NYT leadership

Andrea Edwards

Andrea Edwards

 

President, Board of Directors

Andrea was born in the UK where she trained in ballet, tap and modern dance in her early years. She then moved into competing in disco freestyle in singles, doubles and team and Rock ‘n Roll doubles where she discovered her love of choreography! She carried on with sporadic classes in jazz and tap dance throughout adulthood until she lost the use of her left leg and foot in 1999. This forced a back operation to prevent paralysis and saved the leg, but unfortunately left her with chronic pain where she lost her job and had to stop dancing.

In April 2007 she was prayed over and the Lord healed her chronic back pain and brought her into the kingdom of God! She realized that she could use the gift of dance to honor and worship Him! She felt led to start ‘toddler time’ at WoodsEdge Church, which uses dance and song to connect with children and parents and show Jesus’ love! She has taught and choreographed for several of NYT classes and productions.

Andrea has just returned from Kazakhstan where she had the opportunity to direct and choreograph for shows You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Wizard of Oz and assist in Christmas performances with the International School.  Andrea is currently serving with NYT in Prayer, Marketing and on the Board.

Clay Alexander

Clay Alexander

 

Secretary, Board of Directors

Clay received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M (class 1992.)  He currently serves as VP of sales for Long Lake Ltd., the 4th largest homebuilder in the greater Houston area. He has been in the home building industry for 18 years.  Clay was also a volunteer fireman for 16 years.

“I will have to admit, I did not have a real burning desire to do anything with theater until I actually just tried it out and got involved.  I now see myself quite often saying, I can’t wait until the next NYT production gets started.  Although I can’t decide what I like more – working on sets or working backstage.”

Clay and his family have been involved with theater for 5 years and with NYT since the first production, Peter Pan, where he served on the sets committee. He has chaired the sets committee for Godspell, Narnia and Music Man.  

Jeremiah 29:11

Justin Parks

Justin Parks

 

Board of Directors;
Executive/Artistic Director

 

Justin Parks has directed tons of musicals including Peter Pan, Godpsell, 24 Hr Musical and Charlie Brown for NYT.  As an actor he has been featured in shows including Singing in the Rain, Blood Brothers, Footloose, West Side Story and Drowsy Chaperone. He co-founded CYT Chicago/Spotlight in 1997 and led that program through 2013. He was also a part of several start up youth theaters across the country. Justin serves National Youth Theater as Artistic Director. His day job is running Theater by Design, a specialty costume and prop rental business.

He holds a BA in Religion with emphasis in Theology from Point Loma Nazarene College.  Mr. Parks has served Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Willow Creek in artistic endeavors.

Justin and his wife, Rachel and five kids (Jillian, Micah, Liberty, Jackson and Saylor) live in Shenandoah.

Ann Wood

Ann Wood

 

Board of Directors;
Administration//Program Director

Ann has been involved with NYT since 2014 when their family embarked on their first foray into musical theater with NYT’s production of Peter Pan.  Since that time she has been blessed to have seen the positive impact the program has made on many lives, including her own family. She is honored to be part of this organization, which places their priority on the students’ relationship with Christ and spreading the gospel, while still giving each participant a quality theater education.

Ann holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business Management from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.  She also worked for State Farm Insurance for 10 years as an agent and claim representative, as well as having worked in agriculture and economic development. She is pleased to bring her experience in marketing, communications and customer service to the board.

Currently Ann is blessed to be a wife, mother, homeschooling mom, writing tutor, and farmer-in-training. She lives with her husband and son on 10 acres outside Conroe.

Shannon Simmons

Shannon Simmons

 

Board of Directors,
Member at Large

Shannon is honored to be serving NYT; she has been involved since Godspell in 2015, serving as a green room mom and on various hair/make-up committees, and as a Camp Coordinator, and has seen firsthand the positive impact the programs can have on students’ lives. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography from Texas A&M University and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. Her most recent professional position was with the Asylum Division of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services; she previously worked at Fulbright & Jaworski and Grimes & Warwick, in San Diego, California. Shannon and her husband, Tom, have two sons and a daughter-in-law.

