Teaching from Heart & Soul Episode 2: Karen Oster & David McCarty

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Meet Karen and David, teachers who know how to play, and believe teaching begins by creating the space for exploration and deep enquiry through kindness and nurturing support.   

From the very beginning ‘Teacher’ was written in Karen’s future - she always felt a strong connection to other people, wanting to bring the best out of them. It was 9/11 that caused her to question her focus as a performer and ultimately shifted her into the rich and rewarding world of teaching. She is a hands on co-collaborator with her students: “We’re all playing in the same sand box!” Her tools of creativity and curiosity help bring a student’s voice front and center by giving room to explore the undiscovered aspects of themselves - the results can be surprising and joyous, challenging and life changing.  

David really enjoys teaching! He realized long ago the value of remaining open to receive the learning inherent in the act of teaching. “To teach is to learn twice” was the mantra of his mentor, and he has come to know this as a deep truth. He offers kindness and love of the art form, creating a bridge which opens up and expands to help others fulfil their dreams of becoming an artist. He knows from his creative endeavors that liberating your own voice can be an awesome thing - bringing exhilaration and joy - and he knows the courage it takes to find the deep well of who you really are, and go for it.

Meet This Episode's Guests

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Karen Oster

KAREN OSTER, has a BFA from The Boston Conservatory in Musical Theatre and Directing and an M.Ed from Cambridge College. She has facilitated, directed and coordinated the performances and involvement of young cast members in numerous productions including the Broadway/ National tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Paul Simon’s The Capeman on Broadway with Marc Anthony. Karen is a professional musician and actress as well, having performed throughout the country in various productions and studied with well known cabaret artists. Karen’s adaptation of The King and I is currently licensed for performance throughout the country as Getting to know… The King and I. She has also directed and produced the revival of The Baker’s Wife with composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz Karen is currently the Chair of Performing Arts at Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts and is pursuing her PH.D at Lesley University in Education and Theatre.


David McCarty


David McCarty has directed and choreographed in the fields of Musical Theater , Opera and Dance for over 30 years and is currently a principal teacher and the Director of School Productions at the Academy of Performing Arts in Orleans, Ma.

As stage director in Opera, past productions include Faust with Cleveland Opera, Madame Butterfly with Syracuse Opera, The Elixer of Love with Indianapolis Opera, and The Merry Widow with Opera Providence. As Producing Artistic Director of Cape Cod Opera his productions include Cav/Pag, Carmen, Tosca, Cosi fan tutte, The Merry Widow, Die Fledermaus, and Don Pasquale.




Abandoning the Tightrope: Creating and Living the Work/Life Balance

Nick, Ryan, Kim and Jasmine enter into a lively and informative discussion on the various ways they create and live their work/life balance. From color coordinated calendars to being spontaneous depending on where the mood takes you - they all agree that this is an ever changing and highly challenging balancing act that you figure out as you evolve - learning what works for you. Join them as they delve into the soup of creativity, self-care, over scheduling, independence, relationships, money, success and what brings daily joy.

Meet This Episode's Guests

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Jazmin Williams

Jazmin Williams is an Actress and Writer, born and raised in New York City. After graduating from SUNY Fredonia’s Acting program with a degree in Fine Arts, she moved back home to Brooklyn to begin her professional career. 

Jazmin is currently working on creating new projects to showcase her own storytelling abilities, as well as those of her friends and fellow women of color, and is honing her craft under the tutelage of acting coach Anthony Abeson. 

Past theatre credits include Aricia in Jean Racine's "Phèdre", Rose in August Wilson’s “Fences” and Arena in “Upon A Thicket Throne”. Film credits include "Hathie", The Ghost of Hollow Hills" and "Cleaning Up The Dirt".


For upcoming projects/updates please visit!

Nick Demos

Nick Demos is an award winning director, TONY Award-winning producer, writer and creativity expert. He is in post-production for the documentary Invisible,  and in production for the documentary Body Electric. He is also co-writing the book for the new musical Siddhartha. This spring he will direct Julia Cameron’snew play Animal in the Trees, Off-Broadway.

His company, Demos Bizar Entertainment is currently co- producing Come From Away on Broadway. Formerly he was the Artistic Director of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma where he was honored as a “Living Treasure of the State” for his contribution to the arts and named “Top Business Achiever Under 40” by the Journal Record newspaper. 

