Musical Theatre Team
Mindy Robbins, Owner & Artistic Director Musical Theatre
Mindy started performing when she was 4, taking private voice lessons at 6, worked professionally at the age of 16, and started teaching voice at 19. She most recently played Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins at Tuachan. She also played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in 2007, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun in 2002, and Liesl in The Sound of Music in 2001. Previously, Mindy toured with the Broadway Company of Les Miserables, covering the role of Eponine played by Sutton Foster. Other credits include Walt Disney World’s Hoop Dee Doo and Kids of the Kingdom, Tokyo Disney’s Peco’s Goofy, BYU’s Young Ambassadors and Lagoon’s Music USA. She has been a guest performer for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic World Senior Games. Mindy has recorded for Disney, with Mandy Moore, karaoke itunes songs and on numerous radio commercials. She has performed with Colm Wilkinson, Jason Alexander, Sutton Foster and Sam Harris. She has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Lex DeAzevedo’s work, Gloria, The Life of Christ as Mary. Mindy guest-starred on the national television series, Touched by an Angel, and has been seen on national television commercials. She graduated with a BFA in Music Dance Theatre from BYU where she has taught voice in the school of music. She loves sharing her passion for performing with her students. She is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and the National Association of the Teachers of Singing.
Katie Higbee, Academy Director Musical Theatre (American Fork)
Katie made her performing debut at 7 years old in The Music Man (unless you count the Sunday evening concerts on the fire place hearth). She participated in musical theater consistently all through her childhood, studied dance and gymnastics, and started voice lessons at 14. She attended BYU majoring in Music Dance Theater and has performed in community and professional theaters throughout Utah and California. Katie discovered early on in her career that she had a knack for teaching and choreographing. Katie has choreographed for numerous high schools and junior high schools, as well as community and professional theatre companies throughout the west. She has also taught dance and choreographed for singing groups at The Academy of Ballet, Encore and Center Stage, where she directed all of the vocal companies from 1997-2000. Katie has choreographed for Lagoon under the direction of Mark Huffman and has also had the opportunity to be on production teams for large events like the Pioneer Sesquicentennial Celebration at the LaVell Edwards Stadium and the Newport Beach Temple Youth Celebration featuring 4,000 youth from 16 different Southern California LDS Stakes. Katie’s students have gone on to star in feature films, perform in lead roles on Broadway, in National Broadway tours, and in professional theaters all over the world as well as on TV’s Dancing With the Stars, So you think you can Dance, and Dance Wars. Katie has also used her talents to serve her community and church as Stake Arts Council Chair an starting an Arts Council in Saratoga Springs Utah. Katie thrives on helping students grow as artists and people and finds great joy in their accomplishments – both personal and professional.
Megan Reardon, Academy Director Musical Theatre (Draper)
Megan made a grand entrance to her professional career at sixteen when she performed in 42nd Street at AMTSJ. That was followed by a scholarship to Brigham Young University for her excellence in musical theater. During this time, Megan was asked to relocate to Florida to perform Belle, in Beauty and the Beast. After two years at Disney she finished her schooling in London and graduated from BYU in the MDT program. During her 20 years of professional experience, Megan has performed throughout the world, recorded with Disney Entertainment, secured a recording contract in NYC with Seismic Records, and singing at Capitol Records with artists like Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Joss Stone and others. Her debut holiday album “Dreams of Christmas” was released in 2013 through LML records. She performs every holiday season with Pasquale Esposito (PBS) as well as Dennis Bono in Las Vegas. Her work in casting includes: Indie film directed by Jon M. Chu (major motion film director)“When the Kids are Away,” Lion King (Broadway tour), Peter Pan (National tour) and Jesus Christ Superstar (National tour), Blue (Pasadena Playhouse). Megan’s work with Julia Flores Casting has greatly increased her skills in both teaching, performing and directing. Megan has been teaching vocal performance for 20 years, ranging from beginners to professionals. Some of her students have found success; on Broadway, Tuachan, record deals, internet sensations, and heavy metal Lead singers. Megan is a member of Actors Equity Association, SAG, AGVA
Suzie Balser, Principal Director
