THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE MAGIC
Bobb Cooper Billie Jo & Judd Herberger Executive Producer Ext. 305 | Email Me
Bobb is in his 26th year at VYT. Under his direction and leadership, it has become a respected, professional-level theatre company where thousands of young people experience the magic of live theatre. Since 1996, Bobb has received numerous awards for his work as a director and garnered several for the theater itself including Arts Organization of the Year. Bobb’s recognition includes: the inaugural Lifetime Achievement award at the Governor's Arts Awards 2021, the 2019 Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Dreamr Award for public sector/non profit, being named one of the Valley’s Most Influential business leaders and 40 Under 40 by the Phoenix Business Journal, and Arts Advocate of the Year by the Greater Phoenix Arts & Business Council. His professional affiliations include Valley Leadership Class 33, Organization for Nonprofit Executives, Phoenix Community Alliance and The Screen Actors Guild member since 1985. Bobb has been married for over 30 years to his beautiful wife, Karol, and has one daughter, Channing.
Leigh Ann Dolan Managing Director Ext. 304 | Email Me
Leigh Ann has loved VYT ever since she was the Queen of Hearts in VYT’s 1991 production of the musical, “Alice in Wonderland”. Leigh Ann graduated from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunications with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a support in Theatre, and received an MBA in Marketing from the University of Phoenix. She is a multiple Emmy-winning television and film producer who started producing station promotions and PSA's at KTVK 3TV before going on to produce both scripted and non-scripted television and working in television development at Original Film in Los Angeles. More recently, she was one of the producers on the E! late- night talk show, Busy Tonight. She has an extensive background in the non-profit arts world, having come to VYT from the Phoenix Film Foundation where she served as Managing Director for 10 years. Leigh Ann lives in Phoenix with her husband, Bob, her son Bob (7), her daughter Josie (12) and her 2 pug puppies, Noodle and Beans. “I love VYT for what it has done for the thousands of children that have stepped on its stages – including me! I am so proud to be a part of this Phoenix institution and I am excited to continue the magic.”
Mark Stoddard Associate Artistic Director Ext. 306 | Email Me
Mark is an award-winning theater director, actor, playwright, arts educator, (and jingle singer!) with a MA in Educational Theater from NYU. He has directed over 300 plays, musicals, and original works earning numerous awards for theater excellence. Mark’s creative work has been performed in 49 US states and overseas, as well as numerous local stages including Phoenix Theater, Arizona Opera, Herberger Theater, Theaterworks, Phoenix Boys Choir, Dream City Arts, schools and churches. Mark's wife, Rachel, is an accomplished choral music director (currently at Rosie’s House), and voice instructor. They have three grown children - Zach, Fox and Philip (a Juilliard grad and recently in the Broadway cast of Camelot). As an artistic leader, Mark is passionate about the many benefits of arts involvement, and loves seeing young people develop their self-confidence, imagination, social empathy and sense of belonging through community. He is grateful for the opportunity to carry on the VYT legacy of Bobb and Karol Cooper, by creating magical moments for VYT young artists and audiences.
Mark Fearey Resident Musical Supervisor Email Me
Mark is in his 26th season with VYT and over those years has garnered numerous awards (ariZoni and NYA) and has music directed the Arizona premiere of a few shows. Some of his favorite shows to have been a part of are West Side Story, Titanic, Aida, Shrek, Legally Blonde and The Little Mermaid. In addition to his work at VYT, he is the full-time faculty accompanist/coach and music director at Grand Canyon University. He came to the world of children’s theatre with a Masters of Music in Piano Performance (with an emphasis in accompanying) from ASU and a degree in Piano Performance from the D’Angelo School of Music at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. He has worked with vocal and instrumental artists in Germany, Austria, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and throughout the Southwest. In addition to all the great kids at VYT he has also worked with opera singer Amber Wagner and country recording artist Chris Young. And if that’s not enough, he spent the last 24 years as music director for Abiding Savior Lutheran Church and is vocal coordinator/pianist for the Arizona Young Artist Competition at the Herberger Theater Center and visiting music director for Quisisana Music on the Lake in Maine. He is married to his wonderful wife Tory and they are the proud parents of veteran stage performer Olivia.
Karol Cooper Resident Costume Designer Email Me
Karol is in her 26th year with VYT. She began her career as a professional clown and costume designer in Sherman Oaks, CA. “Bobbo & Kookee” performed for A-List celebrities and numerous Royal Families. She moved to Phoenix in 1995 and became the Resident Costume Designer for Valley Youth Theatre. During her first 9 years at VYT, she won 12 ariZoni awards for Costume Design and 10 ariZoni awards
for Hair & Make-up. She has also won numerous National Youth Awards (NYA) for Outstanding Costume Design. For the 2015 Broadway World Phoenix Awards, she won Best Costume Design for a youth production for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Karol designed at the New Amsterdam Theatre for the Broadway cast of La Cage Aux Folles performing in Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. She believes that research, attention to detail and the love of storytelling through color and texture is essential to a solid overall design.
