About Us

Nashville Theatre School (NTS) is a musical theatre school, offering training in singing, dancing and acting. NTS was founded in 2016 by Vanessa Garner.


Our Staff


Vanessa Garner

Founder / Artistic Director
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Originally from Houston, TX, Vanessa began her career in musical theatre at the age of 7 in New York City in the off-broadway production of “Really Rosie”, where she played the role of Kathy and recorded the cast album. Upon returning to Houston, she performed with both Theatre Under the Stars and Houston Grand Opera, while attending the High School for Performing Arts. After graduating from Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Vanessa appeared in the national tour of “Bye, Bye, Birdie” with Tommy Tune and Ann Reinking.

Vanessa graduated from Belmont University with a Bachelors in Business Administration / Music Business in Nashville, while performing at Opryland in “And the Winner Is”. Vanessa also performed with Opryland Productions in The Opryland Hotel’s “A Country Christmas” as well as at The Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a season.

In 2000, Vanessa wrote and recorded a solo album, “A Letter Home to You”. Her record received national radio airplay, as well as a “Just Plain Folks” award in 2001. Her song “Not the One” was featured on the hit TV show “Dawson’s Creek”.

Vanessa soon returned to her musical theatre roots and began teaching musical theatre at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (RAFA), in Houston, TX. Producing over 25 musicals for children and overseeing RAFA’s Broadway Studio Workshop program. In addition to working with RAFA students, she also produced 6 main stage professional productions for Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre (BAHBT), along side director Kevin Cahoon. Vanessa served as the Artistic / Executive Director for RAFA & the interim Artistic Director for BAHBT between 2013-2015. In 2016, Vanessa began teaching musical theatre classes to preschool and elementary school aged children here in Nashville. Within a year, the program grew into Nashville Theatre School, producing 2 mainstage musicals a year, 3 Summer Intensive performances each Summer and a full program of classes in music, theatre and dance.

Vanessa has lived in Nashville for the last 24 years and is married to Grey Garner; they have two children, 14 year old Will and 12 year old Hattie Grey.

Photo Credit: Claire Wise


Kevin Cahoon

Guest Director/Consultant

As an actor, Kevin Cahoon has originated roles in the Broadway productions of The Wedding Singer, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Lion King, the revival of The Rocky Horror Show, and he made his Broadway debut in The Who’s Tommy. His Off Broadway credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch ( also Boston, San Fransisco,The Edinburgh Festival), How I Learned to Drive (Second Stage Theatre), The Shaggs: Philosophy of The World (Playwrights Horizons), The Foreigner (Roundabout Theatre Company, Lucille Lortel Award nomination), The Wild Party (Manhattan Theatre Club), and Hair and Babes in Arms (City Center Encores!).

Mr. Cahoon’s regional credits include The Guthrie Theater, The Old Globe ( Craig Noel Award nomination for Love’s Labor’s Lost), The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bard SummerScape, The Ahmanson Theatre, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, and created the role of Jr. Jr. in Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical written by Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark, and Robert Horn.

On television, Kevin currently plays Bobby Barnes on Season 3 of ‘Glow’ and portrayed Hugo on ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, both for Netflix. He has had recurring roles on “Nurse Jackie,” “Modern Family’, and ’ Six Degrees and guest roles on “NCIS,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The Good Wife,” “Odd Mom Out,” “Black Box,” “The Mentalist,” “Franklin & Bash,” “Canterbury’s Law,” “Law & Order,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” among others.

His film credits include I Am Michael, Mars Needs Moms, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The Thing About My Folks, Sudden Manhattan, and the documentaries SqueezeBox! and Whether You Like It or Not: The True Story of Hedwig. With his band Ghetto Cowboy, they won the OUTmusic Award for their debut album Doll. As a director, Mr. Cahoon has directed numerous productions for The Ars Nova Theatre in NYC, the comedy duo Tastiskank ( Aspen Comedy Festival Breakout Award Winner ), two consecutive galas for New York Theatre Workshop starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rachel Dratch, Patti LuPone, Ben Platt, and others. He has directed the critically acclaimed revival of ‘The Nerd’ for the George Street Playhouse


Emily Urbanski

Instructor / Choreographer
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Originally from Carmel, Indiana, Emily Ann Urbanski moved to Nashville in 2016 to study musical theater at Belmont University. Since the age of 5, she has studied numerous dance styles. As she got older, Emily became an assistant for tap and jazz classes ranging from preschool to high-schoolers. Emily performed with her studio’s Ballet Theatre, Junior Pacemate dance team, and Musical Theatre Company through which she performed at venues including Kings Island, Indiana Pacers and Butler University basketball games, and Disney World.

