Naperville, IL

(630) 243-5100

Same Programming, New Name! Academy of the Arts is now Illinois Conservatory for the Arts

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impact musical theatre

Session 1: june 10–14 | Session 2: August 5–9

Broadway Performer Will Instruct Masterclasses for Aspiring Dancers

Looking for the perfect gift for an aspiring dancer?

Academy of the Arts, a new nonprofit educational institution, is launching its programs on December 28, 2021, by presenting two master classes for ages 12 to adult. The classes will be led by accomplished performing artist Chadaé Nichol.

A performer, arts educator and Joliet native who made her Broadway debut in Motown the Musical, Nichol will lead a contemporary jazz master class at 4:30PM, Tues., Dec. 28;  followed by a musical theatre dance master class at 6:15PM also on Tuesday, Dec. 28.

Both classes will be held at 2135 CityGate Lane, next to Hotel Arista in the CityGate Centre campus, Route 59 and Ferry Road.

“We are so eager to launch our programming, and so fortunate to have Chadaé join us for this cornerstone event,” said Academy of the Arts Co-Founder Dylan Ladd. “Holding these classes during winter break fills a gap for students, and even a lot of local performing arts schools suspend classes during this time, so it allows students to keep up their skills, fill their time and be exposed to an accomplished artist.

“This kind or experience can be a great holiday gift for budding performers,” he added.

Participation is $100 per class and a select number of needs-based scholarships are available. Enroll at

Chadaé Nichol: Master Class Teacher / Artist Brief Bio

Chadaé Nichol made her Broadway debut in Motown the Musical. She was most recently seen at the Lyric Opera in the Chicago productions of Oklahoma and Showboat. Regionally, Nichol has been part of productions of Little Shop of HorrorsCabaret, and The Wiz.

She also has starred in productions at Disneyland in California.

Currently, Nichol is the education manager for The Broadway Collective. She earned her BFA in Musical Theatre from Ball State University.

Academy of the Arts

Academy of the Arts aims to provide high-level arts curriculum while engaging students in a rigorous academic education when its new state-of-the-arts facility plans to open in the fall of 2025. Learn more about Academy of the Arts as well as upcoming master classes, fundraising initiatives and other opportunities to support its mission at

In addition to space leased to Academy of the Arts, CityGate Centre also is the multi-use campus with AAA Four Diamond Hotel Arista, CityGate Grille, Che Figata, Zorba Cocktail Bar, LavAzza, Arista Spa and Salon, DuPage Medical Group, Olympia Executive Fitness Center and Tap in Pub.

session 1 • june 10–14, 2024

session 2 • August 5–9, 2024

Check availability

IMPACT is popular and fills up fast! You'll be forwarded to the registration form to grab your spot.

Tyler McKenzie / Dance

TYLER MCKENZIE has been a part of Hamilton since 2017. Other credits include – Broadway & National Tours: Matilda, Mamma Mia. He has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Western Carolina University and has served on many faculties and teaching staff around the country, including the Musical Theatre Faculty at Penn State University. IG: @tylrmckenzie

Melissa Foster / Voice

Melissa Foster is a Professor of Instruction in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University, specifically teaching voice and topics in musical theatre such as Pop/Rock Vocal Style, and Pop Rock Musical Theatre. At Northwestern, she is the recipient of both the 2021 Galbut Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2022 Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction Award. She values her time inside the classroom just as much as she does outside, and simultaneously serves as 1 of 5 Faculty in Residence on Northwestern’s campus, mentoring students via their residential experience. When not at Northwestern, Melissa has been a Resident Vocal Consultant for LYRIC UNLIMITED (a division of the Lyric Opera of Chicago), and teaches for the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University. She has been guest faculty for Broadway Evolved, Artsbridge, Broadway Breakthru, IHSTA, ArtsLink and NATS. She has also taught countless masterclasses around the world. Highlights include: co-teaching a live-streamed, sold out masterclass with world renowned opera legend Renee Fleming and recent talks at schools and conferences in  San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, Ithaca, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Madison, South Bend, Goshen, Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago, Birmingham, Palo Alto, Xi’an, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Foster has consulted for the companies of numerous National Tours, including Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, and A Bronx Tale, and has recently enjoyed consulting for pop/rock projects like working with the NPR Tiny Desk series and for the multi-Grammy winning band Coldplay. Her book, “Don’t Sweat the Technique; A Performers Guide to Hip-Hop and Rap” (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers) was released in November 2023. Foster currently lives in Evanston, IL, with her husband Matt Boresi, their daughter Vivian, and their 2 adorable bunnies, Cinna and Rue.

Kara Lindsay / Acting

Broadway: Wicked (Glinda), Beautiful (Cynthia Weil), Newsies (Katherine Plumber) Original Cast/ Fathom Events Film. NYCity Center: Once Upon a Mattress (Winnifred Standby for Sutton Foster). National Tour: Wicked (Glinda), Little House on the Prairie (originated Laura). Paper Mill Playhouse: Newsies, Jolly Holiday, Little House…Prairie. Sacramento Music Circus: Singin in the Rain (Kathy Selden). NCT: Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins).Kansas City Starlight: Cinderella (Cinderella). Kansas City Rep: Cabaret (Sally Bowles). 5th Avenue: Lone Star Love (Miss Ann Page). Geva: A Christmas Carol(Belle). TV: Murphy Brown”ABC’s “Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong”ABC’s “The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II”, Tony Awards, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. BFA Carnegie Mellon University. Huge thanks and LOVE to my friends, family, Stewart Talent/ Industry Entertainment. @karalindsay1

Brittainy Barattia / Casting

Brittainy joined the Gray Talent Group as an Associate Agent in July of 2015. She now heads up the Chicago tv/film/commercial/VO departments.  After earning degrees in Theatre Arts and Psychology from the University of Iowa, she began her career in theatre, working in the fields of fundraising and production and stage management. In tandem with her work in the field of performing arts, Brittainy worked in the aviation industry, during which time she learned that there truly is no place like sweet home Chicago. Brittainy is delighted to be part of the performing arts community and is thrilled to help showcase the amazing talents of the actors at Gray Talent Group.


Evening & Weekend Classes
Individual Courses & Conservatory Tracks

Fill out the form below to get on the interest list for The Studio: Fall 2024. We will update you with schedules and registration information mid-summer.


The Pilot Program for ICA’s K-12 day school is launching Fall 2025.

Fill out the form below to get on the official interest list and access the survey form. Applications will open in Early Spring 2025.