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!
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.
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.
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.
Chelsea is a native of Phoenix, AZ. She trained at Scottsdale Community College and Cal State Fullerton earning a Bachelors in Dance. During her time in California, she danced for Disneyland Resorts as well as participated in free lance projects with Embark Dance, Fuse Dance and a dance role in the film Waiting in the Wings: Still Waiting. After graduation, Chelsea moved to the midwest where she had the opportunity to dance with Attack Theatre, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
She has a passion for arts education and sharing her love of dance, and has taught at studios in AZ, CA, and OH. Chelsea is thrilled to be in AZ where she currently dances for Epik Dance Company, Scorpius Dance Theatre, and other artists around the valley. Chelsea has had her own works showcased at Beta Dance Festival, other festivals, and choreographed for Desert Foothills Theatre’s production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, Disaster the musical, and Annie Get Your Gun. Most recently she has choreographed for Southwest Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's dream. Chelsea is most excited about working on her own dance projects, Neissmoves.
Cecy Abarca is a proud native of Tucson, Arizona, and her previous theatre credits include work as a director, teacher, and performer on stages across the country. Cecy earned her Associates of Arts in Theatre from Eastern Arizona College (2017) and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Education and Acting from the University of Northern Colorado (2019).