NYT Staff

Angel Weir

Angel Weir

Instructor, Day Camp Coordinator 

One of my first childhood memories is playing Betsy Ross in preschool and I figure that’s when I must have been hooked. My love for acting and theatre flourished as I went on to be in several commercials, dozens of productions, minored in theatre, and eventually directed and taught school theater for a short while.

I even met my fantastic husband, Russ, in our college production of Little Women where he took a main role playing opposite my role as Amy so he could get to know me better. Spoiler alert… it worked and we were engaged a few months later.

I soon traded in directing, acting and teaching for the adventures of having a baby, adopting three more blessings and living here and there and even across the world. It’s been my most challenging and rewarding role, by far, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

After moving back from Thailand the family passion for theater and our desire to find a Christ centered community led us to National Youth Theater. NYT’s community and opportunities have been a tremendous blessing to our entire family.

While those at NYT often know me as a maybe over-passionate and dedicated Green Room Mom I am thrilled to be on staff using my theatre-nerdiness to bless others.

Becky Corbin

Becky Corbin

Day Camp Coordinator 

Growing up I loved being a part musicals through my church and school. Kids Praise is my earliest memory and I still find myself singing those songs today. I began taking piano elementary school through junior high as well as singing in choir.  When I graduated HS, I attended Baylor University and received a BBA in Management and Insurance, and then ventured down the road to Texas A&M where I received a Masters of Science in Human Resource Management. I joined the corporate world for about 12 years as an HR Business Partner in the gas and oil industry until my husband’s job relocated our family to Dallas and then Canada for about 6 years. I took this time to stay at home with our two girls, filling our time with all sorts of music, dance and theater camps.

When we moved back home to Spring in 2016, we were introduced to NYT and this is where our older daughter auditioned for her first NYT production, Seussical Jr.  She fell in love with youth theater instantly.  Since then, she and I have been involved with several NYT productions and look forward to being involved in many more.  I have enjoyed working with costumes, helping with marketing, and getting to know all the other “theater moms and kids.”  The time and love I have for this organization has brought me full circle to what I loved doing most as a child. I am so pleased to be a part of the NYT family and cannot wait for the opportunity to continue to positively impact youth through my involvement with future NYT productions and camps.

Cami Payette

Cami Payette

Costumer

Cami Is excited to be joining the NYT team.  She is honored to be a part of an organization so dedicated to God and building young people up in their Faith and their relationships with the Lord.  Having seen the positive impact in the lives of her family and friends it is a joy to be part of this team.

Having been involved in theater from a young age in her community, high school, and junior college, Cami has been a part of the theater world most of her life.   She learned costuming at the hand of a professional costumer in high school and has been using those skills ever since as a mother of 4, and local seamstress.  She is thrilled to be using them now for NYT and these wonderful kiddos.  
Emily Amos

Emily Amos

 

24 Hour Musical Coordinator

I was born in College Station Texas but was raised in the Rio Grande Valley. There I met and married my high school sweetheart Greg Amos. We have been married 20 years and have two amazing daughters: Lily, who performed in her one and only musical production with NYT in The Music Man and Rory who is currently performing in her third NYT production in Willy Wonka. We moved to Spring 10 years ago from Jersey Village. We attend Faith Bible Church on Research Forest where Greg and I are blessed to serve as youth small group leaders and group leaders in the Re|engage Marriage Discipleship Program.
NYT has been such a blessing for our family, especially Rory, who has really flourished here. I can’t say enough about the sweet families we’ve come in contact with and are building friendships with. I coached girls homeschool volleyball for 6 years with the now retired SATCH Lady Mavericks. That experienced grew me in so many ways and I miss it to this day. I dabbled in theater all though junior high and high school and grew up watching many, many old musicals on TV and I still LOVE them. If I had to pick my top three favorite musicals I’d have to choose Singing in the Rain, The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady. I’m so excited to get to help out as 24 Hour Musical Coordinator. I look forward to working with you and your sweet children to make this a fantastic experience. All Praise and Glory to God!
Emily Currid

Emily Currid

 

Business Manager

Emily has the joy of living life with her funny, loving, kind-hearted husband, affectionately nicknamed Schmoopy. Emily also has the pleasure of raising two adorable humans – Kaitlyn and Liam. You will often find them binge watching Netflix, playing board games (only when Emily promises to be on her best behavior and not get super competitive), wrestling, playing football and four square, and generally loving and enjoying life. Emily’s other hobbies include all things Dr. Who, running, reading, and working out. She despises carrots and prays for world peace. Emily is also a REFIT® and POUND® Instructor at The Zoo Healthclub in The Woodlands. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1

