Meet the talented staff of HCT

Chase Leyner


Chase Leyner founded Hoboken Children’s Theater in 2002. She received her degree at Skidmore College where she studied dance under American Ballet Theatre Star Elizabeth Carroll, danced at New Jersey Ballet, and studied at L’Ecole de Danse de Princes Grace in Monte Carlo. She studied acting with Sandford Meisner, William Alderson, Estelle Parsons and Sam Schact. Credits include stints on All My Children, One Life to Live, As the World Turns and Law and Order. More recently she starred as Mrs. Graham in the short film Pause and as Martha in the short film Martha and Chloe. She was a member of the Phoenix Theater Company and is a proud member of AEA. Chase has directed over 150 productions for HCT!

Scott Pearson

Musical Director

Scott is an accomplished actor, pianist and producer who has performed in New York City, regionally across the United States and internationally. For over 20 years and to date he is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association. As a producer, his music and award winning productions can be heard in cruise ships, casinos, resorts, theme parks, corporate events & streaming services across the globe.

He trained for 18 years in classical piano before earning his BFA in Musical Theater from Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, PA.

Scott has always relished the personal rewards of coaching artists and teaching them voice, piano and performance technique. In New York City alone he has taught and worked as an accompanist at many major universities and theatrical institutions including NYU Tisch School, CAP21, Marymount Manhattan, Circle in the Square Theatre School, Queens College, Hoboken Children’s Theater and many more. He has been a music director and conductor for dozens of productions & events.

Anastasia Beliakova

Musical Theater, Acting, Improvisation & Puppetry

Anastasia Beliakova is a Russian born – NYC based actress, puppeteer, and theatre creator. A graduate of the Pace School of Performing Arts Devised Theater Program, she has written/performed original plays and musicals all over the place – including TheatreRow, The PIT, The South Street Seaport Museum, and even Bangkok, Thailand! Anastasia is an alumni of HCT and has taught at the Hoboken Jubilee Center and Step-By-Step Pre-school. Most recently she worked on the development of a puppet/musical adaptation of the Pout-Pout Fish with Acheson-Walsh Studios at TheatreWorksUSA, which premiered at the New Victory Theatre.

Samantha Alicandri

Musical Theater & Voice

Samantha Alicandri is a Hoboken native and New York based actress. A graduate of Western Carolina University BFA Musical Theater program, she has spent the last 9 months traveling across the country (and Canada!) with Theaterworks USA in their musical Rosie Revere Engineer and Friends. She has worked as a director, musical director and choreographer with Riverside Theatre KIDS in Vero Beach, Florida. A proud founding member of HCT’s Senior Company, as well as a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Cristina Wager-Weisman

Musical Director

Cristina Wager-Weisman is a Texas native and holds a BFA in Theater from Carnegie Mellon University. She comes from Waterfront Montessori where she has directed, musical directed and choreographed over thirty productions for children from the ages of 3 to 14, including the Immigrant Monologues written and performed by Middle School students at Jersey City City Hall. She was a 2019 recipient of the Nimbus Award for Service through the Arts and is an MYP IB Certified Performing Arts teacher. She is also a Certified Positive Discipline trainer for teachers and parents. She has performed in theatrical productions, films, videos and commercials. She is passionate about jazz and tap dancing, trained in stage combat and swordplay and is a talented performer of different dialects and voices.

Evan Swanson

Musical Director

Evan Swanson is a New York City based Pianist, Music Director and Composer. Evan holds a degree in Jazz Piano from DePaul University. Upon moving to New York in 2019, Evan quickly established relationships with Rooftop Musical Society and The Berkeley Carroll Schools as their primary music director. He also served as music director for the Fort Hamilton Chapel where he planned music and led both Catholic Mass and contemporary worship as singer/pianist from October of 2020 to September of 2021. He currently spends his time coaching singers/actors around the city, music directing shows and performing in a variety of ensembles.

