YADA Founders, Directors, Designers, Artists & Team Members

Guided by their vision to create a musical theatre experience for YADA families that is second to none in production value, Lani and Kim consistently attract and employ top Los Angeles talent in all creative disciplines. The quality in each YADA production is apparent from the coaching and professional instruction provided by YADA directors to the top L.A. design talent that contribute to the look of each production.

The YADA Directors are all working professional L.A area actors, performers and musicians active in roles in theatre, television and other performance expression. The contributing YADA design team are also professional makeup artists, set designers, lighting designers and music supervisors. It is this "spare no expense, attention to each detail" that sets YADA apart in the crowded world of children's theatre companies. But it is this same passion that also attracts and creates a loyal base of directors and design talent that love YADA and are inspired by the YADA vision to impact the lives of the YADA kids they teach.

Lani Shipman

Co-Owner

Lani Shipman

Co-Owner

Lani was raised in Hawaii and is the fourth generation in a family of writers, dancers, singers, actors, producers and directors. A graduate of Beverly Hills High School, she received her BFA degree from the University of Southern California. Having received a wonderful children’s theatre experience, she feels that working with children now is her way of giving back all she was given. Lani is thrilled to be back in the Los Angeles area continuing to manage and administrate YADA while maintaining a career in acting improv and music. She believes each and every student at YADA is amazing and encourages them to follow their dreams.

    Kim Harrigan

    Co-Owner

    Kim Harrigan

    Co-Owner

    Kim has co-owned YADA for 24 years and has directed children for over 16 years in the Los Angeles area. She comes from a small town in Iowa where theatre was her life as a child. She started YADA in order to create a healthy, supportive environment for kids to play and have fun. Kim graduated from ASU with a BFA in acting and has performed in numerous productions. She worked as a dancer at Walt Disney World for five years and when she is not working at YADA, she enjoys adventure in the wild outdoors with her family.

      Lisa Gilbar

      Executive Director

      Lisa Gilbar

      Executive Director

      Lisa Gilbar was the Assistant Director for the 2001 Broadway revival of “Noises Off” and the 2005 Broadway premiere of “Monty Python’s Spamalot”. She directed the Patti Austin show “BeboperElla” at Lincoln Center, and has worked on multiple films, television shows, and New York and Los Angeles theatrical productions. A native of Los Angeles, Lisa began acting in musicals at the age of six and fell in love with the magic of the stage. Theatre was such an important part of Lisa's childhood and she is thrilled to be able to share a bit of that magic with more kids today. When Lisa is not at YADA or with her wonderful husband and little son, she can be found smiling behind the camera as a headshot photographer for Lisa Levy Photography.

        Dan Graul

        Chief Operating Officer and Director

        Dan Graul

        Chief Operating Officer and Director

        Dan Graul has been a teaching artist with YADA since Summer 2007. He also serves as Technical Director for the company and has designed and built many sets on the YADA stage across the years. Professionally, Dan has directed and co-created various theatrical productions and short films, including Wicca Please!, Magickal Monsters and most recently - Nerd Anarchy: The Spectacular D&D Musical! Dan grew up in St. Louis, MO and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BA in Theatre and a Minor in Dance. Before moving to LA, he spent some time living in New York City and travelling the country, working as an actor with various regional theatres. Dan can be found around the LA music scene playing guitar and singing with various rock n’ roll outfits – most notably psychedelic folk rock band Northern Strangers, a group Dan co-founded with his awesome wife Rebecca and her brother Will. In 2015 Northern Strangers released their second original album Where The River Goes, recorded and produced by Antoine Arvizu (Sublime, Ryan Bingham, Free Moral Agents). www.northernstrangers.com

          Bethany Baderdeen

          Director & Private Lesson Instructor

          Bethany Baderdeen

          Director & Private Lesson Instructor

          Bethany is a southern California native. As a huge advocate for education in Theater, Bethany holds a certificate from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in LA and a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Performance from UC San Diego. After marking her Los Angeles stage debut as a finalist in LA's Next Great Stage Star, her most recent credits include Mamma Mia at Sierra Repertory Theater, and Grease at The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. Repped by ATB Talent Agency across the board, she continues to perform and is so passionately delighted to step on over to the creative side, joining the YADA directing team!