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A 1000 hr Hathavidya, EYRT-500 hr yoga teacher, Nick is the executive director and leads artist retreats through the non-profit, One  Company. He teaches in yoga teacher training programs for Three Sisters Yoga and Hathavidya and leads seminars, workshops and private coaching in wellness, mindfulness and the art of creativity. 

Follow Nick on twitter @NickDemos

 Instagram @TheNickDemos

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Find out more about Kim at

Or listen to some of her music clips:

Kim Sherman

KIM D. SHERMAN is a composer who enjoys composing for the concert stage as well as the theater, opera and film. Her music has been described as “rhapsodic and lush” as well as “craggy and leap-about.”  She embraces lyricism and dissonance as equal partners in conveying dramatic musical landscapes. 

Currently under construction is her opera ADA, the spectacular story of computer pioneer Ada Lovelace. SUMMER, 1976 a song cycle for lyric baritone and string quartet was premiered at The Opera Center in New York City in 2016.  SONG OF SONGS, for strings, harp and soprano was premiered in 2004 by San José Chamber Orchestra and soprano Allison Charney. GRAVESIDE, her a cappella choral work, was recorded by Musica Sacra and has been performed throughout the US and Europe. On Broadway, she wrote incidental music for I HATE HAMLET. She has written incidental music for many productions of Shakespeare plays in regional theaters throughout the United States.


Ryan Lemere


Ryan LeMere ( is a visual artist, creator director, and founder of Aligned Magazine, a yoga lifestyle journal. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.



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Marc Zegans: The Creativity Whisperer

Photo credit: Mark Hanford

Photo credit: Mark Hanford

Marc Zegans is a living embodiment of the creative life. He lives it in his commitment to his writing life as a poet, in his consulting work with artists, writers, and musicians, and in his deep and profound knowledge of the many paths that can lead to a happy expression of who we are as creative beings.

Marc gets to the heart of many questions - What does it mean to live a creative life? How do you work through the challenges of that over the long run? How do you shape and maintain a creative identity that changes as you grow? He believes that to do his work with artists you have to have “some skin in the game” so he brings his whole self to the table, is open and willing to learn and be surprised. “Sometimes I lead the way, sometimes you lead the way, sometimes we walk hand in hand together.”

“Creativity keeps us curious,” he says, “it teaches us to be humble, it transforms self doubt, it takes us out of our heads and into our bodies and opens a channel to take something out into the world and grow by that experience.” Equally important is to have fun, laugh at our mistakes, and be silly! Practice relaxed alertness and discover dynamic balance. Marc encourages us to play and dance with the Muses - let them give us the courage to travel outside of the norm and find our passion.

Meet This Episode's Guest

Photo credit: Meri Jenkins

Photo credit: Meri Jenkins

Marc ZeganS


"Marc is the muse to the muse." ~ Jennifer Greer, singer-songwriter & recording artist


Marc Zegans is a creative development advisor who helps artists, writers and creative people thrive and shine. A former executive and research director of Harvard University’s Innovations program, he has spent more than twenty years helping individuals, arts organizations and creatively driven enterprises successfully follow their muse. Marc is a produced playwright and working poet with four collections currently in print.


For more about Marc and his work, you can visit his website:


Read an interview with Marc on about his strategies for working artists...

...and an article he wrote for Grant Makers in the Arts called "The Five Stages of Creative Life and the Crises That Intervene"

The Art of Collaboration: William Antoniou & Katia Paschou


To collaborate is to work together. Through artistic collaboration an idea becomes a fully realized creation of something new and original. In the case of Katia (singer/director) and William (composer) that something is a cutting-edge opera; a team effort that comes from the heart, a synergy fueled by inspiration and the hard work of collaboration. Collaboration is not always easy. It takes wanting to learn from the other, patience, flexibility, honesty, and conviction. It takes being able to balance between being an individual and being on the team. It gets easier through experience and a healthy practice of self-awareness, always remembering that collaboration is a process. A process that is necessary for growth in every single area of our lives and relationships. At its simplest level collaboration is what we were all taught in kindergarten - play together / share your toys / be kind / give hugs at the end of the day / be curious and have fun!

Meet This Episode's Guests


Check out William's facebook page for more! 