Suzie graduated from BYU with a BFA in Music Dance and Theatre where she performed as a Young Ambassador and won the Theatre Department’s award for Best Supporting Actress and an Irene Ryan Nomination for Ilona Ritter in She Loves Me. Acting credits include Aheh in Sunfish at the New York ASCAP foundation musical theatre workshop with Stephen Schwartz, Stephanie in the New York production of Katie Thompson and Patrick Livingston’s R.R.R.E.D., Sophie in the Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia!, Nellie Forbush in Tuacahn’s South Pacific, Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Winnie Tate in Annie Get Your Gun, Laurie in Oklahoma!, Maude in Funny Girl, Lorena Bobbit in Odyssey’s Thriller, and Demeter in CATS. In addition to the stage, Suzie can be seen in local and national commercials. In conjunction with performing Suzie has taught music, dance, and theatre around the country. While at BYU, Suzie was a student teacher in the dance department. She has also instructed at institutions such as BYU Childrens’ Creative Dance, Encore Academy, Musical Theater in Las Vegas as well as the West Orange, New Jersey Metrowest JCC Theater Arts Program. Most recently, Suzie has taught as adjunct faculty at Western Wyoming Community College Department of Theatre and Dance where she directed Flowers for Algernon and choreographed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Desert Dance Company. Last summer, Suzie was the Assistant Director of Tuacahn’s production of Grease and was on the creative team for the Nauvoo Historical Pageant in Nauvoo, IL. Suzie is also a member of the Actors Equity Association.
Delayne Dayton, Faculty & Director Prodigy Performing Company
Delayne has a passion for music and theater. She received her BA from BYU in Family Science with a minor in Music. She has taught piano for 10 years and directed the Dayton Singer’s Company performing group since 2008. DeLayne loves being a part of our great community theaters. She has performed at the Hale Center Theater in Orem and the Scera. Her performing credits are: Pirates of Penzance, Oliver, Beauty and the Beast, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Disco Inferno, Funny Girl, and most recently the enjoyable part of Miss Hannigan in Annie. DeLayne loves performing with her children and loves being a wife to husband, Brendon, and mother to Jaxson, Brinley, Bailey, Bridger, Olivia, and Millie.
Chase Grant, MDT Faculty, Acting teacher
Chase recently returned from a two-year M.F.A. program at the University of Exeter in the UK studying directing with an emphasis on staging Shakespeare. While there, Chase had the opportunity to work in residency at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, working hand in hand with industry leading professionals pushing the current limit of what is possible with Shakespeare’s works. Prior to studying in England, Chase has coached the Lone Peak High School Shakespeare team for several years, bringing home numerous 1st place awards and accolades in the largest Shakespeare acting competition in the country. Many of Chase’s students have gone on to successful application and acceptance in university theater programs throughout the country. Chase consistently directs and performs in productions throughout Utah Valley and in the UK, including Macbeth and King John at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Midsummer Nights Dream at The Dell in Stratford-Upon-Avon at the invitation of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hamlet at BYU, Mad Othello at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival,Annie the Musical with Utah COPA, Love’s Labor’s Lost for Lone Peak High School, Dancing at Lughnasa for Highland City Arts Council, as well as several productions at Utah Valley University, including The Mikado, Cato, and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Chase is currently teaching Acting at the Utah Valley University, acting intensives at Hale West Valley, and is adapting Love’s Labors Lost as director for The Medici Project.
Tiffany Nutter, MDT Company Director and PM Company Director
Tiffany Nutter spent the majority of her formative years fronting her family band with her siblings, singing at events all over Southern California. She began training in classical piano at the age of 4 and received superior marks multiple times in both Certificate of Merit and The National Piano Guild. She trained in ballet, tap, and jazz for over a decade and began choreographing professionally for show choirs before graduating high school. She spent two summers performing in and accompanying shows at the beloved Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone, Montana. Tiffany then traveled to Osaka, Japan, where she was a member of the inaugural cast of Universal Studios, where she met her husband. She received a scholarship from the MDT program at BYU, where she would later graduate with her BFA. She played multiple lead roles in, music directed, and choreographed many shows around the Utah Valley at the SCERA, Hale Center Theatre, and the short-lived Grove Theatre. She headed the choral department at Lehi High School before graduating from BYU and starting her family. She has spent the last decade in California, raising her 4 children, teaching private voice and piano lessons, singing with the Orange County Millennial Choir Organization, and creating and directing musical revues for the community. She is happy to be back in Utah where there is an unsurpassed love and appreciation for the performing arts.
