Artistic Director & Founder
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 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!
Taylor Marie Sherry grew up in Chicago in a family deeply entrenched in the theatre world. She is a graduate of Florida State University with her BFA in Musical Theatre, training with Broadway’s Michael Hayden and Fred Chappell. Taylor spent two summers in college performing at the Highlands Playhouse in North Carolina, and also choreographing and assisting musicals at Elgin Academy’s theatre camp. After graduation, Taylor spent her summer as a resident company performer at Music Theatre Wichita, working with fantastic leaders such as Peggy Hickey, Wayne Bryan, and Nicholas Palmquist. There, she also had the opportunity to play Amber in Hairspray, choreographed by Al Blackstone. Taylor lives in LA pursuing her acting career, and to grow her directing and choreographing experiences.
Born and raised right here in SoCal Tara and her husband have lived in South Pasadena for the past 25 years where they are raising their 4 children. Tara’s work with children began with preschool age and then teens. After several years as coordinator for a local foreign exchange student program, Tara moved to Youth and Teen Programs at the YMCA where she also teaches group fitness. Tara’s first experience with Upstage was several years ago as a parent helping sew costumes and working backstage for the 5th grade musical. Tara is thrilled to continue working in a community she’s been a part of for so many years and is enjoying combining her experience working with children with her love for the theatre.
Financial and Payroll Coordinator
Mary began acting at the age of 16 in Windsor, Connecticut and performed in community theater for the next 15 years. At the age of 30 she decided to study her craft further in New York City with legendary teacher and director Gene Frankel which led to her off-Broadway debut in 1992. Life took an unexpected turn which forced her to give up her career until 2004 when she relocated to San Francisco. There she worked part time as a professional actor while holding down a full time job. In 2012 she relocated to Los Angeles and continued to work in the industry part-time. In 2020 she made the decision to retire from Corporate America so she could focus on a full-time career in acting. Mary has performed in several short and feature films, a television movie, several television shows, three theatrical productions, and several commercials. The highlight of her career to date was working directly with Doris Roberts, Bill Hader, and Ted Danson. Mary has an undergraduate degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As an Ordained Minister she has officiated weddings in both Northern and Southern California. She is the proud parent of two grown children Justin and Sammy Jo. Mary is excited to work with Upstage and promote the creative talents of children interested in this art form.
Jill has been in love with the magical world of theatre her whole life! While growing up in Yorktown, Virginia she participated in as many school productions as possible and eventually decided to attend school for drama. After earning a BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University she moved to sunny Los Angeles! She joined the Upstage in spring of 2019 and she is so grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing team. It’s an honor to pass along her love of theatre to your children. She hopes it brings you as much joy as it has brought her.
Kaela is originally from the No-Cal area (San Francisco area) and has lived in three different states within three years. The highlight for Kaela is theatre and film were something that was constant in her life. Kaela has been involved in theatre since she was in middle school. She then went on to go to college in New York City at St. John’s University and received a BS in Television and Film Productions. Although her focus was in film, she was heavily involved with the theatre program helping out in all departments and even acted in a few! Kaela spends her weekends doing cosplay/princess parties and becoming different characters, which grew with her love for theatre and film. Acting is something she hasn’t completely pursued but it is on the horizon. For now Kaela stays busy doing what she loves, which is helping create art and working with these spectacular kids!
Program Manager, Music Director
Cheryl’s first love is performing. She’s appeared Off and Off-Off Broadway, national tours, summer stock, comedy improv groups, more than 20 short films, and was a long time member of Santa Monica’s City Garage Theatre. Starting as a dancer and musician, she put it all together and earned a degree in Musical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. She’s also a graduate of two year programs at William Esper Acting Studio and Actor’s Movement Studio, both in NYC, and the Groundlings School in LA. Along the way, she immersed herself in theatre crafts such as costuming and stage management. Her journey through motherhood had her spending a lot of time volunteering in schools and with Westside Ballet. She taught yoga to kids, worked as a teaching fellow in public schools, worked in youth theatre companies, and was part of a program through UCSB introducing storytelling through classical literature to incarcerated youth. All of this has led her to Upstage, where she is thrilled to be working with so many passionate and talented kids and co-workers.