Madolyn Whitmer Education and Outreach Director Ext. 302 | Email Me
Madolyn 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.
Jonathan Furedy Production Manager Ext. 301 | Email Me
Following a successful and fulfilling 25 year career as a professional actor, Jonathan is honored and thrilled to now be taking on the role of Production Manager for Valley Youth Theatre. Originally from Mesa, Arizona, Jonathan received his BFA in Musical Theatre from The University Of Arizona before moving to New York to pursue a life onstage. Favorite professional stage credits include Mary Poppins (Bert), Legally Blonde: The Musical (Emmett), Beauty and the Beast (Gaston), and Altar Boyz (Matthew). In addition to national tours, cruise ships, film, and television, Jonathan has also performed here in Arizona with The Phoenix Theatre Company, Arizona Theatre Company, Southwest Shakespeare, Stray Cat Theatre, Nearly Naked Theatre, and The Phoenix Symphony. As a kid, when he wasn’t performing in his own self-produced “backyard plays”, he was designing and building sets and props, or experimenting with lighting and sound effects, so Jonathan is excited to finally be playing in that world again. Having grown up in local youth theatre (including VYT!) Jonathan has always hoped that some day he’d get the chance to return the favor, so he looks forward to helping continue the VYT legacy, and supporting the young artists of Arizona.
Morgan McCall Production Stage Manager Ext. 308 | Email Me
Originally from a small farming town in New Mexico, Morgan came to Phoenix, and to become a theatre professional, through Grand Canyon University where she received her B.A. in Theatre and Drama. With experience in and a passion for stage management, directing, acting, writing, and teaching, Morgan is proud to serve young people in their artistic and personal development. Some of her favorite projects include stage managing A Year with Frog and Toad (GCU’s Ethington Theatre) and producing radio theatre with other students, including an original musical. She is thankful for her friends, family, and her Creator that inspires her to create in His likeness.
Kelly Kraft Guest Services Manager Ext. 307 | Email Me
Kelly Kraft is so excited to be the Guest Relations Manager at Valley Youth Theatre. Originally from the East Coast, Kelly moved to Phoenix in 2021 and began working as a teaching artist at VYT. Her background is in musical theater and directing, and she holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Flagler College. Kelly is passionate about theatre and arts education, and will continue to teach classes and school partnerships through VYT. Outside of work, Kelly enjoys hiking, photography, music, and embroidery.
Roberto Parchment-Chávez Costume Shop Manager
Roberto was born in Silverton, Oregon, studied fashion design, draping and fashion illustration at the Istituto Lorenzo de' Medici, in Florence, Italy, and moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2016. After enrolling in Phoenix College's Fashion program Roberto interned at VYT's costume shop in 2017 (Madagascar, A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail). Other experience includes working at ASU's costume shop in 2018 (Kiss me Kate, Mass) and 4 years as an Alterations Specialist/Designer at Bio-Concepts Inc. specializing in full body custom made compression garments. Roberto is a life-long fan of fashion and costume and considers greats like Alexander McQueen, Olivier Rousting, and Iris Van Herpen as great inspirations,as well as Adrian, Edith Head and Ruth Carter for excellence in costuming for film. They love the thrill of the hunt for hidden costuming treasures found at Fabric, Vintage and Thrift stores and shares Karol's appreciation for details, color and texture in storytelling. Roberto feels honored and excited to be invited to join the Valley Youth Theatre family and looks forward to managing the production of new wonderful costumes while celebrating VYT's impressive costuming legacy for years to come.
Skeet Schmella, EdD Technical Director Email Me
Skeet is excited to join Valley Youth Theatre as the company Technical Director. He retired to the valley of the sun in 2013 and has never missed the rains of Washington State. He graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Theatre Arts and Anthropology and attended the Professional Theatre Training Program at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he studied stage management. Skeet finished his postgraduate studies at Grand Canyon University in education. He has numerus credits in Production Stage Management, Directing and Design, however he developed a fondness for Technical Direction during his tenure as a high school Theatre Arts and Drama teacher. When not working in the theatre, he and his wife enjoy watching their daughter perform and watching their son play baseball.
Valley Youth Theatre is a registered 501(c)(3).
Since 1989, we have inspired children to be the best they can be through the magic of the performing arts. Our alumni include Oscar® winners, Grammy® award-nominees, Broadway stars, rocket scientists, doctors, lawyers, parents, and community leaders from all walks of life.
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