Jennifer Solomon

Jennifer Solomon

Marketing Manager

Jennifer Solomon has 19 years of experience in marketing and public relations. She created Inspire PR & Marketing in 2012, a public relations and marketing communications business dedicated to assist small to mid-sized companies. In 2013, Jennifer founded North Phoenix Family magazine, an online community resource for families in the North Valley area of Phoenix, and served for five years as the publisher and editorial director.

Prior to establishing Inspire PR & Marketing, she served as communications director for the Anthem Community Council, Inc., a non-profit government organization overseeing the community of Anthem. In this role, Jennifer was responsible for overseeing the department’s communications and marketing initiatives, programs, campaigns, and services. Throughout her professional career, she has managed marketing for clients in insurance, non-profit, sports, investment securities, publishing, retail, construction, technology, real-estate, legal and hospitality industries.

Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and earned her master’s degree from California State University, Fullerton in mass communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Born and raised in Southern California, she moved her family to Arizona where they lived for 11 years prior to moving to Texas in 2017. Jennifer and her husband, Brent, have two children, Tristan and Kayden. Kayden has performed in four NYT productions and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Jessica Kotrla

Jessica Kotrla

Class Coordinator

Jessica spent most of her life in Oklahoma where she earned her B.A. in English and married her best friend’s brother. She and her husband then spent 11 years in Georgia during which she earned her M.Ed in Library Media and brought home all 3 of their children, one biological daughter and two sons from Ethiopia. 

In 2013, she and her family moved to Ethiopia as missionaries to work with an organization whose goal was orphan prevention through the creation of dignified jobs. With sudden safety concerns they fled to the U.S. with only some clothes and Legos and landed in Texas where they have extended family. 

Jessica is a former high school English teacher and academic/guidance director but has been a homeschooling mom since 2011. She is new to the world of theater, having shied away from the stage until she started co-leading worship for her Bible study in 2017. Although she and her kids have seen almost every show NYT has produced, it was Justin’s words in the Beauty and the Beast playbill equating the story line to the gospel of Jesus that drew her in. She read it to her kids and told them someone was auditioning for the next musical. Jessica loves great books, good music, game nights and anything she can organize.

Jill Alexander

Jill Alexander

 

Production Manager

Jill is a native Texan, born in Houston and raised in Spring. She met her sweetheart Clay in 1995 and they have been happily married now for almost 21 years.  They have four children, Bailey, Savannah, Taryn and Grayson whom Jill has had the pleasure of homeschooling for the past 13 years.  Their girls began their theater fun in 2008 with classes and in 2012 began with their first production, Annie Get Your Gun!  Their family has been a part of NYT from the beginning and couldn’t love their NYT family more!  Jill has served in different capacities, namely Props, Concessions, House Manager and Production Manager for Seussical and now Beauty and the Beast.  She and her family feel beyond blessed to be a part of such a special organization as National Youth Theater.  They believe NYT maintains a spirit of community and the fact that Christ remains the center of all that is done here makes this organization all the more dear to them.

Jill Adolph

Jill Adolph

 

Prayer Team Coordinator

Jill is originally from Michigan but has made Spring, TX, her home for the past 12 years as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to her two beautiful daughters. Before the privilege of staying home with her girls, she loved working as an orthodontist assistant in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. She has been married to her husband Steve for 22 years. Her family enjoys traveling, game nights, hosting events and get togethers, and helping others. Musical theater entered their lives five years ago and it has been an exciting adventure ever since. The Adolphs have built strong friendships through NYT’s productions, classes and fundraisers since its beginning. NYT’s full dependence on God’s vision, heart and leadership of the organization is what Jill and her family have come to admire about NYT and believe it’s what sets them apart. Jill has enjoyed serving on several parent committees such as props, mics, green room, hospitality and sets. But her favorite role has been as Program Manager (Footloose camp, Narnia and Joseph) as it not only allowed her to get to know the cast members and families better and work alongside excellent staff members and directing teams, but also to build upon hidden talents and abilities that God wanted to reveal to her. She has discovered that NYT does not exist only for the kids to grow in the ways God created them, but also for the parents.