West LA Regional Program Manager
Jen is thrilled to share her love of the performing arts and her love of working with children with the Upstage Community! She has Bachelor degrees in Acting and Public Relations, has a recent AA degree in Opera Vocals, and – because why stop there – is also a certified PADI scuba diver, a certified USAG gymnastics instructor, and a Certified Lactation Educator. She also holds a Child Performer Services permit for her work with child actors in LA.
As a stage performer, she has performed at a number of theme parks, including Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knotts Berry Farm, Legoland California, (Paramount’s) Kings Dominion, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Six Flags America in DC. She also performed on the Disney Wonder cruise ship as Andy in Toy Story the Musical and as Anne Marie in the multi-award winning show, Disney Dreams. Additional credits include the international tour of The Sound of Music, a US TYA tour of Laura Ingalls Wilder (as Laura), a SoCal TYA tour of The Biggest Little House in the Forest, as well as a number of NYC/Off Broadway and LA/SoCal productions and celebrity concerts. She recently made her opera debut, playing Cendrillon (Cinderella) in Pauline Viardot’s French opera, Cendrillon, and Adele in Die Fledermaus. She has performed at hundreds of birthday parties and community events as various fairytale, storybook, and holiday characters. She also works in film, tv, and commercials, is a SAG, AEA, and AGVA member, and is mama to her amazing little kiddo, who is also a very successful film, tv and commercial actor himself.
Jen also comes from about 20 years in the event industry, working large scale, corporate events, as well as small scale home parties, and everything in between, as an event manager and Day of Coordinator. She is thrilled to bridge all of her experiences together in this role that will bring the arts to our community, and to work with her team to inspire creativity and a passion for the arts in the next generation of artists and creators.
Program Manager, Music Director
A well-rounded performer since childhood, Elba Soto-Quinones has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University with a minor in Psychology. Elba has been blessed to perform in Madrid, Spain, as well as on both English and Spanish TV networks, including Freeform and Telemundo. She has also been involved with several films that were recognized at film festivals. Elba also represented her hometown in the Miss California Latina Pageant. “Ghost Town Alive!”, the annual immersive theatrical production of which she is a founding cast member, was recognized by the Themed Entertainment Association with their THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement. Elba is so glad to have joined the Upstage team!”
Lucia Towers is an actor, writer, filmmaker and photographer who moved to Los Angeles nearly 10 years ago from Stockton, CA. Lucia began acting at the age of 10 when her parents made her audition for the community theatre’s production of Annie. To everyone’s surprise, she got Annie. This kickstarted her acting career full-force; participating in community, high school, and local college theatre productions for the next 9 years before heading off to college. She studied acting on the central coast of california at Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts. Although theatre will always will be her first love, Lucia moved to LA to pursue a film career.
In the past 9 years, Lucia has gone through dozens of part-time jobs, multiple agencies, and hundreds of failures and successes. Through all of this, Lucia learned that you cannot wait for permission to do what you love, which is where she discovered her love of writing and independent filmmaking. In May of 2022, Lucia wrapped her first independently produced pilot, Beards, which she wrote, produced, and starred in. She and her producers successfully hired a cast and crew entirely made up of women and people in the LGBTQ+ community. Beards is currently in post-production, it’s the proudest achievement in Lucia’s career so far and she cannot wait to show it to the world. Whether it’s theatre or film, she plans to continue telling stories that are important to her in whatever medium that may be.
Lucia likes to spend her free time sculpting (clay, not muscles) and photographing anything and everything. Lucia is most excited for the next big chapter in her life – getting married to her fiancée Nicole.
Program Manager, Director
Joshua Warner lives in Pasadena with his partner and their tabby cat Molly. He graduated from Carthage College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre General and Business Administration. After college he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked with the YMCA to reignite their youth fine arts programing. During his work with the Y, he managed all youth fine art classes as well as teaching acting and directing. After completing his Masters in Business Design and Innovation, Joshua now takes his love of the arts and youth theater into his role as consultant. Joshua is excited to join Upstage Theater School and help students act with confidence!
