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.”

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!

Rebekah Auda : Production Director

Rebekah Auda

Production Director

Rebekah has been a performer all her life in various productions--musicals, straight plays, spoken poetry, you name it. She grew up in East Los Angeles in a performing home, with a father as a set designer/actor, mother who is an accompanist, and three sisters, which is drama enough. Along with her love of acting is her love for children. She is so excited to begin this new chapter of theatre production with Upstage! Rebekah holds a B.A. in Theatre Performance from California Baptist University, and lives with her dog Zooey in Los Angeles.

Taylor Sherry : Choreographer/ Media Coordinator

Taylor Sherry

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

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!

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".

Amber Hurst- Martin : Director

Amber Hurst- Martin

Director

Amber Hurst Martin is an accomplished singer, actress and performer. Classically trained in music and theater at Fordham College Lincoln Center, she's traveled the world performing with Jesus Christ Superstar and Disney Cruise Lines. Amber has also taught musical theater at the Harlem School of the Arts and Barnard College's Girl Scouts program. As an LA-based performer, she has sung at numerous venues around the city including The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Hotel Cafe. After recently debuting her autobiographical solo cabaret - You Can't Act A Color at Rockwell Table & Stage, Amber is currently touring with the It Gets Better musical, a project of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. The ensemble cast travels the country performing and working with children and communities on issues of bullying. Amber has the distinction of being one of the first female members in its 37 year history. www.amberhurstmartin.com 

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!

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 : Choreographer/ Media Coordinator

Taylor Sherry

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

Bethany Baderdeen : Choreographer

Bethany Baderdeen

Choreographer

Bethany is a southern California native starting from the bottom, now she’s here. As a huge advocate for education in Theater, Bethany earned a certificate from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in LA, and a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Performance from UC San Diego. She spent three years as an ambassador for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and was nominated for two Irene Ryan Awards.

After marking her Los Angeles stage debut as a semi-finalist in LA's Next Great Stage Star, her most recent role was appearing in Mamma Mia at Sierra Repertory Theater, and Grease at The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. She continues to perform regionally but is so passionately delighted to step on over to the creative team with Upstage! #beingbethany™ 

Gina Young : Choreographer

Gina Young

Choreographer

Gina Young is a writer, director and performer who has toured nationally and internationally with music, theater and dance projects. Her work has been presented by The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, USC’s Visions & Voices Series, Highways Performance Space and the Women’s Center for Creative Work. She is a winner of the Jane Chambers Award and a Finalist for the Center Theatre Group's 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award. Gina is also a proud big sister who loves helping young people express themselves and fall in love with the arts! She has appeared on Dance Moms, choreographed for Tegan & Sara and danced in Pharrell's hit music video Happy.  Gina studied Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently works and studies at Ryan Heffington's dance studio, The Sweat Spot.

Myra Joy Veluz : Choreographer

Myra Joy Veluz

Choreographer

Los Angeles based dancer, educator, and choreographer, Myra Joy Veluz, better known as Joy to her dance family, has taught at various universities, most notably Scripps College, Harvard University, and the University of Arizona School of Dance.

Growing up as a competition dancer, she became highly aware of preserving the body’s longevity at a young age. She began cross training with Pilates and now holds a Fletcher Pilates ® Mat License Certification. Moreover, to better complete her research regarding holistic teaching approaches, she currently utilizes her UCLArts Social and Emotional Certificate for her work with children with special needs throughout her teaching positions within SMUSD and LAUSD.

Joy has recently premiered work at the EXCHANGE and MixMatch Dance festivals and, is including Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers, music group For King and Country, Deborah Rosen & Dancers, and Blue13 to her performance repertoire.

Jen Bailey : Choreographer

Jen Bailey

Choreographer

Jen Bailey is an actress, writer and dancer originally from Victoria, British Columbia.  She started ballet at two and performing professionally at nine.  Her choreography credits include the ABC Family movie Legally Blondes and Upstage School's productions of Annie, Aladdin, Seussical and The Jungle Book.  Visit her website for more information about on her acting endeavors.

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.
Stanton Morales : Musical Director

Stanton Morales

Musical Director

Stanton has been working professionally as a theater actor in and around the Los Angeles area for the past four years.

He has been performing for almost his whole life, starting acting at the age of five, and studying voice since the age of ten. Some of his credits include Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden, Gomez Addams in The Addams Family, Georg Nowack in She Loves Me, Igor in Young Frankenstein, Roger DeBris in The Producers, and William Barfée in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

He studied Theater and Music at The South Orange County School of the Arts.

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”.

Michael Gideon Sherry : Musical Director & Lighting Designer

Michael Gideon Sherry

Musical Director & Lighting Designer

Michael Gideon Sherry is excited for the opportunity to teach and grow with the Upstage Community. At 6 years old his family introduced and helped shaped his love for the stage. From there he was involved with theatrical shows, in the jazz and marching band, along with being a wrestler and baseball player during his middle and high school years. His junior year in high school he developed a true love for film. Making small backyard home movies with a camcorder and a couple friends was just the beginning. In 2013 he officially started his first company ADuckOnARock. They have gone on to make short films, music videos and even started pursuing the TV pilot circuit. He continues to work as a storyteller through film with One Mind Studios and ADuckOnARock ProDucktions. Within this time Michael has acted in T.V shows, Feature Films, Award Winning Short Films, Independent Features and multiple web series. He also worked for three years as an acting coach for youth and young adults in Chicago. Michael recently moved to LA with his sister, Taylor Sherry, to pursue knowledge as a student of the world.

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.

Technical

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! 
Michael Gideon Sherry : Musical Director & Lighting Designer

Michael Gideon Sherry

Musical Director & Lighting Designer

Michael Gideon Sherry is excited for the opportunity to teach and grow with the Upstage Community. At 6 years old his family introduced and helped shaped his love for the stage. From there he was involved with theatrical shows, in the jazz and marching band, along with being a wrestler and baseball player during his middle and high school years. His junior year in high school he developed a true love for film. Making small backyard home movies with a camcorder and a couple friends was just the beginning. In 2013 he officially started his first company ADuckOnARock. They have gone on to make short films, music videos and even started pursuing the TV pilot circuit. He continues to work as a storyteller through film with One Mind Studios and ADuckOnARock ProDucktions. Within this time Michael has acted in T.V shows, Feature Films, Award Winning Short Films, Independent Features and multiple web series. He also worked for three years as an acting coach for youth and young adults in Chicago. Michael recently moved to LA with his sister, Taylor Sherry, to pursue knowledge as a student of the world.