Betina Hershey is a native New Yorker born to a Broadway musician and a painter. She is a full time performer and educator who loves encouraging others to express themselves through writing, music, dance and theater.
BETINA THE SONGSTRESS
Betina's musical talents and tastes as a performer and writer are too varied to be hemmed in. She co-leads two bands with her husband Nick Russo (Banjo Nickaru), a widely sought after multi-string instrumentalist.
THE SCOOCHES (formerly Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches) latest album features Betina's original songs inspired by flavors of New Orleans, Gullah Geechee rhythms, folk, bluegrass and Americana. "Get Us Out Of Fearland" was #2 album on the International Folk DJ Charts (right under John Prine).
"Hotter than hot, and oh-so-hip," (--The Classical Arts) HOT JAZZ JUMPERS celebrate the music of the Roaring 20's, Ragtime, Blues, Swing, New Orleans, and more. Recent appearances include Live on the Levee, Pocahontas Opera House, and is a favorite at NYC's famed vintage train event.
BETINA THE DANCER
Betina has toured the USA and the world as a dancer in musicals, performed in NYC in tap and modern dance companies, and choreographed original works. She has choreographed and performed as a swing dancer and many partner dance styles at home in NYC and as far away as Tokyo, Japan. In feature films, she has appeared as a principle dancer in Julia Roberts’ “Mona Lisa Smile” and the Disney’s “Enchanted.”
BETINA ON STAGE
As a musical theater performer her credits include: Meg in the National Broadway tour of “Phantom of the Opera”, Anybodys in the LaScala (Italy) production of “West Side Story,” Fleta in "Iolanthe" and Isabel in the "Pirates of Penzance" at NYC's City Center. Favorite role: Luisa in "The Fantasticks" at Jenny Wiley Theatre. Just for her: Jackson was turned into Jacky at New Harmony so Betina could play a "pump boy" and lead guitar in "Pump Boys and Dinettes." Bringing swing dancing and musical theater together: Betina danced the Lindy Feature with Mark Eckstein in "Swing, The Musical."
BETINA AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND EDUCATOR
Betina's theatrical experience inspired the next iteration of herself as artistic director of The Garden Players, a musical theater program in NYC for grades 1-9. As artistic director and lead teacher of the program, Betina develops new original works inspired by and performed by kids. She teaches musical theater techniques, acting improvisation, solfège. She imbues her students with creativity, courage, and the skills to cooperate as they rehearse and participate in the process of creating and rehearse a completely original musical theater show. Actors learn to play with confidence, eloquence and poise in a family-like safe, loving, and nurturing environment.
MUSICAL THEATER LYRICIST, COMPOSER, BOOKWRITER
Betina writes an original musical for kids each year. She is an alum of the Lehman Engle BMI Musical Theater Workshop. With over 2,500 productions and counting, since 2011, communities in 65 countries and nearly every U.S. state have discovered the joy of producing a musical written by Betina Hershey & Denver Casado, published and available at Beat by Beat Press.
Betina loves books, aerial yoga, swing dancing, boggle, food, long walks, family time, and the journey of being a Mom to her twins, collaborating with her talented universe of friends and family.