A. Craig Brown, Esq.
Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, P.C.
60 State Street Northampton, MA 01060

Before joining the Academy of Music Theatre, Executive Director Debra J’Anthony served as the executive director of the Shea Community Theater in Turners Falls, Mass., for sixteen years. During her tenure there, she was awarded the Community Theater Association Back Stage Award and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate Official Citation. In addition to her work as an arts administrator, Debra taught flute and chamber music at Stoneleigh-Burnham and Eaglebrook schools, and has performed professionally as a musician throughout North America and Europe. Her passion for the arts takes many forms. Debra is a published poet, and is a current board member of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce and the Hampshire Regional Tourism Council. Debra is a member of the Paradise City Cultural District Committee, the national planning committee for SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and New England Presenters.

Amanda Spear-Purchase has an extensive background in event marketing, event planning and facility management. Born and raised in the area she attended Western New England College, graduating with a Business Administrations Degree in Marketing Communications. Early in her career she worked in the Marketing and Group Sale departments at Six Flags New England assisting with concerts, special events and group catered outings. Following her time at Six Flags she worked as the Marketing Coordinator at the XL Center in Hartford for 3 years. Although she loved working in Harford she missed working in Western MA where she lived, so she was happy to accept a positon as the Marketing Manager for CityStage & Symphony Hall in Springfield. After a year working in marketing she transitioned into the Events Manager for the two theaters. She feels her seven seasons at City Stage & Symphony Hall have given her considerable experience and knowledge, which she is excited to bring with her to The Academy of Music.

Emily Curro was born and raised in Western Massachusetts. Before joining the Academy of Music team, Emily lived as an avid performer and production stage manager. Her work took her all over the country and overseas to China for over a year, where she performed with the Shanghai Repertory Theatre. After slowing down on the travel train, Emily received her MFA in Theatre Management from Florida State University and joined the Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival as the Associate of Marketing and Development. She believes the arts are an integral part of how we form communities; how we perceive and communicate with the world around us and with each other. She is thrilled to be coming back home, to join this gem of an organization, and to work tirelessly to raise awareness and support for the arts on a professional level in her community.

Prior to his post as the Academy’s Technical Director, Hugh Hall spent two decades in commercial architectural design management, retail store design and display design for Yankee Candle, Lego Systems and other national companies.  Hugh served as a lighting and scenic designer for Amherst Leisure Services productions, Interplayers in Spokane, Washington and as instructor and technical director at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Theatre Department.  He began his career at Alaska Repertory Theatre Company, a LORT B company in Anchorage, Alaska, which took him on tour throughout the state.  He now lives in Belchertown with his wife Maureen O’Neil.

Martha Potyrala, Education Director, joined the Academy six years ago co-directing its Summer Musical Theatre Workshops. Since that time she has co-directed the winter musical theater Academy Youth Productions of Camp Rock, Fame Jr., The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr. and Into the Woods, Jr.  She comes to the Academy through education experiences in Springfield Public Schools and Holyoke Community College. She teaches musical theater dance at Pioneer Valley Ballet, performs with the company, and develops outreach performances for area schools. She earned her B.A. at Curry College and M.Ed. at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Tanya Ritchie (aka Tanya O’Debra), a writer and performer on hiatus from Brooklyn, NY, is thrilled to join the Academy of Music as the Box Office Manager. As one half of the ECNY Award nominated comic sister duo, The O’Debra Twins, Miss O’Debra has spread mirth and filth all over NYC. Their annual O’Debbie Awards garnered a Best of New York Award from The Village Voice. Published by Original Works, her play Radio Star has been produced nationally and internationally, receiving numerous awards and accolades. Other theater credits include Patrice O’Debra in Straight Up Vampire (Joe’s Pub), The Evil Queen in Snow White (The New Acting Company) and Amanda McCloud in The Ultimate Stimulus (Dixon Place). Her newest Play, Shut UP, Emily Dickinson, is in development. She is currently an English major at Smith College.