Nancy Paffie

Nancy Paffie

 

House Manager, Teen Camp Coordinator

I’ve been involved since the beginning of NYT with my husband Joey and 6 kids (Sullivan, Baker, Brady, Sydney, Sammi, Sadie).  We have lived in the Woodlands area for 22 years now.  NYT has become like family to us and we just love doing life with them!!   Other than theater, I enjoy being involved with my church, hanging out with my family, vacationing, reading, hiking, building sand castles, walking and talking with my kids, and soaking in the morning sun on my porch with my coffee and Jesus.  I got my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education from Stephen F. Austin, then went on to teach Kindergarten for 7 years in Spring ISD.  Since then, I’ve absolutely loved being a stay at home mom and homeschooling our kids.  My favorite part about it is those winter days when we snuggle up on the couch with blankets, a good book and hot chocolate!  I love Jesus with all my heart and I’m passionate about seeing kids grow through a relationship with Him.  I love how God is using NYT to touch the lives of children of all ages and backgrounds.  It’s a super place to be!!!

Rachel Holland

Woodlands/Magnolia Area Producer; Teen Camp Coordinator

I was born and raised here in Texas and met my incredible husband, Ryan, while attending Texas A&M University. We have been married for 18 years and have four kids who all LOVE NYT! Being around a group of kids and adults who all love theater, Jesus, and each other has been such a blessing for our family and I can’t imagine life without this group that has become like family to me. In addition to loving Jesus and theater, I love traveling with my family, reading, dancing, bad karaoke, and essential oils. I am so thankful that our family is a part of NYT and it’s such a privilege to be able to serve these kids and families.

Tracy Bear

Tracy Bear

Tomball/Cypress Area Producer

Tracy was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is a proud member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of ‘96. She has been married for 17 years and has 2 beautiful children, Breckan and McKenna. She was first introduced to NYT in 2017 with the Seussical, Jr. production, serving in hospitality and concessions — and she has been involved ever since. Her day job is with Lone Star College as one of the Learning Management System administrators. All of her extra time is spent with the kids’ band, orchestra, and theater activities, as well as working heavily in dog rescue.

NYT Directors and Instructors

Aimee Bowles

Aimee Bowles

Director

Aimee trained in singing, dancing, and acting from age 3 through college. Blessed with a rich choral life, she has enjoyed singing in incredible choirs all through high school, college, and into adulthood. At LSU (Geaux Tigers!!), she began to serve in the worship band at her college ministry. Since then, she has continued to serve in this way, and now helps lead others in worship at her church (Redeemer Church) in Tomball, alongside her husband, who serves as the executive pastor and worship leader. In theater, she has been a featured dancer in the ensemble, held side character and principle roles, and painted sets. While she has not performed in some time, she often jokes that she would “come out retirement” for the chance to play Glinda in Wicked.

In her “spare time,” she directs a Classical Conversations campus in Tomball and plans Disney vacations for families. She loves traveling, decorating really early for holidays, and being with her husband Kevin, and their four amazing kids: Judah, Canaan, Annie, and Hallie. Aimee categorizes herself as someone who is “easily moved,” as pretty much any form of beauty (a pretty day, a majestic little league home run, literary passages) can cause her traitorous tear ducts to activate, but music stirs in her soul SUCH joy and worship of the great God who created this beautiful means of expression. It is an honor to serve as the vocal director for Children of Eden.

Alex (Spencer) Harris

Alex (Spencer) Harris

Choreographer; Instructor

 

Alex is a Senior at Sam Houston State University. She has loved every show she’s been a part of and NYT has a very special place in her heart. Alex has been teaching choreography for 6 years for various shows and classes and has most recently choreographed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with her longtime friend and mentor Rebecca Cary. Her favorite part of NYT is seeing the cast grow into their diverse and creative talents; and then seeing them use those talents for glorifying God.

