Passing the Torch Through the Arts is evolving!

We are very excited to bring our brand of educational theater to Albany and welcome you to see our new home at
The Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 57 Hurlbut Ave Albany NY 12209


Educational Theater Festival of the Arts Albany NY. February 14, 2015

This family friendly event takes place at our home
The Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit  
57 Hurlbut St, Albany, NY 12209

$10 Suggested Donation for performances
One day - SATURDAY February 14th 2015

This one day event includes:

Feb 14th 2015
Free Musical Theater class
(for middle school age plus)
1 to 3 PM
57 Hurlbut st Albany NY 12209
with world class Director/Choreographer
 Andrea Andresakis
See her amazing work at


Sat. Feb 14th at 7pm

"Hear the Music"
an original musical theater tribute to the life and music of entertainment legend Harry Belafonte 
Spanning his 50 year career, humanitarian, award winning performer, and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte (portrayed by Michael Monasterial) tells his own story with humor and great songs.

For a $10 suggested donation and proceeds going toward our free acting program, this critically acclaimed production will leave you joyfully dancing in the isles.
A family friendly, fun history lesson, not to be missed.   

Feb 14, 2015 6pm


This timeless classic is brought to life in a our own adapted, fully realized production. This is a 45 min classroom version, professional acted, easily set up and perfect for schools, libraries and other events with all of its dramatic impact and social significance left intact.

Jacqui C. Williams 

Local historian and activist and founder of  FIGAH
(Filling the Gaps in American History)
has collaborated with Passing the Torch Through the Arts to bring American history to life. This is a staged reading of a future production.

Feb 14, 2015 5pm

Ladies in Transit / Liberty in Motion

 4 tales of woman who's personal conflicts with the transit systems all over America lead to civil rights victories. These fascinating stories come to life with names like Sojourner Truth and some take place 100 years before Rosa Parks!

For tickets and more information

Passing the Torch Through the Arts on Facebook

Executive Director: Candi Sterling
Artistic Director and Founder: Michael Monasterial
Executive Producer: Esther Taylor Evans
Communications & Public Relations Director: Patricia Walsh-Gallio

Passing the Torch Through the Arts is an educational theater company now based in Albany NY.

We develop and produce original works of Theater Arts of relevance and excellence, always striving to advance the educational and cultural awareness of our city and our Nation, and thereby enhancing the quality of life for all Amercians through the enriching quality of the Arts.

With new members on board, we look forward to their creative energy fueling the company as we move into a new year, a fresh season of shows and an innovative project. As we experience these positive changes, we would like to acknowledge and thank our past supporters and sponsors as well as our ever growing audience. Passing the Torch Through the Arts is more than just a collective group of artists producing theatre in the Hudson Valley. We are multi-cultural, multigenerational assortment of imaginative individuals working towards social change. We keep our focus on youth at the center of all initiatives and believe in growth through collaboration. Diversity is an asset we posses both culturally and professionally and at the heart of our company is camaraderie and support. This is who we are and we invite you to join us!

A Note From Michael Monasterial
Artistic Director, Passing the Torch trough the Arts                      

     When I was a young man I was headed down the wrong path and my involvement in Theater and the Arts changed my life. It gave me a love for the written word, self worth, better communication skills and an ability to work with others in a professional manner…these skills made me employable and offered me a different life. This is what I am dedicating my life’s work to, giving the same options to the youth of my community.

      What makes Passing the Torch Through the Arts, different from other inner-city programs is that we fund ourselves through producing professional theater performances, employing local artists and tradesman to bringing the finest in theater and life changing theatric experiences.

Our Mission Statement

As committed parents, Americans and human beings, part of this global community, we commit our life’s work to rectifying the disservice being dealt to our youth. By offering positive and life affirming choices we hope to offset the barrage of negative images in dress, speech and glorified negative behavior. These images, we feel, are actually limiting our youths’ potential. Our credo is How you Speak is How you Think, and How you Write, reflects your Mind. Our goal, our mission, our value to this nation and our world is to inspire our young minds and thereby strengthening and developing an infinite resource: their creative and collective consciousness. We do not wish to judge any subculture, form of entertainment or negate their artistic value. We only wish to open the minds of our children and to offer them concrete and life sustaining options. Simply put, we do not want to censure or youth from watching films or videos, or listening to Rap music and Pop songs that glorify a particular lifestyle. We just want to awaken them to the reality that these are only forms of entertainment, not viable lifestyles. We will arm our young Americans with choices and with lucid and attainable goals. We have devoted our lives to the noble service of enlightening and enriching the lives of our children, thereby enriching our nation’s future, and finally mankind as a whole. Thank you and God Bless.

