Production Team

Management

Adrian Cohen : Artistic Director & Founder of Upstage Theatre Schools

Adrian Cohen

Artistic Director & Founder of Upstage Theatre Schools

Adrian has been a professional actor and drama teacher for over 25 years. He was born and educated in England completing a BA (honors) at Leeds University and a Drama Diploma at the Arts Educational Schools, London.

Adrian has worked extensively in film and television with credits including “Ocean’s 13”, “Entourage”, “General Hospital”, “The King of Queens”, “Frasier”, “Bruce Almighty” and recurring roles in “24” and “iCarly” (as Mr Devlin).

Adrian started Upstage in 1999 with a simple principle at its core — to create an environment that would produce fully rounded young performers:

“I wanted the students to take part in all three disciplines (i.e. acting, singing and dance) so that when they perform on stage, they have what we call 'chops'-that's how actors are taught in England. And the skills learnt in the performing arts are so useful to young people whatever future career they choose.”

Adrian@upstageschools.com

Julie Bank : Managing Director

Julie Bank

Managing Director

Julie has been part of the Upstage family for over a decade, starting in 2004 as a volunteer at Westwood Charter before joining the Upstage Production Team in 2014.

She has a Masters of Social Service Administration Degree from the University of Chicago and has been working with children and families for over to 25 years, first in foster care and more recently as an international adoption social worker.

Originally from Texas, her love of Musical Theatre started with a High School production of “Grease” and was revived when the oldest of her four children joined the Upstage Program.

Julie loves being a part of the Upstage Theatre Schools family and loves working with the amazing Upstage staff and students!

Julie@upstagschools.com

Gary Rolin : Production Manager

Gary Rolin

Production Manager

Although new to Upstage, Gary has been in love with the theatre for many years. In that time, he has learned what it takes to put on a production both in front or and behind the curtain. He has been an actor, set designer, director, writer and producer.

Gary, grew up in Somerset, NJ and graduated Rutgers University, New Brunswick with a degree in English. Since then, he has run student backstage crews for high school production, written for sketch comedy for radio, voiced characters in video games and can be seen with a small part in a number of television shows including "iCarly," "Happy Endings," "Young & Hungry" and "The Crazy Ones." He also produced the web series "Life, with Zombies" and the award-winning short "Baby Fight Night."

Gary hopes to bring his experience and knowledge to create great theatre experiences with Upstage.

Gary@upstageschools.com

Taylor Sherry : Director/Choreographer/Media Coordinator

Taylor Sherry

Director/Choreographer/Media Coordinator

Taylor Marie Sherry is thrilled to be joining the team at Upstage. She grew up in Chicago in a family deeply entrenched in the Theatre world. Her senior year of high school, Taylor attended the Jimmy Awards in NYC, as the winner of Best Actress at the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. She is a recent graduate of Florida State University with her BFA in Musical Theatre, training everyday with Broadway’s Michael Hayden, and Fred Chappell. Taylor spent two summers in college performing at the Highlands Playhouse in North Carolina, and whilst not doing that, choreographing and assisting musicals at Elgin Academy’s theatre camp. After graduation, Taylor spent her summer as a performer in the resident company at Music Theatre Wichita working with fantastic leaders such as Peggy Hickey, Wayne Bryan, and Nicholas Palmquist; where she also had the opportunity to play Amber in Hairspray choreographed by Al Blackstone. Taylor has recently moved to LA to pursue her acting career, and to grow her directing and choreographing experiences. http://taylormariesherry.com

Taylor@upstageschools.com

Miranda Wynne : Director and Production Manager

Miranda Wynne

Director and Production Manager

Miranda Wynne graduated from UC, San Diego with a Bachelors in Theatre and a minor in communications. She performs in theatres all around Los Angeles and recently received a nomination for Best Lead Performance by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. Previously, Miranda has had the pleasure of being a teaching artist for La Jolla Playhouse’s Young Performers Workshop and as the Performing Arts Specialist at Fun Under the Sun Day Camp for a number of years. Miranda is also a substitute teacher for LAUSD during the year!

