(480) 483-1664 info@desertstages.org



Kara is a 17 year old senior at Coronado High School and has spent over 5 amazing years at DST. She participates in all aspects of theatre and is thrilled to teach and share her experience. Some of Kara’s favorite projects include being Centerstage director, King Julien in Madagascar Jr (DST), Queen Aggravain in Once Upon a Mattress (CHS), and Governor Ferguson in Bonnie and Clyde (DST). She’s so excited to share her passion with the younger generations!



Ava Sandifer is a junior at Saguaro High School. She has been a part of the DST community for 13 years and is excited for this opportunity! Along with acting, Ava has spent time learning the technical aspect of the theatre. She has been a camp counselor going on 4 years and loves it! The highlight of her theatre experience is teaching kids and spreading the DST Magic!


Chelsea Anderson is an actor, director, producer, dialect coach, and playwright having worked with fantastic theaters including Indiana Repertory Theatre, Summit Performance, Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis, Storefront Theatre, Indianapolis Shakespeare Company, Forward Theatre, and Great River Shakespeare Festival, among others. She earned a BS in Theatre from University of Indianapolis and an MFA in Acting/Directing from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chelsea has been involved in theatre for over 25 years and currently serves as the Casting Director of The Phoenix Theatre Company of Phoenix, AZ.


Alaina Lish (16) is a junior at Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center. When she isn’t teaching or teaching she is on stage. Her favorite roles include: Patrice in 13 (AYT), Elsa in Frozen Jr. (DST), and Lorraine in All Shook Up (PCA). She loves working with kids and cannot wait for you to see their hard work! 

ELYSSA BLONDER, Director of Education

Elyssa grew up performing at DST, and she credits those early experiences with making her the performer that she is today.  A graduate of ASU’s Musical Theatre program (18’), Elyssa moved to New York as a working actress and has performed regionally across the country.  She is back in Phoenix performing professionally around the Valley. Regional credits include: Singin’ in the Rain (Kathy Selden), The Sound of Music (Liesl), Americano!, West Side Story, at The Phoenix Theatre Company; Daddy Long Legs (Jerusha) and The Little Mermaid(Ariel) at Hale Centre Theatre; A Christmas Carol (Arizona Broadway Theatre); Bells Are Ringing (CLOC); Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray (The Barn Theatre); TV/Film credit: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime).

Elyssa has taught students of all ages at performing arts organizations including The Phoenix Theatre Company, Theatre Works, and Desert Stages Theatre. Learn more about her at www.elyssablonder.com

Interested in becoming a DST teaching artist?