Meet the team behind Ms Rachel!
Rachel Griffin Accurso (she/her)
Rachel is a passionate educator who creates research-based videos to help toddlers and their families learn, bond, and thrive. Her videos infuse songs, games and nursery rhymes with strategies from experts to help children reach important milestones in the crucial early years of learning. Rachel believes all children are capable, brilliant and important. She loves learning from them and being around their contagious joy and wonder.
Rachel has two master’s degrees in education. She has one in early childhood development and one in music education. She is an advocate for children’s rights and works to ensure that all children have access to high quality early childhood education. She is an ambassador for Save the Children and Room to Grow.
Her sweet little boy inspired the show and continues to inspire her work every day! She is married to the amazing, Mr. Aron, AKA HERBIE!
Aron Accurso (he/him), Rachel's life and creative partner, creates the show with Rachel including writing/arranging music and skits, editing the episode, being silly, and performing puppets!
In addition to children's songs he has several adult musicals in development including The Dogs of Pripyat, Seeing Red with Joey Mazzarino (from Sesame Street) and We Have Apples, with Rachel. He also loves writing choral music.
He is the Associate Musical Director/Associate Conductor for Aladdin on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include: Nice Work If You Can Get It, Sister Act, and The Little Mermaid.
Beth Jean (she/her) loves animating and editing everything from harmonizing pigs to tra-la-la-ing elephants that interact with Ms. Rachel and crew! Beth Jean has gained recognition in children’s media with her own original music and videos, and is so pleased to be able to bring her experience to Songs for Littles. Some of these honors include Emmy nominations (Central Great Lakes Chapter) in the performer and writer categories for her segments, A Beth Jean Daydream on the long-running children’s show, The Friday Zone on WTIU-PBS. Beth Jean has had official selections in film festivals including the Kids First! Film and Video Festival, as well as a semi-finalist in the Children’s Cinema Awards. Her original children’s music has been awarded in songwriting contests, including grand prize
in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest and first place in the Great American Song Contest. She also received a National Parenting Product Award for her album, Let’s Put On a Show. When not working on segments or writing songs, she loves to break out her tap shoes and
Jules (they/them) is a New York City-based singer songwriter who has worked in many musical genres - indie rock, pop and country among them. Jules co-wrote the theme song for the feature film Rock Dog; was a Great American Songwriter finalist for "Hey There Anne''; and, with their band Boketto the Wolf, has toured, opened for major acts and performed at the SXSW music festival. Jules’ passion for songwriting extends to teaching at a local private school and mentoring each Summer at the Berklee Songwriting Workshop.
Rina Cohen is a singer-songwriter and drummer. As the Director of Operations, she gets to merge her deep passions for creating music and working with children. She wears many hats at the company, from designing efficient organizational systems and assisting with filming to responding to business and fan inquiries and managing the book giveaway program.
When she is not collaborating with the “Songs for Littles” team, she is writing her own music, which is available on all streaming platforms.
She also voices the singing square on the show. She hopes to play other shapes in the future!
Ashley DeLeon is a children's entertainment producer, performer, and media scholar. She conducted research on the evolving landscape of children's media in the age of streaming, accompanied by case studies that charted significant changes over the past two decades. Ashley received her B.A. in Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts with department honors and Top Scholar Award in May 2023. She is also a member of the Children's Media Association. Ashley has also received formal training in television and voice acting at the internationally acclaimed Susan Batson Studio in NYC. In the future, Ashley hopes to use her advocacy for media literacy, equity in childhood education, and safe screen use to teach children valuable skills through digital media. She anticipates a continued career in children's "edutainment," and looks forward to reformulating the blueprint of how we educate children in the digital age.
Natalie Kaye Clater (she/her)
Natalie Kaye Clater (she/her) is so excited to join the cast of Songs For Littles. TV/Film- Disney’s Better Nate Than Ever, Killision Course, Blue Bloods. National Tours- Hamilton: An American Musical (2018-2022) Other credits include, The Big Mix: Pride Event, A Chorus Line, Dreamgirls, and various music videos.
