Meet the Teachers
We are extremely proud of all the people at kidsActing! We have professional actors, dancers, directors, music directors, musicians, costumers, set designers, prop masters, lighting and sound designers... all from some of the top theatres and universities from all over the United States! All our staff has had thorough background checks to ensure the safety and well-being of your children.
Dede established kidsActing in 1980, when she discovered her passion was working with children. Dede received her BSE in theatre education from the University of Kansas, ran a newspaper in Tahiti, worked in theatre in NYC, and got her master's degree in film from UT.
She's worked with the Coen brothers on movie, television and commercial projects, and was awarded a gubernatorial appointment to the Texas Film Commission board. Dede has written, directed, and produced eight original musicals: The Velveteen Rabbit, Cyberella, Waking Sleeping Beauty, Monsters!, The Emperor’s New Shows, Goldie, Alyce in Wonderland, TX and Bugs, each with original songs created for the productions by many great Texas songwriters, including Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Marcia Ball, Ray Benson, Robert "Beto" Skiles, and all of The Flatlanders: Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, and Joe Ely.
She has produced and directed over 100 productions, receiving numerous nominations and awards for her work. She was voted Best Stage Director by the Austin Chronicle.
A native Austinite, Tiffany graduated from Anderson High School and went on to study Interior Design and Architecture. She has worked as kidsActing's office manager since 2005 and managed our moves from our long-time location on Burnet, through a couple of temporary homes, until we found Center Stage Theatre.
Tiffany is known as kidsActing's central nervous system, because she calmly keeps the administration running smoothly, corralling various artistic departments and personalities. She is the ultimate "cat herder." She has a gift of organization and attention to detail, and keeps candies on her desk!
Production Manager/Enrollment Director
Jazmine found her love of theatre at the age of 4 while participating in acting classes and productions in Los Angeles. When she moved to Austin she
became a kidsActing student, participating in seven shows including two of our original productions, Bugs and Goldie, a Fish Story.
Jazmine began working in kidsActing in 2003 as Enrollment Director and added the role of Production Manager to her responsibilities in 2012. She is also an established stage manager with various companies in Austin including Dirigo Group, Glass Half Full, and is a Company Stage Manager for the Rude Mechs. Children's theatre is her first love and she is excited to bring her experience and knowledge to kidsActing and teach students about the technical aspects of theatre.
Education Director/Director/Teaching Artist
Courtney Jacobs has been with kidsActing since 2012. Before moving to Austin, Courtney owned her own musical theatre company for young children in Scottsdale, Arizona, in addition to being a Montessori preschool teacher for 4 years.
A vocal performance major with a dance/choreography minor at Arizona State University, she has worked with kids in the theatre community for over 10 years. Some of her credits include working at Disney World as a dancer/character performer, as well as playing major roles in musicals throughout the southwest. She is so excited for you to join us at kidsActing!
Resident Video Designer/Playwright
Lowell Bartholomee is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he studied film. He has been a video designer for theater since 2002 and has provided designs for the Rude Mechs, the Dirigo group, Red Then Productions, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Breaking String, Austin Playhouse, and several other companies.
His designs have been awarded the Austin Theater Critics Table and B. Iden Payne Award. In 2008, he co-wrote and produced the feature film Holy Hell, which premiered at the Austin Film Festival and is the first feature to be distributed via iPad. He is also an award-winning actor, director, and producer.
Teacher Artist/Accompanist/Vocal Coach
David has played with the national touring companies of The Who's Tommy, Once on This Island, and many others. He began his professional career as music director in summer stock at the age of 16. Since then he has been involved with hundreds of musicals. Among his favorites are Most Happy Fella, Guys & Dolls, and Victor/Victoria.
Director/Teaching Artist/Associate Sales Manager/Tech Support
Ben grew up in Corpus Christi, TX where he spent his free time swimming, playing in the marching band, and competing in mock trial/debate. Later he graduated from Trinity University with a BA in Philosophy and Spanish. He has amoved across the country and now lives in Pittsburgh with his amazing wife Hannah and two dogs Leo and Mickey. He loves working at kidActing where he assisted musical productions and has had the opportunity to work with kids of all ages, teaching various Dungeons and Dragons classes. Ben encourages students to use their creativity and let their imaginations soar as they work together to overcome obstacles and meet challenges. (He also gets a kick out of hearing their laughter!).
