Alison Rose Saunders
Education Director, Associate Artistic Director, Founder
Alison Rose (Founder, Associate Artistic Director, Education Director) is a multifaceted gem of the performing & teaching arts industry. She hails from the Chicagoland Area, where she became a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and met her husband (Chris Saunders, Pittsburgh native), while performing in the regional premiere of Cats. They lived in NYC for seven years prior to moving to the Steel City and co-founding Keystone State Music Theater together. With over 25 years of professional success under her belt, Alison's resumes pack an impressive punch.
Her professional stage career began at the young age of 15 with a local touring troupe. At 16, she landed a contract with Pheasant Run Theater. By 17, Alison took to international waters as a Main Stage Dancer for Royal Caribbean’s inaugural Mediterranean voyage, touring France, Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, Portugal, Malta, and more. Following her time in Europe, Disney Cruise Lines scooped her up with a principal contract for the roles of Cinderella and Ann Marie in their award-winning production of Disney Dreams. Add’l Disney Credits include Hercules the Muse-ical (Megara), Voyage of The Ghost Ship (Princess Angelina).
After making a splash at sea, Alison returned to the U.S. to train and perform with The Midwest Dance Collective as a concert dancer and commercially with Dancewerks Dance Co (Dir. Ellen Werksman). She also returned to Chicago’s musical theater scene. Favorite credits include: Carousel (u/s perf Louise); West Side Story (Graziella); A Chorus Line (Val); Singin' In The Rain (Kathy Selden); Cats - Regional Premiere, Dir. Marc Robin (Sillibub); The Pajama Game, Dir. Stafford Arima (Ens); Jesus Christ Superstar, Dir. Diana Martinez (Soul Girl).
After tackling the “Windy City”, Alison moved to NYC where her regional theater success soared and she landed her first national tour in The Wizard Of Oz (Dir. Phil McKinley), appearing on stage at the Theater Of The Stars, Kansas City Starlight Theatre, Bass Hall, and The Fox Theatre of Atlanta. She also became a member of AGVA and toured as a vocalist throughout America and Canada with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular CAA and 1st Arena Tour companies (starring the Rockettes) performing for audiences of up to 12,000.
She reached her ultimate dream as a performer when she became one of three vocalists to perform in the NYC company of the Spectacular and took center stage at Radio City Music Hall as Mrs. Claus. During her nine years of accomplishments with Radio City, Alison worked under the direction of: Linda Haberman (former Bob Fosse dance assistant), Julie Brenan, Dennis Callahan, Broadway Composers/Music Directors Gary Adler (Altar Boyz, Avenue Q) and Mark Hummel (Newsies, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life).
In addition to performing, Alison also choreographed at high schools and for professional theaters with her husband. She adjudicated for dance competitions, taught, and eventually moved to Pittsburgh. Credits include: PMT’s Hairspray (assistant choreographer/performer), CLO’s Love Changes Everything, Jesus Chris Superstar, The Sound of Music (performer); Seneca Valley High School show choir (guest choreographer); Nickelodeon Supah Ninjas starring George Takei (guest choreographer).
Alison Rose Saunders co-founded Keystone State Music Theater in 2013 alongside Chris Saunders where she carries out her most cherished and fulfilling role to date as Education Director, developing and overseeing KSMT’s educational programs, curriculum, and teaching staff. She and her talented team of musical theater educators continue to positively impact students’ lives through art to prepare them for the stage and beyond.