Director, Musical 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.
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!
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 this summer! She couldn’t be happier teaching kids… and dancing!
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 Gets 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 Beyoncé, 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.
Henry Oakes has lived all over the country before landing in California where he’s been located for the past decade. He’s been involved with theater since grade school and has followed his artistic passions through several practices. Managing, Directing, and performing in several productions across LA. Henry is also a working Music, producer, writer, and sound engineer, working to grow his own body of original musical works throughout his pursuit of a BA in Music Production. Henry has always loved working with kids and is thrilled at the opportunity to give kids the same joy for theater that was given to him at such a young age. He values artistic integrity, inclusive learning, and intentional leadership. He aims to cheer kids on as they step up to bat, and start discovering just what makes them who they are.
Christine Negherbon-Abraham recently appeared in The Little Mermaid, Oliver, Yankee Doodle Dandy & Mary Poppins (Associate Choreographer) at MTW! She also choreographed their production of Holiday Inn. Christine toured Nationally/Internationally with My Fair Lady (Eliza u/s), Best Little Whorehouse . . . (Starring Ann-Margret), 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer), Chicago & The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Favorite regional credits include: Elizabeth (Young Frankenstein), Jennyanydots (Cats at The Muny/Sacramento Music), Mrs. Wilkinson (Billy Elliot). TV credits: Hart of Dixie, Haunting Evidence. Christine has directed and choreographed all over the United States. Select credits include: 42nd Street (Norris Theatre), Hairspray & White Christmas (Mac-Haydn Theatre), Billy Elliot (Anchorage Center for Performing Arts) and Crazy for You, West Side Story, Cabaret (DeSales University). Christine is a Master Teacher Artist with both the Segerstrom Center and Center Theatre Group. She is on faculty at Hussian College In Studio, Palos Verdes Performing Arts and Fluid Dance. She is Co-Founder/Author of www.TheThrivingArtists.com with husband and actor, Joe Abraham. They are passionate about teaching financial education and empowerment to artists everywhere. They have 2 children and live in LA.
Los Angeles native, Gary Roberts, is a dancer, performer, and choreographer who has been praised for his work and even extolled as a “terrific tap dancer” by the LA times.
After graduating with a degree in Theater from CSU Fullerton, Gary soon made a name for himself performing alongside LA’s finest tap dancers as a member of Tap Overload. He regularly performs with the Central Avenue Dance Ensemble and has had the honor of performing as a guest artist at Santa Monica College and Irvine Valley College. Gary has performed quite a few roles in musicals with some of his favorites being Tommy Djilas in The Music Man, Diesel in West Side Story, and Neleus in Mary Poppins. He is also the founder and director of Tap TRIBE, a professional Tap dance company based in Los Angeles.
Gary has taught at Orange County School of the Arts, Millennium Dance Complex, Mt. San Antonio College, and has choreographed for the San Juan Hills High School dance department. His favorite choreography credits include pop artist Aliyah Moulden, the vintage nightclub floorshow “A Night at Club Alabam”, and Annie Jr. for Upstage Theater Schools. Gary tours nationally as a judge for the Star Dance Alliance and is currently continuing to bring his love of dance to the world. He is grateful to work with the talented artists of Upstage!
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.” He still speaks Spanish regularly to his family across the sea who 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.
After transplanting from the Pacific Northwest, Piper graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Theatre. She has a background in musical theatre and competitive dance, and has studied improv with The Second City and Groundlings. Primarily a voiceover artist, Piper’s pipes can be heard on variety of platforms within the performance industry. She’s worked with kids for many years teaching improv, musical theatre, voiceover, and audition prep. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors and visiting friends and family.
Katie Bottomley is a singer-songwriter living in Los Angeles with her husband and two little black dogs. With a degree in musical theatre, she is also pursuing a second degree in biological sciences. She has performed in several regional theatre productions, as well TV and commercials.
Katie has been teaching voice, piano, and songwriting for over five years. Working on her third album, she is a well established artist with a top-notch band that plays locally around California. Through her music, she hopes to help spread feminism and fight for women’s rights around the world. She also aspires to one day work alongside conservationists and biologists to help keep our ocean ecosystems alive.