            Emily Bolt

            Director & Private Lesson Instructor

            Emily Bolt

            Director & Private Lesson Instructor

            Emily was born and raised in St. Louis, MO where she grew up surrounded by the arts, taking voice, piano, dance and acting classes.  She received her BFA in Acting from Missouri State University, and after graduation went on to tour with Missoula Children's Theatre for a year.  Since moving to Los Angeles, she's studied at many studios including UCB, Groundlings and Stan Kirsch where she is currently.  During the pandemic, she and her husband started a podcast called What's Your Movie which is starting its second season soon.  Emily is so happy to be part of the YADA family.

              Joslynn Cortes

              Office Staff

              Joslynn Cortes

              Office Staff

              A recent LA transplant, but a true Jersey girl at heart, is super excited to be joining the YADA family! Joslynn is an accomplished singer, actor and vocal instructor. Her professional performance journey began at the age of 12 and since then she has toured the country starring in regional theatre productions, earned her BFA in Performing Arts through the American Musical and Dramatic Academy College & Conservatory NY & LA, toured the Caribbean as a Specialty Vocalist on Celebrity Cruises and has founded Vocal Love, her Virtual Voice Studio. Some of her favorite roles include Anita in West Side Story at Glow Lyric Theatre, Claire in Ordinary Days at The Wayward Artist, Junie B. Jones in Junie B. Jones the Musical at Walnut St. Theatre, Fiber in Nick Nutrition and His Wonder Dog Fiber (tour) & Lisa Fischer in So Amazing (reading/workshop). Joslynn loves working with children and can’t wait to greet the world’s future artists!

                Emily Cunningham

                Emily Cunningham

                Director

                Emily Cunningham

                Director

                Emily is a born and raised Texan who moved out to Los Angeles 5 years ago. She started performing across the city of Houston at age 9 and her favorite professional credits include Hurly Burly, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and Hairspray. Emily has an original web series she's focused on the last few years, "The Struggle is Real", and is a working independent film actor & writer. She's beyond jazzed to be a part of the YADA team and work with a truly awesome staff and kids!

                  Carl Draper

                  Director

                  Carl Draper

                  Director

                  Carl has been performing, teaching and creating with artists all around the world for the last 10 years. Performing in musicals across the country some favorite venues have been the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Shakespeare Theater of DC, Paramount Aurora, Marriott Lincolnshire, Cape Playhouse and the Maltz Jupiter. He has had the great fortune to sing in beautiful places around the world with The Orchestra Japan and Crystal Cruises. He is very grateful to be at Yada!!

                    Audrey Flegel

                    Improv Teacher

                    Audrey Flegel

                    Improv Teacher

                    A proud member of SAG/AFTRA, Audrey Flegel has been a working actor for the past 18 years appearing on stage, TV, film, voice over, and commercials. She holds a BFA in theatre (New School University) and has studied at The Second City, UCB, The Annoyance, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and the School at Steppenwolf among others. She has taught acting and improv with The Second City for over 10 years, as well as improv and drama programs in numerous elementary schools in Los Angeles and Chicago. For more info visit www.audreyflegel.com

                      Kalen Garnett

                      Director

                      Kalen Garnett

                      Director

                      Kalen recently moved to Los Angeles from New York City after graduating from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, New Studio on Broadway with a BFA in Drama. While in New York Kalen was last seen in: Grab Bag at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, Le Blanc at The Pit Loft, Tornadoland at Studio 54, and has worked on new musical readings at GMTW and Dixon Place; Kalen also recently shot a short film, Older Brothers. Kalen grew up in a community theatre where she gained her love for the arts, and eventually was afforded the opportunity to choreograph for the theatre's education program. She is excited to be joining the YADA team, and is excited to work with some brilliant kids and staff.

