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, Faculty
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, Faculty
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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
Scott Sackett, Faculty
Scott started performing at the age of 5 when he was Tiny Tim at the Hale Center Theater in Orem and he hasn’t stopped since. He has performed in numerous musical theater productions throughout the community, and in 2008 started working on the production side as a music director and choreographer at local high schools as well as for BYU’s Conferences and Workshops, the BYU Young Ambassadors, and the SCERA. While attending BYU he performed with The Young Ambassadors and Vocal Point. Scott spends his days teaching math to 7th graders, and loves the opportunities to continue working with youth and teaching them skills and foundations in musical theater that have been so important to him throughout his life.
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!
Breann Johnson, Instructor
Breann has been dancing ever since she was 3 years old. Born and raised in Las Vegas, she trained at Bunker Dance Center. Breann trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, and hip-hop. She was trained in hip-hop from ages 12-18 by the renowned couple, Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo, choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance. Breann attended Brigham Young University–the college of her dreams, where she was a member of the BYU Cougarettes. While a member of the Cougarettes, they won N.D.A. Nationals in ’06 and ’07. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Education. Breann performed at Tuacahn (where she met Mindy) in 2007 in the ensemble of My Fair Lady, Cinderella, and 42nd Street. She also performed at Pioneer Theatre Company in the ensemble of White Christmas. Other credits include Ziegfeld: Janet Van de Graaf, Drowsy Chaperone; Centerpoint: Tiger Lily, Peter Pan; Minnie Fay, Hello Dolly; Hale: ensemble, Drowsy Chaperone. Breann has her black belt in Chun Kuk Do and is a member of Chuck Norris’ United Fighting Arts Federation. Most importantly, she is married to Taylor and is a mommy to her 4 year old son, Jence and 1 year old daughter, Sutton. Breann loves teaching and is beyond thrilled to be a part of Utah COPA!
Summer Naomi Interior, Instructor
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.