Director, Music Director
Bobby (He/Him) is a California native actor and musician from San Luis Obispo. After graduating PCPA’s two year acting conservatory with credits in shows such as Shakespeare in Love, Romeo & Juliet, The Addams Family, and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Bobby went on to tour with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. The tour brought an educational outreach production of Macbeth to nearly 100 public schools and libraries across California. After perusing professional theatre in the Bay Area, Bobby has transitioned to working in film and television in Los Angeles making appearances in projects such as The Offer and Babylon. The greatest pride of acting for Bobby is collaboration, team building, and exploration, especially with others who share a curiosity and passion for the artistic side of living.
Director, Musical Director
Mason Smajstrla is from Austin, TX and has been performing in theatre productions and community theaters since the age of 6. At 16 yrs old, she originated the role of Angelica in “VOTE! The Musical” at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, TX and can be heard on Spotify in the original cast recording. Mason came in third place at the Speak the Speech Shakespeare competition, and was nominated for a Tommy Tune Award for her role as “the Witch” in Into the Woods. After graduating with her BFA in Acting from Otterbein University, she moved to NYC in 2016 where she worked for Carnahan Casting/Roundabout Theatre Company, and took improv classes at UCB and the Magnet. Since then, Mason has continued to perform in regional productions as well as pursuing her passion for stand-up comedy, even performing on a show with Janeane Garofalo in Brooklyn, NY. In 2021, following the pandemic, she moved out to Los Angeles to follow her dreams of being a stand-up comic and actor. Mason can be seen regularly at Flappers, Broadway Comedy Club, and The Comedy Chateau as well as taking improv classes at the prestigious Groundlings in West Hollywood.
Debra has loved being a Musical Director at Upstage Schools for the last 14 years. Her background is as a professional singer, actress and trained musician. She has performed on stage and in television and films. As a teacher, she has gained fulfillment from putting on hundreds of high quality shows and watching students blossom as performers and people. Her classes are fun and structured. Students learn the value of teamwork, discipline and hard work. When the final curtain falls, they feel proud, they have made new friends and they have developed skills for life.
Rachel Sorsa received her B.A. in theatre and drama from The University of Michigan; M.A. in theatre from Michigan State University; and is a doctoral candidate in theatre history and criticism at The University of Texas-Austin. She is a three-time Ovation nominee for best featured actress and BroadwayWorld nominee for lead actress in a musical for her portrayal of Rosemary Clooney in TENDERLY across the nation. She is the bandleader/vocalist and songwriter for Rachel Sorsa Band and released their debut album, SISU, to critical acclaim. She has performed in a multitude of theatrical productions across the country and in Beijing, China. Rachel has been a teaching artist and company member of Rogue Machine Theatre company since 2013 and has been acting and playwriting for numerous elementary, middle and high schools and the Boys and Girls Club in Atlanta and Los Angeles since 2002. Rachel is passionate about bringing the magic, healing and empowerment of theatre arts to young people!
Erica is a long time veteran of TV, Theatre, and Film. Her recent TV and Film credits include Call Me Kat, The United States of Al, Lotte, Dream Job, Alexa & Katie, The Office, Rules of Engagement, How I Met Your Mother, Body of Proof, and ‘TilDeath. Her theatre credits are extensive and include Sweat with MRE starring Tony winner Jennifer Holliday, LaMirada Theatre’s production of Matilda as Mrs. Woormwood and Cabaret as Fraulein Kost (Ovation Nomination). Other recent credits include The Beggar Woman in South Coast Rep’s production of Sweeney Todd, Aldonza opposite Richard White in Man of La Mancha, Tanya in Mamma Mia, Desiree in A Little Night Music, Pam in Baby, (Desert Theatre League Award), and Heather in I’m Still Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road… (Directed by and starring Gretchen Cryer). Erica is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
A graduate of New York’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Tiffany is a highly accomplished, multi-talented actress, singer, and dancer who began her career in the New York Theatre and has since gone on to appear in numerous television shows and films. From recurring as BNC News Anchor “Angela Raines” on “Scandal to playing a sinister warrior Skinwalker named “Dark Spirit” on MTV’s Teen Wolf or the fictional 1950s film star Cynthia Beckley in the award-winning dramatic film “Daughter Of Fortune,” Tiffany has an exceptional range and chameleon-like ability to morph into a multitude of different characters. Aside from her TV/Film credits, Tiffany was the lead background vocalist for Michael Bolton’s world tour and she also wrote and starred in her smash hit, critically acclaimed one-woman show “I Never Met a Jerk I Didn’t Like” where she played 10 different characters (both men and women) which sold out theatre venues in both Los Angeles and Off-Broadway in New York. Currently; her multi-award-winning comedy web series “Ethnically Ambiguous” which Tiffany created, wrote, and starred in can be seen on Youtube.