                        Brooke Olivia Gatto

                        Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                        Brooke Olivia Gatto

                        Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                        Brooke is thrilled to be a part of the YADA team! She is originally from Portland, Oregon and graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from California State University, Fullerton. Brooke got her start in regional theatre in Portland and has never looked back. Additionally, her experiences with the Young People’s Theatre Project allowed Brooke to share her love of theatre with others. Brooke is currently pursuing opportunities in the world of film, television, and theatre. Recently, she earned her first credit on a short film. She also performs at Disneyland, which has led to several exciting opportunities, such as Dancing with the Stars - Disney Night. Brooke believes there is a place for everyone in the theatre community, and is excited to help every student grow in both their confidence and craft!

                          carole gibbs

                          Carole Gibbs

                          Administrative Assistant

                          Carole Gibbs

                          Administrative Assistant

                          Carole has spent 35 years as a teacher in Drama, Speech, Journalism and English. As a Drama Director and Forensics Coach she was selected six times for “Drama Coach of the Year” and four times as “Speech Coach of the Year.” Her activities in the arts include, acting, technical direction and script writing. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education from University of Missouri and received her Masters from University of Iowa. Carole has been the costume and prop designer for YADA for ten years and loves every minute.

                            Piper Gillin

                            Director/Improv Teacher

                            Piper Gillin

                            Director/Improv Teacher

                            Piper grew up in the Pacific Northwest where she performed in community theatre and with the "Short Shakespeareans" acting troupe. She transplanted to LA and earned a BA in theatre from the University of Southern California. She was a competitive dancer growing up, which led to her job at Disneyland dancing down Main Street, USA as a Parade performer. Piper has studied improv and sketch comedy at The Second City, UCB, and The Groundlings, and has many years of experience teaching youth improv programs at the Second City. Piper is a working stage, screen and voice actor, and is excited to share her love for the arts with the talented kiddos at YADA.

                              Rebecca Graul

                              Musical Supervisor & Director

                              Rebecca Graul

                              Musical Supervisor & Director

                              Rebecca started playing piano for musical theater at 17 and has never stopped!  Aside from being YADA's music supervisor, she works regularly as a musical director, vocal coach, and pianist for theatre all over Los Angeles and is a Center Theater Group Teaching Artist. Rebecca campaigns for the accessibility of the arts, writing musicals for Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre tours and training teachers in Title 1 schools to develop sustainable theatre programs as a Teaching Artist in the Disney Musicals in Schools program.  She holds a BFA from Cal State Fullerton and has composed/produced music for films, commercials, webseries, musicals and tv shows, including 3 Best Film award-winners, a "Best Original Score" award in LA's New Wave Film Festival, a “Best Original Song Written For Film” nomination in Hollywood's Feel Good Film Festival, 3 nominations in Hollywood Fringe and a "Best in Fringe" award in Maui Fringe (2018), and ASCAP membership earned along the way.  She also has produced several albums (solo and collaborative) and performs regularly with the psychedelic folk rock group Northern Strangers.

                                Mickey Heavey

                                Office and Client Relations Manager

                                Mickey Heavey

                                Office and Client Relations Manager

                                A Los Angeles native, Mickey has been a “Theatre Kid,” since she was five years old. From Shakespeare to comedy improv, from manning the tech booth to choregraphing stage combat scenes, Mickey loves every aspect of theatre.

                                One of her proudest acting moments was joining and working with the improvisation group “Encompass.” A Southern California theatre troop who assisted teachers in creating safe bias-free classrooms.

                                After graduating from the Theatre Department at LACHSA, she changed career paths and focused on education and child development. She is a certificated Early Childhood Educator with an AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a BA in Child Development and Family Studies. This former preschool teacher is extremely excited to become part of the YADA family.