Bailey Alexander

Bailey Alexander

Camp Staff; Instructor

 

Bailey is fresh out from under the graduation cap at 18 years old. Her passions outside of theater include photography, reading, and dancing with her grandpa. Bailey’s original intention when it came to musical theater was to only help out behind the scenes. When her sister caught the theater bug, however, she convinced Bailey to give the stage a try. Her “training” began as an eight year old at a summer camp and has since included numerous musicals and voice, dance, and drama classes, as well as learning about the many functions of what goes on behind the scenes. While she still has much to learn, Bailey is always eager to share her love for theater and the grace of God.

David Brooks Horn

David Brooks Horn

Show Director; Vocal Director

 

David has been a director with NYT for two years, through numerous shows including Music Man Jr. and Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. When not directing, he enjoys acting in the Lone Star Summer Musical, composing music, and leading worship at St.Dunstan’s Episcopal Church.

He has a lovely wife, Diana, and his pride and joy, his son, Lucius. He wishes the entire cast and crew the best in this amazing show and is constantly humbled by the power and presence of God at NYT!

Holly Jasso

Holly Jasso

Instructor

 

From a young age Holly has been directing and performing in church and for family. Every Christmas her family would take a seat as she and her sisters would reenact the story of Jesus, costumes and all. In 2005 she earned her BFA in theater from SHSU with a teaching certification.  Her credits include: Anything Goes (Charity), Cinderella (Queen), Shadow Box (Agatha) and was a costume designer for Romeo and Juliet at Sam Houston State University. Holly was the Assistant Director for CYT’s, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of OZ and assisted choreography for Godspell.  Holly enjoys spending her time singing, studying theology and reading to her little love bugs, Caleb and Danika.

Jacob Major

Jacob Major

Camp Staff

A Houston native, Jacob Major is the oldest of 7 and a recent graduate of Elon University’s BFA Music Theatre program. He grew up performing in musicals with CYT Houston, HFAC, and TUTS and training in tap, jazz, and ballet at Payne Academy of Ballet and Woodlands Civic Ballet. During his senior year of high school, he choreographed Thoroughly Modern Millie and Oklahoma for CYT Houston, and has since taught numerous dance classes and camps for CYT as well as private dance lessons. Since his freshman year at Elon, he has been very blessed to work in professional regional theatre each summer across 4 different states. He is thrilled for the opportunity to finally work with NYT and collaborate with some new faces! His goal is to challenge campers to achieve their highest levels of excellence so that they can inspire the world and glorify Christ through their artistic pursuits. Jacob will be moving up to NYC in late August to continue his career as an actor. 

Jenifer Shoemake

Jenifer Shoemake

Instructor

 

I am a lifelong thespian and mom to an 11 year old son who inherited my theater gene! I have been involved with NYT and other local theater groups in Houston for many years, and I am thrilled to join this extraordinary team of instructors!
I am a native of Colorado and received my Masters degree in Psychology from the University of North Florida in 2002 before coming to Houston to be closer to family in 2006.  I have performed onstage in a slew of productions including Our Town, The Glass Menagerie, Arsenic & Old Lace, Oliver and most recently was able to share the stage with my son in Fiddler on the Roof. I also began “Little Light Theatre” at our local church which performs skits to young children based on the weeks Bible lesson.
I have found a passion for teaching and helping students grow in their love for Christ by using their individual gifts to glorify Him.  I look forward to beginning this journey with all of you!
Jenny Gellagos

Jenny Gellagos

Choreographer; Camp Staff

 

Jenny Gallegos has been dancing for over 13 years and is passionate about sharing God’s love with child and adults through the art of dance.  She loves teaching and has been a dance instructor for Magnify School of Dance over 4 years. She specializes in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Partner Dancing and Worship dance. Jenny is also charter company member for The Magnify Dance Company. You will be able to see her perform with Magnify in the upcoming Christmas Spectacular show at Champion Forest Baptist Church this December.

Jenny is also a professional choreographer. She’s has served as the Dance Director/Choreographer for Joyful Sound for multiple years and has choreographed multiple shows for National Youth Theater (such as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, NYTs 24 Hour production of High School Musical, and guest choreographer for Willy Wonka).

Jenny has enjoyed her experience with NYT and says that, “NYT is more then just a theater. They are a family, a ministry and a group that shows youth the true meaning of glorifying God through their gifts and talents.”

