It’s my personal goal to find a way to reach each of my actors and help them to blossom and grow in self-confidence, ability and maturity. —LeCee Johnson, Artistic Director
Polaris Productions – Learning By Doing
Polaris Productions provides a hands-on, learn-by-doing theater experience for kids, and it begins with the audition and ends with the final curtain. The most direct way for kids to learn about theater is by taking part in it. There’s no substitute for performance experience, and that’s what Polaris is all about.
Polaris Productions creates a kind and supportive community in which our kids can grow and learn, and experience the joy and satisfaction of performing great musical theater. And what’s more — kids learn valuable life skills that they will take with them, no matter where their star guides them.
What the Kids Say About Polaris
Polaris Productions taught me how to work together and be productive with the whole team, and most importantly, have fun! Furthermore, they taught me how to visualize the text as a story, and how to get into the mood and the character. I love Polaris Productions. And I hope we do another play such as Beauty and the Beast!! Thank you so much LeCee!” Update: In 2015 Liam joined the cast of the international tour of Beauty and the Beast (as "Chip").
The impact of my involvement with Polaris Productions cannot be overstated. Youth theater is so important. The learning that comes from involvement in these productions goes far beyond acting, singing and dancing. You also learn teamwork, partnership, patience and discipline.
Polaris Productions taught me the theater skills I need to know to do anything I like and increase my confidence as a performer. Now, because of LeCee, who really saw my potential, I am auditioning for performing arts high schools like LaGuardia and PPAS. I really want to go on doing theater. (Update: It's now May 2016 and Sarah is a sophomore at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in NYC).
I had a fantastic experience with Polaris Productions and really appreciated the dedication and professionalism of the adults involved. Working with a talented multi-age group of young actors really expanded my theatrical horizons, and I even won an award from National Youth Arts! (Update: It's 2016 and Patrick will be graduating shortly from Sharon Academy in Vermont. Recently he performed the role of Brad in a Woodstock, Vermont community theater production of "Rocky Horror".)
Our shows are made possible by the dedication and enthusiasm of a growing community of parents, friends, volunteers, donors and theater professionals. It’s a safe, kind and non-competitive fellowship which allows children to grow, learn and — most of all — develop their creativity to its fullest potential.
By giving kids the opportunity to perform, Polaris is helping to nurture the theater artists, supporters, and patrons of tomorrow.
By working together to tell a story in words, dance and song, our young actors develop self-confidence, artistic ability and emotional maturity. The kids learn to appreciate each other and respect each other. They create lasting bonds of camaraderie and friendship, and have tons of fun!
Is your child shy? Being in a show works miracles in the life of a shy child. We’ve seen it, again and again. Taking part in theater transforms the lives of children.
Taking part in a Polaris musical is a wonderful, life-changing experience. Youth theater
- helps young people grow in self-confidence, ability and maturity
- teaches creative problem solving skills
- develops critical thinking
- encourages cooperation
- fosters peer acceptance, mutual respect
- teaches self-worth
- is rewarding and fun
- builds inner confidence
- encourages responsibility and self-organization
- teaches self esteem
- helps to connect with others
- creates a sense of community
- teaches empathy and understanding for others
A Polaris Productions musical is also a great way to meet other kids and make new friends.
Our young performers create lasting memories, and they learn practical skills that will serve them well as they grow into adulthood and begin to find their place in the world.
LeCee founded Polaris Productions in November 2010 with her husband, Glen Johnson and with support from their triplet daughters. She graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Drama from the University of Dallas. LeCee has trained and performed professionally in New York and regionally as a dancer, singer and actress. She has studied dance with Rosemerry Hanian and Alfredo, Andra & Ernesta Corvino. LeCee received her acting training from Patrick Kelly, Anthony Mannino and Paul Mann, among others. Her vocal coaches have included Abe Polakoff and Steven Lutvak (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”).
Since March of 2008 she has been producing, directing and choreographing educational musical theater for New York City children and teens. Over the last few years she has been participating in Broadway Teachers Workshops, which have deepened her understanding of educational youth theater and its many benefits in the lives of children.
Previous directing credits include Into the Woods (spring 2008), The Boy Friend (spring 2009), Annie (spring of 2010), Little Shop of Horrors (winter 2010), Honk! (spring 2011), A Christmas Carol (winter 2011), Bye Bye Birdie (spring 2012), Guys and Dolls (spring 2013), Me and My Girl (spring 2014), Disney Beauty and the Beast (spring 2015) and Shrek (spring 2016). LeCee has also produced several summer programs and junior musicals, including The Little Mermaid Jr., Willy Wonka Jr., The Wizard of Oz, and Seussical Jr.
Dan Radzikowski, Musical Director
Dan is an educator, performer, and music director. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, Dan attended New York University for graduate school, and was an Adjunct Instructor of Voice at NYU while completing his graduate work. Since graduating, Dan has taught at Pace University, Montclair State University, Pittsburgh CLO Academy and New York Film Academy.
As a teaching artist, he has worked for TADA! Youth Theater, the Open Jar Institute, Broadway Bound Kids, and Rosie’s Broadway Kids. Dan served as the summer season music director in 2008 at the Mt. Washington Valley Theater Company in NH.
He received two NH Theater Award nominations for Best Musical Director for his work on Cabaret and Fiddler On The Roof. Dan has also served as music director for the NYCHEA Players (now Polaris Productions) in New York City, music directing their productions of Into The Woods, The Boy Friend, Honk! and Annie. Dan is currently on faculty at Seat Of Our Pants Theater in Pelham Manor, NY and at The Studio in New Canaan, CT.
Jad Bernardo, Musical Director
Jad’s collaborative and music directing engagements include performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, and recitals in Washington D.C., Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana.
A frequent collaborator with singers of opera and musical theater, Jad has performed with elite from both the operatic and Broadway communities. In addition to his collaborative work, he has been a featured artist on New York City’s Musaic Concert Series.
Most recent musical directing engagements have included The Fantastics for Millbrook Playhouse; Footloose and Ragtime for Regional Center for the Arts. Past successes include Five Guys Named Moe (featuring Nathan Best,Grammy Winner and member of the legendary band the O’Jays) and Evita for Knoxville’s Bijou Theater; Ain’t Misbehavin’ for Northern Stage; Sweeney Todd at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater in NYC; The Johnny at NYC’s 2008 Fringe Festival; seven productions for NYC’s Vital Theatre Company including Extraordinary (Int’l Fringe Festival 2005 Winner of Best Music and Lyrics) and the Off-Broadway hit PINKALICIOUS! During his graduate studies, he served as coach for Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor and Menotti’s The Telephone.
Jad holds a Masters from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Bachelors from the Florida State University. He studied piano with Dr. Christy Lee, James Streem and Ruben Malan. He won first place prizes in MTNA and FSMTA’s collegiate artist piano competitions and has appeared in recital engagements throughout the United States.
Since graduate school, Jad has coached for New York University, Singers Forum, Regional Center for the Arts, CAST Voice Studio, Broadway Babes CT, Brooklyn Theater Arts Academy, and American Dance and Drama Studio.