Spring 2014 Performing Arts Classes! (English) (Spanish)


  • Supporting Artists and Companies who Create, Collaborate and Teach
  • Creating Opportunities for Community Participation in the Arts
  • Offering Educational Outreach

The Mission

EMBARK | Peekskill is a coalition of performing and literary artists and community members committed to the establishment and development of a Performing and Literary Arts Center for Peekskill as a home and venue. It is our goal to be a partner and collaborator with artists, arts alliances, and supporters of the arts. EMBARK seeks to encourage understanding of the role the arts play in building community and in celebrating diversity.

The Destination

A Performing and Literary Arts Center with the following components:

  • Large (500 Seat) Theatre
  • Medium black box/experimental space
  • Small concert/lecture hall/cabaret space
  • Scenic Shop and Storage
  • Costume Shop and Storage
  • 2-4 large rehearsal studios/classrooms
  • Several small piano/instrument/voice practice rooms
  • 2-4 Writing Rooms
  • Children's Craft and Sewing Room
  • Cafe/meeting space/Gallery
  • Painting Room (with view of the Hudson)
  • Puppet/Marionette Room

EMBARK@EMC - Our Stepping Stone Space

Thanks to the generosity of Darby Melnik, owner of Energy Movement Center, EMBARK|Peekskill has moved into the first floor of 925 South Street in Downtown Peekskill. We now can offer our members and the community affordable teaching, rehearsal and performance space and an office and meeting space for EMBARK staff and our Board of Directors, while we continue to pursue the "Big Vision" space!

Performing and Literary Arts Festival 2012
October 5-7 (WRAPPED!)

Over the weekend of October 5-7, 2012 EMBARK|Peekskill produced its second Performing & Literary Arts Festival. This unique Peekskill event featured 3 days of performances throughout downtown and an opening night bi-lingual family performance of Viva Pinocho! at the Peekskill Middle School. Other offerings included plays, musicals, dance, children's performances, instrumental, cabaret, a barbershop quartet and literary readings. Please enjoy this video by EMBARK supporter and director James Brooks with highlights from the festival.

Contact and Membership

The Performing and Literary Arts space we hope to create is not just an artistic home for the artists of Peekskill but for the entire community and neighboring communities. We are grateful for ALL who come aboard our journey!

We are very interested in having artists join as artist members. Please download the application for membership.

Please contact us if you need information, have questions or just want to share your thoughts on what makes a home for the arts.

Main number(914) 671-7772
Katie Schmidt-FederExecutive Director(347) 453-3182
Sol MirandaOutreach Director(917) 692-2372
Ian BergerLiterary Director(914) 274-7020
Marilyn HeberlingBusiness Director, Grants(914) 382-5044


Our Journey

As two theatre professionals living, working and raising our families here in Peekskill, Sol Miranda and Katie Schmidt Feder found themselves dreaming of a journey.

They both left New York City several years ago, put some of their artistic aspirations on hold to raise young families, to create homes and to find a community. Peekskill has been an inspiration with its diversity, its energy, its tenacity. They appreciate all the studios and galleries which support visual artists.

During their time here, however, working in various capacities as directors, performers and arts instructors – it has become obvious that Peekskill lacks a true home for its performing & literary artist community. Despite the beautiful renovation of the Paramount Theatre, the venue lacks wing space, fly space, suitable dressing rooms, a scenic or costume shop or rehearsal/studio capacity and hosts a house too large for intimate or experimental productions.

For this reason, they came to the decision some time ago to embark on a journey of research, outreach and fundraising with the ultimate goal of creating a performing and literary arts home in Peekskill. They have met with city officials, the Chamber Director, local businesses, community members and several performing arts groups from Peekskill and surrounding communities, many who seek a permanent home for their companies. We are grateful that Ian Berger has come aboard as Literary Director, Marilyn Heberling, who had been leading the search for a performance space for YCP Theatreworks, has come aboard as Grants Writer and Business Outreach Director. Our Board of Directors now also includes Andrea Elam, Stephanie Hare, Carol Harvey, and Nat Prentice.


