The Cultural Arts Playhouse
Founded in 1995 by owner Bruce Grossman, the Cultural Arts Playhouse of Syosset and now Wantagh is a year round regional, off-off Broadway style theater that has produced over 500 productions including educational and touring shows. Named by Long Island Press as one of Long Island’s Best Live Theaters, the theater serves more than 20,000 people each year with its professional adult productions, children’s theater performances, and theater education classes for ages 7-18. Along with its Musical Theater and Acting Academy (MTAA) and Young People’s Theater (YPT) more than 5000 students have had the opportunity to learn from the finest instructors in the New York area. With the over 150 years of combined experience of it staff, many of CAP’s students and performers have been able to use their CAP experiences and use the talents they have learned to do professional theater, recordings, television and film.
Owner, Artistic Director
Bruce is so proud of the accomplishments of the Cultural Arts Playhouse over the last two decades. As owner and artistic director since its inception in 1995, Bruce and his staff have been bringing joy and laughter to Long Island families and audiences for twenty years and counting!! Bruce started his career as a performer, which allowed him to understand the needs of actors on stage and how to get the most out of them. But even at an early age, and while getting his Bachelors and masters from Stony Brook University in theater and education, he always had a desire to direct. During his college days , he produced a production of Hair which was voted the show of the decade by Newsday! Bruce has a wealth of performing credits in commercials and film and tours. Some of his credits include the European tours of West Side Story and Jesus Christ Superstar and the national tour of the Emmy award winning None for the Road, a show preaching the evils of drinking and driving. As a performer, he has been received favorably by Long Island audiences and Newsday as Julian Marsh in 42nd Street and Josh Baskin in Big. Other credits include Daddy Warbucks in Annie, Father in Ragtime, Pseudolus in Forum and Captain Walker in Tommy to name a few. Bruce is pleased to have produced and or directed Long Island premieres of Big, Parade, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Carrie, Assassins, Altar Boyz and Spring Awakening to name a few. Cap has always been known for doing shows that are cutting edge and that other theaters don't do. Bruce has been featured on the nationally syndicated Twilight Zone radio series starring Jim Caviesel and Jason Alexander to name a few of the actors in the series. Bruce has taught at the collegiate and high school level over the years and currently is on staff at several elementary schools and high schools on Long Island. But for all of these accomplishments, Bruce is most proud of his children! Not just his daughter Brooke and son Jared, both flourishing at Universities and who grew up at the playhouse and made countless friends and memories, but the thousands of kids he has come into direct contact with as a director and teacher and mentor. To see the pride on a kids face as they excel in front of Cap audiences and the joy it brings to parents and family! There is nothing more rewarding than that. Growing the confidence and self esteem of a child is what Cap stands for! We also take pride in training our students for professional careers. Over 30 of Bruce's students and actors have made it to Broadway and film and tours and commercials. Some of the Cap alumni include Jamie Lynn Sigler of Soprano and Beauty and the Beast fame, Marissa McGowan as Eponine in Les MIs on Broadway . Bonnie and Clyde and A Little Night Music with Katherine Zeta Jones, Dan Domenech in Rock of Ages, Al Calderone in 13 and Law and Order, Brian D'addario from Les Mis and Little Mermaid and Danny Quadrino from Bye Bye Birdie and Newsies to name just a few!!! No theater can boast as many success stories! Twenty years and counting!! We must be doing something right!!
Tony is the Cultural Arts Playhouse's Artistic and Resident Director, his most notable CAP credits include directing the Long Island premieres of Miss Saigon, Aida, Side Show, Debbie Does Dallas, the musical, A New Brain and the regional premier of the cult musical Carrie . Tony has also directed The Addams Family, Bye Bye Birdie, The Sound Of Music, Ragtime, Honk, Falsettos, One Upon a Mattress, Next To Normal, Les Miserables, Chess to name a few. As a director, and actor, Tony has worked with Charles Strouse of “Annie” fame, Casey Nicholaw, Nathan Lane, Collen Dewhurst, Kathleen Turner, Treat Williams, and Boyd Gains. As an actor Tony has worked with Theater Works USA, American Family Theater, Dallas Musical Theater Workshop, The Shubert Theater New Haven, The Yale Rep, Yale University "UT" Theater and the Long Wharf Theater. Off-Broadway, Tony performed in the award winning “Valley of the Dolls” and “Boyfriend for the Holidays”. Numerous National Tours and Regional Theater productions. He was a founding member of FARCE INC, where he served as artistic director for six seasons, has been the artistic director for Summer Stage of Leonia, and The Players Guild of Leonia, The Artistic Director for Hills on Stage for five years, where he directed the acclaimed production of Peter Pan, Honk, Wizard of Oz, Free To Be You and Me and Cinderella. Of all his work Tony is most proud of his work with children and the musical acting academy here at CAP.
James Walsh recently graduated from Ithaca College with a major in Communication Management and Design and a minor is theatre and vocal performance. He has been with CAP since the Summer of 2011. Most recently James has starred in Fiddler on the Roof, The Addams Family, and West Side Story. In September James joined forces with Mr. Grossman and started teaching at CAP Plainview. Even though he is new to CAP, James has been a leader in theatre for some time. In the past decade he has directed for his high school and with The Little People's Theatre. At the prestigious Ithaca College he was selected to be the Artistic Director for a student theatre group. In this group he managed several directors as well as directed and choreographed productions of A Chorus Line, Godspell, and Our Town. This past year he has taught theatre in public schools on Long Island, such as West Side School in Cold Spring Harbor, and with CAP's YPT productions of West Side Story and YPT The Addams Family. James loves teaching and helping younger generations fall in love with theatre like he does and opening their minds to the theatrical world.
