Mater Dei Prep Launches Performing Arts Institute

Mater Dei Prep has recently launched four new academic institutes – the Global Leaders Institute, Information Technology Institute, the Emergency Medical Services and Nursing Institute, and the Performing Arts Institute to kick off the 2018-2019 school year. Each Institute is designed to teach students the skills needed to excel in today’s diverse, technology-based fields through hands-on learning.

The Performing Arts Institute has expanded on Mater Dei Prep’s 50-year history of outstanding performing arts. Students have the opportunity to progress in various courses to nurture the artistic talent and participate in performing arts through musical and dramatic theater, chorus, instrumental ensemble, piano, music theory and dance. For the 2018-2019 school year approximately 50 students are registered for the Performing Arts Institute.

Students enrolled in the Musical Theatre Workshop can choose to concentrate on either dancing or singing. Band classes focus on developing technique through practice, the language of music including notation and dynamics, and playing actual instruments.  

“My hope is that students experience something new while learning to dance. I want them to feel accomplished in things that they never thought that they would have completed before. My goal is to give dance a voice,” said Cara France, dance teacher at Mater Dei Prep.

“I love learning contemporary dance because it allows us to be ourselves in an open and accepting environment,” said Chelsea McInnes MDP ’22.

Over the past nine years the award winning Seraph Players have received 96 Count Basie Theatre Award nominations resulting in 29 wins. In 2018, the Seraph Players were awarded 7 Basie Awards that included “Best Musical Production”. The successful Performing Arts Institute has given Seraph alumni the opportunity to be featured in numerous Broadway shows, record music available on iTunes and tour the country with their bands.

Some of the award winning Mater Dei Prep alumni doing big things in theatre includes:
  • Alyssa Finnegan MDP'16 - Performing in Cabaret at Point Park University from October 26th - November 11th at Pittsburgh Playhouse in Pennsylvania.
  • Joey Maher MDP'16 - Played Billy Lawlor in 42nd St. at Spring Lake Theatre Company over the summer.
  • Shaun Nerney MDP'12 - Has been traveling all over Asia with the 2nd International Tour of Kinky Boots. Shaun plays the role of Harry and understudies the role of leading man, Charlie Price. The tour wraps up on October 17th having played in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Singapore. The 3rd National tour across the United States begins just after New Year's.
  • Griffin Cole MDP'18 - Started his first semester at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford in the musical theatre program.  He is currently fulfilling his freshman technology position as the Assistant Director for Sweet Charity at the Millard Auditorium in Connecticut. 
  • Ray Laux MDP’17 – Currently a sophomore at Monmouth University and is pursuing a degree in music. Ray has performed in the musicals Spelling Bee and Hair at Monmouth University. He is a member of the band “Malibu” that is signed with Blue Hawk records. Their original music is currently available on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music.
 “We are excited to get the dancers to sing and the singers to dance. We want them to explore all opportunities that they are interested in. I am excited that our students have the opportunity to further develop their passion in singing, acting and music in this new innovative Institute,” said Cindy Dwyer, Director of the Performing Arts Institute.

“The Performing Arts Institute provides a bunch of opportunities and the teachers encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone. I’m excited for the Christmas Concert that will be held on December 11th to display the Institute’s band, dance, and musical theatre talents,” said Sarah Dolan ’21.

Mater Dei Prep invites all prospective families to learn more about the new Mater Dei Prep Academic Institutes at Open House on Wednesday, October 17th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM and Sunday, October 21st from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. For more information or to register, visit or contact Christine Altland, Admissions Officer, at

Mater Dei Prep

Mater Dei Prep

538 Church Street, Middletown, NJ 07748
Phone 732-671-9100  Fax 732-671-9214

Mater Dei Prep admits students of any race, color, religion, and national or ethnic origin.
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