Katie Schmidt Feder (Co-founder, Executive Director) has over 20 years experience in Musical Theatre, Drama and Dance. A member of AEA, she has performed, directed and choreographed in Off-Off Broadway, Regional Theatre, Stock and Cabaret. She has directed from Schwartz to Shaw to Shakespeare and was selected to be a member of the prestigious 2001 Lincoln Center Directors Lab. As a designer, she was head costumer for the feature length film Hooray for Mr. Touchdown and Antonia Arts production of CATS. With a BA in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance from the University of Northern Colorado, her training includes the 2-year Meisner program at William Esper Studio (NYC). Katie also spent over 10 years working for Credit Suisse First Boston creating presentations & software training. As an instructor of dance, acting and voice, she has taught at throughout Westchester and the Hudson Valley. She is currently the Drama Director at Peekskill High School. She will begin work on a Masters in Arts Administration via Goucher College this summer. Her wish is to develop a performing and literary arts center in Peekskill where she can realize her professional theatrical vision and create a home where all community members can experience the performing arts.

Sol Miranda, (Co-founder, Outreach Director) born and raised in Puerto Rico, is an AEA, SAG and AFTRA member who has been acting professionally for more than twenty years. Her work has been seen at New York City Opera, Off-Broadway, regional theaters, Europe and Puerto Rico. Recently she was seen on TV shows including Blue Bloods, Law and Order as well as many commercials and voice overs. An award winning actress, she has been honored with HOLA's (Hispanic Organization of Latino Actors) Outstanding Female in a Leading Role in 2000, and the Juano Hernandez Best Actor Award given by the Drama Department of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras in 1990. During her tenure as an Assistant Professor at Hostos Community College/CUNY, she brought back to life their repertory company and successfully produced and directed. Her bilingual and contemporary adaptation of Shakespeares' Romeo and Juliet with Pablo Neruda's genius translation was a major success at the college. She holds a MFA in Acting from University of California, San Diego. She has recently directed for Antonia Arts and acted for Peekskill Playhouse. The desire to create a Spanish theater company in Peekskill has become a strong and steady vision.

Ian Berger (Co-founder, Literary Director) has found over the years that all the geeky activities and conversations he did in his youth ended up being assets in the classroom. No matter if he’s talking about the finer points of battling with medieval weaponry or discussing the logic of alien ecosystems, he’s sharing what interested him the most. He's joyfully learned that becoming an adult doesn’t mean giving up the silly things of youth; it just means you do those activities better. One of Ian Berger’s greatest joys now is to teach the books he loved as a child with the young people of today. Ian lives in Peekskill, NY with his wife Kirsten and three children: Gabriel, Miranda, and Guinevere. Any resemblance of his children’s names to characters of mythology or literature is a coincidence, he swears! When he’s not pounding computer keys, teaching or being with his family, he can usually be found somewhere on the Hudson River on his windsurfer or standup paddleboard. He’s currently writing the non-fiction book Teach the Fantastic as well as a dystopian novel of the future. Ian has also published articles in and been a featured blogger for Windsurfing magazine. He’s also written articles for the Putnam County News and Observer.

Marilyn Heberling (Co-founder, Business Director, Board Chair) has a Masters Degree in Theatre and over 30 years working in university, community and youth theatre as a director, instructor and actress. In her earlier career she worked with the University of Michigan on the first Experimental Theatre Festival in the area, taught playwriting and developed a “Theatre in Unexpected Places” program with performances in art galleries, football fields and living rooms. As a theatre educator, Marilyn has taught Playwriting, Shakespeare, Creative Writing, History through Drama, Oral Interpretation, Mask making and Video. A founding member of the Philipstown Players in Garrison, she directed 20 adult and youth productions, developed and directed the summer Young Playwrights Festival and produced their adult One Act Festival for 6 years. Marilyn co-created and produced the first Hudson Valley Fringe Festival in 2004. She has worked with M&M Productions and YCP TheaterWorks, directing Arthur Miller’s THE CRUCIBLE and currently Molière's SCAPIN.

