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Guest Artists

  • Becca Stouder
    Becca Stouder

    Becca Stouder began performing at the age of two and a half in Elkhorn, NE at Rennae’s School of Dance where she was once a student, and is now a teacher and choreographer. She is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University, earning her BPA in dance performance through the Ann Lacy School of Dance and Arts Management. An impassioned fan of musical theatre, Becca has been in a variety of different community theatre productions, her favorites include The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy), Beauty and the Beast (Lumière), Oklahoma! (Laurey). She may be remembered best in these circles from her performance as Miss Hannigan in TAFK’s production of Annie. She has also participated in Oklahoma City University’s American Spirit Dance Company’s shows including Home for the Holidays and Spring Show, as well as an M.F.A. thesis production entitled Broadway Hopefuls. This past summer, Becca was a co-choreographer of the Summer Theatre for Kids production at The Elkhorn Valley Community Theatre, as well as the choreographer of Alice in Wonderland Jr. for Sooner Theatre in Norman, Oklahoma. Becca is ecstatic and blessed to have the opportunity to share her passion for the arts with the children of TAFK!

    In addition to choreographing our upcoming kids of all ages production of Addams Family The Musical, Becca will be playing the role of Morticia.

  • James Mitchell

    TAFK is excited to welcome our Guest Director for Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Addams Family. James Kenon Mitchell was born in Rochester, NY and holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano and Opera Coaching from Westminster Choir College.

    Mr. Mitchell has accompanied masterclasses for Susan Ashbaker, Deborah Birnbaum, Dalton Baldwin, Joan Dornemann, William Hobbs, Chuck Hudson, Martin Katz, Kathleen Kelly, Kathryn LaBouff, Ken Noda, Matthew Polenzani, Pierre Vallet, Roger Vignoles and Darren K. Woods.

    Before pursuing his Masters in Music, Mr. Mitchell was an Adjunct Professor of Musical Theater at the University of West Florida. He has spent three summers at the CoOPERAtive Program first participating as a Pianist Fellow (2012/13) and then on faculty as Pianist Intern and Young Artist Dramatic Coach (2014). He served as Assistant Conductor for the CoOPERAtive Program's 2013 production of Don Giovanni and as Assistant Stage Director for the 2014 production of La Fille du Regiment. Mr. Mitchell was Assisant to the Music Staff at Sarasota Opera for the winter season of 2015.
    Mr. Mitchell has directed Faust for Opera Modo (2013) Madama Butterfly for Opera Forza (2014) and La Voix Humaine and Iolanta at Tri-Cities Opera in Bingamton, NY (2015). The premiere of his first opera libretto, Private Exhibition, with music by John Frederick Hudson will take place in October, 2016 at King's College in Aberdeen, Scotland.

    Mr. Mitchell is currently on faculty at West Virginia University as Visiting Assistant Professor and Interim Director of Opera Theatre where he has conducted Porter's Kiss Me Kate, Weill's Seven Deadly Sins, Hindemith's There and Back, and Menotti's The Medium.

  • Christopher Sanders
    Christopher Sanders

    Christopher Sanders currently resides in New York City where he works as a performer, choreographer, and dance teacher. Some recent credits include Off-Broadway: Pinkalicious The Musical-Vital Theater Company; National Tours: Pinkalicious The Musical-Vital Theater Company, Christmas Carol-Nebraska Theater Caravan; Regional: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers-Wohlfahrt Haus Theater Company, Twelfth Night-Cleveland Play House, Titus: A Grand and Gory Rock Musical-Cleveland Public Theatre, Sons Of The Prophet-Dobama Theatre, Spamalot-Beck Center for the Arts, West Side Story-Tru-North Theater. He has also worked as a choreographer for numerous productions. He got his BFA in Musical Theater from the University of West Florida and also studied at the International Performing Arts Institute in Munich, Germany.

    Chris will be joining the TAFK team this semester as a guest choreographer for Musical Theatre Troupe and Alice In Wonderland. Chris will also be giving a master class in auditioning.

Our Staff

  • Molly Cassiday

    Guest Clinician, Accompanist, Website Support

    Molly Cassiday has been involved in the performing arts virtually her entire life. Molly has played the piano professionally for more than 14 years. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Hastings College and Masters Degree in Counseling from Creighton University. Music Director, Accompanist, and Master Class Guest Instructor are just some of the roles in which Molly has served at Theatre Arts for Kids. She brings several years of classroom teaching experience to our organization and continues to work actively in the Lincoln area as a freelance pianist.

