Valley Youth Theatre would like to introduce you to our highly trained, professional, teaching artists.
Chelsea Howard is a Grand Canyon University alumni with a BA in Theatre and Drama. With experience in acting, directing, playwriting, and teaching, Chelsea is proud to contribute her acting experience and teachings to young artists. She started working at Valley Youth Theatre as an intern in the summer of 2017, began assistant teaching in 2019, and soon worked as a VYT acting instructor, while later leading the 2019 summer camp interns as their Camp Manager!
Rebecca Joslin is an Arizona native and long-time VYT veteran. Since debuting in the orchestra pit at age 13, Rebecca has grown up at VYT, playing for two dozen shows, teaching 10 summers of camp, many years of education classes and music directing several shows, including 11 straight years of A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail! Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Arizona State University and teaches orchestra and theater at Gilbert Classical Academy. In her spare time she is the proud parent of Annette, Philip and Charlotte!
Tyson Lund is SO EXCITED to be working with Valley Youth Theater again this winter! Tyson grew up in Mesa, AZ. He has loved theater ever since he was a kid! He grew up auditioning and performing at different youth theaters across the valley, as well as at his local Jr & Sr High schools! He was nominated for several awards in his youth including the AriZoni’s and National Youth Art’s awards. While in college, he competed and was nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Competition at The Kennedy Center American Theater Festival in both Los Angeles and Hawaii. He studied Theater Arts and Education at Eastern Arizona College for two years and then earned his Theater Education Degree at The University of Northern Colorado. Tyson has a deep love for acting, some of his most notable performances include Thenardier (Les Miserables), Francis Henshall (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Cogsworth (Beauty and the Beast).
Krista Monaghan is a graduate of the BFA Musical Theatre program at Central Washington University. She has performed with the Broadway Rose theatre Company, Scottsdale Musical Theater Company, Lakewood Theatre Company, Leavenworth Summer Theatre, and Stumptown Stages . Krista previously taught Musical Theatre and Directed/Choreographed for Christian Youth Theater in Washington and Oregon. A recent transplant to Phoenix, she is excited to begin working with Valley Youth Theatre.
Steve grew up with acting/performing in his blood in Upstate NY (near Syracuse). He then moved to DC to study musical theater in college and finished his studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in NYC. From there, he was a professional singer/actor/writier/model in New York from 2001-2007, living in Queens and Manhattan. While in New York, he also trained at T Schrieber and the Actors Studio with base training in method (Stanislavski) but also working in Hagen and Meisner techniques. His vocal coach was the late Marni Nixon who was the voice of Maria in West Side Story (Natalie Wood film 1950's) and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (with Audrey Hepburn) - neither Natalie Wood, nor Audrey Hepburn could match pitch according to Marni, which to this day he finds hysterical! During that time he also worked on low budget film features, summer rep, national tours and off-off Broadway, before leaving to pursue a Journalism degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
He had officially retired from theater until last year when his little sister (who now lives here) asked him to direct a youth show in the east valley, where he caught the theatre bug and got hooked again. He decided he wanted to work with some serious students who wanted to go to the next level and that's why he applied at VYT! Steve believes in Musical Theater Realism and in always being truthful and living in the imaginary illusionary on stage. He is also very big on process work no matter what age a student is, believing they should work within a process and take the journey as the character.
Madolyn Whitmer (Education & Outreach Director) is thrilled to join the VYT team and further their mission to impart life skills to students through theatre and the arts. An arts enthusiast herself, Madolyn graduated from ASU with a BFA in theatre and a focus in playwriting. Madolyn has had plays produced in Arizona, Colorado and New York and has a passion for creating devised work with her students that explore their experiences. Previously, she worked with ARTS ALIVE! bringing experiential, dramatic arts classes to hundreds of students throughout the Houston area which focused on instilling social and emotional learning skills through the arts. At Playworks Arizona, Madolyn continued to work toward instilling social and emotional learning skills to children through play as a part of their Development team with a focus in volunteer coordination, management of large-scale special events, and marketing. She is excited to bring her years of experience in the arts and non-profits to VYT and help continue to grow the education department to positively impact more lives.
Ted Zimnicki is a Canadian born, American bred singer and actor. He has degrees from Ithaca College (BM) and Arizona State University (MM). He has been teaching in the arts since 2012 and is thrilled to be a part of the VYT team! He specializes in opera, musical theatre, and stage physicality, including physical comedy, stunts, and stage combat. He is the founder of High Note Performance, an organization dedicated to bringing the cutting edge physical and neurological training techniques used at the highest levels of athletics into the performance world. He lives in Ahwatukee with his wife, Miriam plus their dog and three cats.
Jorie McQuaid is thrilled to be joining the team at VYT. Jorie is currently working towards her BA in Theatre Education at Grand Canyon University and has held theatrical teaching positions at MoezArt Productions, Gilbert Christian School, KidStage and Arizona Instruction. She’ll bring her experience as an actor, director, choreographer and stage manager to teach and empower young artists! Jorie is passionate about theater and the skills for that it brings to young students, both on and off the stage. When Jorie isn't teaching, she enjoys performing at community theatres throughout the valley. Some of her favorite roles include Amalia in She Loves Me, Gertrude in Seussical and Ado Annie in Oklahoma.
Kristi has a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance with an emphasis in Musical Theatre Performance from Arizona State University. She has a background in Classical voice, Musical Theater, Worship music and Pop. She also studied voice privately in New York City with the Tony award winning Victoria Clark, and with world renowned composer and vocal coach Craig Bohmler and Broadway tour director Alan J Plato.
She has maintained a private voice studio and piano studio for nearly two decades and is currently Adjunct Voice Faculty at Grand Canyon University teaching Vocal Performance, Musical Theater and Worship Arts Students.
Kristi has performed locally with Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Phoenix, Theatre Works and Child’s Play and nationally with several regional theatre companies. Some of her favorite roles include, Anna Leonowens in The King and I, Maria in The Sound of Music, Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
Kristi is constantly humbled and awed by how much she learns every day from her students. She loves teaching, and is so grateful to be of service to growing voices and help to shape the future of young performers.