                                Outside of theatre, Mickey really enjoys reading a good book, grabbing a cup of coffee with her family, or taking a relaxing walk with her husband and little dog.”

                                  Hayley Holmes

                                  Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                  Hayley Holmes

                                  Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                  Hayley Holmes is originally from Covington, Indiana. She was often seen tap dancing on the tennis courts, and was advised to join a local dance studio. Shortly after it was suggested she audition for a Competitive Dance Team in Champaign, IL where she soon found herself competing around the nation in all areas of dance (tap, jazz, acro, Musical Theatre, and lyrical). Winning such titles as Miss Showbiz, Broadway Bound, and First Place at several National Events. Eager to stretch her creativity muscles even further Hayley auditioned for every theatre production within a 60 mile radius, and loved every chance she had to step out on the stage (Annie, Music Man, Wizard of Oz).  When the opportunity presented itself to move to Los Angeles, Hayley quickly jumped on it and has been fortunate enough to work steadily in the Film & Television World ever since. She is so appreciative of everyone who supports her, and loves sharing her knowledge of the arts with the students at YADA!

                                    Celeste Jones

                                    Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                    Celeste Jones

                                    Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                    A recent transplant to LA from the east coast Celeste is thrilled to be joining the YADA team. Celeste is a proud member of AEA with years of professional theatre experience under her belt and she's always excited to bring her experience from the stage to her students. Some of her favorite roles have been Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Nessa in District Merchants, Sophie in Ruined, and TiMoune in Once on this Island. Aside from theatre Celeste has had the opportunity to star in a few short films and web series and even produced one of her own.  Alongside her own career, she's spent years teaching theatre, dance, and voice to students of all ages, cultivating a love for performance and creativity. She received her BFA from Howard University in DC and had the opportunity to study classical acting at the British American Drama Academy. She cannot wait to teach and learn from all of her YADA students. 

                                      Faith Knapp

                                      Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                      Faith Knapp

                                      Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                      Faith is originally from Florida but grew up in Kansas city, she graduated with her BFA in Acting from the University of Central Florida in 2020. Faith has previously directed and choreographed at Apex Theatre Studios in Saint Augustine Florida and has been a private acting and audition coach for the past few years. Faith has performed across the country at many theatres, some of her favorite credits include  Street of Crocodiles (Maria/ Movement Captain), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia), Vanities (Kathy), A Chorus Line (Val), Twelfth Night (Feste), I and You (Caroline). She is currently pursuing her film career here in Los Angeles and is represented by The Wayne Agency and Managed by Scot Reynolds. Faith is so excited to be part of the YADA team and help the next generation find the same love for this art that she has.

                                        Katharine Lerner

                                        Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                        Katharine Lerner

                                        Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                        Katharine is an Actor and Teacher in Los Angeles. Katharine has taught with A Noise Within, Treasure Trunk Theatre, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Camp Arena Stage and Camp Acting Manitou. Katharine trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade, Maggie Flanigan Studio, received her BFA from Marymount Manhattan College, and studied at the British American Drama Academy. Katharine loves teaching children and opening their imagination to all the possibilities of creation and joy!

                                          Garrett Marshall

                                          Director

                                          Garrett Marshall

                                          Director

                                          Garrett Marshall is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and has been working steadily in Southern California (and beyond) for the past decade.  He was the original Kristoff in "Frozen: Live at the Hyperion Theater" in Disney's California Adventure, originated the role of Bill Montijo in "Mystic Pizza: The Musical" at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, opened "A League of Their Own" at the Rockwell Table and Stage in Hollywood, and has performed in various other musicals, Shakespeare productions, clown,  and Improv shows across the state. 

