Bobb is in his 17th year at VYT as Producing Artistic Director. He came to VYT with a bright new vision to offer children a safe place to learn, grow, and exercise their innate sense of creativity. Under his direction and energetic leadership, Valley Youth Theatre has become a highly-respected, professional-level theatre company where virtually thousands of young people experience the magic of live theatre. Bobb's first full season at Valley Youth Theatre was nominated for 32 ariZoni Awards for Theatre Excellence, and was the recipient of 15 awards, including Best Overall Children's Production for Annie and Best Director for The Wizard of Oz, a favorite production of Bobb's because it so beautifully illustrates his view that anything can happen as long as you believe. On the heels of the successful 1997-98 season, VYT lost their home at Tower Plaza. Bobb and the Board found a run-down building at the corner of First Street and Fillmore, a lease was negotiated and construction began on a new home for Valley Youth Theatre. For most of the 1998-1999 season, Bobb could be found with hammer, nails and shovel in hand. Yet, he still managed to produce two shows that season at the Herberger Theater Center, and walked away from the 1998-99 ariZoni Awards with Best Director honors for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. In the 1999-2000 season, Bobb oversaw the grand opening of VYT's new 202-seat theatre, produced eight shows, including the very successful Peter Pan for which he secured the set from the Cathy Rigby touring show.
In August of 2000, Valley Youth Theatre was named "Arts Organization of the Year" by the Business Volunteers for the Arts. Bobb was honored as the "Artist of the Year" 2000 by the Arizona Theater Alliance. Under Bobb's leadership, VYT became part of a successful city bond proposal in 2001, giving Valley Youth Theatre its first permanent home. VYT's 2000-2001 season received 81 ariZoni Award nominations, and Bobb received four "Best Director - Children's Musical" ariZoni Awards. In the fall of 2001, VYT was honored by the Black Board of Directors as "Arts Organization of the Year 2001" for exceptional diversity in programming. In 2002 Bobb was named to The Business Journal's "40 Under 40," as one of the business community's "rising stars!" In 2003 Valley Youth Theatre was accepted into the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the organization for professional theatre. In 2004, Bobb was recognized by The Business Journal as one of the "Valley's Most Influential" business leaders. VYT's 2004-2005 season garnered 84 ariZoni Award nominations; and Bobb was honored with the Outstanding Contribution Award at the 2005 ariZoni Award ceremony. VYT was honored with 32 ariZoni Awards for the 2005-2006 season and Bobb was named the top leader for Mid-Size Non-Profits by the Organization of Non-Profit Executives 2006.
Bobb's professional affiliations include Phoenix Community Alliance, Arizonans for Cultural Development, Arizona Theatre Alliance, ariZoni Theatre Awards Board, O.N.E., National Who's Who of Executives, Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Bobb is currently developing the Valley Youth Center for The Arts, which will bring together VYT and other major youth arts organizations, at a site at First and Fillmore Streets in downtown Phoenix.
Karol has been designing since the 1996-97 season, when she won ariZoni Awards for Best Costume Design for Cinderella, Wizard of Oz, and Raggedy Ann and Andy. In 1999-2000 she won ariZoni Awards for Best Costume Design for A Winnie-The-Pooh Christmas Tail and Jungle Book; in 2000-2001, she received ariZoni Awards for her costumes in A Winnie-The-Pooh Christmas Tail and West Side Story and an ariZoni Award for Hair & Makeup. Karol received 10 ariZoni Award nominations (the most of any artist) and two ariZoni Awards for costume and hair and makeup designs in the 2001-2002 season. She also received a 2002 Maxie Award Honorable Mention for Best Costume Design for The Wiz. For VYT's 2002-2003 season, Karol won ariZoni Awards for Best Costume Design and for Hair & Makeup for The Wiz and for Hair & Makeup for The Little Mermaid. She received a 2004 ariZoni for Best Costume Design and Hair & Makeup for Titanic and a Best Hair & Makeup award for Pinocchio. In 2005, Karol was honored with 11 ariZoni Award nominations, garnering three awards for her incredible costumes for The Wizard of Oz and hair and makeup designs for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Wizard of Oz. Rounding off the list are 10 nominations in 2006 and 2 awards for costumes and hair and makeup for Bye Bye Birdie.
