Meet Ellyn, Argine, and Frank

Ellyn Essig  is a set/décor designer, actor and director. As a designer, since 2001  she has designed over twenty main stage sets for local, community and  regional theater companies. Ellyn first met Frank during their  successful set collaboration on Table Manners by Alan Ayckbourn at the Bergen County Players,  which received the 2006 NJACT distinguished Perry Award for Best Set  Design. Ellyn’s second Perry Award nomination for Best Set Design was in  2009 for Angel Street. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Ellyn has worked in television and films in New York and California including School of Rock, Heartbreakers, Law & Order SVU, People I know,  and others. Trained as an actor at ATC Studios and Lee Strasberg  Institute in Hollywood, Ellyn has appeared in theater productions in New  York, New Jersey and California.

Ellyn directs for several established community theaters, is a judge for the National Youth Theater Awards, and coaches young actors for amateur and professional auditions. 

Argine Safari is  an award-winning music director, vocal coach and conductor, and is  active as a pianist and vocalist, having performed in venues such as  Carnegie Hall, MSG, Zankel Hall, to name a few. Argine is passionate  about transforming the lives of her students through the power of music  and the Arts. For more than fourteen years, Argine was a conductor,  arranger and pianist at the Grammy-award winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus.  Argine co-founded a Youth Theater in New York and has musically directed  more than forty shows there as well as all over the Metropolitan area.  Currently, Argine teaches music at Pascack Valley High School in  Hillsdale, NJ, where she has developed a nationally recognized vocal  program and established new vocal groups and courses. Mrs. Safari  appeared as a guest conductor at the NJMEA State Opera Festival in 2009,  and was the 2011/2012 MEBCI Bergen County High School Choir Conductor.   An active member of NYST and NYSMTA, Argine also coaches young singers  and pianists for their college and professional auditions, several of  whom have won competitions and were accepted to top conservatories. 

A  Grammy-Award nominated music educator, Argine is the 2010 recipient of  the Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Scholar Award,  2016-2017 Bergen County Teacher of the Year, and the 2017 New Jersey  State Teacher of the Year. In 2013, Mrs. Safari was named the  WorldStrides Heritage Performance Director of the Year. Most recently,  Argine was awarded the Evangelina Menendez, Woman of Distinction  Trailblazer Award by Senator Bob Menendez. Argine is fluent in three  languages and holds degrees in business and finance from Brooklyn  College, in piano performance and music theory from Yerevan State  Musical College in Armenia, in musicology and composition from Moscow  State Conservatory in Russia, and in Education Supervision from Rutgers  University.

Frank Avellino is a  director, producer, designer, and playwright. He has directed numerous  productions in New Jersey and New York City, including Doubt by John Patrick Shanley (NJACT nomination for Best Direction of a Play); Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler; Oliver! by Lionel Bart; the NJ Premiere of Rapunzarella White by June Rachelson Ospa and Daniel Nieden; and the NYC Premiere of Miss Lizzie A. Borden Invites You to Tea  by Marjorie Conn. Also a set designer, Frank usually personally designs  or at least conceptualizes the sets for each of the shows he directs.  Frank’s playwriting credits include Ice In April (OOBR Award for Best Play/Best Production), and The Gingerbread Children,  a dramatic retelling of the Brothers Grimm fable, “Hansel and Grethel.”  Frank teaches an original program, Creating Theater, for grades 4-8th  at The Village School in Waldwick, NJ, and has been a teaching  assistant, director, and set designer for Black Box Studios in Teaneck.  In other areas of design, Frank is also a graphic designer specializing  in theater and corporate advertising and promotion. Frank is a member of  the Dramatist Guild, is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute, and is also co-founder of Boz and the Bard Productions, Inc.,  a NJ/NYC Theater Company. In 2016, Frank and Boz and the Bard produced  the critically acclaimed Off Broadway premiere of the original play, Dead Dog Park, by Barry Malawer, in association with BEDLAM, directed by award-winning  Eric Tucker, called "Director of the year" by The Wall Street Journal. 

How 3sPA came to be

Stage, Scene, & Song Performing Arts is  an award-winning 501(c)(3) non-profit NJ theater arts company. The  company grew out of the love and dedication founders Ellyn Essig, Argine  Safari, and Frank Avellino have for the creative and inspiring aspects  of live theater production and entertainment. Firm believers that the  performing arts transforms, enlightens, and empowers its participants  and audiences, Ellyn, Argine, and Frank came together to provide the perfect space for today’s youth – tomorrow’s performers, designers, and technicians – to explore what it means to become people who can transform, enlighten, and empower their peers, their society, and their world through theater.