Stephanie Hare (Co-founder, Grants Director) holds a BA in Dance and Theater from Manhattanville College. She began working professionally in technical theater while still a student, starting in the lighting booth as board operator, but soon moving on to lighting design and stage management for numerous productions in Westchester as well as NYC. She also participated in the inaugural summer of the Exiles Theatre, Ltd. program in Ireland studying directing, which nourished her life-long love of theater while sparking a new interest in Irish culture. She eventually went on to earn an MA in Irish Studies from the Catholic University of America (never straying far from theater, she balanced her academic studies by building sets in the theater department at CUA). Recently, Stephanie has worked at several area non-profit organizations in database management and grant writing and administration. Stephanie is excited to have discovered a community of kindred artistic spirits as a resident of Peekskill. She is thrilled to be involved with Embark and the shared vision of a Center for creation and performance here. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the parks and nature of Peekskill, singing in her church choir, playing Irish fiddle and learning to play the ukulele.

Nat Prentice (Board of Directors, Treasurer) has been involved in a variety of community activities, including several local theater groups, since returning to the Hudson Valley where he grew up 12 years ago. He and his wife Anita live in Garrison. Nat is an investment counselor and Anita is a teacher at Peekskill High School. Nat has performed in supporting roles at the Philipstown Depot Theater and is a member of the Board of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, where he heads up the Development Committee. He is the Senior Warden of St. Philip’s Church in Garrison, a member of the Board of the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce and serves on the Budget Advisory Committee of the Town of Philipstown.

Carol McKenzie-Harvey (Board of Directors) is a singer and mother of 12 year old child performer Miles J. Harvey, who can be seen and heard in numerous TV and Radio commercials, and is the voice in numerous children's TV series. Miles can also be seen on an episode of NBCs Law & Order SVU and 30 Rock. Carol has been involved in a variety of community activities, including several local theater groups where her son performs. She was a former member of the Westchester Concert Singers, located in Pleasantville. She came to the USA in 1990 from England and moved to Peekskill from Queens in 1996. Carol is currently an Advocate, helping families advocate for their children’s educational needs. Carol loves to sing but tends to take the back seat to support her son in the Performing Arts.

Andrea Elam (Board of Directors) is a professional dancer/teaching artist/choreographer with over 35 years' experience in the performing arts. She has danced with classical ballet and contemporary dance companies, including Alejandra Dondines Dancers, Neubert Ballet, Dutchess County Ballet, Downtown Danceworks and Devorah Cooper Dance, in addition to a number of theatrical, television and film credits. Andrea works as a teaching artist in the public schools, is on the artist roster of ArtsWestchester, Dance Theatre of Harlem, LEAP-NYC and Putnam/North Westchester BOCES. She is also the founder/artistic director of Synapses Dance Ensemble, a student dance company she formed in 2011 in order to give dancers from our community opportunities to study and perform. The mission of the company will be to provide training and performance opportunities for local youth, to provide dance education programs to the public schools that will align with NYS standards for arts education, and to offer dance programs for children with special needs. She has also taught children with disabilities and those on the autistic spectrum, and has created a program called Moving Voices specifically for children with autism. Styles of dance include classical ballet, jazz, theater dance and Horton modern technique. She is currently a member of the national Dance Education Organization, American Alliance for Health Education, Recreation and Dance, National Dance Association and Americans for the Arts. In addition, she is currently enrolled in the Master’s in Liberal Arts program through SUNY Empire State College. Ms. Elam also holds a BS in Clinical Nutrition and is the Westchester Community Health Educator for the NYC Poison Control Center. She has extensive experience in outreach, community education, grant writing and research, curriculum development and public speaking.

Jackie Suarez (Board of Directors) is Host and Executive Producer of Living Arts in Westchester, a public access television show on Cablevision. The show was created in August of 2011 to provide a platform for local artists to discuss their projects and upcoming events. Ms. Suarez has lived in Peekskill for 10 years and has always been an enthusiastic member of Peekskill's artistic community. She has a degree in Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University and worked as a producer for Inner City Broadcasting for several years before moving to Peekskill. Jackie is currently an outside sales representative for a large retail chain. Prior to this position, she worked in the bath and body industry as a marketing director. Jackie is happy to bring her sales and marketing experience to Embark Peekskill.

Alyssa Borg (Board of Directors). A native Texan, Alyssa Borg graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Theatre and Dance. Soon after graduating, she moved to Manhattan where she trained at American Globe Theatre and created her commercial voiceover reel with PDR Voice Inc. She has appeared in several off-off Broadway productions, including King Lear (Cordelia), Twelfth Night (Fabian), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Peaseblossom/Snug) and Macbeth (Lady MacDuff/Witch). She has voiced industrials for Tommy Hilfiger and Stage Stores, Inc, as well as the Bloomingdale's Holiday Taxi TV ad in 2009. She is excited to be joining the arts community in Peekskill.