Meet the Family

Michael Monasterial
Actor, Playwright, Producer, Educator
...Thriving through alliances and collaborations

A twenty-five-year theater veteran, Michael Monasterial is more than a “triple threat”: he is an actor, writer, director, producer, educator, builder, and visionary.  Michael studied acting and playwriting at the renowned HB Studio on Bank Street under the tutelage of such notables as Earl Hyman (Cosby Show); Bill Hickey (Prizzy’s Honor) and Paul Cooper Freeman (HBO’s “Oz”).  He also practiced at Frank Silvera’s “Writer’s Workshop” alongside Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City) and under the guidance of Esther Rolle (“Good Times”).  In the mid 1980’s, Michael co-founded  “The Three Brother’s Theater” with Keith Hamilton Cobb (“Andromeda”; “All My Children”) and Wendell Watts (NY Daily News).  This very popular theater ensemble toured youth centers and colleges throughout the mid-Hudson valley to raise money in support of children’s organizations.  Michael’s film credits include the box office hit “Changing Lanes” with Samuel L. Jackson.

As the founder and Principle Director/Actor of Passing the Torch Through The Arts, Inc., Michael writes, directs and performs various productions through this outreach program with a mission to bring fine plays, such as the critically acclaimed stage plays “Sam Cooke:  Where You Been Baby”, "Harry Belafonte - Hear the Music", and various living history re-enactments to audiences that do not have access to live theater. Michael offers workshops in acting principles and techniques to individuals and groups, and integrates the theater arts into various core K-12 academic curricula for area schools. 

Michael’s 2011 achievements include: awarded legislative proclamations  by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Congressman Maurice Hinchey for ‘prolific and dedicated contributions to the Arts’; received special recognition by Pete Seeger at the Rosendale Luminary Awards for his commitment through the Arts to environmental conservation; launched a new Arts in Academics program at Miller Middle school in Kingston, NY; Keynote speaker at the Sage College Youth Summit in Troy NY; delivered a very powerful and moving performance at the NYS Museum - A Weed That Grows on Every Soil: Slavery in the Hudson Valley; wrote and performed in a commissioned new play - Toussant L’Overture to benefit The Haitian People’s Support Project; launched a new Anti-bullying program for  teens utilizing Improvisation as the medium to help students embrace and triumph over painful experiences; brought New York City casting directors and agents to the Hudson Valley to ensure greater access for local talent; wrote and showcased his newest play to an SRO audience – A Musical Tribute to Bill Cosby, highlighting the man, his challenges, triumphs and his greatness.

Tom Andriello is a resident of Hopewell Junction, NY. He lives with his family on Sylvan Lake and recently retired after working for NYS Government for 35 years. He enjoys photography, fishing & is an avid longdistance motorcyclist. Tom has taken some acting courses in the past, but this is his first acting experience in front of a "live audience".

Evelyn Clarke
is a professional voiceover artist and storyteller. She enjoys entertaining children of all ages with African and Caribbean folktales, tales from the ante-bellum South, as well as stories from other cultures. She has performed locally at Back Stage Productions (BSP), area schools, colleges and at cultural events. Her theatrical experience includes stage manager for New Day Repertory Theatre’s production of South African playwright Athol Fugard’s, Bosman and Lena. Evelyn holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and is an associate minister at New Progressive Baptist Church, Kingston, NY. She welcomes this opportunity to return to her passion - theatre arts.

A Mount Vernon Native, Keith Bulluck has been living and acting in the Hudson Valley for 20 years. Keith has interests in basketball, cooking, singing, bird watching, truck driving, reading and storytelling. He would like to thank God and his family for all their patience, love and support. Some of his career highlights include: Fredrick Douglas, in The Trials of Sojourner Truth, with the Woodstock Byrd- Cliff Theater, Holke Colburn in Driving Miss Daisy, with The Cullen-Hackett Group, Poughkeepsie, Crook, Of Mice and Men, with The Rhinebeck Performing Arts Theater Company.

Raven Gray met Bruce at an art opening at ASK. She was perfect for the part.

Stephen M. Jones has been involved with theatre for over 25 years. He has worked in many areas of theatre including design, writing, producing and acting. He has been seen throughout the Midwest and New York in such various roles as Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream at the Indianapolis Shakespeare Festival, Doc in Tooth of Crime with Star Mountain Productions, in the Woodstock area, Conjure Man in Dark of the Moon, with The Henry Street Players and Langston with Karamuu Playhouse in Cleveland. Steve, when not living like a hermit, is obsessed with the detail of minutia and butterflies.

Sabrina Kershaw (Actor-Model-Singer) Born in New York City and raised in the South, Sabrina has an Educational background in Theater and Music.  Inspired at an early age to sing by a family of popular Gospel music artists, Sabrina went on to pursue a career in Musical Theater where she has worked with many of the greats including Bishop T.D. Jakes, Bishop Noel Jones and even the late Ossie Davis.  Many of her credits include Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat, Whispers & Dreams of the Carolina Slave Children, Ossie Davis’ Purlee Victorious, South Pacific, East Haddam’s one-woman show, “They Called Me Lizzy…From Slavery to the White House” and many off-Broadway productionsare just to name a few.  Sabrina’s other credits include those as a dynamic playwright and director where she has been featured in many of her own productions throughout the tri-state area. She is also accredited as a renowned vocal trainer for many theater artists, performers, and groups at Progressive School of Music and Norwalk Community College in Connecticut. Whether on stage or in the classroom, Sabrina strives to put her best foot forward every time!  She feels blessed to be one of the newest members of Passing the torch through the Arts and to have the opportunity towork with the most talented cast and crew in Michael Monasterial’s play,” Sam Cooke-Where you been baby? Sabrina says, “We never know whose lives we are going to touch and inspire through the gifts that the master has given us.  Our job is to count it all joy when we do because it lets us know that are living is not in vain…”