Miranda@upstageschools.com

Amanda Harmon : Production Manager

Amanda Harmon

Production Manager

Amanda Harmon has studied Acting and Improv for over ten years and loves to be involved in the arts in any way she can. Since graduating from AMDA College & Conservatory of the Performing Arts with a BFA in Performing Arts: Acting, she has written a feature film screenplay, was the Artistic Director for the world premier of, Breather, a play at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, taught Improv classes to kids, became a member of the Critical Action Theatre Company, and has acted in a number of short films.
Amanda has a passion for introducing the benefits of theatre to children and could not be happier to join the Upstage team.
Courtney Escher : Production Manager

Courtney Escher

Production Manager

Courtney moved to LA from Atlanta, GA on Sept. 1, 2018. Her employment background includes stints in the production industry  (where she wrote trailers for upcoming made for TV movies and direct to DVD movies) marketing (where she managed big budgets for Chevrolet) and theatre (where she did pretty much everything to support and keep a low budget, non-profit improv theatre up to snuff). Courtney holds a great love for theatre and entertainment and is thrilled to continue her journey at Upstage. In her off-time she enjoys performing stand-up and improv comedy shows, karaoke, cooking and obsessing over the Bachelor. Courtney is a resident of Koreatown, where she lives with her boyfriend and cat and eats way too much Korean Barbecue.

Courtney@upstageschools.com

Direction

Jason Currie : Director

Jason Currie

Director

Jason attended The Juilliard School on a full vocal performance scholarship. After graduation he performed in regional and touring productions all over the US. He has also scored numerous indie short films and web series.

In July of 2009, his YouTube hit Girls In Pantyhose was released and to date has over 2.5 million views, while his work on My 2 Black Girlfriends won him the 2014 IAWTV Award for Best Original Music.

He is a founding member of comedy troupe Fred For Nothing and the award-winning comedy song troupe Stupid Songs. Jason also facilitated Opera Improv, a collaboration between the Groundlings and LA Opera. Jason joined the It Gets Better tour in 2012 where he travels the country speaking, performing and doing outreach for underserved and at-risk LGBTQ youth.

Sara Cravens : Director

Sara Cravens

Director

Sara is a comedic actress who grew up in Tennessee playing in trash cans for fun. Sara rose up quickly in the video game world, voicing Power Girl in Injustice 2, Boom Bloom in Skylanders and characters in Agents of Mayhem, Batman Arkham Knight, Star Wars Uprising as fan favorite Deathstick, and Halo 5. She has voiced 100s of commercials, including Nike, Nissan, Taco Bell, Target, McDonalds, BevMo, CVS, Diet Dr Pepper, Wells Fargo, Google, Honda, and you can hear her on TripTank on Comedy Central, Harriet Wolf in Monster High, Emma Stone's voicematch in The Croods, and Princess Maribel in The Snow King 2. Anime crowds love her as Sachiko in Erased and the Child Emperor in One Punch Man. Sara is a co-founder of The Harmony Series, a series of women's empowerment events encouraging women to find and embrace their authentic voice. She loves children and has created kid's improv programs for schools and theaters all over Los Angeles. She is thrilled to be a director with Upstage, and it is her absolute joy to see the young kids blow their audiences away. Sara loves yoga, country music, and makes the best from-scratch buttermilk biscuits you've ever tasted.

Patrick Hallahan : Director

Patrick Hallahan

Director

Patrick Hallahan has been a teacher and director since age sixteen. Working for the non-profit group Children's Theatre Network of California, Patrick worked on dozens of classic musicals (everything from "Music Man" and "My Fair Lady" to "West Side Story" and "Into the Woods") to put himself through college. After graduating from UCLA's School of Theatre, Film, and Television with a BA in theatre, Patrick was accepted to The Juilliard Drama Division, where he graduated in '00.

Patrick worked as an actor in New York for six years before moving to southern california to continue to teach, direct, and act closer to his family and friends. Since returning to California, he has worked for the Metropolitan Arts (MET2) group, Arts Northridge, AMDA in Hollywood, and the Southern California Musical Theatre, directing productions, running workshops and classes, and staging showcases for graduating conservatory students. He ultimately hopes to return to school within the next few years to get an MFA in Directing for the stage.

Patrick’s productions for Upstage include the summer camp shows "Oh Mamma Mia", "High School Musical 2" and "Into the Woods Jnr"; and the after-school productions of "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and "Singin’ in the Rain". Recently he completed a successful summer directing "Cats" and "Once On This Island Jnr".

Mike McClure : Director & Choreographer

Mike McClure

Director & Choreographer

Mike McClure was a musical theater major at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and has performed, directed, choreographed and taught in New York, Los Angeles and many places in between.

Favorite roles as a performer are Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain, BJ Gibson in The 1940’s Radio Hour & Orin, the Dentist, in Little Shop of Horrors. Favorite shows as a director/choreographer are Hairspray, West Side Story, Music Man and Romeo & Juliet, the Rock Musical.

