All staff undergo a Colorado State and Federal background check.
Artistic Director, Founder, Director & Acting Coach
Michelle grew up as a performer in New York City. She holds degrees in Theatre and Dance with a secondary emphasis in Film and Multimedia from Southern Oregon University, Hunter College in NYC, and Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She has extensively studied acting pedagogy, improvisation, and vocal technique in New York City at La Mama, Circle in the Square Theatre, HB studios, and Theatre Sports. She has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with such renowned acting teachers as Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, Peter Goldfarb and Ruth Zaporah among others. In 1996, she founded Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids, an award-winning youth theatre where her mission was to create highly creative, innovative, and fresh children’s theatre for the community. Michelle has directed over 70 plays in all genres of theatre from well-known musicals such as “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Oliver” to dramas such as Eve Ensler’s “Necessary Targets” and most recently Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone”.
Malary is an Actress, Teaching Artist, and Designer. Previously Malary worked and lived in New York City. Malary has been working with and coaching kids of all ages for over ten years. This is Malary’s second year with APPA!
Malary graduated in Performing arts with an emphasis in Acting, Directing and Theatrical Design (Costume Design) from Iowa State University. Some of Malary’s favorite roles include; playing the part of Edith Potter in “The Women”, playing Mrs. Antrobus in “The Skin Of Our Teeth”, playing the flamboyant and blunder-prone Mrs. Malaprop in “The Rivals” and playing the strong, smart and opinionated Hannah in “Arcadia” and Emily in “Our Town.” She’s worked at the only equity theater in Iowa with the cast of “Godspell”.
Malary is a first time new mommy to Henry (6 months old!) and she has a deep love for long morning runs, yoga, kickboxing, reading historical fiction novels, plays, musical theater and singing karaoke.
Ashley Ellen Frary is a fine and performing artist currently working in both the Denver and Boulder areas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Acting from Millikin University, where she studied abroad with the Globe and PunchDrunk theatre companies in London and PanTheatre in Paris. Additionally, she has over 25 years of dance training in multiple disciplines. Ashley has had the privilege of working with many theatre companies and schools as a performer, instructor, choreographer and director, her favorites including D’Alto Studio of Performing Arts, Ballet Indiana, Evansville Civic Theatre, The University of Southern Indiana, Tales & Scales, StageDoor Theatre, Misassembly Productions and Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Outside of the theatre, Ashley loves to read adventurous books and paint, and she is never without a cup of hot coffee or tea.
Isabella Duran is a singer, instrumentalist and music teacher currently based in Denver. She has starred in numerous musicals all over the country including Sweeney Todd, Cabaret, and The Sound of Music, and has music directed many more. She has worked with youth for years, volunteering and teaching in Denver, New Hampshire, Santa Fe, and most recently in Barcelona, where she earned her TEFL certificate. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St John’s College. In addition to music and theater education, she enjoys dancing, and singing with many talented friends in the local jazz and R&B scenes, plus playing a few gigs.
Dorinda Dercar has a BA in Music Ed – Vocal, Instrumental, and Theatre – a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance, and has taught for 30+ years in New York, New Jersey, and Boulder. A member of NATS (Nat’l Association of Teachers of Singing), Dorinda teaches voice in the styles of Classical, or “legit”, Musical Theatre, Pop, Rock, and Mix. Dorinda also works as a film and stage actor with a lifetime of professional performance experience in Opera, Live Theatre and Musical Theatre (Off-B’way in NYC, and in Denver), Choir singing, Cabaret shows, Film, TV, Voice Over, Choreography and Directing. She is currently tap dancing with the Rhythm Tree Tap Company in Evergreen, CO. Dorinda has taught many people who have gone on to become professional singers and actors. Some of her former students include Jessica Biel, Ace Young (American Idol) Julia Johanos (Arvada Center, and now theatres in NYC), Katie Bland (original Off B’way Cast of Voca People, Kimberly Hannon (the B’way musicals Tommy and Les Miserables), Tera Lee Pollin (B’way Cast of Mama Mia), Brian Cronin, Matt Peters (BDT Stage) and many more. She loves the delight that her students express when they accomplish what they once thought was out of reach or impossible!
Boulder Munchkin, Junior & IPC Instructor & Director
Dillon has worked with Rocky Mountain Theater for Kids and The Actors Academy since 2012. She received a BA in Theater Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Wheelock College in Boston. Dillon has been involved in theater her whole life. She began her theater training in the artist community of Ojai, CA. Highlights of her theatrical career include: training and performing with the Young Americans in southern California, starting the performing arts program for Bramcote- Lorn school in Nottingham, UK, teaching and directing for Ojai Valley School, and directing for the award winning Watertown Children’s Theater in Boston. Dillon’s favorite directing credits include: Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland, Cats!, The King and I, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins and Les Miserables.
