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Guest Artists

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Susan Twiehaus


    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

    Stephan Andersen

  • Treasurer

    Shelley Stolcpart

  • Officers

    Susan Twiehaus
    Janice Lee
    Blake Tobey
    Rebecca Fisher
    Joyce Michaelis
    Amy Olson

  • Development Coordinator

    Katie Taddeucci

TAFK loves to celebrate our community! Thanks to our sponsors and community partners!