BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) announced today the addition of Jessica Lombardi to its Musical Theatre Arts department faculty. Lombardi will teach dance and musical theatre classes at the Performing Arts School, where Fall 2016 classes begin Saturday, September 10.  For class descriptions and full course listings, visit WIPA online at www.WhartonArts.org.

Jessica Lombardi brings years of performance experience to the classroom with professional credits that include Graziella in the European Tour of West Side Story, Anytime Annie in 42nd Street, Mitzi and Dance Captain in Crazy for You, and Texas in Cabaret. Other favorites include:  La Cage Aux Folles, Damn Yankees, Grease, and Little Women. Off Broadway, Jessica appeared in Marcus is Walking, Cotton Girls, The Brothers Menaechmus, Lives of the Great Waitresses, Spooktacular 2000, and The Great Debate.  She also danced the original choreography for PBS’s special of A Chorus Line with the Naples Philharmonic.  She choreographed and directed a mainstage production of Chicago for Otterbein College as well as dance sequences for Snow White and the 7 Dwarves for Cleveland Signstage.  She received her B.F.A. in Acting from Otterbein College.  In addition to teaching at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Jessica runs the Dance and Musical Theatre Program for the Township of New Providence, choreographs and directs musicals for the New Providence Recreation Department and offers private “Broadway Intensive” lessons to local children who are pursuing professional audition experiences. 

Says Director of Musical Theatre Arts Timothy Maureen Cole, “We are thrilled to have such an experienced and talented instructor like Jessica join our Musical Theatre Arts Department!"

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The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.

The Paterson Music Project is Wharton’s El Sistema-inspired program held at the Community Charter School of Paterson and Paterson Public School 1/26. Students receive 6 hours of intensive music instruction each week with the goal of creating social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.