He choreographed the national tours of Gypsy & The Sound of Music as well as regional productions of Cats and Hair.

He has taught jazz, musical theater dance, acting and filmmaking in various locations over the past 20 years and has gotten to share the stage with musical theater legends like Gene Kelly, Tommy Tune, Joel Grey, George Hearn and Sandy Duncan.

Miranda Wynne : Director and Production Manager

Miranda Wynne

Director and Production Manager

Miranda Wynne graduated from UC, San Diego with a Bachelors in Theatre and a minor in communications. She performs in theatres all around Los Angeles and recently received a nomination for Best Lead Performance by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. Previously, Miranda has had the pleasure of being a teaching artist for La Jolla Playhouse’s Young Performers Workshop and as the Performing Arts Specialist at Fun Under the Sun Day Camp for a number of years. Miranda is also a substitute teacher for LAUSD during the year!

Miranda@upstageschools.com

Choreography

Mike McClure : Director & Choreographer

Mike McClure

Director & Choreographer

Mike McClure was a musical theater major at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and has performed, directed, choreographed and taught in New York, Los Angeles and many places in between.

Favorite roles as a performer are Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain, BJ Gibson in The 1940’s Radio Hour & Orin, the Dentist, in Little Shop of Horrors. Favorite shows as a director/choreographer are Hairspray, West Side Story, Music Man and Romeo & Juliet, the Rock Musical.

He choreographed the national tours of Gypsy & The Sound of Music as well as regional productions of Cats and Hair.

He has taught jazz, musical theater dance, acting and filmmaking in various locations over the past 20 years and has gotten to share the stage with musical theater legends like Gene Kelly, Tommy Tune, Joel Grey, George Hearn and Sandy Duncan.

Meghann Lucas : Choreographer

Meghann Lucas

Choreographer

A Boston native who's been dancing since she was three, Meghann studied Dance and Theatre at both Hofstra and Jacksonville Universities. She has been teaching dance for the past 9 years in both the New England and Los Angeles areas. She has performed with local dance and theatre companies and most notably in the hybrid dance-theater company, Thrance.

Currently, she is a preschool dance teacher at Temple Isaiah Preschool in addition to owning her own dance company for the past six years, Kickstart Dance, located in West LA. She had her choreography debut with the Upstage Production of Peter Pan JR. this summer! She couldn't be happier teaching kids... and dancing!

Taylor Sherry : Director/Choreographer/Media Coordinator

Taylor Sherry

Director/Choreographer/Media Coordinator

Taylor Marie Sherry is thrilled to be joining the team at Upstage. She grew up in Chicago in a family deeply entrenched in the Theatre world. Her senior year of high school, Taylor attended the Jimmy Awards in NYC, as the winner of Best Actress at the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. She is a recent graduate of Florida State University with her BFA in Musical Theatre, training everyday with Broadway’s Michael Hayden, and Fred Chappell. Taylor spent two summers in college performing at the Highlands Playhouse in North Carolina, and whilst not doing that, choreographing and assisting musicals at Elgin Academy’s theatre camp. After graduation, Taylor spent her summer as a performer in the resident company at Music Theatre Wichita working with fantastic leaders such as Peggy Hickey, Wayne Bryan, and Nicholas Palmquist; where she also had the opportunity to play Amber in Hairspray choreographed by Al Blackstone. Taylor has recently moved to LA to pursue her acting career, and to grow her directing and choreographing experiences. http://taylormariesherry.com

Taylor@upstageschools.com

Beverly Wilkerson : Choreographer

Beverly Wilkerson

Choreographer

Beverly received her BFA from the Boston Conservatory of Music at Berklee, in Drama/Musical Theatre/Dance with Honors in Directing. In NYC, she performed at Lincoln Center, Off Broadway, and regionally. She did several productions of “Sweet Charity” and “Sugar Babies,” one of each choreographed by award-winner Susan Stroman. In LA, Beverly appeared at the Whitefire, Powerhouse, and Court theatres, and at the Comedy Store and Luna Park. She played violin for John Cleese in a DirecTV ad, won many game shows (incl. “Wheel of Fortune”), and will appear as a dancer this year in Sia’s movie “Music” and Netlix’s “Ratched,” and playing tennis in the Roger Ailes’ movie. She sings with the a cappella group “The Music Companie” and the quartet “Jazz and All That.” She has been sharing her passion, directing, music directing, and choreographing children’s theatre, for 13 years, and is thrilled to join the Upstage team! www.beverlywilkerson.com