                                            Emmy Mattingly

                                            Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                            Emmy Mattingly

                                            Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                            Emmy is thrilled to be joining the YADA team! She grew up acting, singing, and dancing in Louisville, KY and has performed in professional theatres all across the country. Favorite Roles: Pinkalicious (Pinkalicious), Logainne (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Ermengarde (HELLO DOLLY!) Emmy is a proud Florida State University alumni earning a BFA in Musical Theatre. She has also performed as an Equity Principle Performer at Walt Disney World Florida in "Voyage of the Little Mermaid" and "Disney Jr. Live on Stage!". Shortly after moving to LA, Emmy was cast as a recurring guest star in the Disney Channel TV series “Liv and Maddie” (Liv 2/ Linda). She worked weekly on the set for all four of its seasons and performed in front of live studio audiences. She has also booked roles on networks Nickelodeon (“Knight Squad”), MTV (“Mary+Jane”, “Faking It)”, and YouTube Red Series (“WERID CITY”). Emmy loves working with children and is so happy to share her passion of the arts with your kiddos!

                                              Lindsay Merrill

                                              Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                              Lindsay Merrill

                                              Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                              Lindsay grew up in Omaha, NE where she trained extensively and competed in all styles of dance before going onto study Dance Performance at Oklahoma City University and then receive her BA in Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Southern California. Before moving out to LA, she taught and choreographed for studios across the Midwest and performed with multiple dance companies in Oklahoma, Chicago, and finally LA. In addition to loving her work at YADA, creating shows with the magical little humans we call children, Lindsay is also pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and looks forward to integrating her love of dance, theatre, and performing arts education with her passion for exploring the human experience in unique and innovative ways. She believes in lifelong learning and continues to grow every single day through her relationships with each one of YADA’s little stars!

                                                Alli Miller-Fisher

                                                Director

                                                Alli Miller-Fisher

                                                Director

                                                Alli has a BA in Musical Theatre from Ball State University with a minor in Choreography and Women's Psychology. She has been teaching children since she was a child herself and has her whole heart in the development of these tiny humans becoming rockstars on stage because they feel like rockstars! She is a freelance writer of Musical Parodies and Parody Songs for performers, and you may have seen her works at The Rockwell Table and Stage, Three Clubs, The Globe Theatre, and many more places around town! Alli is over the moon to join the staff at YADA and get back in the teaching game!

                                                  Ann Northern

                                                  Director

                                                  Ann Northern

                                                  Director

                                                  Originally from Virginia, Ann Northern grew up performing professionally at theaters and venues up and down the east coast. Since a young age, Ann has been an avid student of vocal performance, ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and all things dramatic.  She grew up learning from some of the best teachers in the country, and she won many awards in singing, dance, and cheerleading conventions throughout the east coast.  She then graduated with a BFA in Professional Acting and Musical Theatre from East Carolina University.  Ann performed and lived in New York City for 8 years, where she completed two Broadway National/International Tours:  Lincoln Center’s South Pacific and Shrek the Musical.  Her favorite credits include Millie (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), Mae (The Wild Party), Mary Warren (The Crucible), and Emily (Our Town).  After moving to Los Angeles with her Husband and miniature schnauzer, Ann found YADA and immediately felt at home!  Ann is currently an advanced student at Groundlings and UCB and is an alumni of The Meisner Technique.  Her classes have high energy and she loves working with children of all ages and capabilities!

                                                    Michael Orland

                                                    Musical Director / Pianist

                                                    Michael Orland

                                                    Musical Director / Pianist

                                                    Michael is thrilled to have been a part of the mega-hit TV show AMERICAN IDOL for 16 seasons as the Pianist, Arranger, Vocal Coach and Associate Musical Director both on FOX and ABC. In between those seasons were stints as  Music Director/vocal coach on LITTLE BIG SHOTS and FOREVER YOUNG both hosted by Steve Harvey.  Through these amazing opportunities, Michael has appeared on OPRAH, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD and a record number of appearances on THE ELLEN SHOW.  At the end of every IDOL season, Michael also accompanied the top 3 contestants to New York for appearances on  LIVE WITH KELLY & REGIS (and MICHAEL and RYAN) , CBS EARLY  SHOW, and concerts on the plaza for THE TODAY SHOW.  He has collaborated with music industry giants such as Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, Diane Warren, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban all as a result of American Idol.  He also served as a pianist/coach  for the NBC summer series AMERICA’S GOT TALENT (Seasons 1 & 2) and a few seasons back AMERICAN JUNIORS and has Associate Produced two hit singles (GOD BLESS THE U.S.A. and WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE) for AMERICAN IDOL as well as the hit compilation CD from AMERICAN JUNIORS.

