Zakk Mannella

 Lead Instructor / Administrative Assistant


Zakk is beyond thrilled to be joining the unbelievably talented team at KSMT Performing Arts Academy.  Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Zakk is now back in Pennsylvania after spending nearly seven years in New York City attending college and working professionally.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance and Musical Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College in 2015, where he was fortunate enough to perform in a multitude of shows during his four years.  Through Marymount, he worked at The York Theatre, an Off-Broadway theater in NYC where he was able to perform in fully staged readings, and alongside Broadway veterans.  During college, he also worked professionally in theaters throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio performing in shows such as: Peter and the Starcatcher, Spamalot, Children of Eden, West Side Story, and Carrie.

He recently has performed with local production companies such as Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Split Stage, and Carnivale Theatrics.  He has also choreographed numerous shows within the past year, as well as served as a Musical Theatre Teaching Artist for Propel Charter Schools.  Additionally, he has extensive experience serving as understudies, swings, and dance captains. 

On stage, recently, he has performed in shows such as Newsies, Side Show, The Bridges of Madison County, and Heathers, and has choreographed Spring Awakening, The Wedding Singer, and American Idiot.  

Zakk is incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to share his knowledge and passion with the students at KSMT Performing Arts Academy.

Giovanna previously served as Adjunct Faculty at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA. Before moving to Manhattan, Ms. Reyes-Mir was the Assistant Director of El Coro de Niños de San Juan. Formerly, she was the Director of Music Ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Winchester, VA, where she founded the Children’s Choir Church Music Festival, the First Friday Recital Series, and was the co-director of Sing Camp. Giovanna also served as Adjunct Faculty at The County College of Morris, Assistant Director of Music Ministry at Resurrection Parish, and maintained a private voice studio in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. Education:  Cleveland Institute of Music (B.M., M.M. in Vocal Performance), Estill Voice Training (Levels I & II), CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute (Levels I, II, & III).

A native of Puerto Rico, Ms. Reyes-Mir has performed the roles i  Carmen (Frasquita, starring Denyce Graves in the title role), Faust (Marguerite), La Boheme (Mimí), Gianni Schicchi (Lauretta), Cosí Fan Tutte (Despina), La Traviata (Violetta), L’Amico Fritz (Suzel), Dialogues des Carmelites (Mere Marie), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Mother), Die Zauberflöte (2nd Lady), The Rape of Lucretia (Female Chorus), Trouble in Tahiti (Girl), La Straniera (Alaide), Pagliacci (Nedda), Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza), and many more.  She has appeared in full productions and in concert with The Casals Festival Orchestra, Coópera: Project Opera of Manhattan, Orlando Opera, Spoleto Vocal Arts Symposium, International Institute of Vocal Arts, Modus Opera Company, Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico, Opera de Puerto Rico, Cleveland Heights Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Theatre, Brooklyn Conservatory Orchestra, etc.

JEssica Jaros

Resident Artist, Academy Administrator


                                           Jessica, a Pittsburgh native, is returning home from NYC after

                                           spending just under a decade performing professionally

                                           around the world. Immediately after receiving her B.F.A. in

                                           musical theatre from Syracuse University, Jessica set sail on

                                           the Disney Dream as a member of the original mainstage cast.

                                           After singing and dancing around the globe with Disney Cruise

                                           Line, she performed on some of the most highly regarded

                                           regional stages in the country. Favorite credits include Ulla in

                                           The Producers at Olney Theatre Center outside of Washington

                                           D.C., Lady Larken in Once Upon A Mattress at The Fireside

                                           Theatre, Pinky Tuscadero in Happy Days at La Comedia Dinner Theatre (directed and choreographed by Chris Saunders), Good News at the historic Goodspeed Opera House, The Wizard of Oz at North Shore Music Theatre, Miracle on 34th Street at Westchester Broadway Theatre, and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing at The Great Plains Theatre. She is also a member of the Manhattan-based musical comedy group, The Watercoolers, and has performed with them all over the country.

In addition to her work as a performer, Jessica served as a teacher/administrator at Performers Theatre Workshop in Maplewood, NJ and choreographed productions of The Wizard of Oz, Damn Yankees, and Cinderella in schools throughout the central NJ region. Many of her students have earned interest meetings with casting directors, agents, and managers and have received audition appointments and contracts for Broadway shows, regional theaters, television, film, and commercials.

Jessica is thrilled to return to the Pittsburgh theatre community. She grew up performing across the Pittsburgh region. Jessica is so grateful for the opportunity to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for the arts with the students of KSMT.

Giovanna is an accomplished professor of voice, choral conductor, and professional singer with over 15 years of experience in the Greater New York and Washington DC areas.  Ms. Reyes-Mir holds herself, as well as her students and clients, to the highest standard of musical excellence and possesses the required skill set to achieve this benchmark.  Her extensive knowledge of vocal technique, style, and repertoire has led her students and clients to great success in prestigious programs, internationally renowned opera houses, and Broadway stages and tours.


 Resident Artist / Lead Instructor


Chris Saunders

 Producing Artistic Director, Founder, Lead Instructor


                                          Chris is an acclaimed director, choreographer, & performer

                                          whose has made appearances on stages near and far

                                          - from New York to New Delhi. Chris’s choreography has

                                          been seen across the country in the celebrated 10th

                                          Anniversary National Tour of Footloose​.  He has

                                          directed & choreographed productions of Cats,

                                          Joseph…, Hairspray, Godspell, Happy Days: The Musical,

                                          Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, & The Sound of Music. Chris is

                                          also a critically praised performer. His work has been seen

                                          across the country in 50+ productions, including on

                                          Broadway with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

                                          Chris has taught at Carnegie Mellon, Point Park, & Slippery

                                          Rock Universities, and is an adjudicator with Headliners

                                          Competition. Chris is excited to educate a new generation

                                          of stars!


Education Director, FOUNDER, Lead Instructor

                                        Alirose is a creative, hip−style to teaching voice and

                                        performance. She has led a successful career in the musical

                                        theater industry for the past 20 years having worked

                                        nationally and internationally on Broadway, national tours,

                                        cruise ships, and regional theaters. She has been a vocalist

                                        for nine years in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

                                        alongside the Rockettes as Mrs. Claus, and has starred in

                                        shows with Disney. Alison's performance career began in

                                        Chicago, where she appeared in the regional premiere of

                                        Cats, and starred in productions of A Chorus Line and

                                        Singin’ in the Rain.  Her choreography has been set on

                                        talented artists around the US and on Nickelodeon's

                                        TV show Supah Ninjas!  It’s her passion to pass on her

                                        knowledge and experiences of the stage arts to the