Jim Hallford

Jim Hallford

Director

Jim’s love of music was realized in his childhood, and though there were relatively meager opportunities in his small northwestern New Mexico town, his parents helped him find a piano teacher, enroll him in band in school, & encouraged him to sing in the small church adult choir as a teen. His uncle gave him his first Harmony brand guitar and his grandma bought him his first trombone and he was off,

It was in early high school that he first began to look at his faith & worldview seriously. Grateful for his upbringing in church, and inviting Jesus to be his Savior at age 10, Jim used this foundation and began to “work out his own salvation”.

After a year of college, Jim found what he thought was the perfect blending of his faith & his music & toured across the U.S. with a music and drama ministry where his faith was sharpened like never before. He later graduated with a B.F.A. with a vocal emphasis and teacher’s K-12 certification from Stephen F. Austin State University & served on church music staffs for the next 9 years conducting choirs and orchestras before going into public education where he has taught for almost 20 years in the Klein Independent School District. He has also taught piano, voice, guitar and low brass instruments privately since graduating from college.

Jim co-founded a youth musical theater ministry company here in the Houston area in 2006 and has served as an acting/assistant director, vocal director and orchestra director in shows such as Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, Cinderella, Narnia, Godspell, The Sound of Music, and Peter Pan.

Jim and his artist wife Shen home-school their kids in Spring. Of his 7 kids, 4 have “aged out” of full youth theater careers, and 3 are still involved. He enjoys golf, juggling, reading, apologetics, hanging out with men better than himself, and sitting in his “holy of holies” with his Bible. He doesn’t enjoy running but does it some anyway. Oh yeah, he has 4 amazing grand kids.

Jordyn Arnold

Jordyn Arnold

Instructor; Camp Staff

 

Jordyn Arnold is a Lone Star College student and multi-talented NYT student. She has participated in many shows, holding a variety of different types of roles, most recently as Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man. Jordyn has volunteered at various camps for several years, most recently as a Drama lead instructor.
Justin Ray

Justin Ray

Choreographer; Camp Staff

 

We are pleased to announce our special guest choreographer Justin Ray! Justin began his theater training with CYT/CCT San Diego during his junior year of high school. He started taking dance classes while getting an AA degree at a community college. He continued training in acting and singing while simultaneously working professionally in local San Diego theaters. He received an 8-month intensive dance scholarship from the Academy of Performing Arts in San Diego. Not long after, he transferred to UC Irvine majoring in Drama for a short while before joining the Chicago company of Wicked. After 18 months performing in Oz, he decided to move to Hollywood to pursue an acting career in TV/Film. He has since starred in a few independent feature films and occasionally returns to the stage. Some of his favorite theater credits: Wicked (Ensemble), CATS (Rum Tum Tugger), West Side Story (Riff), Gypsy (Tulsa), Music Man (Tommy Djilas). Some Film credits: 1 Chance 2 Dance (Netflix), Disaster LA (On-Demand), Attack of the Killer Donuts (Coming Soon), Fortune Defies Death (Coming Soon), Living with Models (YouTube). On a personal level, Justin has been a Christian for most of his life. He remembers accepting Jesus Christ as his savior while praying with his father when he was 5 years old and he has lived in faith ever since. “My identity is in Christ and I am continually learning what it means to live more deeply within that identity.”

Katie Terrill

Katie Terrill

Vocal director; choreographer

Music and dance have influenced Katie’s life from a very early age. Piano is her first love, which she has been playing for over 30 years. She has additional training in clarinet, flute and participated in an all girls choir, as well as theater, her favorite role being Meg, from Little Women. Dancing for over 10 years with various studios including Margo Marshall, she continues to bust a move at home, to which her kids always give an eye roll 😉  Later she went on to direct a girls choir of her own as well as children’s choir through church. Katie has an eye and ear for detail and loves polishing choreography and choirs to perfection. She currently plays piano for worship at Redeemer Church in Tomball where she attends with her husband, Grant and her three kids, Audrey, Violet & Hudson. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, she enjoys organizing and eating Mexican food! 