Mark is in his fifteenth season at VYT. Mark has been recognized for his outstanding musical direction at VYT with ariZoni Awards for theatre excellence for The Wizard of Oz, Titanic, Annie, The Wiz, Oliver!, West Side Story and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He came to the world of children's theatre with an extensive history in music and accompaniment, a Master's of Music in Performance from ASU and a degree in Piano Performance from D'Angelo School of Music, Mercyhurst College. Mark also is the Music Director for Abiding Savior Lutheran Church; accompanist for the Voice Department at Grand Canyon University; and Music Director for the local opera group, Opera-tunity. Mark has traveled to Germany and Austria, where he performed in numerous instrumental and vocal recitals. Mark also has served as the opera music director on the Lake in Center Lovell, Maine. He is also accompanist for the classical/pop/jazz vocal divisions of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts ARTS Week in Miami, FL. He and his wife Tory are the proud parents of Olivia, born in December!
Visit Mr. Mark's web site at http://www.markfearey.com/.
Suzie Martin (Managing Director) has lived in the Valley of the Sun most of her life. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she spent the first several years of her career as a CPA working in the audit division of international accounting firms. She specialized in not-for-profit, government and hospitality audits. Suzie then returned to school and became a Licensed Master Social Worker. She has utilized her business and social work skills at various not-for-profit agencies serving families and children in the Phoenix area. She has professional experience in the areas of child welfare, developmental disabilities, domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse and mental health. She enjoys traveling, football, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.
Matt Brown (Technical Director) is excited to be a part of Valley Youth Theatre. Originally from Texas, he has been living in the Valley of the Sun for the past 12 years. He and his wife are the proud parents of two-year-old Max and Luke. Matt has a degree in Theatre with an emphasis in technical theatre from Angelo State University. He has worked at Childsplay and most recently at The Phoenix Theatre Company. Luckily for him, one of his favorite hobbies is his job, but he also enjoys running long distances in the desert mountains around our beautiful state.
Joycelin Jacobs-Schwartz (Production Stage Manager & Props Designer) has been doing theatre around the valley for over 15 years, being both on and backstage. Favorite stage-managing credits include: Death Bite (Theatre Artists Studio), Accomplice (Theatre Artists Studio), Madagascar (VYT), and Newsies (VYT). Joycelin has her BA in Theatre from ASU. She would like to thank her parents for their unconditional support and love on this amazing adventure we call theatre.
Tiffany Owen (General Manager) is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Theatre and a BS in Psychology who worked as a freelance stage manager and theatre technician across the Valley after moving to Tempe in 2007. Some of her favorite credits include: Into the Woods (VYT), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (SWS), Peacemaker (PT), Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] (SWS), Rashomon (Pitt Rep), and running spot for Pen & Teller at the MAC. After two years as VYT’s Production Stage Manager, she transitioned to the administrative side of this incredible company inspiring young people to always be the best they can be. She thanks Bobb for being so supportive and finding a new way to utilize her skills, and her loving husband for never questioning her love and passion for theatre. Let’s make the magic!
Cozette Phifer (Marketing & Communications Director) is originally from Phoenix. Her 30-year Marketing career has allowed her to live in Detroit, Seattle, Washington D.C. and San Diego. She has managed marketing and communications for brands that include PETsMART, Domino’s Pizza, Eddie Bauer, Sony Electronics, Jenny Craig, Johnny Rockets and Swift Transportation. She serves as an ally to Phoenix’s LGBTQIA2 community and volunteers her time to related organizations.
Kris Romero (Audience Services Manager) is a Phoenix native, who grew up in the West Valley. He comes to VYT with fifteen years of corporate and management experience, mostly in the banking industry. He is also involved in local community events and is an avid musical theatre fan. His favorite musicals are Rent and Funny Girl. Kris is thrilled to be part of the VYTeam and to work directly with our volunteers, parents and patrons, as well as to be a contributing member of the Phoenix arts community.
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.