From the Founder
"As an educator and mother, I have witnessed how the arts can shape a young person's identity and build their self confidence. I believe that through creativity and self-expression, our children can grow to their fullest potential and realize their dreams."
Co-Founder- Monica Toro Lisciandro
The Viera Studio in the News
The love of drama instilled early on, for two Brevard County students, has now resulted in The Viera Studio For the Performing Arts opening May 2.
Before going to New York City to pursue careers in the arts, founders Monica Toro-Lisciandro attended Suntree Elementary and got early instruction in drama at Johnson Junior High in Melbourne.
Toro-Lisciandro received a Bachelor of Arts with concentrations in theatre performance and theatre education at the prestigious theatre university, Marymount Manhattan College. While in college she student-taught at the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, interned for a prominent casting director, and performed in professional touring theatre companies.
“We’ve always wanted to do this and now we’re back in Brevard, so it just sort of worked out,’’ Toro-Lisciandro said.
Classes to be offered at the studio include acting, musical theatre, commercials, audition techniques, college audition preparation, public speaking, movement, instrumental techniques and vocal techniques.
There also will be instrumental music taught by Bob Barone, music instructor at the School of Performing Arts at Gardendale Elementary Magnet School and music director for Rockledge United Methodist Church and the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse. Also on staff is Carolyn Barone, an 18-year veteran teacher from the School of Performing Arts at Gardendale Elementary Magnet School.
The cost for weekly classes varies per month for children with discounts for multiple classes. There is a one-time registration but it includes a T-shirt to be worn at all related classes and events, a folder for scripts, and a backpack for materials and dance shoes.
The studio also offers eCoaching, which allows students to video chat with one of the experienced professionals for 15 or 30 minutes for advice and feedback.
Former Johnson Junior High School drama teacher, now Viera High School Principal Jim Hickey, well remembers a couple of star students who dreamed big.
“We had something magical then for a few years. The benefit was as much for us teachers as it was for the students. I always said that one day I’ll be working for them. It’s great to have them back and to see that they got into drama. They’ll do fine,’’ Hickey said.
By George White
From Viera to Broadway & Back
“When Monica came back from Astoria, she called to say, ‘Let’s meet up.’ By then, she was married with two kids. That was the end of February 2012. When we met, Monica said, ‘We should start that studio we always talked about,’. . . I was working toward a law degree. In 30 days, we had the entire business plan and a website, a logo and a place.”
Their dream became The Viera Studio for the Performing Arts (Viera Studio) and in one year, it has moved from a small, second-story unit to a 4,000 square-foot groundfloor New York-style studio.
Toro Lisciandro studied at Marymount Manhattan College.
“I loved performing,” she said, “but when I was in college, as an intern, I found something I loved even more. There is something exciting in sharing the love of theater with kids.”
She handles the administrative duties, teaches creative playwriting and musical theater and organizes events.
At Viera Studio, he has focused on public relations and marketing. Enrollment is up from 30 students to 120.
“Most who started with us a year ago are still with us,” Toro Lisciandro said.
Students come from as far away as Port St. John and Palm Bay, but most are local to Viera/Suntree.
In addition to Toro Lisciandro, Viera Studio employs a concierge and seven instructors.
“Everything we do, we teach the whole child,” Toro Lisciandro said. “Performing arts is our vehicle.”
Following the studio’s production of “Annie JR,” 50 children presented Scenes and Selections inspired by The Lion King.
By MARY BROTHERTON