Mario Mosley : Director/Choreographer

Mario Mosley

Director/Choreographer

Mario Mosley attended the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television. Some of his credits include World Music Awards, Dreamgirls, Walk Hard, Castle, Madtv, RuPaul's Drag U, Dance Your A** Off, Nickelodeon, Heineken, Kia, Sprite, Miss Universe Pageant, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, iCarly, Popeyes, It Get's Better Tour, Michael Jackson's Sisterella, Notre Dame de Paris, Joe's Garage and many more. Mario is a longtime Lythgoe Family Panto Choreographer, having worked on such shows as Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Aladdin to name a few. This summer, he went to Sydney, Australia to choreograph a brand new 3D production of Jack & the Beanstalk at the world famous State Theatre. His love and talents in some many fields of the arts have presented him with the opportunity to work with some of the most exciting names in the entertainment industry, including Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Prince, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, The Pussycat Dolls, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Zac Efrom, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Olivia Holt, and the new Disney sensation Ruby Rose Turner.

Cori Cable Kidder : Choreographer

Cori Cable Kidder

Choreographer

Cori Cable Kidder, an Arkansas native, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theatre. Cori has been choreographing musicals for 17 years and started her own company, Confidence in Choreography, to make learning easier for dancers of all ages. Her credits include The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, and Mary Poppins (Wynne High School), and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Ouachita Baptist University). Her performance credits include the Broadway Farewell tour of Mamma Mia! (Donna/Rosie cover), Patsy Cline in Always...Patsy Cline (Sierra Madre Playhouse), and In the Mood international tour. www.coricablekidder.com

Bria Robinson : Choreographer

Bria Robinson

Choreographer

Bria Robinson is from Chattanooga, TN. She attended Earlham College in Richmond, IN where she majored in Theatre Arts and minored in Business Management. After graduating Earlham is moved to New York to start here career in the arts. She was upon moving to New York she participated in a fellowship program at the Brooklyn Academy of music for production and stage craft. She has been a stage manager for other shows such as Plaza Suite, 24hr Theatre Project, and a few others. She really enjoys theatre and loves the people that she meets throughout her experiences.

Alison Smith : Choreographer

Alison Smith

Choreographer

Alison has been a professional dancer and actress for 25 years here in Southern California. She has been in numerous plays, musicals, television productions, industrials and has been lucky enough to travel the world with her talents. She grew up on the stage dancing, transitioned into film and television in her 20’s, learned make-up artistry in her 30’s and has worked as co-owner in a successful photography business as well. Alison has taught dance as a guest artist throughout many studios from Kansas City to Southern California. Her love for dance and choreography has continued even as she has settled down in South Pasadena to raise her 3 young children. She continues to teach dance at local studios, audition commercially and is involved in the School district directing productions, State recognized Show Choirs and has also implemented a dance program within the elementary schools. She also shares her talents as a Teaching Artist for Disney Musicals in Schools. Alison feels at her best when she is inspiring kids and people through dance and expression and is thrilled to be part of The Upstage Team.

Musical Direction

Angelica Smith : Musical Director

Angelica Smith

Musical Director

Angelica is an avid lover of music and has been singing in choirs since she was in high school. After high school, Angelica lived in Borken, Germany for one year as an exchange student where she studied language, culture, and the performing arts. She has since been studying voice at Santa Barbara City College, San Francisco State University (B.A. in Spanish), Moorpark College (where she won an award for Best Actress as a newcomer), and continues with private coaching.
Angelica is active in community theatre in the Ventura County and has been in productions such as Nunsense, Dogfight, Curtains, Nuncrackers (CSP), West Side Story (CPT), and a number of productions at Moorpark College.
Teaching kids music and seeing their faces light up with enjoyment is a gift Angelica doesn’t take for granted. She is incredibly grateful to Upstage for including her in the team.
Ken Jones : Musical Director

Ken Jones

Musical Director

Ken is thrilled to be joining the ranks at Upstage Theatre. Working throughout Chicago, he made a career in Music Directing throughout the area at Educational Institutions and Theatrical Venues. Co

Ken Jones, Piano, Voice, WWs
312-550-8774
KenMusicJones@gmail.com

Gabriel Oliva : Musical Director

Gabriel Oliva

Musical Director

Not the average Spaniard, Gabriel grew up half in San Diego, and half in Seville, Spain. His first words were a "me gusta" followed shortly by "juice". After being confused for a short while (so he's told) he decided to stick to English primarily. He still speaks Spanish regularly to his family across the sea who still have a hard time believing "El Pollo Loco" is a restaurant.