Ron Morehead - Throughout his career Ron has had the pleasure of working with some of Broadways most esteemed composers including Marvin Hamlisch, Steven Schwartz (Godspell), David Shire (Baby, Closer Than Ever) and Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last 5 Years) and at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and the White House.  He played James Vane in Dorian Grey off-Broadway, performed in Dena Hammerstein’s “Only Make Believe” Foundation Benefit Concert and An Evening with Jason Robert Brown at Cooper Union in NYC.  He can be heard on the World Premiere recording of Vernon Duke’s Sadie Thompson (Original Cast Records) and on Obie Winner Ken Jones’ Lifelines. Additional credits include John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, Seymore in Little Shop of Horrors, Pippin in Pippin, Judas in Godspell, The Major General in Pirates of Penzance, Ladislav Sipos in She Loves Me, the Bellboy in Lend Me a Tenor and many more.  He currently serves as founder and Artistic Director of Crown Productions and serves as Theatre Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Arts Society of Kingston. 

Brett Owen moved to Port Ewen from Poughkeepsie with his wife & daughter 3 years ago. He makes his living teaching acting at Dutchess Community College and tutoring clients for the GED exam in the B.I. program @ St. Paul's Church, Poughkeepsie. He is currently in the process of becoming fully certified in the Vocal Awareness Method, which he also teaches. He has been acting for 16 years and is just now starting to become the actor he strives to be. Some of his performance highlights include: We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay, as Luigi, with The American Theater for Actors, The Cocoon, Theater and The Hudson River Theater, Lucky in Waiting for Godot, with Todo Con Nada, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, with The Cocoon Theater and John Merrick in the Elephant Man with Vassar Brothers Theater. He has also toured internationally as The Mathematician in 36 Exposures and has worked as multiple characters on High Window Radio Classics Theater.

Sarkis Simonian is a painter & a poet. He has had an avid intrest in theater and is planning a production based on his own material. This is his first time also his first time as a stage manager and has been a great learning experience.

Candi Sterling is a New York based journalist, actor and director (of theatre and special events) dedicated to projects that uphold artistic integrity, social consciousness, cultural relevance and sustainable ideals. Immersed in the world of the literary, fine and performing arts, she believes in the freedom of expression and the right to cultivate creativity and innovative thinking. Her area of interest includes political and socially conscious dramatic works as she explores the link between the world of journalism and the realm of the arts. She believes that art is and always has been culturally relevant and seeks to illuminate this connection. She works directly with the Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance and supporting and reporting on Sustainability and Green Initiatives is a top priority as she has adopted this issue as a main platform. She believes that building a sustainable life is about people, the constructed surroundings and natural environment where we exist. "Green" is not just a movement, but a lifestyle. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the State University of New York at New Paltz. A member of Sigma Delta Tau National Sorority she is a frequent beauty pageant competitor holding multiple titles and works directly with the Miss Empire Royalty Pageant. In the future she hopes to obtain a doctoral degree and continue advocating for free speech and artistic expression.

Drebra Sterling was discovered by Bruce in the theater section of The Alternative Bookstore in Uptown Kingston. She was immediately asked to join the crew. She is a barista by trade in NYC. This is her first stunt as a stage manager & it appears to be her birthright!

Johanna Tacadena has performed in various productions including Miss Saigon (Broadway), Little Miss Buddha (off-off Broadway), Beauty and the Beast (national tour) and regional productions of ‘Night Mother, West Side Story, La Traviata and The Merry Widow.  Recently, Johanna had the privilege of performing with fellow actors, Michael Monasterial and Ron Morehead in the original musical, Space, at the Arts Society of Kingston.  In addition, Johanna works extensively in hosting, industrials, commercials and television and can be seen on NET TV as the co-host for Tapestry of Faith.  As an entrepreneur, Johanna is the owner of JTA Vending and on her spare time loves to samba and rock climb.

Our Music Director John Trent is an accomplished dub/house producer with many records to his credit on the Stupendous Music, Care Recordings &; Worship record labels. His bass playing reflects the world music, jazz and funk that influenced him while having a fresh, modern approach. He is a desired session player who's more recent work includes being the bass player for Lady Bug (Digable Planets), Lotus9, Root Valdez, The Humble Boy Club &; Universal Language, with Dr. Know (Bad Brains).

Christa Trinler is an actor and producer formerly from Chicago who has relocated to the Catskill Mountains. She has worked with various theatre companies in Chicago including: Stage Left Theatre, Raven Theatre, Famous Door Theatre, Chicago Actor Ensemble, Stage Actors Ensemble, and Boxer Rebellion Ensemble. Some favorite roles include: Olivia in Twelfth Night, Helen in Lady House B