After 20 years of bringing the joy of musical theater to state college, Singing Onstage enters a new era

– by Holly Riddle

In August 2022, Leah Mueller and Jared Yarnall-Schane purchased Singing Onstage, a long-time musical theater training program that offers classes to students ages 5 through 18.

Knuffle Bunny

In August 2022, Leah Mueller and Jared Yarnall-Schane purchased Singing Onstage, a long-time musical theater training program that offers classes to students ages 5 through 18.

“Every class culminates in a public performance of a musical theater review or a full musical,” explained Mueller.

The two are originally from Happy Valley, but had moved away and were, “kind of looking for a reason to come back to State College because we missed it so much,” Mueller said. So, when the opportunity arose to purchase Singing Onstage, a business that fell in line with Mueller’s skillset as an educator and in music and theater, and with Yarnall-Schane’s entrepreneurship experience, the two leaped at the chance.

“This opportunity sort of fell into our laps,” Mueller recounted. “The previous owners contacted us because they were moving to Wichita, Kansas … The timing wasn’t perfect, but it was really a perfect fit as far as our skillsets.”

Singing Onstage Photo taken by Will Yurman 1

- Photo taken by Will Yurman

Now, the two are excited to bring new opportunities to Singing Onstage’s students, as well as to bring new performances to community audiences.

Mueller explained that she plans to make gradual changes to the programming, solidifying the curriculum and offering the opportunity for students to level up their skills as they age up through the various classes offered.

“I’m excited about making our programming a little more tiered,” she said. “Gradually, students will, as they gain more skills, do different types of shows and engage with different types of material.”

“We are also talking about branching out into other types of classes,” she continued. “When I was at Indiana University … We did a lot of clowning classes and physical acting, which is something I think would be really fun to bring to Singing Onstage … We have lots of ideas and we’re excited to gradually [realize those] while still keeping some of the programming that the community has come to love.”

Teaching Nabil Mark

For this summer, Singing Onstage is hosting a handful of summer camps and their resulting performances, including “Winnie the Pooh: Kids,” “Broadway Showkids,” “Dear Edwina JR” and “The Little Mermaid JR.” However, the one that Mueller said she’s most excited about is “The Little Mermaid JR,” which will culminate in a performance at the end of July. Coinciding with the release of Disney’s newest live-action take on a classic animated movie, this performance condenses the musical that audiences know and love into 60 minutes, and then production occurs over just two weeks of camp (hence the “junior” in the title).

“It’s great for families with young children. If they want to come to see their very first show, this would be a good one,” said Mueller. “Sixty minutes is manageable for little kids. They can probably make it through an hour-long show, whereas they might not be able to make it through something that's two-and-a-half hours.”

While the venue for the performance is TBA, the date is set for Friday, July 28.

Whether you go out and see one of Singing Onstage’s performances or you enroll your little one in one of the many programming options, though, the impact the organization has on the community is undeniable.

Singing Onstage Photo taken by Will Yurman 3 1

“Not all of our students, obviously, go on to be musical theater performers, but anyone who has come in contact with Singing Onstage is exposed to musical theater and the joy that musical theater can bring,” said Mueller. “Singing Onstage has become a community in of itself, for the students. We hear over and over again, from families, how much confidence students gain in these classes, whether or not they continue through high school. They have an experience here and gain that confidence, and then that translates into them being more confident at school and maybe even trying out for a school play.”

She added, “Singing Onstage is a beautiful little corner of State College and has become a household name, which is so exciting. We’re celebrating 20 years this year … and we’re hoping to keep the tradition alive, continue to shape and mold it, and make it even better.”

Find more information about Singing Onstage at You can also follow Singing Onstage on Facebook, at

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at