Jackie Stewart Hammond (Producing Artistic Director)
is a two-time ariZoni award-winning Music Director (eleven-time nominated) and National Youth Arts award-winning Music Director (four times nominated as Director and Vocal Director). She has been teaching music and theatre for over 30 years, graduated with honors from San José State University (Creative Arts and Musical Theatre) and is also a graduate of the American Musical Theater Artists' Institute where she rigorously trained in voice, dance, and acting, as well as Shakespeare, improvisation, and stage combat. She also spent a summer studying opera with the chairman of the music department of Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Jackie has extensive experience in the performing arts and professional theatre. Favorite roles have included Gino/Harpo Marx in Day in Hollywood/Night in the Ukraine, Annie (twice) as Lily and Miss Hannigan, Cathy in The Last Five Years, Into the Woods (twice) as The Witch and Cinderella, and Fantine in Les Misérables alongside her daughter Noelle Hammond who played the role of Little Cosette. She composed original arrangements of songs for San José State's Touring Group, "Company One" where in her college years, she performed with them, as well. Jackie has vocal directed, directed, and choreographed for many theatres in CA and AZ, including one of the nation's largest youth theaters in San José. Directing and performing experience includes close to 200 shows to her credit. She really enjoys her job as Producing Artistic Director and Founder of MTA and very much appreciates the hard work from her production staff, the dedicated parent volunteers, and the incredible performers. Much love to her supportive husband, Jeff and wonderful twin children, Lennon and Noelle.
Joe Bousard (Guest Instructor) Joe is proud to be a member of MTA's family as a composer, writer, Music Director and performer, Joe has found fulfillment in so many ways while working with these MTA young people; it is a gift and a privilege. They are quick learners, and they never drop
the ball! His career has continued through the early Arizona years, the New York Years, the Japan years, and now the Arizona years again which includes Cabarets, shows, CD's, teaching and coaching vocalists. The constant discovery of talent is the best part of teaching and creating and there is no better discovery than MTA! Being a professional all his life has given Joe good health, good dreams, and many rainbows. His family gives him the Spirit and the love, and his work gives him the reward. Onward, upward, and continuation!
Shana Bousard (Guest Instructor) Shana has been professionally involved in music
and theatre all her life. She graduated from the prestigious Hartt
School of Music and immediately began her career in the northeast.
She was a featured singer/dancer for Holland America and Regency
Cruise lines, and has performed several cabarets and concerts in
Manhattan, Phoenix, and around the country. Since moving to
Arizona in 1995, Shana, a proud member of Actor's Equity, has
performed for many local and national theatre companies and is an
AriZoni Award winning actress/director. Favorite, recent rolls include
"Glinda" in The Wizard of Oz, "Mrs. Banks" in Mary Poppins, and
Rosemary Clooney/Self in "A Swingin' Christmas…Too!" at Tempe
Center for the Arts, and "Sally Bowles" in Cabaret at Theatre Artists
Studio. Shana is a proud, professional member of the choir at
Community Church of the Verdes, and also claims extensive
commercial and voice-over credits, and is represented by the
Leighton Agency. She is also delighted to have produced her vocal
CD, 'This One's On Me'. In addition to performing, Shana spends her
time as a loving wife to Dominik and mother to Alexander and Emma,
and currently works full time as a music therapist with many clients of
Sarah Brayer (Director, Choreographer, Stage Manager) Sarah has been with MTA since its first show and has since had the honor of working on many shows with incredibly talented staff and actors. She enjoys all aspects of theatre including acting, directing, choreographing, and co vocal directing. Sarah won a NYA for outstanding choreography on MTA's production of Legally Blonde Jr. (Co-choreographed with the fabulous Shawna Weitekamp). She would like to thank her family for all their support. "Enjoy the show!"
Lyndsie Clymer (Co-Director, choreographer) Lyndsie Clymer has been dancing since the age of 3 at Dynamic Motion Dance Academy. She has studied Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Breaking, Modern, Ballroom, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theater, and Acrobatics. Lyndsie is certified in Jazz with Dance Educators of America and Acro with Acrobatic Arts. She shares her love for dance teaching at studios around Arizona. Lyndsie has worked with various levels of dancers ages ranging form 2 to Adult. Lyndsie teaches at Dynamic Motion Dance Academy and Dancers Domain. She is a Guest Choreographer at Boulder Creek High School with the Choir and Dance Program. Lyndsie has found her home choreographing shows for Musical Theatre of Anthem. She has done many shows here, her favorites being Disney's Mary Poppins, Once On This Island, and 13. Lyndsie was given the Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Award which only a few were awarded in the state of Arizona. Lyndsie's choreography has be awarded and recognizes through Competitions, NYAs and district evaluations. She is incredibly grateful to be able to do what she loves every single day. Lyndsie truly just loves to share her passion with her students!
Melissa Davis (Director, Vocal Director) Melissa is a director, singer, and actor. She is the Music and Drama teacher at Ridgeline Academy. She graduated from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts 2 year conservatory program in 2010. There she was immersed in rigorous acting, movement, dance, and vocal training. In 2011, she completed a Casting internship at PCPA. She later went on to complete her BA in Child and Adolescent Psychology at Argosy University. She has performed in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (PCPA), Distracted (PCPA), The Importance of Being Earnest (Brelby), Crimes of the Heart (GCC), and Godspell (GCC). With Ridgeline Academy Drama Club, she has directed Elf Jr., The Lion King Jr., Seussical Jr., Peter Pan Jr., James and the Giant Peach Jr., Beauty and the Beast Jr., and High School Musical Jr. She has vocal directed Annie Jr. and James and the Giant Peach Jr. at MTA.