Dramatic Coloratura Soprano, Sarah Stone, has been trilling audiences with her lush and powerful voice. A Colorado native, she has been singing since she could speak, first in church choirs and then while performing in children’s theatre. While studying in High School, she was tasked with singing Rosalinde in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and immediately fell in love with opera and music. The Colorado Springs Gazette praised her “fine vocalism and entertaining acting” in a recent performance of Lakmé with Opera Theatre of the Rockies. As Richard Boldrey, author of the Guide to Operatic Roles and Arias described Sarah, “she gives herself to her singing and she makes you listen to her singing.” Ms. Stone’s voice is especially suited to performing roles in Bel Canto, Verdi, and Mozart operas, and she performed Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Boulder Opera this summer. Sarah has a passion for musical theatre as well. In addition to performing, Ms. Stone loves igniting creative passion in young people. She has a Masters degree from Northwestern University.
Megan, originally from Kansas City, Missouri, attended and graduated from Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management with a Bachelor of Science in American Dance Pedagogy and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance. After graduation, Megan accepted a position within the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management department, serving as Assistant to Jo Rowan, the Dance Department Chair. Megan held numerous roles at OCU, including Assistant Professor of Dance and Assistant Director to the Community Dance Center. Megan has extensive training in ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theater dance. Most recently, Megan has had the privilege of teaching dance and choreographing throughout the Mid-West and now in Colorado. Megan’s career includes professional stage management, performance, and choreographic experience with productions such as The American Spirit Dance Company’s Shows, South Pacific, Coppélia, The Wizard of Oz, and Beauty & the Beast. Megan is so excited to now be a part of the Actors Academy for The Performing Arts!
Lisa Ann Gaylord is proud to be returning for her third year with Rocky Mountain Theater for Kids, her second year as the AAPA Denver Munchkin Director, and her first year as an instructor for Boulder’s Senior Theater Lab. Lisa is a Colorado native, who received her BFA in Theatre from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. After graduating in 2013, Lisa traveled and performed in New York, Southern CO, Chicago, and Alaska. Some of her favorite roles include: “Lilith” in She Kills Monsters, “Juliet” in Romeo and Juliet, “Pauline” in One Man, Two Guvnors’, and an member of several devising companies, including the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Master Class Trapeze Show Human Family. She has also worked the past year as a day program instructor at local non-profit where she teaches adults with developmental disabilities. She is happy to be in her beautiful home state where she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and Rocky Mountain sunsets.
Marla has been lucky enough to work as a director and choreographer for various theaters and films across the country. Some of her favorite past productions include Godspell, the Off-Broadway premier of A Pie Rat’s Tale, Next to Normal, Motif Awards Opening Performance, and Clybourne Park. Marla is also continuing her education at the University of Colorado, Boulder by pursuing an MFA in Dance. Her research focuses on the function of dance as a storytelling element in musical theater, and its ability to break down cultural and emotional barriers. She is extremely excited to continue working with such beautiful and talented young artists. She finds a great deal of inspiration from working with the RMTK team and hopes to continue pushing and teaching students on how to become eloquent performers and dancers.
Music Director, Vocal Teacher and Musical Theatre II Majors Instructor
Deborah Berioli is a critically acclaimed soprano for her portrayals of leading operatic roles including Amelia in Verdi’s A Masked Ball and the title roles of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Tosca. Her career has led her to perform with major US regional opera houses and concert halls including Carnegie Hall, New York and internationally with Derby Cathedral in England and Jaffa Old City in Tel Aviv. In conjunction with her performance career, Deborah has been a devoted teacher and music director for high school musicals, churches and choirs. She has held the position of Director of Music for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder since 2014 and is happy to return to AAPA as Music Director for the 2017-2018 season. She holds certifications in behavioral breathing sciences, educational capnography using biofeedback and is completing her Masters of Science Degree in behavioral breathing sciences as well as a certification in orofacial myology.
Dance Majors Instructor
Christina Caplan is thrilled to be returning to Actor’s Academy. She has previously taught and choreographed for AAPA for three years. After having her baby, she is so happy to be sharing her time with the fantastic students of AAPA once again! She has also been teaching for Denver School of the Arts, Denver University, and is currently choreographing for the Wolf Theatre. Prior to moving to Denver she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Penn State. She also choreographed and performed for a decade with regional theaters as well as several national touring companies. Christina has also had the opportunity to run a performing arts school in Oahu, Hawaii.