                                                    Michael began his impressive musical career in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts at the tender age of three, when he escorted each member of his family, one by one, to see “MARY POPPINS” and then sat down at the piano and played the songs by ear. Since this auspicious beginning, he has become one of the most acclaimed musical directors on the concert, theater, television,  and nightclub scene.

                                                    In addition to playing and conducting for many celebrities including  Kristen Bell, Erich Bergen, Sabrina Carpenter, Lynda Carter, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande,  Tony-Winner Debbie Gravitte, Jennifer Holliday,  Roslyn Kind,   Barry Manilow, Maureen  McGovern, Katharine McPhee,  Idina Menzel,  and the late  Wayland Flowers & Madame and the legendary Kaye Ballard, Michael played for the hit shows “FORBIDDEN BROADWAY”, “RUTHLESS!”, and “WHEN PIGS FLY” in Los Angeles.  He made his Hollywood Bowl debut accompanying the iconic MGM star Ann Miller.

                                                    Prior to AMERICAN IDOL, television appearances have included The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Leeza, The Maury Povich Show, The Wayne Brady Show,  and Geraldo. He also appeared on the hit sitcom “THE NANNY” performing an original song co-written with Roslyn Kind. He also played a pianist (it’s a stretch) on the WB sitcom “WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU” and the UPN sitcom HALF & HALF.

                                                    For 13 seasons, Michael also musical directed one of the touring companies of the RADIO CITY CHRISTMA SPECTACULAR starring the world-famous Rockettes.  And he is now a published author in the best-selling book “Chicken Soup For The American Idol Soul”

                                                    For the last ten years Michael has also musical directed the Lythgoe Family Productions of the UK-famous “Panto Style” Theatre experience at  The El Portal Theatre,  The Pasadena Playhouse and Pasadena Civic Auditorium  including CINDERELLA starring Shoshanna Bean, SNOW WHITE starring Ariana Grande, ALADDIN starring Jordan Fisher,  SLEEPING BEAUTY starring Disney’s Olivia Holt & Garrett Clayton and Lucy Lawless, and PETER PAN starring Sabrina Carpenter & Chrissie Fit.

                                                    An accomplished songwriter, his songs have been featured on several daytime soaps and primetime shows. On recordings, he can be heard on Debbie Gravitte’s “Alan Menken Album” and “MGM Album”; Rita McKenzie’s “Ethel Merman’s Broadway”, “Ruthless! The Musical”, Roslyn Kind’s “Come What May” and produced and arranged several CD’s for cabaret artists.   Michael is currently working on a solo piano album due out one of these days as well as scoring music along with Dr. Staci Gruber for many projects for New York Times Best-selling Author Patricia Cornwell.

                                                    Some past  highlights include serving as Associate Musical Director on the exciting  NBC production of HAIRSPRAY LIVE that aired in December 2016 starring Maddie Baillio, Harvey Feinstein, Ariana Grande, Garrett Clayton,  Jennifer Hudson, Dove Cameron, & Kristin Chenoweth as well as the upcoming Netflix movie version of the hit Broadway show “THE PROM”, as well as being so proud to have been a vocal producer on the newly released Kristin Chenoweth album “FOR THE GIRLS” on Concord Records.

