Jennifer, the Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of StarStruck Academy & Theatre, caught the acting bug in 3rd grade as Lafcadio the Lion at PS 114 in New York. At 11, she played Grace Farrell in ANNIE, and she never looked back! She and her husband, Peter Jones, created StarStruck in the year 2000 when they saw a need for young people to spread their wings and enhance their confidence through the art of musical theatre. She most recently directed the sold out smash hits FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, LEGALLY BLONDE, A CHORUS LINE and PIPPIN. Other favorite directing moments: INTO THE WOODS, 13 THE MUSICAL, NEXT FALL, LA CAGE aux FOLLES, THE LAST 5 YEARS and CABARET. She won the Broadway World’s Best Director Award for the play NEXT FALL and is a recipient of the Martin County Arts Council “mARTie Award” for Outstanding Performing Artist. Jennifer was awarded Best Direction for ANNIE Jr. and ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Jr. at the Music Theatre International Junior Festival in Atlanta and directed the Florida State premiere of the musical, SUMMER of ’42. She has had the incredible opportunity to work with legendary composer, Stephen Schwartz, creating student versions of his musicals, MY SON, PINNOCHIO and CHILDREN OF EDEN and has produced and directed the world premiere Junior and School Editions of many musicals including RENT, SWEENEY TODD and HAIRSPRAY. Jennifer’s favorite onstage roles include Velma Kelly in CHICAGO, Sally Bowles in CABARET, Sandy in GREASE, Tessie Tura in GYPSY and Golde in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Jennifer’s life not only revolves around her StarStruck family, but also, the loves of her life, her husband and partner in ALL things, Peter Jones, and her two incredibly wonderful children; Amanda, a businesswoman in NYC and Kevin, a senior at Carnegie Mellon. “Understanding the impact I have on my student’s lives inspires my energy, and focuses my goals, each and every day.”
Peter has been a music educator and music director for more than 25 years. He has performed in theaters throughout New York and Florida either onstage as a character or accompanying the show behind a piano. Memorable onstage performances include the Emcee in CABARET, Billy Flynn in CHICAGO, Mozart in AMADEUS, Nathan Detroit in GUYS AND DOLLS, and many others. Peter had the privilege of accompanying the late Broadway legend, John Raitt (OKLAHOMA, CAROUSEL) for Mr. Raitt’s one-man show in Stuart. Peter also collaborated with Broadway composers Stephen Schwartz (MY SON, PINNOCHIO and CHILDREN OF EDEN) and Stephen Sondheim (SWEENEY TODD) to help create student versions of their musicals. Peter is the recipient of a “mARTie Award” from the Martin County Arts Council for Outstanding Performing Artist. He has been featured in numerous local and national magazines and newspapers for his work as a performer and as a musical theatre educator. During the week, Peter enjoys teaching private lessons in music theory, chord chart piano improvisation, advanced piano (classical, pop, rag) vocal coaching and musical theatre audition prep. Peter and his wife, Jennifer, are excited to be celebrating 16 years of musical theatre education on the Treasure Coast.
Director of Community Outreach and Development
Karin is a Stuart native and music theater veteran who started her lifelong love affair with the performing arts at The Barn Theatre at age 4 in a production of Oliver. At Martin County High School, Ms. Leone was a proud member of OPUS and continued her studies at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia. Following college, Karin toured the country performing and developed and produced new works in Florida, Los Angeles and Chicago. Local audiences will remember Karin from her dramatic turn as Diana Goodman in The Lyric Theatre's production of rock musical, Next to Normal or as Mama Rose in StarStruck's production of Gypsy. In 2016, the Arts Council of Martin County awarded Karin the mARTie Award for Outstanding Performing Artist.
Karin, a fervent champion for arts education has worked as Director of Education for The Lyric Theatre as well as working with StarStruck Theatre as Director of Community Outreach and Development. Karin continues to work as an ambassador for StarStruck, helping to raise awareness of StarStruck’s mission and its importance to the community.
Mary Bailey is a small business accounting specialist who enjoys using her skills to help her clients throughout the Treasure Coast.She studied accounting and business management at Indian River State College. Mary gained her business experience from owning and operating several construction and real estate based companies.Mary has been involved at StarStruck for over 10 years. Her passion for theatre was ignited through her daughter when she began performing and training in the theatre arts.When she is not working, Mary enjoys gardening, boating, and spending time with her family, especially her 2 grandsons.
Santino DeAngelo is a New York based playwright, composer+lyricist, and commercial producer of musical theatre, experimental theatre, orchestra, ballet, and film. Described by the New York Times as having a “gift for engaging melodies”, Santino’s music for the theatre is frequently performed domestically and internationally. Full length plays and musicals include Foolerie (winner of NYMF 2015 Next Link Project), Slow to Burn and A Haunting. Santino is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Rod Serling Award for Best Screenwriting (2007), NMI’s 2014 New Voices Project (Walt Disney Imagineering), and is a 2011 Harpur Fellow. Recent and upcoming commissions include Essay for Orchestra for the Binghamton Philharmonic’s 16/17 Season and When in Carthage,a new farce, for the Cider Mill Playhouse. Additional work for the concert hall: Fantasy Overture to the Trojan War, Salmacis: A Tale of Unrequited Love for Piano & Cello, and Narcissus: An Ancient Roman Pantomime (recently recorded for broadcast on WSKG/PBS). Santino is the Executive Producer of The Foolish Company in New York, the President of Binghamton's Art Mission and Theater, and a 2018 MFA Playwriting candidate at Columbia University. www.santinodeangelo.com
StarStruck Theatre has been Santino’s second home since 2011, when a workshop reading of his Legend of Sleepy Hollow became the first performance in this beautiful space. Though Foolerie continues it’s commercial development abroad, it was originally workshopped here, in 2013, under the title Another Happy Ending. Santino will be forever grateful to Jen and Peter, along with the late producer Robert Eckert, for their commitment to bringing new work to the South Florida community and for their incredible friendship — which continues to shape him as an artist and person.
Mr. Jack Heckenberg's life since graduating from Duke University has taken him across multiple careers in finance as a banker and stockbroker. Jack also worked as a realtor, salesman and even interior decorator. Along with his wife, CeeJay, he hosts many charitable fundraisers at their palatial riverfront home in Sewalls Point, Florida as well as at their summer home in Harbor Springs, Michigan. Many local and national foundations have benefited from Jack and CeeJay's generosity including the Florida Oceanographic Society, Treasure Coast Hospice, Volunteers in Medicine, Martin Memorial Health Foundation, Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and of course, StarStruck Theatre. Additionally, Jack served on the board of directors at the Elliott Museum in Stuart where visitors can now enjoy seeing CeeJay's donation of her red 1965 Porsche. The Heckenbergs are elite members of StarStruck's Constellation Initiative - the first group of individuals who stepped forward at StarStruck's first Gala that kicked off its fundraising efforts. Jack and CeeJay are beacons of style and class and can usually be found at their private booth at Prawnbroker Grill or in the audience at StarStruck.