Director / MTAA Instructor
Joe is thrilled to return to the CAP teaching staff this season. He taught Musical Theater and Acting classes at our Roslyn location where he also directed Shrek Jr.
He has his BFA in Acting from Adelphi University and has worked at various theaters across Long Island, in NYC and regionally as an Actor, Director, Producer, Costume Designer and Prop-Maker.
He spent 2 years as the Chair Person of the Saint Bart’s Players on Park Ave in Manhattan where he also performed such roles as Max in Lend Me a Tenor and Georg Nowack in She Loves Me.
A member of both Actor’s Equity and the Screen Actor’s Guild, he looks forward to sharing his love and knowledge of the theater with a new generation of performers!
Eliana K- Lichtman
Eliana has been with the CAP Center since 2001. She grew up taking classes in the MTAA program. She has been teaching at the Cultural Art Playhouse since 2008, and has also choreographed and directed a number of the YPT and Mainstage productions. As a performer and a director/ choreographer she has been a part of over 100 productions here at the Cultural Arts Playhouse. Aside from CAP, she also choreographs at several theaters across Long Island as well as Molloy College, Harborfields High School, Half Hollow Hills High School East, and she is the Director of the theater program at West Side School in Cold Spring Harbor. Most recently she was also the Assistant to the Director for How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Madison Square Garden where she worked under Director Matt August. She has studied with world renowned choreographers Derek Mitchell, Kristin Sudeikis, Ginger Cox, and Emmy Award Winner Mia Michaels. Eliana likes to bring fun, new, and unique techniques into her classes. There is nothing more that she loves more than performing, and she hopes to impart that joy of theater and dance to all of her students and cast members.
Musical Director /Teacher
Jared joined the CAP family in 2013, and since then you may have seen him on stage, music directing a YPT or children’s theater show, or said hi to him in the box office. Jared is so happy to be added to the faculty list. Jared received his undergraduate degree in classical vocal performance from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and then his masters in music education from New York University. In addition to music directing at CAP, Jared has directed a number of shows at the University of Miami and NYU. Jared has had a love of theater since he was kid, and started performing in the 6th grade. Some of Jared’s favorite roles include; Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast, Willard in Footloose and Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown just to name a few. On top of his performances at the CAP stage, Jared is also a proud member of Essential Voices USA, having shared the stage at Carnegie Hall with the NY Pops and some amazing guest soloists. Jared can’t wait to keep inspiring your children to reach their dreams in theater.
Rich has been working at the Cultural Arts Playhouse since the Fall of 2016. He started playing piano and studying music in 2009, when he was a freshman in high school. While in high school, he played for many shows such as "A Chorus Line", "Legally Blonde", "Once Upon A Mattress" and "Anything Goes". After high school, Rich went on to study Music at Hofstra University where he studied with well known classical and jazz pianists, Marilyn Lehman and Dave Lalama, respectively. During his time at Hofstra he began working at theaters on Long Island, such as To The Stage where he musical directed his first two shows - "Rent" and "Hair". After two years at Hofstra, Rich transferred to Stony Brook University to continue his studies. His CAP credits, so far, include "Ghost", "Side Show", "West Side Story" and "Carrie", as well as playing for shows like "The Wiz" and "Sister Act".
Jon has been a part of CAP's music staff since 2005, and director of CAP's summer camp since 2009. By day, Jon is Director of Choirs at Hastings High School and Farragut Middle School in Hastings-on-Hudson, and splits his evenings and weekends between CAP and Trinity Lutheran Church in White Plains where he is organist/choirmaster. He is the 2013 recipient of the American Guild of Organists Choir Master Prize and was awarded 2nd Prize in the 2009 American Choral Directors Association National Student Conducting Competition, Undergraduate Division. Choral ensembles under his baton have won 1st and 2nd prizes in the WorldStrides Heritage Music Festival. Jon's proudest accomplishments as a musical director at CAP include the non-equity premieres of Dogfight and Carrie, and the Long Island premiere of Les Misérables. Recent credits from CAP's stage include Lumière in Beauty and the Beast, Mr. Mayor in Seussical, and Spritzer/Pinky/Principal in Hairspray.
Alyssa Caracciolo is thrilled to be returning to the CAP staff this year after having previously directed and choreographed Aladdin Jr. in January 2014. Alyssa has been teaching theater and dance across Nassau County since 2007, and loves sharing her passion for performing with her students. Along with teaching, Alyssa has also been seen onstage performing in various CAP shows as well as other theaters across Long Island and in cabarets in New York City. Favorite credits include: Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Chris Hargensen (the regional premiere of Carrie: The Musical), Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz), Sandy (Grease), Wednesday (The Addams Family), Heather (American Idiot), Amber (Hairspray), Eponine (Les Miserables), Nina (In the Heights), Natalie (All Shook Up), Marcy (Spelling Bee), Learn Your Lessons Well (Godspell), and Nikki (2 A.M.). Alyssa looks forward to the year ahead, and thanks Tony and Bruce for another opportunity to share the power of theater with the CAP students.
Director, Legal Counsel
An attorney in Mineola by profession, but has been directing YPT and Children's Theater shows at CAP for over ten years. In addition to directing and stage managing, Diane has been in too many CAP productions to mention. She is the mother of two young adults, both of whom benefited greatly from the MTAA program and family atmosphere at CAP over the years.
Jon Riss- Artist in Residence
Social Media Director
Technical Director/Scenic Designer
Thomas J McKenna
Costume Designer and Construction