Marc David Wright


Marc David Wright is a director/producer of theatre and film, community creator, and arts educator. Born and raised in Bayonne, NJ, Marc crossed the Hudson to study acting at Fordham University (B.A. Theatre 2019). He discovered directing at school, where his production of Dark Play or Stories For Boys received an Ars Nova research grant to travel to Edinburgh Fringe, where it was named one of the “10 Must-See LGBT Shows” of the festival. Theatre: Planet W: A New Musical in Concert (The Green Room 42), Sanctuary City (Pasadena Playhouse, AD), Self Tape (Alchemical Studios), What to Expect When You’re Expecting Our Lord and Savior (The Players Theater), Dark Play or Stories For Boys (Edinburgh Fringe, Fordham). Film: Enterprise 25: A Cinematic Advent Calendar for InstagramAs You Like It or the Pursuit of Love in Shared IsolationSlay!Co-Founder and Creative Director of The Village, connecting emerging artists with New York audiences at five sold-out Salon events and counting ( Proud drama teacher and director at several children’s and high school theatre education programs across New Jersey.

Jordan Auriemma

Musical Theater

Jordan Auriemma is a New Jersey based actress, singer, dancer, and theatre educator. She recently graduated from Molloy College/CAP21 Conservatory with a BFA in Musical Theater. She has performed regionally and professionally, most notably at the Woodstock Playhouse where she was Sophie in Mamma Mia & performed in HAIR during the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival. Jordan is also an HCT Company Alumni- her favorite HCT credit is Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

Adriana Negron


Adriana Negron is a professional actor with a BFA from Montclair State University in Musical Theatre. She is currently on the Broadway National Tour of Aladdin as the Fortune Teller/Attendant. Some of her other favorite credits include, The Prom First National Tour as a member of the Ensemble and Alyssa Greene Cover and CATS First National Tour as Rumpleteazer. She has also performed internationally as Anita in West Side Story Tokyo and as Diana Morales in the Shanghai Premire of A Chorus Line. Adriana also has a passion for teaching and sharing the art form she loves with the next generation of performers.

Melissa Malone

Acting, Film Making

Melissa Malone is an actress, writer & filmmaker. A graduate of The NY Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, she is extensively trained and experienced with on camera, theater and voice over work. Most recently, she can be seen in the feature film, “At the End of the Day” and is a series regular in the award winning young adult series, “Or So the Story Goes.”As a filmmaker, she is the show-runner for multiple award winning digital series and short films, including “Block Watch,” “Or So the Story Goes,” “The Angry Man” and the upcoming series, “Kith & Kin.”In her spare time she loves writing, traveling, camping and staying up-to-date on her proud sci-fi addiction. She also teaches on camera acting and film making for children and teens.

Aidan Davis

Musical Director

Aidan Davis hails from Lewisburg, PA and has been in love with music and performing his entire life. Aidan earned a triple B.A. at Indiana Wesleyan in Voice Performance/Music Theory & Composition/Church Music and then his M.M. in Voice Performance/Pedagogy at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Penn State (WE ARE!). As an actor and singer, Aidan has appeared off-Broadway in numerous operatic and musical theater productions including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatSeven Brides for Seven BrothersPirates of PenzanceLes ars florrisonsThe Marriage of Figaro, and The Magic Flute. Aidan has also appeared in commercials/advertising for major brands like Axe and shows like Smash and Royal Pains. Aidan has been teaching private voice lessons for over ten years and enjoys working with students of all ages across multiple singing styles from pop to musical theater and maintains a set of private students who sing on and off Broadway, and serves as musical director for various musical theater non-profit programs, various soloists, and theater companies throughout NYC.

Jessica McCuiston

SummerStage Director

Jessica is a musical theater graduate and former faculty member of Bryan College in Tennessee. Her NYC choreography credits include Pace University, The Secret Theatre, and Broadway Bound Kids. Jessica previously worked as a teaching artist for Bronx Arts Ensemble and as a director/choreographer for Hoboken Children’s Theater before moving to Tennessee where she is the Arts Director at Christian Heritage School. She returns to HCT each summer to direct a show!