie is a singer/dancer/actor who has had many exciting experiences in the business, including: being a finalist on America’s Got Talent, being a guest artist on Holland America cruise lines, and singing for Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS with some of Broadway’s biggest names such as Liz Calloway and Kristin Chenoweth. She currently performs in rock cover bands around the city, Long Island and Connecticut and is contracted with the Hank Lane Agency for weddings and special occasions. Natalie has had over eighteen years of training in jazz, tap, ballet and musical theatre dance and is the assistant choreographer for Star Kidz. Favorite roles include Anita in West Side Story, Toni in Cactus Flower, and Frenchy in Grease.
She has always been a believer that learning to use your imagination is the first tool to becoming well rounded and interesting person and loves to see kids develop from timid to outgoing and confident with a little encouragement.
Verna is a graduate of the Circle In The Square Professional Theater School. After graduation, she continued studying with Zina Jasper. Her regional stage work includes The Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Phoenix Theatre and The Children’s Theatre Center of New Jersey.
Off Broadway she has appeared in Wilder, Wilder, Wilder (Drama Desk Nomination – Best Revival), Who Will Carry The Word?, A Child’s Christmas In Wales, The Balcony, Street Scene, and Don Juan Comes Back From The War, all with the Willow Cabin Theatre Company. She has appeared in numerous soap operas, commercials and films. She is a member of Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA.
Verna has also worked as a teaching artist in the New York City School System, teaching Daniel Sklar’s “Playmaking” program. A mother of twin girls ,Verna spent four years coaching soccer for the White Plains Department of Recreation with girls ages 8 through 12.
Jordan Singer is a NYC based actor, director, teacher and choreographer. Jordan studied theater at Ithaca College and SUNY Purchase and will soon be graduating with his BA in theater. He has performed in many productions throughout Westchester County. Favorite roles include, Edna in Hairspray, Cat in the Hat in Seussical and Fester in The Addams Family. Jordan has spent the last five summers as co-head of theater at Camp Hillard. He also judges for the Metropolitan High School Theater Awards throughout the tri-state area. His choreography can be seen on elementary and middle school stages all over Westchester county. Jordan enjoys working with kids year-round. He wants you to know, he’ll never say no to a good sushi meal.
Anne is a mother of two and teaches after school classes at Star Kidz. Anne graduated from the Hart School of Music with a BFA in Musical Theater and she spent many years working in Children’s Theater and for Carnival Cruise Lines as a featured singer. After having children, Anne reignited her passion for music by fronting a pop/rock cover band called FastForward and sitting in with the The DiMaggio Jazz Trio locally. She has designed and launched music theater based programs at various pre-schools in Westchester and is loving her time working with students of all ages!
Carly Polistina is an NYC based Actress, Writer, Comedian, and Teacher. After studying Shakespeare for four months through FSU: Theatre Academy London and receiving her BFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut, she joined the Star Kidz team! Polistina was nominated for Outstanding Featured Actress in a play through the CT Critics Circle Awards alongside actresses Sierra Boggess, and Judith Ivey. Her original play “Annies and Kleptos”, which she also performed in, was produced off-off Broadway at the 13th Street Repertory Theatre in the Summer of 2019. A love of comedy has sent her through training with Upright Citizens Brigade, co-writing an original TV Series, and participating in many years of college improv. Recently she competed in Season Ten of Last Comix Standing at Mohegan Sun Comix Roadhouse. Carly loves to act, laugh, and play with the Star Kidz team!
Barnaby is an internationally sought after Voice Teacher and Musical Director having performed in Hairspray, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Grease, Jersey Boys and The Voice Australia as well as working as a Music Director/Vocal Coach on Matilda, School of Rock, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and many more. Barnaby is extremely passionate about working with young performers and prides himself in his ability to work at a very high level of Vocal Anatomy with them while keeping it fun and engaging!
Jennifer studied the performing arts at The Tisch School, The Juilliard School, and The University of Miami. She has been dancing for most of her life and has studied jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, and modern. Jennifer has traveled from coast to coast performing in such shows as Thoroughly modern Millie (Millie), The Producers (Ulla), Damn Yankees (Lola), Chicago (Velma Kelly), A Chorus Line (Sheila), Fame (Carman Diaz), Kiss Me Kate (Lois/Bianca), and Cirque Dreams (the Songstress). She has also performed as a principal singer/dancer on Celebrity Cruise Lines and is currently a singer/dancer at Woodloch Pines Resort. Jennifer loves being able to teach and share her passion for musical theater with her students. Let’s have some FUN!
Blake has been singing from the time she could talk! She has years of training in singing, acting, and dancing. She attended Performing Arts High School at The Cultural Arts Center in New York. Blake went on to study musical theater at Syracuse University. She later studied acting under the esteemed William Esper in his intensive program in NYC as well as acting coach Sheila Grey. Blake was part of a pop singing group and received a developmental deal with Electra records. She is now a mother of three and is thrilled to be a part of the Star Kidz team! She loves kids and is so excited to share her love of the arts with Star Kidz.