Shaunna Thompson, MDT Faculty
Shaunna Thompson resides in American Fork and has been a stage actress since she was 8 and a film actress for the past 22 years. She is a classically trained pianist and vocalist and has taught and directed for Showcase USA, American Fork Children’s Theater, and is currently a group vocal instructor at COPA. She has worked, side-by-side with Neal Johnson, as his music director, for the musical theater department at American Fork High School for the past 10 years, and also served as a Shakespeare coach for AFHS for yearly competitions in Cedar City. She has appeared in local and national commercials, info-mercials and television movies, LDS Church Visitor Center displays, videos, commercials and movies, industrial and web videos, and has continued her voiceover work for radio, TV, the web, book narration, and is an ongoing reader for LDS church magazines and manuals. Because of her never ending love for the theater, she tries to do a stage production at least once a year. Some of her favorite roles include: Marmee – “Little Women”, Adelaide- “Guys & Dolls”, Mrs. Anna – “The King & I”, Camila – “In the Heights”, Eve – “Children of Eden”, Nancy – “Oliver”, Lucy/Beggar Woman – “Sweeney Todd”, Anita – “West Side Story”, Velma VonTussel – “Hairspray”, & Paulette Abagnale – “Catch Me If You Can”. Her most current movies are “The Cokeville Miracle”, “The Miracle Maker”, and “Come Unto Me” which is in production now. Though she stays busy, she never gets tired of teaching and nurturing young people and watching them grow in any area of the performing arts. You can’t keep it all to yourself!
Christie Gardener, MDT Faculty
Christie Gardiner began her professional acting career at the age of 4. She was admitted to Juilliard, Emerson College of Performing Arts, and the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah. Christie has studied under Ms Michelle O’Neill of the Juilliard School, Ms Jaqueline Bessel of the Guthrie Theatre as well as local talent (Tony Award Nominee) Will Swenson. Christie has worked in Theater, Television, Film, on Commercials and Voice-overs. Credits include appearances in The Runner (with Courtney Cox and John Goodman), Stranger than Fiction, The Best Two Years, Touched by an Angel, Promised Land and Everwood. Her voice has been heard on the airwaves and on Audio Books for Covenant Communications, KSL Broadcasting, Video West, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Favorite theater credits include roles in Singin’ in the Rain, Barnum, A Christmas Carol, The Crucible and the 32 city event Listen to Your Mother. Christie has enjoyed performing on stages across the state including, City Reperatory Theatre, Promised Valley Playhouse, Kingsbury Hall, Hale Centre Theatre West Valley, Hale Center Theater Orem, and many local community theatres. One of her great passions has been inspiring individuals to increase their self-esteem through participation in the Arts. To this end Christie has taught and directed award winning performers at On Broadway Academy, The Children’s Theater of Salt Lake, student actors at local schools and as a Personal Acting and Vocal Coach for many years.
Kelly Kuhnen, MDT Faculty
Kelly Kuhnen Butler has performed all over the country. Kelly was a member of the Deseret Book group Providence. She has starred in many Michael McLean productions, including The Ark (original cast) and Celebrating The Light (touring company). Currently, Kelly plays the lead role of Connie Lou in The Forgotten Carols. She is an accomplished studio singer, with credits on several projects. Kelly has a BFA in Music Dance Theatre from Brigham Young University, where she was a Young Ambassador. She has been a private voice teacher for 20 years. She is married to Jon Butler and is a mother of four great kids!