  • Mary Chambers

    Assistant Director, Stage Manager

    Mary Chambers is a student at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is currently majoring in Theatre Studies with a minor in Music Performance. She found her passion for theatre doing plays for her church group, S.T.A.G.E. Mary began formally studying the performing arts at the high school level through Theatre Arts for Kids and her high school theatre program. She enjoys stage managing as well as performing onstage playing roles such as the Baker's Wife (Into the Woods), Miss Amelia (A Little Princess), and Martha Watson (White Christmas). Mary's passion for music was unleashed upon meeting Leah Arington and joining her voice studio. Mary reports that through Leah's instruction she has grown and discovered the value and impact music can have.

  • Lauren Hackenmiller

    Music Director, Accompanist, Piano Instructor

    Lauren Hackenmiller is a versatile artist and is professionally active as a pianist, vocalist, and music director. Lauren holds her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Simpson College, and most recently attained her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lauren has been actively involved in music and theatre from a very young age, and is a strong advocate for the importance of performing arts for youth.

    Lauren enjoys working with youth, and has taken part in numerous programs promoting fine arts. She serves as the music director for Theatre Arts for Kids and is the executive director of Basement Opera . Lauren has experience teaching piano and voice lessons to students of all ages. Her extensive vocal background includes both choral and solo singing. She is an active chorister with Opera Omaha, and has performed in top vocal ensembles in locations around the world, including Italy and the UK. As a pianist, Lauren has played numerous recitals and concerts of a wide variety of music, including classical art song, full operas and musicals, and jazz cabarets. Due to her knowledge and passion for vocal music, she is in demand as collaborative pianist, and has accompanied numerous recitals in the region. She has experience accompanying choral ensembles, including the award-winning Big Red Singers.

  • Tyler Larson

    Music Director, Accompanist, Sound Technician, Piano Instructor

    Tyler Larson, a pianist of nearly twenty years, instructs students of all ages at Good Times Studio. His teaching style comes across as low-key but is actually meticulously structured to suit students of all ages. Each lesson lasts 30 minutes and occurs once a week. He is currently enrolling students of all ages on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. To enroll and/or arrange a time to further discuss piano lessons, sign up here. For more information about Good Times Studio, feel free to visit the website: www.GoodTimesStudio.com.

  • Blake Tobey

    Guest Director, Clinician

    Blake Tobey earned a degree in English/Language Arts from Doane College, where he was involved with several performing arts groups. Theatre and music are two of his biggest passions, followed closely by his love of travel and caffeine. He is no stranger to the stage, acting in various church, school and community productions since elementary school. In addition to directing for Waverly High School, he has guest directed and acted for Theatre Arts for Kids, as well as directed a summer musical camp at Doane College for Japanese junior high students since 2012. Tobey lives in Waverly with his wife, sons and dog.

  • Susan Twiehaus

    Assistant Director

    Susan Twiehaus is a 2015 graduate from Norris High School. Susan plans to attend the University of Nebraska- Lincoln in the fall of 2015 where she plans to major in Vocal Performance. Susan has been active in the Theatre Arts for Kids family performing, directing, and choreographing various performances. Some of her favorite roles include Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Sara Crewe (A Little Princess), Narrator (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Marty (Grease), Erzulie (Once on this Island), Terk (Tarzan), and most recently Cinderella (Into the Woods). At Theatre Arts for Kids, Susan has served as the Assistant Stage Manager for Beauty and the Beast, Assistant Director for Peter Pan and has helped in various internships within the program. Susan has performed with the Nebraska All-State Choirs, All-State Musical, and various other honor choirs. She was given the Elk's Youth Day Award for Outstanding Vocal Performance, and was a 2014 NATS prize winner. She loves being a part of the Theatre Arts for Kids family and cannot wait for what's to come.

Our Board of Directors

  • Executive Director & Artistic Director

    Leah Arington

  • Secretary

    Susan Twiehaus

  • Treasurer

    Shelley Stolcpart

  • Officers

    Stephan Andersen

    Janice Lee

  • Parent Liaison

    Amy Olson

Thank you to our sponsors!