Gabriel attended the USC School of Theatre and quickly transitioned into professional acting and singing after graduating with honors. Growing up with two opera-singing parents, he has an in-depth knowledge of singing technique. Gabriel’s music education continued and expanded through 10 years of performing in the barbershop group The Dapper Dans at Disneyland Resort.  His musical experience aided his transition into the world of voice-over. You can hear Gabriel’s voice in “Star Wars: Rogue One”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and several episodes of Disney Channel’s “Elena of Avalor”.

Debra Lee : Musical Director

Debra Lee

Musical Director

Debra Kay Lee has been singing in choirs since she was nine years old. She went on to study music at CSUN and toured Europe with John Alexander and the University Singers. Debra has had the pleasure of teaching music and theatre to children since 2006 under the expert tutelage of Adrian Neil. She has worked on productions such as "Annie", "High School Musical 1 & 2", "Guys and Dolls", "Little Shop of Horrors", and "Into The Woods Jr".

Debra has appeared on Good Morning America singing with The Caroling Company. As a comedian she opened for Jerry Seinfeld at the Hollywood Improv and for Suzanne Edwards at the Country Music Radio Festival in Nashville. Some of her favorite roles have been Svetlana in "Chess", Yucca in "My Cup Ranneth Over" and Bobbi Lynn in "The All Star Radio Broadcast of 1939". Her T.V. and film credits include "Capitol", "Days of Our Lives", the indie film "Lost" and the web series "Nora Breaks Free". Her theatre roles include Mrs. Fezziwiz in "Marley’s Xmas", Diedre in "Richard’s Cork Leg" and Enid in "A Chorus of Disapproval".

Debra loves teaching at Upstage Schools and seeing the amazing growth and joy that the kids experience from their participation in the program.

Catie Morris : Musical Director

Catie Morris

Musical Director

Catie Morris hails from the great peachy state of Georgia where she grew up under the oak trees and stage lights. A native of Savannah GA, Catie began acting and writing at the age of 9 years old, dreaming of the day she’d win her Academy Award. By the time she graduated high school, she had performed in and assisted with well over 50 productions across the Southeast. In 2015 she moved to San Diego, CA to study theatre performance at San Diego State University. During her time at San Diego State, she acted in countless short films and productions, directed several one-act plays, sang and danced her heart out in musical showcases, studied Shakespeare and Stand-Up Comedy in England, and even walked the red carpet at her first Hollywood film premier this past March. The endless Californian sunshine stole her heart and after graduating in May 2019, Catie once again packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles where she now resides and acts professionally, while also making beautiful lattes on the side. In her free time Catie can be found on the beach surfing, playing music, singing in her car during rush hour traffic, wandering around museums and Disneyland, traveling across the globe, or writing. This is her first year with Upstage Theatre Schools and she could not be more elated to be a part of such a wonderful family of theatre teachers!

Technical

Megan Lian : Costume Designer

Megan Lian

Costume Designer

Megan Lian is a Los Angeles based Costume Designer born and raised in the Los Angeles area. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles with a degree in Product Development. Shortly after she enrolled in Los Angeles City College’s Theatre Academy and fell in love with Costume Design.
Since 2012, Megan has designed dozens of productions for film, television, theater and digital platforms.
 
Megan’s works include the projects for Hulu, Dreamworks, Disney, NFL, an office comedy “Liberty Crossing”, produced by Mason Novick (Juno, 500 Days of Summer), Season 3 of the drama “Guidance” for AwesomenessTV. Most recently she Costume Designed the film “The Bellmen” (due to premier in 2019) and was the Assistant Costume Designer for the latest season of “Dreamcorp” on Adult Swim.
 
She is a an avid supporter of Los Angeles Theatre and is frequent patron of Mark Taper and Ahmanson theaters. Megan has been costuming shows with Upstage since 2016, and is looking forward to another fun season of shows! 
Lauren West : Costume Designer

Lauren West

Costume Designer

Lauren West has been involved in theatre for over 15 years, costuming productions across California. She has worked with Shotgun Players (Oakland), Opera Parallele (San Francisco), Downtown Repertory Theatre (Los Angeles) to name a few, and is thrilled to be on staff at Upstage as one of their costume designers.
Lauren firmly believes that theatre is paramount to children and adults in discovering their own agency while fostering interdependence. "Theatre promotes confidence and gives us language to reinterpret and discover ourselves."
By putting students in dashing costumes, Lauren hopes to encourage the embodiment of their character and in turn feel bold to take on anything!