With a strong foundation in dance, Emily began singing and acting with local theaters when she was 8. In high school, she continued to occupy her time in the performing arts department participating in the plays, musicals, and as a council member and dance captain of The Ambassadors showchoir. Emily has taken private voice lessons for 7 years and has continued performing and pursuing musical theatre in college and around Nashville.

Since beginning college, she has had the opportunity to be the dance assistant for the spring musical "9 to 5" and choreographing numbers for the First-Year Showcase at Belmont. Some of Emily’s past shows include Bring it on (Skylar), Legally Blonde (Brooke Wyndham), Godspell (Celisse), White Christmas (Susan) and most recently appeared in Studio Tenn's production of Grease! understudying Diane Degarmo in the role of Sandy.

Emily’s passion truly lies in a balance between performing and teaching and she is thrilled to continue to do so with Nashville Theatre School!


Alexandra Zorn


Alexandra Zorn has traveled the country wearing glass slippers in the 1st National Tour of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and is an original member of Laura Osnes’ hit concert series The Broadway Princess Party at the legendary Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City. Alexandra has also led numerous classics and new musicals in and around New York, starring in the new musical adaption of Far From the Madding Crowd at Signature Theatre Company (NYC), Rodger's and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! at The 5th Avenue Theatre and led the new musical adaption of Audrey Hepburn's film Roman Holiday, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Other favorite credits include Les Miserables and West Side Story.

Alexandra has worked extensively and studied with Tony Award winning and esteemed Voice Teacher Joan Lader, in the Estill Voice Training Method of singing for over 12 years. Alexandra has a Private Voice Studio in New York City for collegiate and professional students where she focuses on clarity, resonance, breath, and stamina in the legit and belt voice, with additional and extensive experience and knowledge of Speech Therapy. Most recently she served as a Voice Faculty Member on staff at The Studio for Performing Arts in New Canaan, CT.

You can also find Alexandra on The Blacklist (NBC), Abuse of Power (Oxygen) and on Spotify.


Anna Carrol


Anna graduated from Belmont University with a BFA in musical theater. Not only that, she also received “The Margie,” the highest honor in musical theater excellence, during her time at Belmont.

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Anna has worked with a variety of well known New York casting directors, producers and composers throughout her years of comedic acting, musical theater, and improv experience. Just to name a few: Chuck Wagner, Mike Eldred, Rachel Potter (Les Mis), Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid), Melinda Doolittle (Cinderella), Laura Bell Bundy and Denyce Graves (Christmas at Belmont) as well as Tina Marie, Kevin Kennison, Jennifer Waldmen, Mary Sugarman, Pasek and Paul, Ted Chapin (master classes).

She also spent the past year singing R and B on tour with Epic Assemblies, an original works arts troupe designed to speak life to students all over the U.S. by telling their own personal stories through the arts (epicassemblies.org).

Ms. Anna is currently starring in the new musical Stolen, a New Musical Presented by The Blue Gate Theatre in Shipshewana, IN.


Ginger Newman

Voice Instructor

Ginger Newman has been a professional entertainer for over 40 years. She has had the exquisite pleasure and privilege of performing all over the world with extraordinary people in breath taking arenas. She attended Belmont COLLEGE, (before it was cool!) and had the divine providence of being one of Marjorie Halbert's first students!

