About Valerie

Valerie is the Head of Musical Theatre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is a member of Actor’s Equity Association, an Associate Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and a certified Estill Master Trainer in the Estill Voice Training System. As an Equity actress, Valerie played Margy Frake in the First National Tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair, starring John Davidson, as well as numerous other musicals including the title role in Cinderella, Maria in The Sound of Music, and Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress. She continues to perform regularly in concerts and cabarets and most recently she appeared in a staged reading of the Lauren Gunderson one-woman-play, Natural Shocks, as part of a national theatre campaign against gun violence.

She first began her studies in musical theatre at the University of Miami and received a BA in Musical Theatre Pedagogy from Otterbein University and an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She was the Head of Drama at Campion School, a British international school in Athens, Greece, directing seven productions including Godspell, which toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer of 2010. Her other directing or associate directing/choreography credits include Gypsy, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Avenue Q, The Producers at Virginia Repertory Theatre and Annie at the Pioneer Theatre. For the last four summers, Valerie has been a guest director at Weathervane Playhouse in Ohio directing Oklahoma!,  The Pajama GameSouth Pacific and Pippin.

In addition to her directing, teaching and performing work, Valerie stays active in other areas of the theatre business. In 2013, she worked as a rehearsal accompanist at Arena Stage in Washington DC on Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children starring Kathleen Turner. She has had two articles published in the international journal, Studies in Musical Theatre, and has presented at conferences such as the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, the Southeastern Theatre Conference and the Estill Voice International Symposium. She currently serves as the Chair for the Musical Theatre Committee of the Southeastern Theatre Conference.

Valerie is married to Michael Vizzina and is stepmom to 10-year-old Martin. She loves to cook, enjoys running and hiking, and is incredibly proud of all of her former and current students.

Photos by Michael Praytor