The Academy started as Kidz Konnection, a youth theater company in 2006. We are dedicated to educating youth in the performing arts for the purpose of cultivating self-empowerment and leadership skills that will develop strong community-serving leaders of the future. In 2017 the company moved from the basement of the Clinton Parkade (home to Chips Pub) to the historic Academy building in Clinton, an 1801 building that sits along the historic arts district of Main Street in Clinton. We now provide a full service of performing arts programs at the academy including over 14 full length productions staged each year in and around the surrounding area of Clinton. Offering performing arts and class opportunities to students as young as 5 up to Adult, Kidz Konnection now affectionately coined the Shoreline Theater Academy was founded in 2006 by NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate, Laura Attanasio. Kidz Konnection as an inclusive place for students to build community, explore classic literature, and express their creativity after school. From humble beginnings of less than ten students performing one show every few months, The Academy is now the Shoreline’s best Arts Academy having received countless awards including recoginition in the Best of Arts Categories every year since 2016 of the Shorepublishing Zip06 best of review.

Mission Statement:  

Kidz Konnection is a community theater company dedicated to educating youth in the performing arts for the purpose of cultivating self-empowerment and leadership skills that will develop healthy-minded, strong community-serving leaders of the future.


Kidz Konnection was founded with the goal of providing an interactive, fun, safe way for children and students along the Connecticut shoreline to be exposed to literary works. Kidz Konnection offers classes, productions, and programs for all ages. We encourage our students to challenge themselves by participating in programs just outside of their comfort zone, whether that means trying our Summer Shakespeare series, accepting a lead role in a main stage production, or diving into one of our historically significant productions including Anne Frank or The Laramie Project.


Kidz Konnection is committed to meeting students where they are at and providing a nurturing, supportive environment in which they can learn and grow. We have an inclusive audition and registration policy and will never turn a student away, regardless of reading ability, speaking ability, physical ability, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, or education level. We believe that children will succeed and thrive when given the opportunity to shine and the support necessary.


As a non-profit, community organization, Kidz Konnection can only survive with the leadership, support, and talents of our students, staff, community partners, and supporters. Students are encouraged to take on leadership opportunities within our programs and our company. New ideas are highly encouraged and supported, no matter how big or how small. Leadership can manifest in many different ways including taking on a lead role or a dance captain position, becoming one of our interns, teaching a class or participating as a junior teaching assistant, and taking on additional responsibilities behind the scenes with sound, lighting, set-design, costume-design, web-design, social media, fundraising efforts, and more! Everyone in the Kidz Konnection community has a skill or talent that helps to make us what we are.


Kidz Konnection is committed to both contributing to our local town and shoreline community and cultivating a positive, productive community within our company. We have created a culture that is cooperative rather than competitive. Students are taught the value of teamwork and build long-lasting friendships with their classmates and cast-mates. We partner with a number of different local businesses and organizations to help give back to our town and local community.


Our Directors:

Laura Attanasio

Founder, Producer, Artistic Director, Advanced Level Acting Training, Director of Dramatic Theater

Laura Attanasio has over 30 years of experience teaching theater to young people in non-profit agencies that include the YMCA and public schools in Minnesota, New York, and Connecticut.

After graduating from New York University’s, Tisch School of the Arts, Laura moved to Minnesota where she began employing her passion for theater as a means to fundamentally alter negative pre-conceptions of individuals not accepted into the mainstream of society.

Co-Founder of Interact Theater Company, Minneapolis, MN, Laura developed successful strategies integrating adults with developmental disabilities into professional, critically-acclaimed performance opportunities.

Laura then applied similar strategies when working with young people and created programming that was disseminated throughout Minnesota to cultivate self-empowerment and leadership skills among at-risk and vulnerable youth.  Laura’s custom curriculum incorporates literature, history, and world affairs into stimulating movement-based theater designed to encourage our youth to prosper in school.  She taught drama in the CT YMCA’s, directed high school productions for 3 years at Valley Regional High School in Essex and was the Drama Teacher for the New Haven Public Schools at Worthington Hooker Middle School for 7 years.

In 2006, Laura founded Kidz Konnection in Clinton Connecticut as a place to empower young people to become leaders through the performing arts. In 13 years, Laura has produced over 75 shows for ages ranging from 4 to adult. She continues to  pursue her dream of providing a safe, happy environment for young thespians to gain self-empowerment by offering the widest range of arts opportunities on the shoreline.

Maria Teresa Lonetti

Resident Choreographer, Musical Theater Director, Dance Instructor

Maria Teresa Lonetti began performing at 3 years old at Dale Dance studio in East Haven Connecticut. Her first role was in kindergarten in The Grinch who Stole Christmas and has been performing ever since. She has over 32 years of experience in the performing arts with a focus on competitive dance and theater.

After graduating high school she studied theater at the American Musical Dramatic Academy and The New School and studied abroad at Santa Reperata in Florence, Italy. Maria studied dance under Lindsey Chambers (OBC Cats), Ramon Galdino (Broadway Cast Cats), and Harry Wooliver (OBC My Fair Lady). Maria also received professional training in stage combat, improvisational acting, Shakespeare, on camera acting, character development and advanced acting technique. She holds a degree in Theater and a Bachelors of Science in Liberal Arts with a focus in performing arts therapy.

Maria has always loved working with children and finds her passion in passing her theatrical knowledge onto the youth. She has worked as a Drama teacher at the Worthington Hooker School in New Haven and the Ezra Academy. She was also the head Xcel competitive gymnastics coach at Nutmeg Twisters in Guilford.

Maria joined Kidz Konnection in 2015 and has choreographed and directed several full-length productions as well teaching numerous dance and acting classes. She loves being at Kidz Konnection and in a theater environment where young and old actors are allowed to thrive. She is incredibly grateful to team up with Laura to create not only amazing shows, but also provide a home for people to expand their creative abilities.

“The academy is my happy place.”

Additional Staff:

Keturah Murnane

Dance Instructor

Keturah Murnane grew up in New York where she had the privilege of studying dance, acting and voice from the age of two. Keturah has trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical and Ballroom. At five, she was cast as Gretl in The Sound of Music and she was hooked. She was blessed to have had a childhood full of theatre and dance under the direction of wonderfully talented professionals. Throughout her career, Keturah has continued to study dance, acting, and voice from coast to coast at places such as The Academy of Performing Arts in San Diego, HB Studios in NYC, Tom Todoroff Studio in Los Angeles, STEPS on Broadway and more.  Some of her favorite roles include: A Chorus Line (Val/ Dance Capt.), Cabaret (Rosie/Dance Capt.), Hello Dolly (Minnie Fay/Dance Capt.), and Crazy For You(Patsy/ Dance Capt.) While in LA, she had fun working in film and television, but theatre has always been her passion. Keturah has been teaching dance for most of her adult life and has had the privilege of directing and choreographing for schools and theaters in NY, CT, and CA. Keturah is currently a dance instructor and competition coach in Mystic CT. where she lives with her husband and three children. 

Maddie Wensel

Administrative Assistant and Marketing Director

Maddie Wensel is a high school senior and has been with Kidz Konnection for four years. She has performed since she was eight, and has since fallen in love with the stage! She has been involved with almost every aspect of theater, on stage and off. Some of her favorite roles were Mortimer Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, The Inspector in The Play that Goes Wrong, and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is also an athlete, aspiring author, classical guitarist, and artist.

Stacy Mathews, Voice Coach/Private Voice Instructor/Opera

Sam Reed, Counselor

Becca Corbin, Music Director/Private Voice Instructor