Teaching Artists

Leigh Ann Cannady

Leigh Ann Cannady has an extensive background in professional, community and educational music and theatre. An Atlanta native, Le283732_489676374380448_1852484386_nigh Ann has worked as an accompanist, arranger, musical director, vocal coach and consultant for schools and theaters all over north Georgia and metro Atlanta for the last twenty years. To date, Leigh Ann has been involved with well over three dozen regional productions including producing shows with her husband and their company, Pie In The Sky Productions. Favorite credits include Into The Woods (The Baker’s Wife & Musical Director), The 1940’s Radio Hour (Musical Director), Oklahoma (Producer & Musical Director), Nunsense (Sister Robert Anne), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Musical Director), Holly & The Heartbreakers (Arranger, Musical Director, Vocalist), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Producer, Director), The Drowsy Chaperone (Musical Director & Conductor), Hairspray (Musical Director & Conductor) and Little Shop of Horrors (Musical Director). As a vocalist, Leigh Ann has performed a wide range of styles from singing in classical ensembles touring Europe to opening for Southern Rock legends, Driving and Crying as a guest vocalist in a country band. Leigh Ann holds a degree in music education from Shorter College and is a certified K-12 music specialist as well as having completed postgraduate work in sound engineering through the Berklee School of Music in Boston. She also works as the musical director for the Emmy Nominated Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards–also known as the Shuler Hensley Awards–held annually at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center and broadcast on WSBTV. She is now  proud to focus her energies as the Owner and Artist Director of the Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts. Leigh Ann lives in Cumming with her husband, John, and their four sons.


Becky Binion

Becky Binion received a dance scholarship at the University of Riverside where she studied various forms of dance incl397899_336008676502421_133743800_nuding ballet, tap, jazz, African, modern, and theater. She toured Southern California with the company Groundwork and eventually found her way to Atlanta, GA where she danced with Gotta Dance and Co. and Colours Dance Theatre. She loves to choreograph for theater and has received a MAT Award for her choreography on Chicago and Forever Plaid. Onstage, some of Becky’s favorite roles include Suzy in The Marvelous Wonderettes and Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors. Becky is excited to have an opportunity through Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts to share what she had learned a be a part of a growing community of theater near Cumming.

Becky (in blue) performing recently in The Marvelous Wonderettes


Amanda Rountree

unnamedAmanda Rountree has been performing improvisational theatre professionally since 1992, teaching since 1998, and directing since 2002. She is also a storyteller, writer, puppeteer, and solo-performer. She recently moved to the Atlanta area from Chicago, where she was a faculty member with the Second City Training Center, an ensemble member with WNEP Theatre, and a writer/puppeteer with SNORF.   Her one-woman shows, The Good, the Bad, and the Monkey and 185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar… both had successful runs in Chicago and tours to other cities. Previously, she was a performer and instructor with Unexpected Productions and a performer and co-artistic director of Playback Theater Northwest in Seattle. Amanda has entertained audiences in seven countries and countless North American cities utilizing a wide variety of styles, disciplines, and formats. She’s performed everything from improv games in Kentucky and improvised Shakespeare at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival to drama therapy in Japan and breakthrough formats in Germany.  Amanda is Artistic Director and Education Associate of Highwire Comedy and a faculty member of Forsyth Academy of the Performing Arts.


Erica Mandato

DSC_0305Erica Mandato is a GCSU graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in theater. At Georgia College, she had the opportunity to direct and produce The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged and travel the show to hospitals around the southeast to perform for cancer patients. After graduation, Erica received a directing and stage management internship with Actor’s Express. There she worked under Freddy Ashley and assistant directed and assistant stage managed for the entire 2012-2013 Actor’s Express season. Throughout her internship, she also taught and directed one-act competition pieces such as Black Comedy and Thunderbolts and Dunderheads for Milton High School. Erica went on to teach children’s theatre at several local venues as well as stage managing Where the Mountain Meets the Moon at Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta. After spending the past year teaching English to children in Thailand, Erica is back in America and thrilled to join the Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts family!


Sandra Lutters

Sandra Lutters received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Fine Arts Degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Georgia under Greek pianist Despy Karlas and Edwin Gershefski, respectively. Her graduate chamber recital featured Viennese violinist Eduardo Melkus, a visiting professor at UGA at the time. Post graduate studies have included operatic conducting with the Metropolitan Opera’s Alberta Masiello, Benton Hess of the Eastman School and Vincent La Selva, conductor of New York Grand Opera and conducting professor at Julliard for many years. She has accompanied singers, instrumentalists and choirs in concerts throughout the US, Europe, Russia and the Middle East in a career spanning forty years. Many of these appearances have been with internationally known soprano Indra Thomas, with whom she has recorded a CD of spirituals.

Ms Lutters now resides in Gainesville, GA where she joyfully oversees the training of a musically gifted grandson. Ms Lutters conducts the choir for the High Holy Days Services at Temple Emanuel in Dunwoody as well as accompanying for the Lanier Singers. She maintains a busy coaching and accompanying schedule in North Georgia and in Atlanta.