Penny McCord, MDT Faculty
Penny began her study of voice, dance and piano in elementary school and continued through college. She was a Talent Award winner at the Miss Utah Pageant and was awarded Entertainer of the Year while attending Dixie College. Penny graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a minor in music. Penny has always loved performing and has found a new love in directing. She has been Music Director for several Alpine Community Theater productions. Penny also directed, choreographed and produced several musicals for Westfield Elementary School. She has also taught voice lessons for over 20 years. Other favorite credits include Southern Utah Tour of “My Turn on Earth”, Sister Sarah in “Guys and Dolls”, Dolly in Hello Dolly”, Marian in “Music Man”, Grace in “Annie” and Tuptim in “The King and I”. Penny’s favorite role of all is that of wife to Rick and mother to Mason, Madison, Zackary, and Xander.
Cori Ollerton, Faculty
Cori is honored to be teaching vocal tech classes for musical theatre. She has been performing for years, most recently in the car with her 4 kids. Cori received an MDT degree from BYU in 1992 and has taught voice for 24 years. Her performing has led her to over 16 different countries and given her opportunities to sing for commercials as well as video and stage productions. Although she loves her job and performing some of her favorite roles are just make-believing in her own living room. It’s amazing what we can become when we just believe. Pop music and styling are all about the person creating the story. Let’s live what we know!
Kimberly Wright, COPA Office Manager, COPA Costume Director, MDT Faculty
Kimberly Wright has enjoyed being a part of the performing arts community for many years, in many capacities. She has performed in regional theatre, including Sundance Summer theatre when it was a professional venue. She taught high school drama in Provo, and was the producer and director of Stage Struck children’s musical theatre in Nevada, producing 10 musicals in three years. Kim especially enjoys film work, and can also be seen in the LDS film, “On the Way Home” and other films projects such as “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful” and “The Highway 12 Experience.” Kim also enjoys teaching dance and choreography, and mentored under Mark Huffman. Kim taught jazz, tap and ballet at The Dance Zone in Nevada for 5 years, and choreographed for regional theatres in many states for several years. She graduated with a major in Theatre Education and a minor in music from Brigham Young University, where she performed and toured with the Young Ambassadors. Her favorite roll is wife to husband Dennis, and mom to children McKenna, Walker, Weston and Maitlyn! Kim loves being a part of Utah COPA!
Scott Sackett, MDT Faculty
Scott started performing at the age of five when he was Tiny Tim at the Hale Center Theater in Orem and he hasn’t stopped since. He has performed with Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy and West Valley, Hale Center Theater in Orem, the SCERA, BYU Young Ambassadors, BYU Vocal Point, and spent the last two summers in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival. In 2008 Scott started working on the production side as a music director and choreographer at high schools in Utah Valley and Riverton, as well as for BYU’s Conferences and Workshops, the BYU Young Ambassadors, and the SCERA. Scott has a degree from BYU in Mathematics Education and a minor in Music. In 2016 he became the drama teacher at Orem High School and spends his days teaching acting, musical theater, and math to high school students. Scott loves the opportunities to work with youth, teaching them skills and foundations in musical theater that have been so important to him throughout his life.
Summer Naomi Interior, MDT Faculty
Summer Naomi Interior received her BFA in Music Dance Theatre from BYU in 2005. She has spent the last five years working primarily in Chicago, where she made her 2007 debut as Nessarose in the 1st National sit-down production of WICKED. Other favorite roles include: Charity in SWEET CHARITY (2008 Chicago’s Jefferson Award: Best Actress in a Musical,) Clara in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA (2009 Chicago’s Jefferson Award: Best Supporting Actress in a Musical,) Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Tuacahn,) Snow in Disney Entertainment’s SNOW WHITE: AN ENCHANTED MUSICAL (LA,) Amneris in AIDA (West Valley Hale,) Brooke in NOISES OFF (Cleveland Playhouse/ Maltz Jupiter FL,) Yum Yum in HOT MIKADO (Chicago,) Evelyn Nesbit in RAGTIME (2010 Chicago’s Jefferson Award: Best Large Musical,) Gabriella in Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (Chicago,) and Jenny in FUNNY GIRL (Robert Redford’s Sundance Theatre). – Summer has also appeared in such films as: Esther and the King (Esther,) Passage to Zarahemla (Kerra,) and Beauty and the Beast: A Latter-day Tale (Belle). She has taught and choreographed throughout the country and LOVES it! She is thrilled to have returned to Utah to spend time with family and to teach.