Frida Matute, (she/her) M.A. CCC-SLP, TSSLD is the Founder and Preschool Program Director of The Indy Lab, a nursery and preschool in Westchester, NY, and the Founding Executive Director of Indy Speech Services, a private speech therapy practice in NYC and Westchester, NY. She received her Master’s degree from Northwestern University in 2010 and completed her undergraduate degree in Speech and Hearing Science and Psychology from The George Washington University in 2008. Frida is also on the Junior Board of Advocates for Children in NYC. She is a native bilingual language and literacy specialist trained in Orton-Gillingham, Sounds in Motion and Windward’s Writing Workshop. Before starting her own preschool and speech therapy practice, she worked at NYU Language Medical Center’s Rusk Institute, Hospital for Joint Diseases and Bellevue Hospital in pediatric speech-language pathology. Frida believes that an explicit phonics approach needs to be at the center of teaching literacy and that prevention plays a critical a role in intervention through early screenings, parent and teacher education and public policy.
Alexa Smith (she/her) is the Associate Vice President for Strategic Innovations and Special Initiatives at Manhattan School of Music where she oversees MSM's diversity and inclusion strategies. Previously, she was Director of Marketing at New York City Opera and created events for the Pride Series and Opéra en Español. She is a frequent guest speaker, clinician, and consultant for arts institutions including Opera America, Boston Lyric Opera, Heartbeat Opera, Spire Norland Festival, Emory University, Ithaca College, Governors School for the Arts, and Royal College of London among others. She is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music's and Roosevelt University's vocal arts divisions and has an MBA from Boston University.
Keisha Gilles (she/her) is an actor and teaching artist. After training in Musical Theater at the Hartt School of Music, Keisha performed in shows including Aladdin (Broadway), The Book of Mormon (Broadway), and Dreamgirls (National Tour). Currently she is creating musical sketch comedy with Explanation of Benefits, the musical answer to your health care questions, and performing in Aladdin on Broadway.
Angelo Soriano (he/him) is a proud native of the Philippines, and began his career in Los Angeles before making his way to NYC. His performance credits include Disney California Adventure, Walt Disney World, and has been seen on stages with Macy Gray, Justin Bieber and Zendaya, to name a few.
Angelo spent over a year on tour with Flashdance: The Musical (1st National). He made his Broadway debut in Aladdin: The Musical as a Swing/Understudy and was honored in the New York Times Magazine feature, “A Star Is Made”.
When not on stage, his favorite hobbies support his passion for creation and collaboration as a music producer, filmmaker and photographer with commissioned works by Disney on Broadway, Joffrey Ballet School, BC/EFA, and collaborations with the Broadway Community featured on Broadway World and Playbill. @gelosaurus
Simon Kafka (he/him) is a guitarist based in New York City. He has performed in over twenty countries, appeared on over twenty five national television broadcasts, played or recorded with a myriad of major and minor label recording artists, and is currently the guitarist in the orchestra of Aladdin on Broadway. He is thrilled to be
a part of the Songs For Littles team!
Dennis Stowe (he/him) is currently starring as Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway. His other Broadway credits include Annie, Leap of Faith, Shrek the Musical, The Apple Tree, The Wedding Singer, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wonderful Town and Man of La Mancha. Dennis has also appeared in NY in Stairway to Paradise, Faust, Cabin in the Sky at Encores and Jerry Springer the Opera at Carnegie Hall. On television, Dennis co-stared in Tales of the City (Netflix). Stowe has performed with the Boston Pops and is also a longtime member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices.
Erin Rosenfeld (she/her) is a hard-of-hearing college student. She is very passionate about ASL, theatre, and accessibility, and loves every opportunity to combine these areas. Favorite theatre roles include Sylvia (Tribes) and Rosalind (Shakespeare’s As You Like It), as well as being in Elizabeth Addison’s new musical This is Treatment. Erin also enjoyed being a student ASL interpreter for productions of The Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh.
When she’s not performing, Erin can be found spreading awareness about the Deaf community and fighting for accessibility. Her advocacy has led her to be featured in Teen Vogue, Forbes, CBS Inside Edition, Buzzfeed, and more.