DST TEACHING ARTISTS

LYNZEE 4MAN

Lynzee is incredibly excited to be back at Desert Stages!! Lynzee has been Choreographing for over a decade and loves working with all age groups and abilities. Spending the majority of her time teaching teenage prodigies ages 13-19! Lynzee has had a great success on and off the stage with teaching and performing . From working on stage as a professional actress and behind the scenes as a choreographer on the regional level, Lynzee truly believes in work hard play hard!

MARK 4MAN

Mark began studying classical music at the age of 4 under the Suzuki Method, self-taught pop/rock/jazz in elementary school, and jazz in college under the brilliant and inspiring Dave Schmidt. Soon after, Mark earned The Outstanding Musicianship Award at the Reno Jazz Festival and his first, of many, ariZoni Awards of Excellence for Music Direction for the AZ Premiere of The Who’s TOMMY at Nearly Naked Theatre in AZ. He is a very seasoned and professional Session and Studio Musician (available for hire!) Performing in tribute bands and conducting musicals for nearly a decade, Mark has travelled the county with many different artists, and he even entertained 7,000+ in Dana Point, CA, with keytar in hand. Regional music director credits include: Unwrapped, Mamma Mia, Altar Boyz, Hands on a Hardbody, Rock of Ages, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Les Miserables, Buddy’s Back (World Premiere at Arizona Broadway Theatre), Spring Awakening, (Phoenix Theatre ariZoni nomination). Follow Mark on Social Media @M4brockstar iTunes/Spotify: Mark 4man, Simply Draven Mark also makes performance and rehearsal tracks for any and all types of shows, performers, and bands.

KRISTIN ALBA

Kristin Alba has been involved at Desert Stages since 2004. She began as a youth performer and moved on to hold many positions such as dance staff, camp counselor, and assistant director. Currently, Kristin is one of the directors and choreographers of the youth theater productions. Kristin’s performance based training includes 4 years of acting and dance training and 8 years of vocal training. She has performed in over 50 community theater productions in the valley. She also spent the past 3 years as a 2nd grade teacher and holds dual Bachelor degrees in Elementary and Special Education. Currently, Kristin is working on her Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy. She is thrilled to continue spreading the love of performing with DST’s youth and teen community! 

KARA ARMSTRONG

Kara has been involved with DST since 2016 as an actor, counselor, and volunteer. She has helped with multiple Center Stage sessions, and she cannot wait to share her passion for theatre with the incoming generation.

LISA BARTON FIGUEROA

After appearing in more than 60 productions at Desert Stages, Lisa Barton Figueroa pursued her directing career in college at the University of Tampa where she majored in Theatre with a minor in Education and Public Speaking. She then moved to New York where she received a Master’s degree from New York University with a focus on directing youth theatre. She has been directing youth and teen shows at DST for eight years.

CATE CARLINO

Cate Carlino, DST alumni and longtime DST camp counselor, is currently studying musical theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles where she will soon earn her BFA. When she is not on stage, Cate enjoys working with children, teaching them what she loves to do. Cate is so excited to be back at DST, and she can’t wait to get started! 

SANDI CARLL

Sandi Carll has been a youth theatre director in the valley for the last several years. As Director of Education at Valley Youth Theatre, she managed youth camps, classes and community outreach programs. Her VYT director credits include Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit. In 2018, Sandi directed Robin Hood at TheaterWorks which received two ariZoni wins and six additional ariZoni nominations, including best production and best director. She was also an integral part of the YouthWorks program, Kids Alive and other shows including, A Christmas Carol, Frog & Toad and Twilight’s Quest. Last season, Sandi directed Annie at Starlight Community Theater where she was a long-standing board member, show producer, and stage manager.  

SOPHIA DRAPEAU

Sophia Drapeau is so excited to be teaching Center Stage! She was born and raised in Phoenix and has participated in several youth theater shows all around the valley. She’s spent the past three years living in NYC and studying acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she has been in several productions. She’s currently a senior taking online classes this semester. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, playing her ukulele, and hanging with her six younger siblings.

PAUL FILAN

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NICK FLORES

Nick Flores began dancing as a teenager. Starting in musical theatre, he did stage work up until college, performing all around the US and Europe. Getting a feel for the stage early, he decided to expand his talents and go on to different styles. While studying at Arizona State, he danced with the ASU Hip Hop Coalition and Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad. As his career continued, Nick has performed with MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew winners Elektrolytes and EPIK Dane Company; as well as placing in the top 5 at the Latin World Cup with salsa company Stilo Dance Company.

Nick’s choreography has been showcased in groups such as: The Phoenix Suns dance team, Denver Nuggets dance team, EPIK Dance Company, and Phoenix Theatre. He has also worked along side top choreographers such as Matt Steffanina, SYTYCD’s Comfort Fedoke, Dave Scott, and Jaci Royal, to name a few.