Brooke Brim, MDT Faculty
Brooke is from Southern Utah and began performing and teaching at a young age. She has a degree from the University of Utah in English Literature and Theatre and holds a certificate in acting from American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco. While obtaining her degree she continued four years of intensive vocal training with Mindy Robbins. She has studied dance in New York, San Francisco and Utah. Her love for performing began at the age of five when she first began dancing and has always known she wanted to teach. She began teaching dance and musical theatre at the age of 16 and has loved being a part of developing her students. Her students have gone onto obtain a Off-Broadway role with Tony Award winning producer of Kinky Boots, obtain talent agents in the Washington DC area and perform regionally in theatre. She has taught dance and musical theatre in Utah and the greater Washington DC area. Her many rewarding opportunities working in theatre include ensemble roles in My Fair Lady, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, West Side Story and Guys and Dolls at Tuacahn. Other roles include, Jane in Vieux Carre, Hannah Mae in A Coupla White Chicks Sittin’ Around Talking at American Conservatory Theatre. Her theme park experience includes, Zombie Mambo at Lagoon. She has choreographed for the Tuacahn pre-show and has been featured in vocal performance and dance. She is excited to be at home in beautiful Utah and excited to be a part of the creative process at Utah COPA!
Gabe Spencer, MDT Faculty
Originally from San Diego, CA, Gabe spent most of his teenage years in Sandy, UT where he developed a love for all things within the entertainment industry. Since then, his interests have taken him from radio broadcasting, to stage acting, directing, television broadcasting, and film where he later received his BFA in Acting from Brigham Young University.While studying for his degree Gabe was employed with BYUTV, where he eventually worked his way up to becoming one of BYUTV’s main Technical Directors. While there he helped produce the hit sketch-comedy show Studio C (Seasons 2 & 3), BYU Devotionals, and several matches and games for BYU Sports. Other broadcasting experience includes camera work at KUTV Channel 2 News as well as being a radio DJ for KRCL 90.9FM. Currently, Gabe is the Theatre Department Chair at Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts, and has directed/coached a Shakespeare Competition Team for the last seven years. As a result, three of his most recent teams have won National Championships, and several of his students have been awarded college scholarships as a result of the fierce high school acting competitions in Cedar City. Keep an eye out for Gabe as the Son of Ishmael in the LDS Church’s first installment of the Book of Mormon movies, premiering later this year!
Jamie Sarmiento, MDT Faculty
Jamie Sarmiento began her performing and dance career as a young teenager in various performing groups and stage productions. She enjoyed featured dance roles in musicals such as West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Where the Wild Things Are. While in college, she was captain of the Utah Blitzz Dancers, performing at halftime shows at the University of Utah Stadium. She has been teaching performing groups and children’s dance classes for eighteen years. She has choreographed over a dozen children’s junior productions. Favorites include Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Seven Brides for Seven brothers, and The Little Mermaid. She also likes to “fly” as her favorite form of exercise is aerial arts. She especially loves aerial silks and Lyra, (aerial hoop.) Jamie has spent a good amount of time in the recording studio as a recording artist for Siafam Productions, recording various pop songs for The European and aerobic exercise market. Jamie graduated from Utah Valley University in 2010 and taught sixth grade for six years. She now stays home with her son Mace, as she plays her favorite role of all, “mommy.”
