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MEET OUR BOARD & STAFF

Some board members have requested to stay anonymous

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LAURA A. RIZZO Ed.D.

Executive Director | President

Ms. Rizzo is the Executive Director & President of RSYTC and has been performing since the age of 5. After college she toured with the American Ballet Theatre, and toured in several Broadway shows. In addition to performing in numerous shows both on and off Broadway she did print work and commercials and was a member of SAG and Actors Equity Association. She has been teaching, directing and choreographing for youth for over 36 years. Ms. Rizzo holds a doctorate degree in ESOL from Northcentral University, and most recently received a third masters degree in Educational Leadership graduating summa cum laude from Western New Mexico University. She also holds 2 other masters degrees in Educational Theatre, and Educational Dance from NYU, and a bachelor's degree in Dance/Theatre from Bard College. She is a certified Dance and Theatre teacher in N.J. She has directed/choreographed over 190 shows for children in both the U.S. and abroad. She currently has several RSYTC students performing in Broadway shows, and several other former students who have gone on to do professional theatre, commercials, radio and television shows.
Email: risingstarsytc@gmail.com

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RENATA GINTER

VP Sales & Marketing |
Board of Directors

Renata is an experienced publishing professional with over 20 years of expertise. She is the owner of Socialize Marketing Co., providing marketing services to many clients including Rising Stars.

Earlier in her career, Renata had a passion for dance and performance. She toured as a teen with a dance troupe across the East Coast, and later spent 10 years teaching ballroom dancing at the prestigious Arthur Murray Dance Studio on 5th Avenue in NYC.

There, she coached celebrities like John Leguizamo (for Summer of Sam) and Antonio Banderas (for Mambo Kings).

Renata is also a published author, having written several books and magazines on Elvis Presley and contributed numerous articles to leading media publications, in the entertainment genre.

Leveraging her sales, marketing, and business development acumen, Renata excels at crafting compelling campaigns and stories. She brings extensive industry knowledge and creativity to Rising Stars.

Email: risingstarsytc2@gmail.com

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LEONARDO LEUCI

Musical Director
Into the Woods & The Wizard of Oz

Leo is a classical pianist from Wood-Ridge, New Jersey. He began accompanying singers when he was thirteen, and went on to attend New Jersey City University. Leonardo has performed on the stages of Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall and more.
Currently, Leonardo teaches at Ridgefield Park Junior - Senior High School, where he directs the choirs.
This is Leo's second year with Rising Stars, last year directing music for Willy Wonka Jr. and The Addams Family, and we're happy to have him back with us for 2024 for Into the Woods and Oz!.

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GEORGE TUZZEO
Musical Director
The Lightning Thief

George is an accomplished musician & performer with exceptional versatility across musical genres and styles. Armed with technical mastery and artistic flair on piano, Hammond organ, and keyboards, George brings any act to life with consummate professionalism. George has shared the stage with icons like Jay & the Americans, The Drifters, Bobby Rydell, and the Crystals, serving as their musical director and accompanist during international tours. He studied music at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. While in Vegas, George gained invaluable experience performing at Caesars Palace and touring with Tom Jones.

A student of musical history, George can provide the perfect atmospheric soundtrack from subtle cocktail jazz to driving big band swing. His vocals further round out his stage presence, lending  harmonies or taking center stage as a lead singer in venues ranging from intimate dining spaces to the grand concert halls of Lincoln Center have been home to George's performances.

Beyond the stage, George spent over 25yrs in piano sales & management roles. He helped launch the Steinway & Sons location in Paramus, NJ, pairing his musical expertise with customer service. Rising Stars is happy to have George driving their musical direction for a second consecutive year this summer with The Lightning Thief.

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SAMANTHA KEMP
Jr Shows Stage Manager

Samantha started her stage career at the mere age of 10 and has performed in 21 shows since 2018.

Samantha has been a valued member of the Rising Stars Youth Theatre Company (RSYTC) family since 2018, making her debut as Tessie in "Annie Jr." Since then, she has not only continued to shine on stage but has also taken on the role of Stage Manager for our junior division.

Beyond her contributions to RSYTC, Samantha has also lent her talents to various other theatre groups. Additionally, she is an active member of The Pope John Players.
She was nominated by Broadway World for Best Performer in a Musical 2021 for her role as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde; was crowned Miss Teen Hardyston 2022 and won Sussex Teen Arts 2023 for Small Theatre and went on to repesent the county at the NJ State Teen Arts Festival on May 30th, where she received Distinguished and Advanced Adjudication scores. 
Academically, Samantha also has the brains, being an academic scholarship winner, attending Pope John.
2024 will be her third year as a Stage Manager with RSYTC and she is super excited!

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BENJAMIN JANISZEWSKI
Live Accompanist
Into the Woods & The Lightning Thief

Ben is a classical pianist, composer, and conductor from Tranquility, New Jersey.  He has attended the Juilliard Pre-College program as a composition major since he was 14, and he participated in the prestigious Tanglewood Music Festival in 2023.

His works have won numerous national competitions and have been performed by orchestras, chamber groups, and soloists alike across the East Coast.

Under the Piano Performance category, Ben represented Sussex County at the 2023 NJ State Teen Arts Festival, receiving all Distinguished Adjudication scores, the highest honor at the festival.

In addition to classical music, Ben has also branched out into theatre, conducting Pope John’s 2022 production of CHESS, arranging and accompanying Pope John’s 2023 production of High School Musical, and will be once again conducting Pope John’s upcoming production of Pippin.
Ben is new to Rising Stars and will be playing live, accompanying our performers.

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