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Testimonials

“When it comes to a theatre education, it isn’t just about teaching lines and dialogue - it’s about familiarizing young artists with the total collaborative experience. Putting a show on its feet is an exhilarating, happily exhaustive, hands on experience, and the Westside Children’s Theatre faculty is the best of the best. Jerelyn is amazing! As an author, I am so proud and grateful that my shows are in such supportive and talented hands, on stage, back stage, and in the audience as well!”

- Marcy Heisler (author/lyricist - Dear Edwina, Ever After, Junie B’s Essential Survival Guide to School, Hollywood Romance)

“Westside Children’s Theatre will teach your child that listening, confidence, and teamwork are essential, not only for a life in the arts, but for a successful life no matter what career path they choose. As a former theatre kid who went on to perform in seven Broadway shows, I wish I had a program like WCT to help guide me and teach me these valuable skills. Jerelyn’s knowledge, determination, and leadership are inspiring to watch. As a former music director at WCT, I have seen first hand how these kids grow and learn and change for the better.”

- Jimmy Smagula (Broadway actor - Les Misérables, Beauty and The Beast, Billy Elliot, The Phantom of the Opera)

“WCT prepares kids to be triple threats: singing, acting, AND dancing. Jerelyn leads with love & kindness, always putting the children first & inspiring them to believe in themselves, and each other. As a choreographer for two WCT productions, I was able to watch many a student come out of their shell & rise to the challenge of the material. I look forward to working with the company again & recommend this program for any kid who wants to have a fun & positive theater training experience!”

- Melinda Sullivan (choreographer/actress - So You Think You Can Dance, James Corden, La La Land / Disney Plus, Encore, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

“I grew up doing theatre in middle school and high school. Those experiences had such a huge part in forming the person I am today. The arts are so important for our children to experience. When I met Jerelyn and learned of Westside Children’s Theatre, I was thrilled for all the kids that have the pleasure to work under her guidance. I had a mentor just like Jerelyn when I was their age. To this day, I still remember the lessons she taught me. Jerelyn puts her heart and soul into teaching these kids to be fearless, to collaborate, to be confident, to know they are perfect just the way they are and to know expression of yourself is truly a gift. On top of all that, they laugh, have so much fun and make incredible friendships! I have joined several of WCT’s rehearsals to speak to the kids about my experiences and career. These kids all have their own uniqueness and Jerelyn knows just how to nurture that in each in student. If you are looking for a place for your children to grow and learn, you have the perfect theatre and mentor!”

- Jen Ray (actress - General Hospital, ABC’s The Middle)

“I grew up doing children’s theatre. It’s where I like to say I got my start. Children’s theatre cemented a foundation of passion and work ethic unlike anything else. I recently had the pleasure of working with Westside Children’s Theatre and it brought me back to my experiences as a kid. Exploring and fostering creativity is vital to growing up - and Westside Children’s Theatre is the perfect playground to do just that.”

- Brock Ciarelli (actor - ABC’s The Middle)

And many more…

“You have those kind of teachers that teach you the craft but then there are the kind that teach you how to love it. Once you have that spark or fire it’s very very hard to put out.” - Daniel Ulbricht, New York City Ballet

“If anyone is looking for a drama class for their child, Jerelyn is the most genuine, loving and talented person. My children have learned so much from her and absolutely adore her!” - Amy Altman

“I cannot say enough good things about Jerelyn Newman and Westside Children’s Theatre. Jerelyn is amazing at what she does! She has a kind, fun and unique way of engaging the kids so that they keep coming back for more. My own child, who before working with Jerelyn had stage fright, can’t get enough of Jerelyn and her program. She brings out the best in all the kids she teaches and turns otherwise tentative, shy children into theatre lovers.” - Suzanne Landis

“Jerelyn is an amazing teacher and director! Her warmth, energy and enthusiasm really bring out the best in kids, even those who are reluctant to get up onstage and perform. My daughter is naturally fairly shy about performing in front of an audience, but she felt so comfortable working with Jerelyn that she couldn’t wait to do another show.” - Carrie Bearden

“Jerelyn is the reason Camryn (9yrs old) and Will (8yrs old) enjoyed theatre so much. She spent quality time with both of them to get them into character and shine on stage. She has the perfect personality to work with kids and theatre! I am so glad my kids had these experiences and look forward to future productions with her.” - Hillary Fishman

“Jerelyn is a special friend, caring mother & fun loving teacher! While directing my son & his friends in several plays all of these beautiful facets of her spectacular personality shine. Kids love her! She creates a family of confident little actors and supportive production staff who work together to put on an amazing show. Dedicated to her craft, brilliant with children and motivated by a love of theater…Jerelyn is the best!!!” - Krisha Garvey

“Watching Jerelyn work with children is a treat. She nurtures them, helping them feel safe, and encourages them with infectious enthusiasm. You can see she loves what she does (and she sings beautifully too). My son was in two shows with her; we have found her to be approachable and one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The shows she directed looked and sounded incredible. My son learned about character, stage directions and blocking, and using his body and voice on stage. In his words: ‘Jerelyn was a terrific teacher and she made everything fun!’ What more could you ask for?” - Tina Carlson

“My daughter Shiley never wanted to do summer camp until she found out Jerelyn is directing Aladdin over the summer of 2015 (after participating in the Jungle Book and Annie with Jerelyn in the previous years). She enjoyed every moment of every day of the two week camp and was sad when it was over. Jerelyn’s high energy and warmth as well as her talent had my daughter’s love for theatre grow more and more.” - Aviva Pouladian

“Jerelyn is nothing short of amazing when it comes to children’s musical productions. You can’t help but feel excited for the show as you know it’s going to be special. To see how each child lights up when they walk on stage, to watch them transform into their character—it is as charming as it is incredible, and all due to her passion to make these kids be the best they can be. And have a great time doing it!!” - Loretta Lemmo (Audience Perspective)

“Jerelyn is a unique and truly wonderful teacher and director. She provides a positive and unconditionally supportive environment for kids, where they can feel safe to explore their creativity and develop their musical and theatrical talent. Her commitment to musical theater excellence is unparalleled, and we feel so lucky that our older daughter (and soon youngest daughter) has been able to learn and grow under her superb guidance and direction.” - Tanya Friedman

“My daughter loved learning from Jerelyn. She helped her feel comfortable and confident to perform. Jerelyn is equally passionate about kids, teaching and the arts!” - Chung Wu (Parent and 3rd grade elementary school teacher)

“I can’t think of a more supportive, fun and creative theater instructor than Jerelyn Newman. My daughter Macy was shy when she started working with Jerelyn and due to her warmth, acceptance and safe environment my shy kid played one of the main leads in last years play. As a director, Jerelyn is the most genuinely talented, supportive, fun, kind, communicative and motivating drama leader our kids have ever had the pleasure to work with. Her style of leadership provided our children the safety, confidence, tools and love which gave our children the opportunity to grow not only an actors but as a people. Everyday, they looked forward to theater and everyday they came home happy, confident and excited. She did an excellent job communicating with the parents as well. We can’t think of a more qualified person with a proven track record of successful and fun performances to have her own company. We can’t wait for our next show with Jerelyn!” – Lesley Brog, Parent and Founder/Chief Animal Lover of Wags And Walks Animal Rescue