William is a composer and instrumentalist. Born in Boston, and raised in New York, he began his studies and career at an unusually early age. After studying privately with Richard Danielpour, Lucas Foss, Neil Ginsberg, Roger Ames, Dan Carter and Kim D. Sherman, he was accepted to the Tisch School Of The Arts Music Theater Summer Program at age 14, and then to The New Dramatists’ Composer/Librettist Studio at age 16. Since then he has worked with many theater and film artists in the United States and abroad including Lee Breuer, Giles Foreman, Eamonn Farrell, Christa Maiwald, Will Taylor, Ersi Pita, Panagiotis Christopoulos, Dimitris Kollatos, and Phaedra Soutou. His songs have been performed by renown singers such as Isaias Matiaba, Janelle Lannan, Jason Papowitz and Margarita Sygeniotou. In addition to his theater and film work, William’s compositions have been performed by many classical ensembles and soloists such as The National Opera of Greece, L’Anima String Quartet, Aeolos Woodwind Quintet, The Greek Contemporary Music Ensemble, The Municipal Orchestra of Athens, The Orchestra of Patras, Nikos Zarkos, Thanasis Zervas, Saulius Sondeckis, ALEA III, and Idee Fix. In 2014 William, along with librettist Eamonn Farrell, was a finalist for the Jonathan Larson Grant, an award given for outstanding achievements in Music Theater, and in 2015 William was given the L.A. Shorts award for Best Original Score for his music in the film “Lucy” (2015). In 2016 William was appointed to the board of directors of the ALEA III New Music Ensemble.


Katia recently appeared as Papagena in the Magic Flute (October 2015 conductors: Michalis Economou, George Petrou) and Musetta in La Bohème (December 2014) under the baton of Loukas Karytinos at the National Greek Opera, after her successful debut as Adele in Die Fledermaus, which showed her a dynamic interpreter both her vocal and acting qualities. In 2012 and 2013 Katia was praised as Valencienne at the National Greek Opera’s production of the Merry Widow for the sauciness and youthful vitality of her presence (J. Svolos, To pontiki, Athens). 

Born in Athens, Katia Paschou holds a BA in Theatre Studies from the University of Athens, School of Philosophy, a Diploma in Voice from Mannes College of Music. She is an alumna of Operaworks, CA and has been a member at Sande Shurin’s Transformational Acting Studio, NY, during 2005-2008. After relocating back to Greece, since 2010 Katia Paschou’s name is connected with the innovating side of the opera in Greece with projects such as “Interactive Opera”, “Three tea Sopranos”, “Nuit d’etoiles”. In 2015-2017 Katia created “The Katia Paschou Project”, a holistic approach-educational program for young singers and musicians, as artist in residence at the Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts & Music.


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On the Journey With Alexis Rhone Fancher

Connecting with the poetry, life and power of Alexis Rhone Fancher

Alexis Rhone Fancher wrote poems as a child -  “not very good,” she confesses - but she was in love with the form, the conciseness, the stripping away of every unnecessary word that left you with a poem, a faceted jewel “when it’s done right.” Lifetimes later she put pen to paper again, mining the vein of her life to bring up jewel after jewel of faceted perfection. Her poems - confessional, accessible, available - create worlds she invites readers to step into, offering mirrors of reflection and connection. She strips her life bare, sending it vulnerable and naked, proud and powerful, across the page. Her ex-husbands, male and female lovers, sister, child, death, pain, joy, sex, and suffering all play their parts. “Follow your passion. It’s a journey, not a destination,” she reminds us.  “Be here now and see the magic happen.”

Meet This Episode's Guest

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Alexis Rhone Fancher


Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here, (June, 2017). She is published in Best American Poetry, 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles, Hobart, Cleaver, and elsewhere. Her photos are published worldwide, including a spread in River Styx, and the covers of Witness, Heyday, and the Chiron Review. 

Since 2013 Alexis has been nominated for 11 Pushcart Prizes and 4 Best of the Net awards. She is Poetry Editor of Cultural Weekly, where she also publishes a monthly photo essay, “The Poet’s Eye,” about her on-going love affair with Los Angeles. 

