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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater
musical theatre faculty


Nancy Allen

Nancy Allen is an instructor in the classical voice department and the coordinator of musical theatre. She works primarily with musical theatre majors and has taught at Belmont for 10 years with a brief hiatus after the birth of her second child.

After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University, Mrs. Allen attended The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland where she studied with Ruth Drucker, Dr. Thomas Houser and Gordon Hawkins. She received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the conservatory in voice performance and taught voice there before moving to Nashville.

Mrs. Allen has performed leading roles with equity and non-equity theaters in the region and continues to enjoy performing when her teaching schedule allows. She has sung with the Billy Graham Organization, Nashville Symphony, the Waco Symphony and has performed featured roles with the Nashville Opera in their productions of “Surrender Road” by Marcus Hummon and Puccini’s “Turandot”. In addition to opera and musical theater, Mrs. Allen continues to do studio work and has three CD recordings: “Distant Melody”, which won a Parent’s Choice Award of Approval, “Shall We Gather”, and “A Christmas Kiss”.

At Belmont, Mrs. Allen enjoys blending her love of classical vocal technique with the challenges of performing musical theater repertoire. She believes all music is communication and the singer must find the story and emotion in every piece, no matter the style. She uses science and imagery to help students realize the fullness of their potential and encourages good vocal hygiene for vocal beauty and longevity. Mrs. Allen is certified in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method - a “body-based method of vocal training which draws from many disciplines” – and incorporates these principles in her teaching and personal performing.  Her students have gone on to perform on Broadway, in Broadway National Tours, with Disney cruise lines and national tours, Off Broadway and in regional equity theaters.  Her students have received top honors in NATS competitions.

Nancy Allen lives in Nashville with her husband, two children and three dogs. She continues her vocal training as a student of Marjorie Halbert and Chris Beatty. She is very active in Forest Hills Baptist Church and she is a member of The Woman's Musicale, The League of Professional Theater Women, The National Association of Teachers of Singing, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society, and Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society.

Favorite roles include  “Eliza Doolittle” in My Fair Lady, “Josephine” in I’ll Be Seeing You (originated the role), “Arlene” in Baby, “Velma von Tussle” in Hairspray,  “Lady of the Lake” in Spamalot and “Jenny” in Company with the Tennessee Repertory Theater.  Dream Role: “Desiree Armfeldt” in A Little Night Music.


David Shamburger

David teaches in the musical theatre program within the School of Music at Belmont. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After spending some time in New York, David returned to teach in the undergraduate and graduate programs at UNLV.  After returning for a short stay in New York, his love for teaching drew him to the University System of Georgia where he taught Theatre at Middle Georgia College for five years while continuing to perform and direct in the region. David left Georgia to become Director of Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre at Huntington University, Ind. where he eventually became chair of the department. Though his area of emphasis is voice and movement, he has a wide knowledge of performing and teaching Shakespeare and makes little distinction between the acting demands of the musical and that of classical theatre.

The acting and voice technique he teaches is based on the Linklater approach to freeing the voice along with influences from F. M. Alexander, Rudolph Laban, Constantine Stanislavsky and the external method of Susanna Bloch's, Alba Emoting.  

David has been a resident member of the Granbury Opera House in Texas, the Horse Cave Repertory Theatre in Kentucky, Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (CAST) in Iowa, McLeod Summer Playhouse in Illinois, and Saint Michael's Playhouse in Vermont. Some of his favorite musical theatre experiences  include roles in "Gypsy," "Anything Goes," "Kiss Me Kate," "Forever Plaid," "1940s Radio Hour," "Damn Yankees," Crazy for You," "Man of Lamancha," "110 in the Shade," "Into the Woods," "I do! I do!" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." David also enjoys teaching, performing and directing Shakespeare.  His experience includes "King John," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Julius Caesar," "Romeo and Juliet" and "As You Like It." Other performance credits include "The Crucible," "You Can't Take it With You," "Noises Off," "Wait Until Dark,"Tartuffe" and "The Cherry Orchard." He was also in the original cast of "And the Angels Sing, A New Musical Review," which premiered at the Odessy Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. In New York City, David worked as a performer, director, and composer. His musical compositions have been performed and heard in several plays and Caberets across the country. 

David is happily married to Kristi Brannon-Shamburger and they have four beautiful children, twins, Emma Jo and Charles Aubrey, Abigail Olivia and Wesley Matthias. He attributes his career to mentors Jack Wann, Tim Fink, and Michael Lugering for their invaluable teaching and owes all of his successes to God and his relationship with Jesus Christ.