Karen Gallagher (Grant Writer/Office Coordinator) has been with MTA since 2018. She represents MTA at the Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce meetings and works to get local business and community support for the theatre. Karen has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University. Karen taught elementary school technology classes for 10 years before joining MTA. Karen works from home and loves spending time with her husband Eric and their three little ones Liam, Cora, Patrick!
Jim Gradillas (Director) has been teaching/directing youth theatre for 26 years. He has been a professional actor, teacher, director and writer all over Arizona during this time. Jim has won fourteen AriZoni Awards for Theatre Excellence, which includes five for original writing. He has also won several National Arts Awards and Child Empowerment Awards. In addition, he was a teaching artist for Arizona Commission on the Arts. He has directed and taught for Mesa Arts Center, Valley Youth Theatre, Theater Works, East Valley Children's Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Greasepaint Youth Theatre, and has directed and wrote for Scottsdale Christian Academy, Musical Theatre of Anthem, Montessori Kingdom of Learning and Mesa Arts Academy. He currently produces, directs and writes for a youth theatre, Acting Zone in Goodyear, AZ. Jim is thrilled to be back to be a part of Musical Theatre of Anthem, a place that is near and dear to his heart. Jim lives with his lovely wife, Michelle (and writing partner) in west valley.
Sierra Litman (director, Director of Educational Programming, Production Manager, Stage Manager, Curriculum Implementation, Costumes, Props) is a teacher, director, stage manager, and performer who has spent a majority of her life in the theatre. Sierra graduated with her bachelor's of science in elementary and special education from Northern Arizona University and went on to teach English (grade 6) and theatre (grades preK-6). While she loves performance, Sierra finds the most joy when she is directing, teaching, and stage managing for productions. Sierra works with MTA as the Director of Educational Programming and Production Manager. She has recently worked on Disney's Moana Jr., Annie Jr, and Disney's Lion King Jr (MTA) on curriculum implementation, costume design, and props design. She is production stage manager for Disney's Alice In Wonderland Jr., Our Town, and 13! The Musical (MTA). She has also directed musical productions of Annie Jr, Seussical Jr, and Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr for both the Paseo Hills and Black Mountain school drama programs.
Jessica Kishbaugh (Minis Instructor, Sound Designer and board operator, Hair/Makeup Design) Jessica recently graduated from Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics and obtained her Esthetics license. Jessica enjoys working at MTA year-round as the Assistant to the Producing Artistic Director. In addition to Stage Managing throughout the season she also had her directorial debut with A Year with Frog and Toad KIDS earlier this season. Jessica has been performing with MTA since its inception and is now enjoying working on the production side of things. She appreciates all of the opportunities Jackie Hammond and MTA has given her the past 10 years. Aside from MTA, Jessica is embarking on a new business endeavor as she opened her esthetics business, Skin Esteem. Check out her website and social medias for more information! SkinEsteemAZ.com/@SkinEsteemAZ
Laura O'Meara (Director) Laura began her theatrical production career as a drama teacher at a private Christian school in Chicago where she produced and directed musicals with 120+ students, ages 6-14. She also served on and eventually led the drama team at her church, where she acted in and/or directed weekly dramas and full-scale adult and children's musical productions. Giving children the opportunity
to experience the thrills and benefits of theatre is truly Laura's passion, and she thanks Jackie and Jeff Hammond for allowing her to share that passion with the children and teens of MTA. Laura also wants to thank her husband, Dean, and her daughter, Kelsey, for always supporting her and believing in her.
Lorenzo Slavin (vocal director) is a local music director, pianist, and educator. Music direction credits include Matilda (Arizona Theatre Company's Summer on Stage), 13: The Musical (Greasepaint Youth Theatre), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Arizona Regional Theatre), Reefer Madness, Into the Woods, In the Heights, The Toxic Avenger: The Musical, Scrooge in Rouge, Mary Poppins, Legally Blonde, Chicago (Mesa Encore Theatre), and Cabaret (Desert Stages Theatre). He also enjoys producing musical accompaniment tracks and virtual performance videos in his free time. While living in Flagstaff, he performed the roles of Rolfe in The Sound of Music and Emmett in Legally Blonde and directed Next to Normal (Flagstaff Light Opera Company). He also served as the technical director for Prochnow Auditorium creating light and sound design for Trouble in Tahiti (NAU Lyric Theatre), Pippin (Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy) and four seasons of True Life: I'm a Lumberjack (NAU Admissions). Lorenzo holds a BME in choral music education and teaches K-6 general music for a local elementary school.
Shawna Weitekamp (Director, Vocal Director, Choreographer) Shawna is so happy to be back at MTA where she has received many awards and nominations for her work as Director, Choreographer, and Music Director. Her very first show at MTA was You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown and she was very excited to revisit it. Some of the other shows she has worked on are The Addams Family Young@Part (D/C),The Secret Garden (D/C), Seussical Jr. (MD), Legally Blonde Jr. (D/C/MD), Les Misérables (C), Cats (co- MD), Carrie the Musical (Co-D, C), Into the Woods (C), Freckleface Strawberry (D/C/MD), Shrek Jr.
the Musical (C) and Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. (D/MD) just to name a few. Thank you, Jackie, for continually giving me opportunities to expand and rediscover my creativity.
Cris Wo (Vocal Director) A few of his local theatre credits include A New Brain, Myths and Hymns, Forever Plaid, Into the Woods, Songs for a New World, Baby, Lucky Stiff, Chess and Badgers: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badgers. Cris is also a composer and alumni of the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project and ASCAP TBC Writers' Workshops in Chicago.