For more of Alexis' poetry and photography,

visit her website

One of the 14 photos in Alexis' new, full-length collection:  Enter Here

One of the 14 photos in Alexis' new, full-length collection: Enter Here

Balancing Our Many Selves with Marco Jo Clate, Andrea Scannell, Liza Toft & Jennifer Rau

Meet Marco, Liza, Andrea and Jennifer. Four women who are teachers and artists and mothers. Listen in as they talk about identity and the process of reclaiming and synthesizing the many parts of themselves, the conflicts and joys of motherhood, the aggressive act of pursuing one’s creativity, their struggles with integration and spending time alone. Helpful tools include meditation, yoga practice, walking outdoors, reaching out to one’s community of friends and supporters, making lists, self-acceptance, chucking out guilt, and setting boundaries. They share times of anxiety when one’s world gets too small and perspective is lost, when there is not enough feedback, or when one is spread too thin, causing a disconnect from body, mind, and heart. They are women invested in the act of claiming their voice, power, and fulfillment ~ They are women who are, in their own words: sassy, sensitive, authentic, loyal, grounded, generous, good listeners, and present!


Meet This Episode's Guests

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Marco Jo Clate

Writer, Hatha Yoga Teacher, & Theatre Artist

Marco Jo Clate started out as an actor, attended Emerson College and Tisch School of the Arts, but soon yearned for control over her own work and began starting theatre companies, writing plays, producing,  and choreographing. Some of her richest experiences happened at Ensemble Studio Theatre where she was a member of Citilab with founder Curt Dempster, whom she also assisted at their summer facility in Lexington, NY, and where she also produced the beloved annual Marathon of New Plays! Marco Jo's plays have been seen at EST, The NYC Fringe Festival and The One Minute Play Festival. More recently she has studied and performed improv and sketch at UCB and The Reckless Theatre. And she just wrote her first screenplay! She discovered yoga in her very first acting class at Emerson College…and knew from her first sun salutation that yoga would be an important part of her life.

Marco Jo teaches yoga at

Quote I love: "Sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly."  ~ Edward Albee

Andrea Scannell

MSEd, CLC, Certified Infant, & Child Sleep Specialist

In her private practice in New York City, Andrea works one on one with families to provide sleep support, breastfeeding support, infant care education and early parenthood coaching. Her NYC classes are currently provided at the 92nd St. Y and City Births.

With twenty years experience working with children and their parents, the birth of Andrea’s own child prompted a new endeavor: in 2010, Andrea created MOMally. It has since become a network of more than 2,500 moms, and a vital resource for new parents. MOMally’s New Mom Support groups, MOMally Parenting on and MOMally’s Facebook Community have helped a generation of local moms get support and find friendship.

Photo credit: Vanie Poyey

Photo credit: Vanie Poyey

Jennifer Rau

Jennifer Rau is an actor whose film and television credits include Finding Amanda, Brightest Star, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Without A Trace, yes,dear, Inconceivable, and the award-winning short film Some Boys Don’t Leave. Her Off-Broadway and Regional credits include: Once In A Lifetime (Atlantic Theater Company), Texas Homos (Abingdon Theatre Company), The Hologram Theory (Blue Light), Sex Parasite (Center Theatre Group), M Butterfly (East West Players), Miracles and The Baby Dance (Barter Theatre), Exodus, (Salon/Sanctuary) at the historic Fraunces Tavern with Rosalyn Coleman Williams and Reg E. Cathey. Last August she appeared in the world premiere of Mourning the Living at the Hudson Guild, as part of the Thespis Theater Festival and reprised her leading role this April Off-Broadway through Lifewise Productions. She holds a BA in Theater from Fordham University and trained at Atlantic Acting School, where she is on the Acting Faculty. Jennifer is also a writer and is currently working on a new screenplay.

Quote I love: "At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." - Lao Tzu

Liza Toft

Liza is a licensed Creative Arts Therapist and Yoga Teacher who works in private practice in her home studio in Brooklyn, New York. She works with people individually and leads weekly groups that combine yoga and creative arts as a holistic body-centered approach to therapy. Liza is currently completing the two-year Iyengar Yoga teacher training program, which has deeply influenced her work. Her background as a visual artist and a long-time practitioner of mindfulness meditation have also had a deep impact on her life.

Below is a piece of Liza's art!

Visit Liza's website for more:


Untitled  by Liza Toft

Untitled by Liza Toft