                                                    Please visit Michael's web site (www.facebook.com/MichaelOrlandMusic ) periodically for news updates and upcoming events. Twitter/Instagram:  @michaelorland

                                                      Marissa O’Donnell

                                                      Director

                                                      Marissa O’Donnell

                                                      Director

                                                      Marissa is a native New Yorker now happily residing in LA. Since receiving her BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University in 2016, she has focused her attention on supporting children in the arts providing private lessons in both musical theater and film. A professional actress since she was nine years old, her most recognizable credits include the title role in the 30th Anniversary national tour of Annie, Teen Fiona in SHREK the Musical on Broadway (where she originated the role), and the indie film Peace, Love & Misunderstanding with an all star cast including Jane Fonda. In addition to her acting experience she has recorded the OBC for both Annie’s 30th Anniversary and SHREK the Musical, as well as releasing her own original pop music under the artist name MOD. Currently repped by Stewart Talent and Metaverse Entertainment, she is delighted to be on board at YADA and share her knowledge and experience with all her students!

                                                        Lindsay Pearce

                                                        Director

                                                        Lindsay Pearce

                                                        Director

                                                        Lindsay is Broadway's newest Elphaba! Lindsay saw Elphaba fly in 2009 and told her mom “that’s going to be me someday.” REGIONAL: American Idiot, Spring Awakening, Bare: A Pop Opera (Broadway World’s: Best Leading Actress in a musical), Romeo & Juliet, The Last 5 Years, For The Record: BAZ. TV/FILM: The Glee Project, Glee, Recovery RoadGrey’s Anatomy, and Sony Picture’s The Wedding Ringer.

                                                          Carrie-ann Pishnak

                                                          Improv Instructor

                                                          Carrie-ann Pishnak

                                                          Improv Instructor

                                                          Carrie-ann Pishnak is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. She holds a BA in Theatre from UNLV, is a graduate of Nerdist improv program, The Second City Conservatory, Short Form and Long Form programs, and was classically trained at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford. Carrie-ann is a corporate narrator, a freelance producer and marketing brand specialist, as well as being an adjunct professor at CalArts where she teaches Improv. She is proud and grateful to have been an educator at various schools (including YADA) for over 30 years. You can catch Carrie-ann performing around town with her improv team, Aeroplane, and hanging out at home with her cat, Monster.

                                                            Amanda Perez

                                                            Amanda Perez

                                                            Director

                                                            Amanda Perez

                                                            Director

                                                            Amanda was a Director for six years In New York at ApplauseNY. While managing the after-school division she taught dance, singing, improv, acting for camera, and directed the musical theater workshops on the weekends to kids ranging from 5yrs-15yrs. After graduating from the prestigious High School of Performing Arts, Amanda went on to earn her B.F.A in Dramatic Performance at the College Conservatory of Music (CCM). She has been featured in national commercials and has appeared in several TV shows including Modern Family, Ground Floor, and Gossip Girl. Amanda has also appeared in various readings and plays in New York–her favorite being the New York premiere of Knives and Other Sharp Objects produced by The Public Theater. Amanda is thrilled to be living in Los Angeles continuing to share her love for theater with the incredible YADA students.

                                                              Liliana Rose

                                                              Director

                                                              Liliana Rose

                                                              Director

                                                              A Los Angeles native, Liliana was first introduced to theatre at age 6 through YADA! She evidently fell in love, and is still performing almost 20 years later. After her YADA days, she went on to earn her BFA in Musical Theatre at Texas State University. Subsequently, she performed at various theaters around the country as well as on the seas with Norwegian Cruise Line. When she is not on stage, she finds fulfillment in passing along her passion for theatre to the next generation of performers! Check out www.lilianarose.net for performance updates!

                                                                Tristan J Shuler

                                                                Director

                                                                Tristan J Shuler

                                                                Director

                                                                Tristan is a multi-hyphenate storyteller and coach with an expansive background in musical theatre performance, experimental theatre, improvisation, directing, playwriting & TV writing, classical music, choreography, and more. Acting Credits include: Frozen (DCL), Cruel Intentions: the 90's Musical (Off-Bway), Spamilton: An American Parody (Off-Bway & Nat'l Tour), Urinetown, the Musical! (Off-Bway Revival) and more. An alum of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Tristan J has performed for the Drama Desk Awards & received an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Spamilton, and he was highlighted in YesBroadway's 40 Under 40 alongside Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose, Tony-winner Adrienne Warren, & the astounding Alex Newell. Nonetheless, Tristan has always kept time for coaching and training actors ages 5-65 with the mission of raising underrepresented voices & championing young artists.