Jo Lynn Burks

Ms. Burks received a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Music from the University of Alabama (where she also won the title of Miss University of Alabama).  She then received a Master of Musical Theatre Degree from the University of Miami, FL (where she was also honored to hold the title of Miss University of Miami).

Jo Lynn Burks now wears many hats as a Musical Director, Orchestrator, Singer, Pianist, and teacher.

 As a keyboard player/singer, Jo Lynn Burks has toured with Gladys Knight, Lead Singers of the TEMPTATIONS, a solo tour with Roger Daltrey of The Who, and with many Nashville touring artists including Laura Bell Bundy.  Solo pianist/singer engagements included  New York City’s The Carlyle, the Waldorf-Astoria, The Plaza, and fun, Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans.

On Broadway, she originated a principal role in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.  Other Broadway credits include Smokey Joe’s Café, Hairspray, All Shook Up, and The Color Purple.  Jo Lynn’s national tours include Fame, Mamma Mia,  Smokey Joe’s Café,  Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, and “Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians.”

Along with music-partner Daryl Glenn, Ms. Burks’ recent NYC cabaret entitled Robert Altman’s Nashville won New York’s “Triple Crown” of Cabaret: the Nightlife Award,   Bistro Award, and MAC Award.

In her young years, Jo Lynn sang and danced her way through several shows at Opryland, right here in Nashville.

After 2 years as a music professor at the University of Miami, Ms. Burks now serves as Resident Musical Director and as a Voice professor in Belmont University’s Musical Theatre and Commercial Voice Departments. 

Ms. Burks teaches Master Classes in the techniques of singing Rock/Pop/Country/R&B.  Several of her former Voice-students are currently on Broadway in Aladdin,  Book of Mormon, and Wicked.  One of whom, she is quite proud: Chris Lee, playing the Principal Role of Lafayette/Jefferson in Hamilton.


Erica Aubrey

Erica Aubrey

Erica Aubrey holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in musical theatre from New York University and an undergraduate degree in Music Business from Belmont University.

Mrs. Aubrey spent the last decade working as a professional actress in New York. Most recently, she performed the role of Mrs. Newton in the Chicago-based Broadway tryout of Amazing Grace, directed by Gabriel Barre and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gatelli. She was the standby for Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara in Far From Heaven at Off Broadway’s prestigious Playwrights Horizons, directed by three-time Tony nominee Michael Greif. She performed alongside Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth in Music in the Air at the New York City Center Encores! series, and has performed principal roles in Equity theaters across the country, including the Ryman Auditorium, Casa Mañana,Theatre Aspen, Gateway Playhouse, American Folklore Theater, Ogunquit Playhouse, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse and New York Stage and Film. Notably, she played Shelby in The Spitfire Grill in the 10th Anniversary production directed by the show’s composer, James Valcq, and played Judy Bernly in the first regional premiere of 9 to 5: the Musical starring Sally Struthers. While in New York, she took part in numerous readings and workshops of new musicals, including Moonshine: that Hee-Haw Musical, co-written by Belmont alum and Warner Brothers Nashville recording artist, Brandy Clark. She has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman as a back-up singer for Ms. Clark and has also worked as a back-up singer for the jam band Phish, performing in sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden. She has performed in concerts with and on recordings for composers Alan Menken, Craig Carnelia, Stephen Schwartz and Adam Gwon. She can be seen on Season 1 of the Netflix/Marvel Comic series A.K.A. Jessica Jones. In Nashville, she remains active as a session singer and voiceover artist, and has just begun working on a solo album. She and her husband, Miles were the 2017 hosts of the Nashville High School Musical Theater Awards, which sent two young actors to the National Jimmy Awards in NYC. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of the Dan Fogelberg musical, Part of the Plan at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in September of 2017, and singing the role of Mother in Ragtime with the Nashville Symphony in March of 2018.

Passionate about teaching, she believes that every voice is unique and enjoys tailoring her lessons to the individual. Her goal is to create a nurturing studio environment, while giving students the tools required to meet the growing demands of a career in musical theatre. Above all, when good technique is in place, Mrs. Aubrey believes finding the story within the song and having a strong personal connection to the lyric ultimately frees the voice to go where it needs to go.

Mrs. Aubrey holds certificates in levels 1 and 2 of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method, a whole body approach to singing by Jeanine Lovetri, a leading teaching artist of contemporary commercial music styles. She is a founding member of the Young Professionals of the The Actors Fund in New York, and is a member of Actors Equity Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

She resides in Nashville with her husband, guitarist and actor Miles Aubrey, and their rescue dog Lucy.