From there, she went to Opryland USA and performed in nearly all of their shows (including the premiere casts of Country Christmas and The General Jackson Showboat) She also was one of “Opryland’s Night of Stars and Future Stars” the NBC pilot for STAR SEARCH. She was a Mid-South semi-finalist for the Metropolitan Opera, but her love of Musical Theater was what fueled her passion. She starred in Tennessee Repertory Theatre's productions of EVITA, PIRATES OF PENZANCE, OLIVER, BABY, and did the first National Tour of MY WAY! She has been a featured soloist with the Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera, and went on to create her own One Woman Show cabaret, which she performed all over the world on ships like the QEII and the SS ROTTERDAM.

About 20 years ago, Ginger was given the opportunity to teach/direct at Belmont and Cumberland Universities and the chance to “pass the torch” presented itself. A new chapter in life opened and the journey got richer. She became a Teaching Artist with TPAC Education and is one of the core/mentor TA’s that work with the Disney Musicals in Schools Program. She also became the resident musical director/ co-director at the Keeton Theatre for 7 years producing over 35 shows back to back!

Ginger continues as Musical Director of the middle and high school musicals at USN, just completing her 14th year! In 2017 she had the distinct privilege of becoming the Director of Entertainment/Festivals for King Hospitality Group adding more expansive opportunities to her repertoire!


Kristin Moon

Acting Instructor

Kristin Moon has been a theatre arts educator in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for the past ten years and is delighted to be in her seventh year at Hillsboro High School. A graduate of the MNPS school district (Glencliff '05), Moon earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education from Trevecca Nazarene University where she was immersed in the theatre community as an actor and director.

Some of her favorite roles include “Ado Annie” in Oklahoma, “Mother” in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, and "Lucinda" in Into the Woods. Although Moon enjoys performing, her real passion is directing. Since college, she has directed or assistant directed over 25 productions. Some of her favorite directing credits include "Songs for a New World," "Frankenstein," "The Tempest," "Into the Woods," "Hairspray" (Nominee "Best Show" and "Best Direction"; Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards) and "Guys and Dolls."

She served as the Fine Arts Department Chair for Hillsboro High School for three years and helped write the theatre arts curriculum pacing guide for MNPS. She teaches college-level International Baccalaureate theatre courses, having successfully led her students to earn some of the highest scores in all of the International Baccalaureate courses offered at Hillsboro. In her free time she enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. She is passionate about giving young people a voice in theatre and hopes to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Directing.


Amy Otto

Instructor / Production Class

Amy Alderson Otto graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis with a degree in International Studies and Political Science. She also studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and at the University of Oxford in England. A college athlete, Amy played women’s basketball and was a leader in the Chi Omega fraternity. A native of Jackson, Tennessee, Amy was active in dance (6 yrs); classical piano (15 years); and voice with the Kincaid-Gooch Studio (13 yrs). Amy was also involved in musical theatre most of her life. She participated in performances of “Anything Goes,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Animal Farm,” “The Sound of Music,” and starred in both “The Wizard of Oz” and “Brigadoon.”

Today, Amy runs her own communications business. She coaches individuals in public speaking and sharpens interview skills for clients of any age -- from students interviewing for school admittance and scholarship awards, to executives perfecting their delivery on camera and in the board room. She also provides media training for athletes, musicians, and community leaders.

For the past decade, she trained each Miss Tennessee for the intense panel interview at Miss America; establishing Tennessee as a consistent Top Finalist in the nation. As a Board Member, she has served as Communications Director, Talent Producer, and Show Script Writer for the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant, now Miss Tennessee Volunteer. Annually, Amy works to expand Miss Tennessee’s community service initiatives on the state level and crafts messaging for her school tour that reaches 50,000+ children as the Governor’s State Spokesperson for Character Education.

Amy has been married to twice Grammy-nominated entertainer and award-winning songwriter, James Otto for 14 years. She loves being mom to their daughter, Ava (9), who is in the third grade at the Oak Hill School.


Sarah Daddario

Improv Instructor

Sarah Daddario studied theater at the Cincinnati Conservatory and in Chicago at The Second City, Improv Olympic, and the Annoyance Theater. While training in Chicago she fell in love with sketch comedy and long form improvisation.

Sarah has performed locally with the main stage cast of Third Coast Comedy Club and with the group Good People. Sarah believes improv can free the artist in everyone and build confidence for everyday life!

NTS is located at 5409 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205 

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