Mike Brown hails originally from Houston. He has accompanied church choirs, solo instrumentalists and vocalists for many years, and played piano and bass in classical, jazz, rock, bluegrass, and theater groups, or any genre of ensemble that would let him in. He holds a Master's in Collaborative piano
from the University of Miami, and has been providing music with kidsActing classes and shows since 2015.
A former kidsActing student, Noah is ecstatic to return this summer as a team teacher! Noah is a recent graduate of Texas State University, holding a BFA in Theatre: Performance and Production with a minor in Music. Noah's performance credits include Newsies, Mary Poppins, Rock of Ages (Georgetown Palace) and The World Goes 'Round (Austin Theatre Project). When not performing or teaching theatre, Noah loves hanging out and making music with his friends.
Steve received his B.A. in music, with a focus on jazz and classical piano, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2011. After graduating, he worked as an accompanist for the Central Coast Youth Chorus, San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church, and several high schools. In 2014, Steve moved to Austin to pursue additional opportunities in music. In addition to teaching at kidsActing studio, he works as a musician for The Honor Choir in Bastrop, the Austin and Bastrop school districts, and teaches elementary music at Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Bastrop. When not musically involved, Steve pursues his passions for cooking, bbq'ing, skiing, and painting.
Susannah Crowell, kidsActing student for many years, is an actress, singer, dancer, comedian, and voiceover artist based in New York City! She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance from the University of Texas at Austin. Performance credits include the virtual world premiere of Human Resources the Musical, Annie (TexArts), Jungle Book (ZACH Theatre), Amazon Prime’s Good Omens activation (SXSW), Hulu’s A Handmaid’s Tale activations (SXSW, NYC), Cosplay Cabaret (GeekLifeRules), The Drowsy Chaperone (Texas Performing Arts), Build Your Own Bollywood (Agni Arts), The Who’s Tommy (City Theatre Austin), Oedipus the Tyrant (Fox Den Theatre), and the Under the Shroud podcast.
Jacob is a writer, born in Denver, who got his start as a playwright in 2012. He has a number of plays published with Pioneer Drama Service. He has worked with the DDRC Players, Shining Stars, and Colorado ACTS as writer and helper for actors with disabilities. He currently writes screenplays and short fiction, as well as plays, and he is excited to meet more people in the Austin theatre community. He hopes you enjoyed reading this blurb, he is very uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person.
Chris Ehresman has worked as a director, choreographer, and musician for kidsActing for 7 years, most recently choreographing and drumming for the Elite Ensemble's Fiddler on the Roof and directing the virtual productions of Clue! He directs and choreographs the CSTEE Show Choir.
MAJOR KIM EDWARD FEINAUER
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1953, Major Kim Edward Feinauer graduated from Reading Senior High School in 1971. He then studied music and philosophy at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude in 1975. He went on to graduate study in philosophy at the University of Virginia where he acquired 63 credits in graduate study and was a member of the Society of Fellows. While studying at UVA, he was hired by The Salvation Army as its church pianist.
Major Feinauer plays piano, organ, clarinet, and a variety of flutes and brass instruments. He has been the piano accompanist for many Salvation Army Songster brigades including that of The Salvation Army’s Evangeline Booth College. He has played French horn with several community concert bands and symphony orchestras, and from 2014-2019 was the solo Eb alto horn player with The Salvation Army’s National Capital Band.
Music Director/Piano Accompanist
Not just an innovative artist, Pierson Keating has always been a devout student of music. At West Virginia University, he was a jazz and composition double major, studying composition under Dr. John Beall. He continued his exploration of the musical creative process at the University of Louisville, studying under jazz piano instructor Jim Connerley as well as composition instructor Steve Rouse, two mentors who opened his eyes to the possibilities of good music. In June of 2012 he relocated to Nashville, TN, and played with songwriter David Oakleaf's band. There, also, he was mentored by established songwriter Dave Pahanish. Throughout his career, he has led numerous solo and group musical projects. He has been a pit musician and music director for a number of musicals. As a composer of alternative heartland rock songs with a jazz ethos, he is always developing his catalog.
Andy Heger studied music at the University of Texas focusing on Music Production with a minor in Public Relations. He is a worship leader at Metropolitan Community Church of Austin and also plays several other instruments whenever given the chance. Working with children is such a rewarding experience and he's always looking forward to each semester's group of talented performers!
