By Crystal Harrell

Coachella Valley natives Christine Michele and Alisha Bates have been performing together in local musical productions for almost a decade now—having met in a production of “Rocky Horror Show” and being involved in several other musicals and shows together ever since. Their friendship has grown and evolved over the years, and now the two stage starlets are about to live one of their biggest dreams as they attend a prestigious musical theater workshop this month, Lindsay Mendez and Ryan Scott Oliver’s Actor Therapy’s Summer Intensive, for two weeks that will help them towards their career in the performing arts.

Every summer, there is a two-week summer intensive broken up into a session A and session B, The audition process involves sending in a headshot, resume, and three video reels of singing. Within two weeks, candidates find out whether they made it or not. Christine and Alisha sent in their applications and got a response a week later saying they had been accepted.

“I’ve always loved musical theater. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now. So I thought, what an opportunity to go to New York and learn more about musical theater. I started crying when I found out I got accepted. I’m going to New York. My family is from New York. My mom and dad were born and raised there, and I have so many family that was upstate in the city and this is where I always thought I would be. I hadn’t been there in 10 years. And I remember, when I would go there, I would go to NYU and Juilliard and get all the information to go there. I didn’t end up going there, but now that this came forward, here’s my opportunity to pursue my dream in New York,” explained Christine.


“My acceptance came with such nervous excitement. I thought, how do I get there? How do I get the money? All of those kinds of worries. But I just reveled in the fact that I was accepted into the program because they leave the opportunity to apply open for a couple months and they get a good amount of applications. And so the fact that only 16 people go the first two weeks and then 16 people go the second two weeks, it’s selective, and I was so excited,” added Alisha.

The summer intensive holds sessions Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., consisting of dance class, acting class, voice lessons, and workshops about the financial aspects and business of the art by Broadway professionals. One of Christine’s vocal coaches, Natalie Weiss, will be teaching her master class there. New York agents and casting directors will come in to watch the participants, and on the very last day of the workshop, there will be a show in front of industry casting directors and casting agency managers looking for potential clients for a job.

“I’m a singer first and foremost—with acting and dancing or moving being my secondary and tertiary skills. I love telling a story. So to be awarded this opportunity after striving and dreaming about something like this for what seems to be my whole life feels like such an honor and I am so proud of myself.  I feel this program will help me expand on my knowledge, technique and challenge me as musical theater performer. I am ecstatically jazzed to continue to learn, hone my talent and craft, be inspired and be inspiring,” revealed Alisha.

“I think that this will definitely help me with auditions, more of my technique, because I’ve been taking voice lessons for almost five years now. I’ve just been training really hard on my technique so that I’m able to venture off outside of the Coachella Valley and go to New York because it’s different with Broadway,” stated Christine.

Christine and Alisha have been looking forward to planning their New York experience together—with plenty of downtime to see some Broadway shows. Their friendship has had plenty of directional turns in the span of almost a decade, but the two songstresses always triumph together in the end.

“This girl has got one of the most incredible voices. I remember the first time I heard her sing. I was like, oh my God, who are you? And she’s also worked really hard for this. Last year we did open calls together at the McCallum Theatre and she won, like I knew she would. But her passion for theater is just inspiring. I’m so proud of her and I know how much this means to her and she really deserves it,” commented Christine on Alisha’s acceptance.

“Christine has just worked really, really hard and that’s the one thing that I feel no one can ever take away from her. Every time she has has stumbled or fallen in any aspect, she always gets up a million times stronger and I think that she just works really hard for what she wants and she recognizes that and herself now. I think that’s so beautiful,” said Alisha about Christine.

Christine was just cast in “Rent” at Palm Canyon Theatre as Joanne, which has been a dream of hers and her favorite musical. This will be Christine’s first time on stage in two years for a  show, and rehearsals start in September with the show opening in October.

“I just want to thank everybody who has supported me throughout my career in theater, my arts and music, and my family, especially. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way and all the donors who donated to my fundraiser. I will forever be grateful,” said Christine.

Alisha just finished her third cabaret that she produced herself and currently sings Saturday nights at the V Wine Lounge from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Alisha expresses her love for the V Wine Lounge and its midcentury modern style for a fun, casual night out. She is also keeping her schedule flexible as New York is in her sights and she wants to keep her options open.

“The community, as I have shown up in different spaces, has been so loving and so kind and so generous, and I just really want to thank everyone for the encouragement, love, and the generosity. I just fully receive it and I’m so appreciative of it,” said Alisha.

To help contribute to Christine and Alisha’s funding for their New York summer intensive, donations are appreciated and accepted through Venmo: @christinemichele and @AlishaBInspired.