Her favorite bible verse is Lamentations 3:21-23, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have HOPE: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Kristi Vaughn

Kristi Vaughn

Vocal director

My day job is trade compliance and logistics in the oil and gas industry but my heart loves the theater!  Being a church brat, music has always played a major role in my life, but an even larger component has been children’s ministry.  I love that, no matter who we are or where we started, we are all called to guide and influence the lives of the young people around us, and to help them grow into the world-changers God has called them to be!  My music background is almost exclusively in church, but I’ve dabbled in the secular world as well. I’ve led choirs and praise and worship teams for almost 10 years.  I also gig around town with my handsome drummer husband and our band in our free time.  We were youth group sweethearts, have been married for nearly 14 years, and we have two phenomenally talented and beautiful girls who absolutely adore being involved at NYT!  We couldn’t be more excited to be involved in this blessing of an organization. God dropped NYT into our lives at a time when my girls were so in need of Christ-centered relationships, and NYT has answered that prayer in our lives. This is a group whose ministry is bringing glory and honor to God, with some pretty fabulous song and dance on top. We’ve had the privilege of watching our girls flourish in an environment of Jesus chasing young people.  I’m so grateful for this organization and for the opportunity to be a part of the lives of so many incredible and talented kids!
LEAH CLAXTON

LEAH CLAXTON

Instructor

 

Leah Claxton loves to dance and has studied and performed with Progressions Performing Arts and Theater Under the Stars. She has also had the rare opportunity to train with the Radio City Rockettes in NYC. Leah has competed as a professional ballroom dancer and is a certified Zumba and PiYo instructor. She is married to the love of her life, Ryan, and currently works at Woodsedge Church as the Early Childhood Program Director.  She enjoys tutoring math (besuccessfulinmath.com) and teaching ballroom dance lessons. Leah is excited to support and teach NYT students.
LISA MORALES

LISA MORALES

Vocal Director; Instructor

 

Dr. Lisa Morales’ musical journey began at the age of three with Suzuki violin lessons at Oklahoma City University. As a violinist with the Charleston Youth Symphony (SC) and violin performance major through college, she studied with Dr. Won Mo Kim (Charleston Symphony Orchestra), Tiberius Klausner (University of Missouri – Kansas City), Dr. Donald Portnoy (University of South Carolina), and Leonard Feldberg (University of New Mexico).  Vocal studies with Drs. Aija and James Shrader included masterclasses with the renowned vocal pedagogue Richard Miller of Oberlin Conservatory followed by a year of intensive study with Florence Birdwell (teacher of Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara among others). While on staff at Tulsa Opera, Dr. Morales worked with nationally and internationally known singers, directors, and conductors and developed an opera appreciation course in conjunction with the University of Tulsa. Recently, she continued advanced study in the field with vocal pedagogy and conducting institutes at Boston Conservatory, Southern Methodist University, and the University of North Texas. Additional graduate coursework at the University of Houston-Moores School of Music has enabled her to learn from Professor Melanie Sonnenberg and the generous voice faculty associated with MSM. (Go coogs!)

Dr. Morales’ students are successful performers and have been welcomed into the Houston Grand Opera High School program, Sam Houston State University musical theater and theater programs, the University of Houston-Moores School of Music, Wichita State University musical theater program, and Oklahoma City University Petree School of Music, to name a few. Additionally, students who have trained with Dr. Morales are now featured singers and performers in various semi-professional and professional venues, including Disneyland in Orlando!

Dr. Morales has worked in higher education for over twenty years, developing curriculum, establishing and building programs, and designing extracurricular activities. Her research interests focus on the interdisciplinary nature of learning and encompass vocal health, the connection between bel canto and musical theater style singing techniques, performance practice and programming, and the economic impact of war/effectiveness of reconstruction efforts within two primary contexts: the War of 1812 and the Marshall Plan. At LSC-Tomball, she provides leadership for the direction of the music program, teaches honors music appreciation and private voice students, and directs vocal ensembles. Previously, she has served on the faculties of University of Tulsa, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and North Central Texas College.

Madison Stone

Madison Stone

Instructor

I am Madison McDaniel. I have been active in theater since the age of fourteen.  My parents enrolled me in theater to help me to overcome my natural shyness. In theater I not only found my voice, but I discovered like-minded, creative friends, and a passion for performance. Over the years, I have been blessed to experience theater in many aspects including the technical production and the performance side. This is my third year to serve as instructor with National Youth Theater for our young thespians and I look forward to seeing them learn and grow!