Make-Up and Hair Designer, Acting Major Instructor, & After School Class Teacher
Alison Byrne is one of the acting instructors for RMTK, as well as one of their makeup designers. After graduating from Newman University in Wichita Kansas with a BA in theatre performance she packed up and moved to Colorado to further pursue her theatrical career. She was the first student at Newman to co-create a main stage production and also created and taught much of the choreography. She has eight years of improvisation experience and has been teaching theatre and dance for four years. When she isn’t living onstage she enjoys chipotle and a good book. She is currently widening her dance repertoire to include hip hop.
Benjamin J. Kessler
Denver Ensemble Instructor, Boulder and Denver Senior/Ensemble Theatre Lab Instructor
Benjamin began in theater in junior high school with competitive speech and debate and the show I Never Saw Another Butterfly. In high school, he performed in band, choir, orchestra, jazz band, jazz choir, speech and debate, and theater, including Mr. Mushnik in The Little Shop of Horrors, Farmer in The Diviners, Charlie in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. He was a founding member of the Northridge High School Theater Troupe, as well as the Competitive Speech and Debate team.
Benjamin began his collegiate studies in Performance Theater at Bradley University, his favorite role being Bobby in Cabaret. Benjamin then focused on a career in the Hospitality Industry eventually becoming the Director of Event Operations at the Crowne Plaza DIA where he was responsible for 85,000 square feet of convention and meeting space. He subsequently joined the sales team as an Executive Meetings Manager where he led that team in sales each year.
Benjamin decided to leave his career and go back to school to finish his degree and pursue his dream of Teaching. He is currently a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver and will graduate May of 2018. He also teaches with the Actor’s Academy for the Performing Arts, and works with Rocky Mountain Theater for Kids.
Boulder Vocal Instructor, Musical Theatre II Majors Instructor, Denver Junior/IPC Company Show Music Director, & After School Class Teacher
Cordelia is a vocalist and pianist, who recently graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine with a degree in Music and Hispanic Studies. She is excited to be back in the West to pursue her passions in music, theater, and education. In college she performed classical piano, trained as a vocalist in Classical, Afro-Latin, Spanish, and Jazz music, and music-directed and starred in Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods. She believes that musical theater is one of the most important things we can do as human beings to know ourselves, each other, and connect to the world around us. Cordelia has been teaching students vocal technique, piano, and music theory for the past four years.
Denver JR/IPC Company Show Stage Manager
Lucas Bareis-Golumb is originally from Rapid City, South Dakota, but has been living in Denver for the past twelve or so years and considers Colorado his home state. RMTK is where he found his love for Stage Management, first working as an intern/ASM under Deb Voss at the Boulder branch in 2011. He would go on to graduate from the Metropolitan University of Denver in 2015 with a BFA in Applied Theatre Technology and Design, with an emphasis in Stage Management. Since then he has been working in and around Denver with such theatres as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Phamaly Theatre Company and even so far as venturing all the way to Creede, Colorado to work for Creede Repertory Theatre. He is excited to be returning to his roots with AAPA Denver!
Director of Operations
Stuart has been working with Actors Academy for The Performing Arts and Rocky Mountain Theatre For Kids since its inception over twenty years ago. He has worked in small business administration, production management, the technology sector, and public school education. A state licensed secondary school teacher, he has worked with children in the educational arena for over twelve years. He has a great passion for helping children succeed on stage and in life, to launch children’s self-esteem to new heights. H e brings a wealth of educational, business, and production management experience to Rocky Mountain Theatre For Kids. Stuart is also a novelist, playwright, and non-fiction writer. He is currently writing a non-fiction book called “Emancipation: Breaking The Chains of Self Betrayal” due to be published in Spring, 2018.
Program Manager/Boulder Stage Manager
Blakely is thrilled to be in her third year with the Actor’s Academy for the Performing Arts and Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids! Blakely has been involved in theatre since she was six years old, and is excited to continue fostering her passion with our remarkably talented AAPA students. She received her BFA in Theatre Design and Technical Production from the University of Memphis, and worked as a freelance stage manager for the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Theatre Memphis, the Orlando Repertory Theatre, the Sands Theatre Company, and PCPA Theaterfest before joining AAPA. Some of her favorite stage management credits include Richard III, The Addams Family, Freckleface Strawberry, Shrek: The Musical, The Rivals, Hairspray, and The Phantom of the Opera.
Barry recently moved to Broomfield with his partner, River, after living in the mountains for over twenty years. He holds a Masters in Comparative Religion and brings over ten years of Waldorf School administration experience to his responsibilities at RMTK/AAPA. Barry brings to RMTK/AAPA enormous expertise in technology interface design, executive administration, parent relationship management, and more. Ceramics, antiques, hiking and traveling are some passions.