Nick is now a member of the Cirque Du Soleil family, awarded “best choreographer” in a professional musical by BroadwayWorld.com, a Zoni award nominee, and was last seen on the west coast tour of “The Alexander Project: A Tribute to Hamilton” as a choreographer, dancer, and MC. Nick continues to teach for numerous schools and studios around the nation to keep all youth involved in the arts.

 
 

JOE HAMMERS

Instructor Joe Hammer has a rich history in entertainment and practical training programs. His “learn by doing” philosophy will have his students up on their feet and playing from day one. They’ll experience positive thinking while improving socials skills, self-confidence, creativity and articulation.

SADIE KROTONSKY

Sadie has been involved with DST for the past 7 years. She has been an actor, camp counselor, dance captain, and a choreographer. Sadie has also been dancing for the past 13 years. She trains at Dancers Domain in all styles including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, ballroom, and improv. Sadie has also been an assistant for the past two years assisting beginning to advanced level classes as well as enrolled in “choreo lab” for the past 4 years, where she learns about choreography and how to choreograph. She is very excited to use that knowledge to teach her class!

SAM PRIMACK

Sam is a native of Phoenix, AZ and comes straight from the Broadway and National Tour casts of Dear Evan Hansen where he has spent the last year and a half playing the Evan Hansen Alternate all around the country. Past credits include The Addams Family National Tour (Pugsley Addams), Catch Me If You Can (Frank Jr.), Spring Awakening (Moritz), American Idiot (Johnny), and he is also 2017 Jimmy Award finalist. He also directed 13 the Musical and Grease for DST. Sam is grateful for amazing friends, teachers and his incredibly supportive family. @samprimack

ELLY REID

Elly Reidy has been telling stories professionally since 1998. She is a 2007 graduate of South Mountain Storytelling Institute, and a three time member of the Nu Wa Storytelling delegation to China. She has taught storytelling workshops for Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in several local elementary schools. She was a contributing author to the book How To Be a Storyteller, published in 2012. “Miss Elly” has over 30 years experience in library Youth Services Departments, including 21 years with the City of Glendale. Most recently, she completed training through the Teaching Artist Program (TAP) conducted by trainers from The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and hosted by ASU.

ALLIE ROSE

Allie Rose has been involved at DST as an actor, choreographer, camp counselor, and dance captain for the past 9 years. She is certified as a personal trainer and group fitness trainer, and she is currently earning her certification for spin instruction and youth sports. Allie was featured in a production of NEWSIES, the first full-length virtual musical, with Actors Technique New York. 
Next to living and breathing musical theatre, Allie loves nothing more than to be working out at the gym, so she is thrilled to continue bringing the two things she loves most together in her DST Academy classes!

 

DAVID SIMMONS

David Simmons serves as founder and creative director of The UBU Project, an education outreach company specializing in Social/Emotional Arts Integration Residencies. The mission of UBU is: to end youth suicide, addiction and bullying through arts integration. A graduate of the University of Montana School of Music, David’s diverse career as an educator, performer, producer, recording artist, worship leader and mental health advocate has taken him to all 50 states, 14 countries and 3 continents. He has served as education director and teaching artist for Arizona Broadway Theatre, Desert Foothills Theatre, and Fort Peck Fine Arts Council, and as a teaching artist for Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center, Childsplay Theatre, Wyoming Council on the Arts, the Montana Arts Council, and the Missoula Children’s Theatre (multiple international residencies). Additional teaching experience includes residencies with the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools, the University of Montana, Casper College, and Estrella Mountain Community College.

David has performed live with Alice Cooper, The Solid Rock House Band and members of REO Speedwagon, A-ha, Tower of Power, Sly and the Family Stone, The Phoenix Symphony, and The Schubert Kirche Orchester (Vienna) and has served as music director, bassist and featured soloist on tour with Motown recording artists The Drifters. Whether in a classroom, coffee shop, rock club, worship space or classical concert hall, David brings a wealth of experience, energy, and encouragement to every stage, school, or project he encounters.

ERIN TARKINGTON

For nearly 13 years, Erin has been working hard to develop her musical theater craft. Beginning as a youth performer herself, working on over 50 productions, she has since continued to evolve and strengthen her skills both on stage and off. Over the past few years, Erin has continued performing, directing, and choreographing Desert Stages Onstage Productions, meanwhile pursuing her bachelor’s degrees at Arizona State University in Human Communication and Family and Human Development. As she continues on to pursue her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, Erin looks forward to simultaneously recommencing her passion for educating youth actors, offering them a safe space, resources to discover themselves, and tools to improve their musical theater craft. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and passion for theater with the next generation of talented performers.

BETTE VAJDA

Bette Vajda is a sophomore at Oberlin College majoring in English and Theater has written two Shakespeare adaptations that have been performed in the US and overseas. Born in Washington DC, she has also lived in Albania, Myanmar, and India.