(480) 483-1664 info@desertstages.org



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.


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!



Rylie Clore (18) is a Senior at Horizon High School where she participates in the choir program. She has performed in over twenty productions at DST and has stage managed a few others. She has been a DST summer camp counselor for the past five years where she has choreographed some shows and loves working with kids. Rylie has been a dance captain for show choir and several DST productions. She enjoys sharing her love for the arts with the younger generation!



DJ Coon (18) is a senior at Gilbert High School. She has been onstage since the age of 4 with some of her favorite roles being Veronica Sawyer in Heathers (DST) and Blanche Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde (AYT). She has loved working DST summer camp for the last 2 years and can’t wait to help more kids experience the joy of performing!


Nick Flores is a performer/choreographer who has taught and performed all around the U.S. and the UK. He has worked alongside MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew winners “Elektrolytes”, SYTYCD choreographer Comfort Fedoke, International Choreographer Matt Stephanina and more. Nick choreographed for The Phoenix Theatre Company’s production of In The Heights where he was named “Best Choreographer” in a professional musical by BroadwayWorld.com; he is also a “Zoni” nominee for “best Choreographer”, as well as a part of the Cirque du Soleil family. Nick was last seen performing on the Phoenix Theatre Company stage in the world premiere musical of iAmericano! Nick’s choreography credits also include: The Phoenix Suns, the Denver Nuggets, Arizona State University (It’s Only Life), the Phoenix Mercury, Mesa Encore Center (In The Heights), and the West Coast National Tour of “The Alexander Project: A Tribute to the music of Hamilton” (which he also MC’d and performed in). Nick’s Choreography was last showcased in the first ever “Choreography Lab” in Arizona for the new musical “Claudio Quest”, as well as The Phoenix Theatre Company’s production of “On Your Feet”.


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! 


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!

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?