Arts & Entertainment

Class Act Performing Arts Studio a Growing Part of SOMA Arts Community

Page O'Connor and Kendal Sparks of Class Act Performing Arts Studio
Students at Class Act Performing Arts Studio
Students at Class Act Performing Arts Studio
Page O'Connor and Kendal Sparks of Class Act Performing Arts Studio

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - When Page O’Connor began volunteering at the studio where her daughter was learning music and dance, she had no idea that 12 years later she would be opening her own studio and creating a thriving arts community here in the Village.  TAP sat down with O’Connor and her Associate Director, Kendal Sparks, to talk about the rapid evolution of Class Act Performing Arts Studio.

After being the “head mom” at her daughter’s studio and doing all sorts of volunteer work there, she became the business manager and a partner in that business. O’Connor and her husband, Bill, bought the building at 128 Irvington Avenue originally with the thought of moving that business to South Orange.  However, the business relationship with their partner soon ended, and the O’Connors decided to take the plunge and open their own studio.

“We worked from June to September of 2013 to get the studio ready for students,” O’Connor said.  “I couldn’t even show prospective students and their parents the building before September.  To start the year with 90 kids before anyone even saw the place was kind of amazing.   The caliber of teachers I had was amazing.  Everybody took a leap of faith all at the same time, and when I look back I can be very...”

Sign Up for E-News

O’Connor became visibly emotional as she recounted those early days of the business.

“I don’t know why people trusted me so much,” O’Connor said.  “And when they did, I felt like I just have to make this work.”

Sparks jumped in and said, “I know why people trusted her so much, because I was one of the people that took the leap, too.”  He had worked at the other studio for three years before the split.  “Page’s office was always full of student who needed guidance in their lives, not just in their artistic development.  Part of our mission statement is to raise artists of integrity.  We’re not trying just to get kids on to Broadway or into great schools.  That’s a great by-product, but we are teaching them to be accountable and to take responsibility and all of the life skills that come from working in the arts that are applicable to the workplace.  It’s empowering for kids to learn how to collaborate and how to communicate.”

“And to be humble,” added O’Connor.  “To be humble is a big one.”

Class Act has grown in its first year to 150 students and is planning for more.  The studio trains students at both the recreational and pre-professional level in voice, music, drama and dance.  Each teacher specializes in just one area, offering each student top-level training.  The studio has a dedicated dance company that travels to compete and a musical theatre company that stages full productions.   Class offerings include musical theatre, drama, kinder, voice, ballet, hip-hop, jazz, lyrical and tap.

“While our arts education and training is of the highest caliber available, our primary focus is to create a community of young people that parents can be proud of,” Sparks aid.  “We are trying to train artists of integrity and I think that is what sets us apart.”

Class Act Performing Arts Studio: 128 Irvington Avenue, 
South Orange; 973-789-0191;


TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Motor Vehicle Thefts Reported, One Recovered

May 16, 2018

May 7 - Burglary; Sometime during the prior two days, entry was forced to a business on Newark Way.  The keys to a GMC van were then taken from inside the business and the van was stolen.


May 7 - Motor Vehicle Theft; At approximately 9:30 p.m., a Jeep left unattended and running in the parking lot of 7-11 on Irvington Ave was stolen. The vehicle was later recovered in ...

South Orange Police Blotter - More Than 10 Vehicle Burglaries Reported

South Orange Police Blotter as of May 14

Auto Theft - A Roland Ave resident reported that sometime between 10:30 pm, Thursday 5-10-18 & 7:30 am, Friday 5-11-18 actor(s) unknown stole his vehicle (2016 Mitsubishi), which was parked in his driveway of his residence at the time.

Burglary to Auto - A Vose Ave resident reported that sometime between 10:45 pm, Wednesday 5-2-18 & 8:00 ...

Annual MayFest Street Fair is this Sunday in Maplewood

May 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - This Sunday is the annual MayFest Street Fair celebration in Maplewood with live music, performances on two stages, and the chance to meet the artists who created the new Springfield Avenue murals, as well as to experience a "mural painting in progress," according to event organizers.

The festivities take place on Springfield Avenue on Sunday, May 20, from 11 ...

Streets in South Orange and Maplewood Part of Essex County Roadway Paving Program

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Essex County roads in South Orange and Maplewood have been listed among the streets being paved in 2018 as part of the County Roadway Resurfacing Program, according to a press release from Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.

"The annual paving contract is part of the DiVincenzo Administration’s initiative to enhance safety on the ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 20, 10:00 AM

The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood

Ethical Culture Society's Annual Meeting & Family ...


Wed, May 23, 12:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

The Purposes and Rhythms of Jewish Living

Education Religions And Spirituality


Wed, May 23, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Fri, May 25, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Uniacke Named Bridges Outreach Executive Director as Bhatt, Tulloch Announce Retirement

May 18, 2018

SUMMIT, NJ - Bridges Outreach, Inc. Executive Director Lois Bhatt and Deputy Executive Director Bethany Tulloch have announced their retirement and, effective May 29, Richard J. Uniacke will begin his tenure as the Summit-based nonprofit's new Executive Director.

Uniacke, who will become just the organization's third executive director in three decades, was ...

Bus Accident in Livingston Kills One Wednesday

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Livingston police are investigating a fatal bus accident in the township Wednesday afternoon.

The police department has confirmed a death in the accident, which occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. near the intersection of Latham Court and South Orange Avenue.

As of 4:30 p.m., detectives were still on the scene investigating the crash. A full report has not yet been released ...

Hundreds of RWJBarnabas Health Employees Run in New Jersey Half Marathon

May 17, 2018

LONG BRANCH, NJ — RWJBarnabas Health leaders Stephen Zieniewicz, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston and Bill Arnold, president and CEO of Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch were joined by 200 RWJBarnabas Health employees as they ran in the New Jersey Half Marathon on at the Jersey Shore.

The 22nd annual Novo Nordisk ...

Grand Street YMCA Building in Scotch Plains, Which Dated Back 200 Years, Razed by Developer

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ --  The Second Baptist Church of Scotch Plains -- better known as the Grand St. YMCA (at the corner of Union), faded into Scotch Plains history when it was torn down by developers earlier this month. 

Over the course of two centuries, the building had served a church, meeting house, a school, and from 1947 until recently, it was the Grand Street YMCA. By 1971, ...

Third Annual South Orange Food Stroll & Pub Crawl is Sunday, May 20

May 19, 2018

The South Orange Food Stroll & Pub Crawl is back!

On Sunday, May 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the South Orange Village Center Alliance hosts its third annual South Orange Food Stroll & Pub Crawl, a tasting event that showcases the diverse restaurants and unique retailers in our Village Center.

With the purchase of a wristband, you'll stroll and sample delectable bites and ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - May 18 to May 24

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:          

Strawberry Banana Smoothie  $4.25 (Bakery)
Chicken Cutlet $7.99lb (Prep Food)
Turkey Hero $5.99 (Deli)
Juicy Juice 8pk  2/$5*
Friendly’s Ice Cream $3.99
Notre Dame Brie $6.99lb (Cheese)
Monkfish $9.99 ...

South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House Hosts Visit from Sen. Menendez’s Legislative Counsel

South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House (SOBBFH) hosted a visit by Rebecca Schatz, legislative counsel for Senator Robert Menendez, who toured the community and heard from residents about what it means to them personally to have affordable housing available to them. The visit provided Schatz with tangible benefits of HUD Section 202 Supporting Housing for the Elderly, a program ...