About Valerie

Valerie is the Head of Musical Theatre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, an Associate Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and an Estill Master Trainer. 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, cabarets and staged readings including Lauren Gunderson’s one-woman-play, Natural Shocks, as part of a national theatre campaign against gun violence, and the musical, True North, in Red Mountain Theatre’s Human Rights New Works Festival.

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 five summers, Valerie was a guest director at Weathervane Playhouse in Ohio directing Oklahoma!,  The Pajama GameSouth Pacific, Pippin and Matilda. This summer, she will be directing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella, at Red Mountain Theatre.

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 was a contributing author of The Voice Teacher’s Cookbook. She regularly presents at conferences such as the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, the Southeastern Theatre Conference, Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance and the Estill World Voice Symposium.

Valerie is married to Michael Vizzina and is mom to Isadora and stepson 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