Business Sponsors

  • Arthur Weeks Jeweler
  • Beale Street Barbershop
  • C Town La Placita Market
  • Dance for Joy
  • Division Street Grill
  • DJV Jewelry
  • Driftwood Gallery
  • DTG Productions
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Dylan's Wine Cellar
  • Energy Movement Center
  • Flat Iron Gallery
  • G&H Carribean
  • Garrie Pest Control
  • Granite Check Cashing
  • Gymnastics City
  • H-Art Gallery
  • Kathleen's Tea Room
  • LA Monroe
  • La Villetta
  • Living Arts Westchester
  • Lockmasters, Inc.
  • Ms. Dancewear
  • N.Dain's Sons Co.
  • Peekskill Wine and Liquor
  • Reliable Auto Repairs and Sales
  • Ruben's Mexican Cafe
  • Star Signs and Graphics Inc.
  • The Beanrunner
  • The Copy Center
  • The Patio Restaurant II
  • The Peekskill Coffee House
  • 12 Grapes
  • Z Recording Studio
  • Zeph's Global Soul Food
Thank you!

Member Companies

Tri-County Opera
opera/musical theatre, contact: Janine Wallour-Thwaite; musik2@optonline.net
REBEL Ensemble for Baroque Music; Black Marble Duo
contact: Karen Marie Marmer & Jörg-Michael Schwarz, violins & directors
Hand to Mouth Players
theatre, contact: Jan R. Dykman; www.htmplayers.com
YCP Theaterworks
theater, contact: Melinda O’Brien; www.ycptw.org
Dancing for Animals, Inc.
dance, contact: Liz Peterson; www.dancingforanimals.org
Peekskill Playhouse
Theatre www.thepeekskillplayhouse.com
Mary Crescenzo Band
Dance For Joy
Dance - www.danceforjoy.net - contact: Robert Humphrey - msroberta@danceforjoy.net
Children's Theater Company of Peekskill
Theater, dance, music - www.ctpeekskill.org - contact: Ridvan Foxhall - rfoxhall@gmail.com
Belle Ritter, Nanette Garcia
Latin Ballroom, Drumming - Bellesdancenetwork.com

Individual Artist Members

Barbara Nadel
tap dancer; www.drbarbaranadel.com
Andrea Elam
dance; www.synapsesdance.com
Brian Delma Taylor
musician; www.soundpainterstudios.com
Bill Fritz
oneness blessing; www.onenessnyc.com
Sarah W. Young
Writer/Performance Artist; sarahwyoung@aol.com
Marcy B. Freedman
Performance & Video Artist; www.marcybfreedman.com
Andrew Acciaro
Poet, Artist, Performer; mentaltraveler@gmail.com
Gerry Cruz
Vocalist/Percussionist; www.gerrycruz.com
Alyssa Reit
Music, Storytelling ; www.alyssareit.com
MaryAnn McCarra-Fitzpatrick
Poetry; mccarrafitz@hotmail.com
Mary Crescenzo
Music, theatre performance; www.marycrescenzo.com
Kazi Oliver
African Drumming; www.kazioliver.com
David August
Jazz Pianist, Music Instructor; davjul@optonline.net
Julie August
Cellist, Music Instructor; davjul@optonline.net
Ian Berger
Writer (EMBARK LITERARY DIRECTOR) ; ianrberger@verizon.net
Carol Harvey
Voice Coach & Consultant; Bright Sounding Stars; brightsoundingstars@yahoo.com
Stephanie Hare
Stage Manager, Technician, Singer, Ukulele player; stephanielhare@gmail.com
Marilyn Heberling
Director, actor; puffswaddle@gmail.com
Sol Miranda
Director, Performer, Producer; www.solmiranda.net
Nat Prentice
Actor, "EMBARK’s Famous Raffle Man", we adore you Nat!
Tom Ragle
Writer, musician; www.raygull.com
Katie Schmidt Feder
Director, Choreographer, Designer, Performer; www.katieschmidtfeder.com
Jackie Suarez
Host - Living Arts in Westchester, livingarts.westchester@gmail.com
Milton Luis Steinberg
Novelist/Songwriter/Performer - msteinberg@fordham.edu - 914-30-8284 - https://sites.google.com/site/miltonlouissteinberg
Darby Melnik
Movement Instructor, Personnal Trainer - dlmelnik@aol.com - www.energymovementcenter.com
Deborah Beck
Jennifer Jiles
Actor/dancer/writer - jenjiles@aol.com - 917-364-3316 - jenniferjiles.com
Hillary Fontana
Writer - hillfont@aol.com
Alyssa Borg
Actor - montyeldorado@gmail.com
Deborah Beck
billadeb@netzero.net - 914-734-9144
James Brooks
Nalini Rau
Classical Indian Dance, poet, writer
Katherine McLoughlin
X-bike, cycling Instructor
Karlie Dean
Hoop Dance - www.missflyhips.com
Liz Peterson
Dancer, Ballroom Dance Instructor
Donna Barkman
Actor, Writer, Poet
Mara Mills
director, poet, arts integration - mara1776@gmail.com