Chris Kerrigan is a musical theatre actor, singer/songwriter, and playwright living and working in Los Angeles. He has written multiple original children’s musicals (“Screen Time: The Musical,” “Toothical:The Musical,” and “Reading is Rad,” to name a few) that were performed in 30-40 elementary schools throughout the greater Los Angeles area through STAR Education’s wide-reaching theatre program. His 10-minute musicals The Facebook Fighter and The Only Thing That Matters were both finalists in Theatre Now New York’s annual festival of short musicals (Sound Bites). In 2017, The Facebook Fighter who five awards in the festival (Best Musical, Best Music, Best Lyrics, Best Director, Best Actor) and a short film version of a Spanish translation recently won first prize in the prestigious Telo Presenta film festival in Mexico City. Both of his one-act musicals are available for licensing through Music Theatre International.
Katee Shean was born and raised in San Jose California. At a very young age she developed a passion for dancing, and started her training. She was the top female on Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance, and was the dance captain on Taylors Swift’s World Tour. She was fortunate to dance with other amazing artists like JLo, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and perform on multiple television shows including the Emmys, Oscars, Glee, and more. She was able to fulfill her dream of dance and perform all over the world. She then took her understanding of emoting and storytelling with her as she discovered a love for another creative field; acting. She has trained with leading coaches such as Lesly Kahn and Co., Michael Woolson, Howard Fine Studios, Groundlings, and more. Katee has worked on many television shows and films, and continues to hone her craft daily. She has also been fortunate to help in casting offices and really get a behind the scenes look on how to approach self tapes and auditions. Katee also earned her Bachelors Degree in Education from Chapman University. She loves working with the younger generation, and being able to help them on their creative journey. She finds great joy in helping kids and is looking forward to being a part of Upstage!
Marcus S. Daniel
Musical Theatre is what Marcus has dedicated his entire life to. He knew very early on what he wanted to do and be, and he considers that the best gift he’s ever been given. For the last 15 years Marcus has also put just as much time and energy into “paying it forward” to younger generations of performers and students all over the world. As a performer, he has been blessed to perform on 4 continents and over 50 different countries. With over 100 stage musical credits to his name, Marcus has also sung on the worlds most elite cruise line, Silver Sea Cruises, for 2 years. For that cruise line he also wrote and directed two brand new shows for them, “Song and Dance” and “A Vamp and Her Tramp.” In January 2017 Marcus was also the recipient of the most prestigious theater award that Los Angeles has to offer, the Ovation Award, for his performance as Chris Bell/Dance Captain in the West Coast Premier production of The Boy From Oz at The Celebration Theatre. Last year he performed in the educational national tour of Cinderella, getting to travel across America for 4 months, and over 200 performances in the Off-Broadway interactive improv show The Mad Hatters G & T Party. Most recently Marcus Directed a brand new musical Bright is the Ring of Words starring Natalie Weiss at Carnegie Hall. As a Teacher, Producer, Director, and Choreographer he has experienced his greatest joys in life. For 9 years Marcus served as the Artistic Director and Choreographer for the Arts Department at Rosemead High School. For the past 6 years he has been a company member for the Imagination Machine, a group that promotes reading and creative writing in schools throughout California. In 2011 Marcus co-founded Top Billing Entertainment, a local youth theatre company that has been recognized nationally for its work in Musical Theatre. He has also worked for schools from Elementary-College level, and at a handful of training facilities in the performing arts. Marcus’s drive for the performing arts is endless.