                                                                  Molly Smith

                                                                  Director

                                                                  Molly Smith

                                                                  Director

                                                                  Molly grew up in Chicago, IL and as soon as she could began performing in local community theater. Between the ages of 8 to 18, she performed in over 20 plays and musicals. Molly recently graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Theatre. While in Chicago, she also studied improv at The Second City and performed in several short films. Two years ago, Molly moved to Los Angeles where she has since starred in various independent films and web-series’. Molly continues to study at The Imagined Life in Hollywood.

                                                                    Devyn Ward

                                                                    Director

                                                                    Devyn Ward

                                                                    Director

                                                                    Devyn has been a Director at YADA since Summer 2019 and is ecstatic to be here! She is a teaching artist, actor, and comedian based in Los Angeles, originally from Denver, Colorado. Devyn has been dancing since the age of 3, became a competitive dancer at age 10, then started her career as a dance teacher in college. Her love for theatre began in elementary school when she got involved with the after school musicals and a program called KidStage. After her first performance as "Lola the Lead Ladybug", she was hooked! Since then, she's performed in some amazing shows like Pride and Prejudice (Lady Catherine), Spring Awakening (Frau), and Shakepeare's Love's Labour's Lost (Holofernia). Devyn is also a comedic improviser and has been in a variety of improv and sketch shows including the Del Close Marathon in New York City. She's currently a student of UCB and Groundlings. She moved to LA shortly after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in both Acting Performance and K-12 Theatre Education. Children's theatre has always been something held close to Devyn's heart, and throughout her education training she discovered an immense love for Theatre for Young Audiences. In 2017 she completed an educational internship with Lexington Children's Theatre and in 2018 she directed a mainstage touring TYA show at UNCo. Her favorite part of teaching theatre is being able to assist young people gain life skills such as discipline, confidence, and empathy while also giving them room for imaginative play and creativity. Devyn is thrilled to be pursuing an acting career in LA while also sharing her love of acting and dance with the wonderful YADA students.

                                                                      Anthony David Ward

                                                                      Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                                                      Anthony David Ward

                                                                      Director & Private Lesson Instructor

                                                                      Anthony is a Performing and Teaching Artist from Niagara Falls, NY. He realized his passion for theatre at a young age, and hasn’t stopped performing since! He has traveled the country with Missoula Children’s Theatre, where he was able to bring the magical world of Musical Theatre to a new group of kids each week. In college he studied Acting, Dance, Vocal Performance, and Psychology. He takes pride in being able to use all of his education in his craft, and his ability to teach others how to do the same. Some of his favorite performance credits include, Dan Goodman in Next to Normal, Charlie Brown in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Mitch Mahoney in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as well as various roles in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, and Henry VI. He is extremely excited to begin his journey at YADA and cannot wait to begin teaching and inspiring!

                                                                        Rainer is thriving at YADA and we are so happy to have found such a nurturing, amazing place for
                                                                        him to learn.

                                                                        You guys are epic… So amazed by the work and love that goes into each and every production. You help your students grow and shine. You deserve all the applause. We are blessed to be part of the YADA family.

                                                                        Becoming part of the YADA family has been an amazing experience for David!

                                                                        Mutual love fest here!!!!

                                                                        Thank you so much. I have already enrolled Janey for the next season. She tells me that she wants to go to YADA forever!

                                                                        Skylar absolutely loves YADA and would not think of missing it. I enrolled her the very first day of registration so we should be all set!

                                                                        Our daughter is thriving and extremely happy in your program!

                                                                        Thank you again to you, all the teachers and Yada for this opportunity for Lourdes, her heart is so set on this.