About Us

When I Grow Up

Founded in 2013 by Lori Anne Sword, Teen City Stage is a non-profit Musical Theater Academy and Performance Company for middle and high school students. The Goal of TCS is to offer young people from across the entire region a focused opportunity to:

  • Learn about and experience all aspects of Musical Theater,
  • Participate in training classes,
  • Produce at least two full-scale Broadway musicals each year and,
  • Work with professional directors, choreographers and designers.

Teen City Stage trains and nurtures aspiring artists who want to further their career goals and those who seek the arts as inspiration. Musical theatre professionals, performance-trained teaching and visiting artists lead all classes and rehearsals. Admission to TCS is audition based and TCS is committed to providing financial assistance to those who qualify.


  • Team Broadway – an after school, intensive musical theatre training experience for intermediate to advanced level performers.
  • Summer Production – During a two week summer intensive, students ages 12 to 18 experience a full scale musical theatre production process. Students receive professional-level training in acting, singing, and dancing as they prepare for a performance under the direction of the award-winning team of Linda Booth and Lori Anne Sword. At the culmination of the program, students present two or three public performances with sound, lighting, costumes, and scenery. Admission to the program is by audition only.
  • Acting Intensive Workshop – By invitation only, a small cast will rehearse and perform a small, acting intense, musical.  Casting happens by “invitation” rather than through auditions, and this program is only for advanced performers.

Student Success

Our goal is to give students a level of training that allows them access to the next level – College. Every senior this year has received an offer from one of their top choice colleges. 100%! This includes college acceptances at programs such as Michigan, NYU, BOCO, and Elon. These acceptances are a validation of our methods. We evaluate success of course not only on how well our students do in the College application process but also as they are cast in shows around the city…many directors have told us that the work ethic, maturity and “directability” of our students is beyond their years.


Program Benefits

Through our proven and validated process our students learn:

  • how to achieve a standard of excellence.
  • how to succeed in the highly competitive realm of musical theatre.
  • how to integrate individual abilities with others to produce better results.
  • how to build “can-do” mindsets that foster greater self-confidence.
  • how long term participation in a comprehensive program fosters growth and development

At Teen City Stage, students participate in a musical theatre environment where they can explore all aspects of a real-life production company. Our students are given opportunities to learn a variety of disciplines from intermediate level education to professional production level training. Teen City Stage also provides a strong foundation for students who decide to pursue more extensive training or careers in the performing arts.

Program Goals

  • Students will work with experienced faculty including professional directors, choreographers, and designers in a nurturing environment.
  • Students will perform in professional venues.
  • Students will have the opportunity to showcase their work in regional and national competitions
  • Students will participate in a college preparatory comprehensive program.

Our Team

Lori Anne Sword

College Coaching
Study ABroadway Program Director


Lori Anne Sword holds a BA in Arts Administration from Catawba College and an MFA in Musical Theatre from the University of California – Irvine.  She has been an award winning theatre educator as well as a private audition and college coach for over 20 years .  Lori Anne has received two regional excellence in directing awards  from the North Carolina Theatre Conference for her productions of Children of Eden and Almost, Maine.  In May of 2012, her production of West Side Story earned seven nominations at the inaugural Blumey Awards and her students received the Best Supporting Actress Award and the Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship.  This year, her production of Oklahoma garnered eleven Blumey Nominations and was awarded four awards for Best Lighting, Best Ensemble, Best Choreography and the Wells Fargo Best Musical Blumey award. Additionally, Lori Anne’s students have won numerous acting and technical awards at the North Carolina Theatre Conference regional and state play festivals, the Shakespeare Competition at Wingate University, and the Christians In Theatre Arts competition in Greenville, South Carolina.

As a performer, she recently has appeared at the Halton Theatre in Hairspray (Female Authority Figure – Metrolina Theatre Award nominee),Annie Get Your Gun (Dolly Tate), Bye Bye Birdie (Doris MacAfee), Cabaret(Fraulein Kost), My Fair Lady (Mrs. Pearce), Hello Dolly (Ernestina Money), and Guys and Dolls (General Cartwright). She has also appeared  in several productions at Theatre Charlotte including Annie, Oliver, and The Full Monty (Metrolina Theatre Award winner for Best Musical). As a young performer, Lori Anne worked in regional theatre, on cruise ships, for Busch and Opryland Entertainment companies and appeared in a variety of film, television, and voice over productions in Los Angeles, New York City, San Antonio, and Orlando.

Several of Lori Anne Sword’s private students have representation with New York agencies and have performed on National Tours and in professional regional theatres.  She has coached many college bound musical theatre students who are now enrolled in top BFA musical theatre programs.  Lori Anne truly believes that students need to develop solid technique and receive excellent training in order to succeed in the highly competitive realm of musical theatre.  She is proud to see her artistic vision for youth in theatre realized through Teen City Stage student success in professional quality productions supported with training from talented, encouraging instructors.

To see what else Lori is up to, visit “Where is Lori”

Steven James

Study ABroadway Program Assistant


Steven James is thrilled to work with the talented students at Teen City Stage.  Currently based in NYC he has spent most of his adult life performing and teaching in the Charlotte area.  Steven has worked as a teacher/director/choreographer with teen City Stage, Children’s Theater of Charlotte, Mooresville Community Children’s Theater, Ballantyne Arts Center, Old Courthouse Theater, Mooresville High School and Charlotte Country Day Middle School.