Chris Payne Dupré
Chris Payne Dupré is an accomplished choreographer, dancer, educator, on-camera talent, singer and filmmaker from Los Angeles. He has choreographed for such iconic artists as Prince, Katy Perry, Jason Derulo and Backstreet Boys. As a performer, Chris made his Broadway musical debut in the Tony and Grammy Award winning original cast of AIDA. As a dance educator, he is a teacher’s teacher, well-versed in disciplines including jazz, ballet, hip hop and salsa. From dance conventions to workshops, Chris’ 30+ years of teaching experience spans the globe.
Natalie Bordley (She/Her) is a singer/songwriter, actor, dancer, producer, and musician from Pennsylvania. She has a B.F.A in Contemporary Musical Theatre & Film from Hussain College Los Angeles. She recently worked with Director BT McNicholl and Beetlejuice on Broadway Choreographer, Connor Gallager, in a Workshop for a new Beatnik Horror Musical, Did You See What Walter Paisley Did Today, premiering at the La Mirada Theatre in March 2023. Before moving out to Los Angeles, She was performing in community Theatre shows along with teaching dance and choreographing a number of different shows from; Singin’ in The Rain, The Producers, and Garfeild, The Musical with Cattitude.
Lindsey Caldwell (she/her) is from Pittsburgh, PA, and studied Theater with a concentration in acting and Political Science at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She’s been working as an actress, dance teacher, and occasional princess in Los Angeles since graduating. Most recently, she spent time in New York as the arts lead of Camp Rising Sun through the Louis August Jonas Foundation. Lindsey is thrilled to join the Upstage team!
Rae Cofsky learned her love for choreography through performance. Starting in show choir in middle school, she’s always been interested in being part of the theatre community and specifically in ensemble work. Rae earned her BA in Theatre Arts as well as a BA in Communication from Westfield State University in Massachusetts, her home state, before moving to San Francisco for graduate school. There she received her MFA in Acting before moving down to Los Angeles. Now, Rae works as an acting coach, choreographer, film director, and actor for commercials, TV & Film. Her love for performance started on the stage, and she is so excited to be making magic with the incredible team of creatives and students in Upstage! For more of her work, you can check out her website: www.raecofsky.com
Jacqui Kolker (she/her) took her first steps onstage at age three and has not looked back since. She recently graduated UCLA’s class of 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and minor in Theatre. Having worked as a nanny, tutor, sleep away camp counselor, director, writer, and actor, Jacqui is ecstatic to be combining her love for theatre and hanging out with the youth here at Upstage Schools. When not working with Upstage, Jacqui can be found teaching hot yoga sculpt classes, writing the next Academy Award-winning screenplay, performing in improv shows, or playing pickleball with her mom.
Taylor Foster was born and raised in North Texas, and began dancing at a young age of 3. Trained in various styles, she began teaching and choreographing before her 16th birthday. She danced until she acted, and found her talents from stage to screen. When she turned 15, she signed with her first talent agency, The Horne Agency, in Dallas, Texas. She began to travel back and forth from Dallas to Los Angeles, till eventually moving to LA at 18. Here she continued to dance, finding herself in music videos and a part of Ryan Lohoff’s Rithem Tap Company. She began choreographing for the Hollywood School House Spring Musicals and teaching private dance lessons. In 2017, she debuted in Season 1 of Netflix’s Dear White People shifting her main focus to Film/TV. She is now signed with Firestarter Talent and continues to work in various performing arts.
