Flying Lessons

Book by Donald Rupe; Music by Donald Rupe and Cesar de la Rosa; Orchestrations by Cesar de la Rosa, Josh Ceballos and Jason Bailey

In this charming musical, Isabella is a young Latina whose teacher has just assigned the final project of her eighth-grade year: research a historical figure and write a paper about what made them great. Joined by her quirky friends, Isabella has to decide who to study when she is visited in a dream by two unlikely companions: Amelia Earhart and Frederick Douglass. Over time, Isabella writes her own 'recipe for greatness' as she learns as much about herself as she does about history.


Runtime: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Donald Rupe

Donald Rupe (Writer (Book, Music, Lyrics))

DONALD RUPE (Book/Music/Lyrics/Director) is an Orlando-based producer, director, and writer. Currently, Donald is the Director of Theatre at Central Florida Community Arts, an impressive organization that provides performance opportunities in many disciplines for people of all ages ( In his current role, Donald produces a full season of award-winning productions in a converted Blackbox Theatre space in the heart of Downtown Orlando. Donald is also an Adjunct Professor of Theatre at Valencia College and in another life he was a high school theatre teacher for 7 years. Donald began writing at the Orlando International Fringe Festival, where he has enjoyed several successes: From Here (2019, Winner-4 Watermark Splash Awards), Once I Laughed (2015, Winner-Best Musical, Patron's Pick and endorsed by the estate of the Andrews Sisters), among others. Donald (with collaborator Cesar de la Rosa) wrote the first incarnation of Flying Lessons as a result of a grant to bring a theatrical production to the eighth grade students of Osceola County, Florida. Donald received his Master's Degree in Applied Theatre from New York University and his BA in Theatre from Florida State University.

Cesar de la Rosa

Cesar de la Rosa (Music/Orchestrations)

CESAR DE LA ROSA (Music/Lyrics/Orchestrations) is a producer, singer-songwriter and seasoned entertainer. Hailing from the enchanted island of Puerto Rico, Cesar grew up surrounded by his large, musical family. Performing from the young age of 8, Cesar came to Florida to study vocal performance, choir, drama, and dance. In Orlando, Cesar collaborated with some of the world’s leading entertainment companies, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. He has also released a debut studio album, toured Europe, Japan, and America, and has been involved in songwriting projects for companies such as Telemundo and MTV. Cesar has since created Push-Love, a production company, in Orlando, Florida.

Jason Bailey

Jason Bailey (Orchestrations)

JASON M. BAILEY (Orchestrations) is a Performer/Pianist/Music Director/Vocal Coach in Orlando. He is currently a staff accompanist for the Theatre department at University of Central Florida where he is also working on his M.A in Musical Theatre with an Emphasis on Music Directing. Jason is a also a vocal coach, currently working on his Estill certification, and teaches privately as well working with schools and theaters in Central Florida. Jason is a Musical Director for many companies including Central Florida Community Arts, Osceola Arts, Rollins College, and UCF and he was recently named one of the top 5 Music Directors in Orlando by the Orlando Sentinel. Jason is also an arts educator, having taught band, choir, and musical theatre for a number of public and private schools as well for nationally acclaimed theaters such as Missoula Children's Theatre, Oregon Children's Theatre, Central Florida Community Arts, and Orlando Repertory Theatre. He began his career as performer and has sung and acted with theatre's across the country including Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, American Family Theatre, and Salem Repertory Theatre.

Michelle Coben

Michelle Coben (Cynthia)

Michelle is thrilled to be participating in her first NYMF! Past credits include: The Muny (Wizard of Oz), Theatre Aspen (Peter and the Starcatcher), Walt Disney World (Finding Nemo the Musical), Pittsburgh Musical Theater (Peter Pan). Proud graduate of The University of Cincinnati -College-Conservatory of Music. 

Brandon Martin

Brandon Martin (Frederick Douglass)

A multi-genre vocalist, performer, composer/arranger, and conductor, Brandon performs full-time at Walt Disney World Resort with The Voices of Liberty at Epcot. Past performances: Titanic (Fleet), West Side Story (Action), Into the Woods (Narrator). He is honored to bring Frederick Douglass to life, and in such a great show. Love and thanks to family, friends, and mentors.

Desiree Montes

Desiree Montes (Lydia)

Desiree is beyond thrilled to be debuting the World Premiere of Flying Lessons here at NYMF! Desiree has been a professional performer for 18+ years. She works as a principle performer for a few major theme parks & resorts in Central Florida. She also currently works professionally booking seasonal and year-round projects for a few local entertainment companies, talent agencies & many theatre companies within and beyond Central Florida. 

Briana Moten

Briana Moten (Ms. Young)

Briana is an actress and voice teacher who is thrilled to be making her New York City debut with NYMF in Flying Lessons. A USF graduate with a master’s degree in Opera Performance, her favorite credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray, La Traviata, Rock of Ages, and The Secret Silk under the direction of Stephen Schwartz. She would like to thank her family and friends for their boundless love and support. 

Esmeralda Nazario

Esmeralda Nazario (Isabella)

Esmeralda Nazario is currently studying Musical Theatre at the University of Central Florida. Her credits include Madeleine Astor in Titanic, Dorothy in El Wiz, and Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Some of her favorite credits include Cinderella and Godspell. Esmeralda was also in the original CFCArts production of Flying Lessons, originating the role of Isabella. Esmeralda is excited to be reviving her role at the New York Musical Festival.

Erick Perafan

Erick Perafan (Billy)

Erick is extremely proud to be joining this cast of Flying Lessons in NYC with NYMF. Erick has been performing professionally for the past decade around the globe. He’s been working around several theme parks such as Dollywood and Universal Studios Orlando as well as Viking Cruise Ocean Cruise Lines. Some recent roles include Marius in Les Misérables, WOOF in HAIR: The Musical and Ricky in the original musical From Here. I would like to thank my family for the immeasurable support. 

Deanna Quintero

Deanna Quintero (Madison)

Deanna is thrilled to be making her New York Musical Festival debut! Favorite credits include: Next to Normal (Natalie); In the Heights, Autobahn (Girl), Looking for Fun(bags) (Shirley), Spring Awakening (Wendla), Extremities (Terry), Songs for a New World (Woman 1), and Finding Nemo - The Musical (Nemo). @deeecuee

Megan Valle

Megan Valle (Amelia Earhart)

EMC. Currently at WDW as Dory in Finding Nemo at Animal Kingdom. Recent credits: PlayFest (Orlando Shakes), Legally Blonde (The LEX), The Fantasticks (Short North Stage). Professional Choreographer. BFA in Musical Theatre from Wright State. Love to her sister.

Katie Rinaldi

Katie Rinaldi (Stage Manager)

Katie holds a BFA in stage management from UCF (class of 2008). Credits include Fun Home, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Ghost the Musical, Hand to God, Top Girls, Born Yesterday, Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Constellations, The God Game and more. She has also worked at the Vault of Souls in Tampa and spent eight years stage managing various shows at Busch Gardens, Tampa. Proud member of Actors Equity Association.

David Lowe

David Lowe (Vice-Principle, George Putnam, Hugh Auld)

David is honored to be part of Flying Lessons at NYMF. He has been performing for over 25 years. Past Credits include Billy Elliot (Dad), Fun Home (Bruce), Man of La Mancha (Quixote/Cervantes), South Pacific (Emile) and many many more. He would like to thank his family and Donald for their support and guidance these many years!