Meet The Directors

Jessica Rhodes, Director

 

Jessica Rhodes is a native Tampa girl who started her performing career at an early age with her first professional credit in The Florida Orchestra’s production of “The Music Man” at age 8. Bitten by the theatre bug she was very active in the community until she auditioned and was cast in the prestigious professional song and dance company of The Entertainment Revue. There she stayed for 8 years gaining invaluable experience performing all around the country and building important friendships that are still flourishing today.

Wanting to continue her studies in the arts she decided to pursue a degree in Musical Theatre and was admitted to The Boston Conservatory of Music. She trained there for two years before deciding to narrow her major to straight acting and made the big move to NYC. There she auditioned for the conservatory program at Marymount Manhattan where she received a talent based scholarship and went on to earn a BFA in Classical Theatre with a concentration in Shakespeare as well as a minor in Entertainment Business.

After college she had the good fortune of working as an actress in NYC and in regional theatre. Her two favorite credits during this time include a guest star appearance on the hit Netflix Television series “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” directed by Tina Faye. And her dream role “Maureen Johnson” in The Peregrine Theare’s production of RENT in Provincetown MA. She also went through all four levels at The Uprights Citizen’s Brigade Theatre and was invited to join the indie improve team “We Are Yes” which performed in top comedy clubs around the NY area. Always a passion for music Jessica has also consistently performed in bands, most notably “The Highlife Band” that had a 3-month residency at the Venetian Resort and Casino in Macao China.

In addition to performing she had the opportunity to work for the legendary Barbara Andreadis at her talent agency in NYC. She was with her for 5 years as an assistant and learned the ins and outs of scouting talent and how to manage them. She also had the pleasure of working for the Tucker-Myerson Casting office and got a peak at what happens on the other side of the casting table. This made her a well-rounded individual in the arts and from there she has continued to pursue endeavors in both areas of the business.

Another passion that Jessica has perused is Yoga. She has been studying for ten years and has been teaching for three. She was a teacher in NYC and taught at prominent studios and also had the opportunity to teach in inner city schools and brought the practice of meditation and yoga to the children there. She has found that Yoga has not only influenced her everyday life but it has also enhanced her approach to performing and auditioning.

Now back in her hometown of Tampa, she is excited to bring what 15 years of life, education, and experience taught her in NYC and apply it to the thriving performing arts community in the Tampa Bay area!

Courtney Lopez, Asistant Director

 

Courtney recently graduated from USF with my bachelors degree in Integrative animal biology. She has been professional model/actress since age 5 appearing in National Ads for Disney, Busch Gardens, and many other print and television ads. Her journey with Entertainment Revue started when she was only 5 years old and spent 13 wonderful years as a cast member until graduation. In 2013, Courtney was named Assistant director for Rave Revue and ER2 !

Courtney serves as assistant director for Entertainment Revue I & II as she continues her studies in become a Veterinary Medicine.

Cynthia Gries Nekvasil, Founder/Executive Director

 

Cynthia Stevens Nekvasil is the founder of Entertainment Revue, and served as its artistic director and choreographer for 26 years until retiring in 2015.

Cynthia was a sophomore studying political science at the University of Tampa when she was offered a position as an “after school” music instructor at a small local elementary school. That opportunity led to a summer music camp, which she directed, and Entertainment Revue was born. During those final years in college, Cynthia developed a presence for the group in the community by becoming active in the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Visitors Association, and successfully secured a corporate sponsorship by Pepin Distributing Company. In a few short years, Entertainment Revue became a well-known group in the Tampa bay area and began building a repertoire to fulfill the demands of their new corporate clients.

In 1992, Cynthia formed a non-profit organization and set up an educational scholarship fund. Cynthia’s intention was to provide “need-based” tuition grants, as well as establish a college scholarship fund for cast members. To date, Entertainment Revue has awarded over $500,000 in educational scholarships, which have been paid out to girls in universities all over the country.

Over the years, Cynthia has used her talents to develop television and music projects. In 1997, Cynthia wrote and directed a pilot for a childrens' television show “DIVAS.” The show was optioned by FOX network for development and Cynthia worked alongside with the network developing scripts. When the show failed to be picked up, the plan was to resubmit to other networks, but the Teen Pop music scene had taken over and Cynthia instead focused her attention on developing music projects. Her first act “PYT” was picked up by Epic Records, and within months the quartet were touring as an opening act for N'SYNC and Brittney Spears. Cynthia followed up with the development of 12 year old singing sensation Chloe Lowery, who was signed by RCA records. In those three short years, eight of the ER girls signed major record deals and Cynthia split her time traveling with her musical artists and directing the Entertainment Revue back home.

In December of 1999, Cynthia and her husband Bob adopted Zoe from China. That next year, Cynthia made the decision to end her traveling and her work in the music industry to spend more time with Zoe and refocus on her first love — Entertainment Revue.

Over the years, the group has grown in size and popularity, and has been honored to have performed for three Presidents, at national conventions, charity events, professional sporting events, and maintained a strong presence in the community. It has been excited to see our girls featured on shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, etc. 2013 was an exciting year as three of our ER girls landed leading roles in Broadway productions.

2014 marked the 25th Anniversary of Entertainment Revue. Holding her Final Curtain performance in May 2015 featuring notable ER alumni and current casts, Cynthia took her final bow as Director. She remains connected to the group and spearheads the alumni network of former ER girls.

Cynthia is now remarried and enjoying new adventures in her retirement. She loves her life in St. Pete/Cape Cod and enjoys a rich network of friends, boating, entertaining, and spending time with her lifelong friends made through ER.