With students appearing on Broadway, opera stages, television, and in films, Rolann Owens has nurtured the development and training of dancers, singers, actors, directors, and filmmakers. Many of Rolann’s students are currently starring on Broadway. Tony Yazbeck, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his “triple threat” leading role of Gabey in ON THE TOWN, was the lead in FINDING NEVERLAND on Broadway, and currently appeared in his own show at Lincoln Center. Michael James Scott is performing the lead role of “Genie” in ALADDIN on Broadway, after an extensive tour of Australia and New Zealand. Gail Bennett DeJesus is making her Broadway debut as the Dowager Empress in “Anastasia.” Lauren Gibbs, a featured Rockette since 2014, is also a spokesperson for the CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR shows at Radio City Music Hall, is still a Rockette. Alice Rietveld is the star of the new film, EXHUME. The film was directed and produced by Rolann’s student, Scott Poiley, who is a former Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Rolann Owens’ vast knowledge of music theater and dance has made her one of America’s foremost teachers; appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Presidential Scholar Teachers Award Committee.
Rolann Owens began her dancing education in Buffalo, New York, where she was the childhood partner of Michael Bennett, the famous Broadway choreographer and creator of A Chorus Line, Nine and other musicals. Her advanced dance education included Bachelors and Masters Degrees (Summa cum Laude) from The Juilliard School. And her personal studies have been with such great teachers as Roye and Jane Dodge, Paul Draper, Peter Gennaro, Gus Giordano, Eugene Loring and Matt Mattox!
Working extensively as a choreographer in a variety of settings, Mrs. Owens has choreographed for the Miss New York State Miss America Pageant, Holiday on Ice, The Ice Follies, the U.S. Olympic Team Ice Skating Pairs and National Ice Skating Pairs, and has prepared the Croatian Formation Tap Team for the World IDO competition. At home in Orlando, Florida, she counts numerous shows for Walt Disney World among her credits, including Ellington Under the Stars: A Salute to the Duke (in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute), Bob McGrath’s Sesame Street show, the World’s Largest Concert (a PBS special with Sandy Duncan), the Millennium Show and the World Dancers Special Events Show, and has also served as Disney World’s College Program dance director. At the acclaimed Passionspielhaus in Erl, Austria, Mrs. Owens has choreographed the world premiere of the Jürgen Doetsch opera, Altes Testament.
Mrs. Owens chaired the Tap Committee of the International Dance Organization for over ten years, and also served on the juries of the IDO’s World Championships in Riesa, Germany. Other international judging includes, the Trofeo Internazionale de Danza, Regione Fruili-Venezia (Italy), the Just Dance Festival (Slovenia), the American Dance Awardsand the Headliners National Talent Competition. She has also recently judged for the German National Tap Dance Championship, the Swiss National Tap Competition Finals, the Slovenian National Dance Competition Finals, and American Dance Spectrum.
Experienced in all levels of dance, Mrs. Owens has particular expertise in musical theater dance styles and in tap. Beginning her professional career while still in high school, she was a member of the original Broadway casts of My Fair Lady, Li’l Abner, and Destry Rides Again. Her television dance credits include The Perry Como Show, The Gary Moore Show, The Jackie Gleason Show (with the June Taylor Dancers) and the Miss America Pageant, as well as national TV commercials.
Mrs. Owens has presented master classes in New York Los Angeles, Miami, Buffalo, New Orleans, and Indianapolis on musical theater dance and audition technique. She is currently on the Advisory Committee Board for Musiktheater Bavaria, a non-profit organization for emerging young artists, founded by her husband, Richard in Oberaudorf, Germany in the year 2000. Many of her former students at MTB are appearing on stages all over the world, and many of them have continued their education, earning their doctorates as educators and performers. The Bridges of Madison County, Crazy for You, The Will Rogers Follies, Evita, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Billy Elliott, The Pirate Queen, Rock of Ages, Oklahoma, A Chorus Line, Gypsy, Jersey Boys, All Shook Up, Young Frankenstein, Wicked, The Little Mermaid, Bells Are Ringing, Singing in the Rain, Spiderman, White Christmas, West Side Story and Curtains have all been performed on Broadway with a former student of “Ms. Rolann’s” in their casts.