Community Supporters

  • Natasha O. Cherny
  • Ginael Alexander
  • Jeannette Sanderson
  • Jill Boyd
  • Virginia & Jorge Huerta
  • Daniel Obenhaus
  • Julio Monge
  • Daniel Poliner
  • Marshall Moseley
  • Courtney McCarthy
  • Michael Morey
  • Mary Lisa Schmidt
  • Greg Hare
  • Robert Schmidt
  • Jean Trewhella
  • Bruce Stapleton
  • Ileana Miranda Velazquez
  • Andrew Torres
  • Ariel Rivera
  • Anthony Berger
  • Jose Rivera
  • Ariel Rivera
  • Christina Volz
  • Alissa Epstein
  • Maurice Stephens
  • Jeffrey Stern
  • Christopher Drury
  • Michael Feder
  • Manuel Moran
  • David Schmidt
  • Susan Agieiwch
  • Jayne Muirhead
  • Maria and Hanko TerBlanche
  • Margery Rossi-Torres
  • Hillary and Geoff Feder
  • Irena Marussich
  • Jennifer Topin
  • Branwen McDonald
  • Kathleen Gillen
  • Tricia O'Sullivan
  • Julie & David August
  • Julia Stevanović Ragle
  • Deb Catalano
  • Sophie Matisse Gourdon-Luckenbill and Tif Luckenbill
  • Ho Ngoc Ha
  • Dawn and Matt Norris
  • Felicia Cummings
  • Tina & Michael Bongar
  • Thor & Alice Mann
  • Lisa, Curt & Innes Prown
  • Vilma Lesmo-Leering
  • Jana Platina Phipps
  • Darrell Davis
  • Kelli Bickman
  • Andrea Bloome
  • Beverly and Warren Dyckman
  • Beth Thompson
  • Carol Reif
  • Jennifer Bickman
  • Bill Fritz
  • Amy Geiger
  • Ruth Wells & Jim Knight
  • Judith Hawking
  • Roberta Humphreys
  • Liz Lazzo
  • Sybil Canan
  • Linda & John Hanley
  • Anita Prentice
  • Ann Pearl
  • Mary and Paul Stark
  • Andy and Kari Mavian
  • Julie Overskie
  • Deborah Sansone
  • Ann Brady
  • Jörg Michael Schwarz
  • Lise Prown
  • Susan Erdey
  • Greer Morrison
  • Amelia Caster
  • Jacquie Liburd
  • Jennifer Turner
  • Czarina Oo
  • Sherry L. Mayo
  • Diana Gonzalez
  • Michele Lopez
  • Meredith Ziemba
  • Julia Waters
  • Millie Buddington
  • Illeana Gonzalez
  • Luz Loaiza
  • Ted Kelsey
  • Nicole Drury
  • Mary Anne Sutterlin
  • Jake & Amy Ninan
  • Mari Richards
  • Kezban Terralavoro
  • Kathleen Ferdinandsen
  • Diane Metviner
  • Dana Heavey
  • Sarah Hazel
  • Amalia Connolly
  • Beth Phillips
  • Megan Clarke