Kenzie first stepped on stage at the age of 12, and hasn't left since. She completed her BA in theater at Keene State College. While acting was her specialization, she also studied comedy improv, technical theater, costume design, and set design. After graduating, she moved to Sydney, Australia where she continued to study theater and film at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. While in Sydney, she was also trained in the Meisner Technique. Afterward, she moved to New York City where she acted both on stage and screen. She continued her studies with several local New York acting coaches. In March of 2021, she relocated to Austin to continue acting. When not acting or teaching, she loves hiking, kayaking, and playing with her dog, Bondi.
Director/Teaching Artist/Wig and Make Up Designer
Mary has been a theatre kid ever since she saw CATS at 5 years old. She started taking theatre classes when she was 11, and continued throughout high school, where she was the president of her ITS chapter. She majored in Theatre at Tarleton State University and did everything from designing, acting, and stage managing to master electrician, props master, and crew. She is an alum of the honorary theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega. Some of her favorite roles have been Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, Katherine in Radium Girls, and Charlotte Hay in Moon Over Buffalo.
When Mary is not at kidsActing, she likes to bake, binge Bob’s Burgers, cuddle with her three cats, and learn new things! She is currently studying Art Therapy and practicing cosmetology. She could not be happier that her journey has led her to get to play with wigs and makeup for some of the coolest kids in Austin.
Anthony has been with kidsActing for 8 years and has been teaching since 2018. He has spent most of his kidsActing career in Elite Ensemble productions including Beauty and the Beast and Into the Woods. He is passionate about teaching and sharing his love for theatre with others.
Technical Director/Props Master
Chaz Sanders is excited to be working at kidsActing. Chaz is a graduate of Southwestern University, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre. He has worked on several shows, such as Rent (kidsActing), Footloose (kidsActing), 12th Night (Austin Shakespeare), and The Flick (Hyde Park). Chaz has filled various roles including Master Electrician, Technical Director, Props Designer, Lighting Designer, and Stage Manager.
Box Office Manager, Director, Teaching Artist
Kel Sanders has held many positions at kidsActing including, but not limited to, teacher, box office manager, stage manager, light/sound board op, the list goes on. He is a graduate of St. Edward's University (class of 2011), where he majored in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Performance and minored in English Writing and Rhetoric. He is also an actor, appearing in such shows as Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Schadenfreude (Cold Frame Collective), Antigone (Oh Dragon Theatre), All My Sons (Palindrome Theatre), and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mary Moody Northen Theatre) He has previously been a member of Palindrome Theatre and St. Edward's Transit Theatre Troupe. He loves comic books, Nintendo games, and his dog Grayson.
Brittany Schmutzler is a Chicago native and is so excited to be joining the kidsActing family! After receiving her Music Education degree with an emphasis in Voice, Piano & Bass Clarinet, Brittany has been teaching, directing, and performing across the country. In Chicago she led a thriving voice and piano studio, music directed over 15 children's musicals, and performed in several TYA shows. She toured the US for a year with Missoula Children's Theater, and then landed in Atlanta where she taught K-12 Performing Arts, directed 15 productions and co-led the department to grow into the "Most Innovative Arts Program in the Nation". Now in Austin, Brittany is a teaching artist, performer, and director for several theaters and schools. In her spare time, she loves traveling, baking, volunteering and geeking out about Disney, the enneagram, and musicals.
Costume Shop Manager / Costume Designer
Chasity has always had a love for fashion, theatre, and pugs. She was involved in theatre throughout high school, where she starred in Grease as Sandy. After graduating, she majored in fashion design at the University of the Incarnate Word.
She designed her own brand and then went on to show collections throughout Texas, New Orleans, New York, and London. Her work has been featured in numerous fashion magazines.
Although she had a passion for fashion, she felt like something was missing. She decided to merge her love for theatre and fashion and do something she has always enjoyed: costumes! Upon joining kidsActing, she finally feels like she’s doing what she’s meant to do.
When Chasity is not working, she is spoiling her baby boy, Dak, and her two pugs, Wensdae and Barnabas.
Lilly Welch is a teaching artist, director, and actress originally from Austin! She received a BFA in Theatre for Youth at Samford University, where she had the joy of directing several productions, including The Boy Who Stole the Stars (by Julian Wiles), and performing in shows such as Ella Enchanted The Musical (by Karen Zacarias and Deborah Wicks La Puma) and The Gulf (by Audrey Cefaly).
Lilly's goal as a teaching artist is to create a safe space where students can express themselves and connect with others. She wants to encourage her students to be bold, be brave, and most importantly, have fun!