Shae Robins, MDT Faculty
Shae Robins is a graduate from Brigham Young University with a BFA in Music Dance Theater. Shae has taken over 10 years of private vocal training and over 15 years of dance training and experience. Shae has been formally trained in various vocal styles including: classical, mix, belt, and pop legit. While at BYU, Shae performed with the University song and dance group the BYU Young Ambassadors from 2011-2013, traveling with the group on two international performance tours to Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. While a member of the group, Shae was a featured vocal and dance soloist and lead as dance captain her second year. Shae has taught at various studios, performing arts camps and workshops, including: Utah Conservatory For The Performing Arts, Barlow Arts Conservatory (Musical Theater Program), Academy of Ballet (MT Program), Young Ambassadors Singing Entertainer camp, and the Timpanogos Story Telling Festival camp. Shae has also been teaching private voice lessons for five years. Shae is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and has spent the last three seasons performing at Tuacahn Amphitheater playing roles like Mary Poppins and Snow White in Disney’s When You Wish, Jane in Tarzan, Fiona in Shrek the Musical, Katherine in Newsies and most recently starred as Sophie in Mamma Mia. Shae has performed in various theaters across the state including: Tuacahn Amphitheater Sundance Theater, Hale Center Theater, The Scera and Brigham Young University. Some of Shae’s theater credits include “Sophie” (Mamma Mia), “Mary Poppins/Snow White” (Disney’s When You Wish), “Mercedes” (The Count of Monte Cristo), “Vanessa/Nina” (In The Heights), “Jane” (Tarzan), “Hannah” (Newsies) and “Pinnochio/Imogene/Belle” (FairyTale Christmas Staged Reading). Shae most recently signed with Talent Management Group, a Utah based talent agency for commercial, voice over, TV and film, and is looking forward to the new and exciting opportunities ahead.
Jocelyn Robinson, MDT Faculty
Jocelyn has been dancing and performing since the young age of 3. Growing up in a performing family she can’t remember a time when she was not performing. She has trained in private voice since 10 years old and has had thehonor of working with many reputable vocal coaches. Jocelyn has performed across the country and on many cruise lines including Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Jocelyn was a featured dancer and singer in the Salt Lake City Olympics, as well as a soloist for the Utah/Moscow Olympic Opening Ceremonies. She has also been seen in many musical theater production around the Salt Lake Valley. Jocelyn taught voice and dance at Singer’s Unlimited for 10 years, where she helped her students not only in their vocal and dance abilities but how to flourish in their performing skills. Jocelyn has always loved working and being with children and has made that her passionin life. After graduating from the University of Utah in Elementary Education, she taught 5th grade for 5 years and loved every second of it. She loved incorporating music into her teaching and was often found singing and dancingwith her students throughout the day. She loves using her talents and abilities to help children find their passions, to learn a new skill and know that they areimportant and loved. Jocelyn is a mom to her two beautiful daughters, Suzy and Sophie!
Dawn Harvey, MDT Faculty
Dawn started dancing ballet at the age of three and has been involved with dance ever since. She studied at the Classical Ballet Conservatory under the direction of renowned ballet instructor, Sandra Birch Allen. Dawn has danced and performed at Ricks College, Brigham Young University, and the University of Utah and performed in several ballets, including “The Nutcracker” and “Stars and Stripes.” Her experience also includes musical theater performances and ballroom dance competitions. She graduated from BYU with a degree in teaching and began teaching dance in 2001 as the director of the dance company at Juarez Academy in Colonia Juarez, Mexico. Over the last 17 years, she has taught at Synergy Dance Academy, The Dance Conservatory, and Utah COPA. She continues to teach, specializing in ballet, and music theater choreography. She finds her greatest enjoyment seeing her students learn to love dance.
Marilee Spencer, MDT Faculty
Marilee Lewis Spencer is originally from Alabama where she spent her early years performing all over the Southern states with a touring children’s theater. Upon graduating high school, she went to The Boston Conservatory on scholarship where she studied musical theater and worked long hours trying to get rid of her Southern accent! After two years, she transferred and finished her BFA in music/dance/theater at BYU. While there she performed in several main stage productions, the Young Ambassadors, Provo Theater Company, Sundance and Tuacahn where she became an AEA member. Over the last several years she has been teaching musical theater in the greater NYC and Washington DC areas where she has lived with her husband and four children. She moved to Utah in the summer of 2015 and is excited to explore the mountains with her family.