Toni White is a Los Angeles native and professional performer since the age of six, Toni’s credits range from the Broadway stage to TV, film, print and commercial work. Most recently, Toni appeared on the long running NBC dramas CHICAGO PD, and CHICAGO FIRE as Theresa Pryma, Showtimes’s The Chi and the new 4400 reboot on the CW. As a child actor, she appeared in classics such as Doogie Howser MD, Cheers, Lamb Chops Play-a-long and Disney channel original series Omba Mokomba. On Broadway, she originated the role of Tennah in Amazing Grace. Toni has performed in 6 national & International tours including Aida, Guys & Dolls and Dreamgirls, as well as regional theaters across the country. An accomplished dancer, Toni trained at the Joffrey Ballet School. She is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (NY) and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
Sarah graduated from Cal State University Northridge where she earned a Bachelors in Theatre Arts with a minor in Musical Theatre. While studying at CSUN, she received an Irene Ryan Acting Award Nomination from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. She also is an alumna of Stella Adler’s Art of Acting Studio in Los Angeles.
Now, Sarah performs, directs, and teaches theatre across Southern California. Most notably, Sarah sings annually with Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional Choir, and was a member of the inaugural SoCal cast of The Polar Express Train Ride. In the summertime, Sarah has a home with the Teenage Drama Workshop at Cal State University Northridge. Most recently at TADW, Sarah was the Assistant Director for Frozen Jr. She has also been found teaching acting, directing student written works, and even sewing a costume or two.
Amazing Oakes (she/her) is new to Upstage, but can’t wait to start working on different productions! She enjoys singing, writing, reading, acting, and just about anything creative. Currently, Amazing is pursuing her BA in English and Honors Humanities at Azusa Pacific University, where she was also a part of the BFA Acting for the Stage and Screen program for about two years. She has lived in the Southern California area for about ten years, and has been acting, singing, and imagining since she was born. Some of her favorite roles she has played include “Mary Poppins” in Mary Poppins, “Belle” in Beauty and the Beast, and “Mary Roberts” in Sister Act. Above all, she values curiosity, authenticity, and diversity!
Corinne DeCost grew up in New England and has been performing since age three. Before graduating high school she had been involved with over 50 theatrical productions, onstage and off. She attended Suffolk University, and founded their sketch comedy troupe that has now been running 10+ years. After graduating, she directed shows at Improv Boston, taught theatre at Yamaha Music School of Boston, and made a few television appearances. Corinne also works remotely with Multiverse Concert Series, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that creates immersive educational experiences focusing on combining science and art. She recently moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco with Netflix’s production of The Stranger Things Experience. Corinne is excited to work for Upstage and inspire the next generation of performers and theatre enthusiasts.
Michaela is a creative entertainer and educator for young audiences. She is a graduate of The University of the Arts where she earned her BFA in Musical Theater. She is a New Jersey transplant now living in Los Angeles since 2015. While living in LA she discovered her passion for voice over and has lent her voice to many different children’s animations such as “Kindi Kids” and “Giganto Club”. Her most rewarding experience was traveling the country in The National Tour of “Peppa Pig Live!” where she performed in world-renowned theaters for audiences of thousands of children. Michaela discovered her love for education while creating her own classrooms and curriculums that focus on learning through play and imagination. She has also devised her own music class that allows children to express themselves through music and movement.
Born in Colorado, Annie Terrazzo surrounded herself with dreams and a large family who, through silversmithing and plein air painting who taught her the value of and method to making beauty in the world. She spent large portions of her childhood writing plays on an old typewriter, watching movies, and dreaming of Paris, activities that would influence her later paintings.
After graduating from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, CA, Terrazzo began her career in fine art portraiture, focusing on using found objects, newspapers, and magazines. She has exhibited in galleries and her work is in permanent collections and museums around the world. In addition to her artworks she won the LA Weekly Theatre Award for best set artist for “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” and nominated for an Ovation award in 2014. She is looking forward to bringing her artist sensibilities and love of theatre to Upstage.
Faith has been involved with theater since a young age and has always had an interest in costuming. She attended Pasadena City College for Fashion Design. While at Pasadena City College she designed numerous shows including Cabaret, Fight Night, and Dog Sees God. She has also worked on shows outside of college such as Somewhere in Nevada, with the Young Actors Studio, and We Look to the Stars, at the Huntington Gardens with the LA Opera. As a teen, Faith worked on several Upstage shows as an Assistant Costume Designer. Faith join Upstage officially as a Costume Designer in the Spring of 2021 and has had an amazing experience working on the summer Upstage camps.