Meghan Thomasson

Meghan Thomasson

Instructor

 

Meghan is currently finishing her degree in Music Education at Houston Baptist University while teaching private piano and voice lessons to students of all ages. In addition to teaching privately, she has taught elementary music classes and directed high school choirs. Many of her students have achieved superior ratings in the Texas State Solo & Ensemble competition as well as the National Guild of Piano Auditions. In her free time, she loves playing piano, singing Broadway tunes, baking, and studying maps. She is engaged to be married in December and is so excited to be teaching for NYT this year!

“speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,”  Ephesians 5:19

Melody Ochterbeck

Melody Ochterbeck

Camp Counselor

Melody Ochterbeck is the middle of 7 kids, and has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember! She has a huge love for all the arts, and leads worship at her church, Freedom Church. She also has a passion for photography and has her own photography business, Melody Ann’s Photography. She has been around NYT for a long time since her sisters were very involved before they aged out. She has helped with past NYT shows, and is very excited to finally be able to be a counselor at teen camp and is honored to lead worship for it, as well.

Rene Schiltz

Rene Schiltz

Instructor

René has always loved music, dance, and theatre.  In high school she was in school musicals and plays and also performed in local community theatre productions.  She trained for 15 years in ballet and still loves to support and attend the ballet.

René was undecided toward a major after two years of college and began an 8 year career as a ballroom dance instructor and competitor in Boston, Massachusetts.  She opened her own dance studio on Cape Cod and enjoyed owning and operating her own business until she felt called to return to college and pursue a different goal, a degree in theatre arts.  Upon receipt of her MFA in Acting, René returned to her home in Oklahoma and began teaching as a professor of musical theatre at Northern Oklahoma College.  There she met her husband, Dennis, they married and made the move to Houston, Texas, currently residing in Tomball.  Directing theatre is a passion she continued to pursue in Houston.

René made the transition to homeschooling in 2005.  She has written curriculum for English Grammar, Phonetics, and workbooks for elementary science.  Throughout her homeschooling years, René has also directed homeschool theater productions for Covenant Academy, Regina Caeli School, and her own company, KingdomArts Productions.  These shows have received excellent reviews from parents and school/church administrators.  She has also coached speech and debate for six years, starting Una Voce Debate Club in the Woodlands in 2015.  As her kids have transitioned into high school, René has adopted new leadership roles, most recently as a Board Member for the 30 year non-profit, Christians in Theatre Arts, known as CITA. 

René has a passion for teaching acting from a biblical worldview in order to see theatre artists excel at their craft and work to transform the culture; to glorify God with one’s talents and skills.  She is very excited to be joining the NYT staff in 2019.

Savannah Alexander

Savannah Alexander

Choreographer

I have been a part of NYT since its first show in 2014. Theater has been a passion of mine ever since I was 7 when I took my first theater class with CYT. I have high hopes to become a choreographer one day, and I am so thankful for the opportunities that NYT has already given me to start on that path! I have lived in Texas my whole life with my parents and three siblings, and my other hobbies include reading, creative writing, and shopping (when I can lol). I am so thrilled to get to work with your kids this season, and I can’t wait to see how God works his wonders through the gifts of your children!

Savannah Brown

Savannah Brown

Instructor

Savannah is a former homeschool student who has taken fifteen years of ballet. Ten of those years were spent training at Excelsior School of Dance in The Woodlands. While there she assisted teaching for five years and was a part of their pre-professional company for three years. She performed in numerous productions with them in her time training at ESD.

Since then she has taught at Soli Deo Gloria as a dance teacher/choreographer and trained a year at Payne Academy of Performing Arts. Most recently she has become an intern at Open Sky Arts Collective. Ministering through the arts is something she feels called to and wants to pursue. She loves working towards excellence and cultivating a safe place for artists to grow. She wants to help others use their gifts to glorify God.

Victoria Tamez

Victoria Tamez

Instructor; Camp Staff

 

Tori just completed her 2nd year at Lone Star College and will be transferring to Sam Houston State University for a major in entrepreneurship. She has a passion for singing, dancing, acting & photography. Tori is currently a dancer in Magnify Dance Company, and is also an alumni of Joyful Sound Performance Company.

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