FACULTY bios

Bonnie Harrison

Bonnie Harrison is the Co-Chair of the Theatre Department and Director of Performance Theatre. She has a M.F.A. in Performance from the University of Florida and enjoyed a career as an Equity actor and the Director of Education at The Hippodrome State Theatre. Some of her favorite roles include the Nurse in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Candida in Shaw’s Candida and Teenage Greek Chorus in Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive. Harrison’s passion to use theatre to discuss social issues have garnered her The Steven Tunic Award from the Corporation for Service Learning, the FAVA/CA Volunteer of the Year Award for her efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and the Arts Innovation Award from The International Network of Schools for the advancement of Arts Education for her Issue Based Theatre curriculum. The Issue Based Theatre class at DA is one of the few opportunities for students from all Arts areas to collaborate and create performances dedicated to making a positive impact in their community. Harrison was named teacher of the year at DA in 2014 and has directed numerous shows over her past 17 years here, including some favorites—Anton in Show Business, Bang Bang Your Dead, The Sugar Bean Sisters and The Children’s Hour.

Joe Kemper

Joe Kemper is the Co-Chair of the Department of Theatre and the Director of Musical Theatre at DA. His recent directing credits include Black Comedy, Curtains, Guys & Dolls, and My Fair Lady at DA,  In the Heights at Players by the Sea, Spring Awakening at Jacksonville University, The Call and Love! Valour! Compassion! at The Five and Dime, To Kill a Mockingbird and Arsenic and Old Lace at Theatre Jax, Beyond Therapy at the Limelight Theatre. In Fall 2016, he directed the regional premiere of Andrew Upton's and Benedict Andrews' translation of Jean Genet's The Maids at Flagler College, for which he was awarded the National Distinguished Director of a Play Award and the Regional Excellence in Directing Award by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The production also received seven national honors, including Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Play, and Outstanding Ensemble of a Play. As an educator, Joe is a former "Rookie Teacher of the Year" in St. John's County, was twice recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and recently received a spot on the 2020 US Presidential Scholar's "Influential Teacher" List, after being nominated by 2020 Presidential Scholar and DA '20 graduate Mallorie Sievert. Upcoming directing projects include Rent at DA. He received his MFA from UCF and is a member of Actor's Equity Association. 

Susan Peters

Susan Peters (Scenic Charge Artist) has been the resident Charge Artist at Douglas Anderson for the past 16 years. In addition to that, she also oversees props and prop management for the department. Mrs. Peters has worked professionally as a scenic artist in a variety of different theatres and venues, among them The Walnut Street Theater (Philadelphia), Philadelphia Opera Company, Ohio Light Opera, Pennsylvania and NJ Shakespeare festivals and CATF (Contemporary American Theatre Festival). 

​Dr. Valerie Anthony

Dr. Valerie Anthony received degrees in theatre and creative writing from JU and FSU.  She has appeared on stages around Jacksonville in notable roles such as Lady Macbeth and Ophelia.  She was a founding member of Jacksonville Actor's Theatre, performing in several of its productions.  She has taught in Japan, and at UNF and FSU. 

Keith Johnston

 

Keith Johnston (SAG-AFTRA, AEA) actor, director, musician, writer and applied theatre specialist. Keith also worked as a teaching artist for NYU's educational theatre company The Creative Arts Team (CAT) for 12 years and senior director at CUNY CAT for 14 years. He co-founded Back-A-Yard theatre in 1987 and the Artistic Director of American Theatre of Harlem from 97-2013. Some directorial credits include; BMW commercial for multi-Grammy award singing group Take 6, BETs 30th Anniversary Upfront at Broadways Nokia theater 2010, Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han (Audience Favorite Award - Fringe2009), musical director, composer and performer for the Pulitzer prize winning play RUINED at the Denver Center, The Colored Museum, Street Car Named Desire and dozens of productions over the past 23 years. As an actor Keith has worked in theatre, film, television and radio performing dozens of commercials and voice-overs (Burger King, AT&T, Malibu Rum, GTE, Nike, Sears, Verizon, Radio Shack, etc) and recurring role UPN anchorman on HBO’s “Chris Rock Show”. Mr. Johnston has numerous credits as an Equity stage actor: Winston (original cast) in “Ave X”, Guitarman in “Spunk”, Ruined, View from a Bridge, Song of Sheba in Japan, etc. As a musician (guitar, keys, vocals, percussion) Keith toured and performed with recording artists Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Brian McKnight, D-Train, Shirley Murdock, Jon Hendricks, Living Colour, to name a few, and his neo-jazz quartet Color 4. He recently relocated to Orlando Florida as a voice-over artist and acting professor at Valencia College. He has a passion for teaching and is excited to be a part of Douglas Anderson High School of the Arts.  

Dearing Thoburn

 

Bio coming soon.

Olivia Donalson

 

Bio coming soon.

DeWitt Cooper III

DeWitt Cooper III is an singer ,dancer, Actor, award winning choreographer, and celebrated teacher. He is the proud co-founder and co-owner of CooperMorgan Dance for 16 years. After graduating from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 1997, he attended Florida State University as the first African American Male to be admitted to the Musical Theatre program, and attending the program as the recipient of the Jim Moran Scholarship. He was in the Vocal Jazz Ensemble directed by Andre Thomas. He went on to Case Western Reserve University in the MFA Contemporary Dance program on a full scholarship and fellowship teaching assistant-ship where he was the first graduate student to be nominated for the Wittike Undergraduate Teaching Award at Case Western. There, he was also the first African American male to graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance and Choreography. He continues to conduct workshops and Master classes around the country in voice, music theatre, and concert dance. He was on faculty at Case Western Reserve University as an adjunct professor in the dance department. Mr.Cooper has also taught dance and theatre at LaVilla School of the Arts and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts as well as Pine Forest Elementary School of the Arts. He is a former employee at the Walt Disney World Company’s Animal Kingdom in the long running Finding Nemo the musical. He has taught workshops at Texas University, Baltimore School for the Arts, Pittsburgh School of the Arts, Boston Arts Academy and employee of the nationally acclaimed Cathedral Arts Program, and many others. He has been the guest speaker at the Baccalaureate Douglas Anderson and speaker at other schools around the country while on Broadway First national Broadway tour of “In the Heights”. where he had the opportunity to share the stage with Lin Manuel Miranda, Ain’t Misbehavin', Dream Girls, West Side Story at the PaperMill Playhouse, Dream Girls, and the International China Tour of Aida. . He has worked with Garth Fagan and Natalie Cropper the acclaimed contemporary and Broadway choreographer and assistant for “The Lion King” as a student, trainer, and choreographer for the Garth Fagan summer Movement Institute. He spent 8 months with Norwegian Cruise Line as a lead Singer and Vocal captain in the ships main stage productions in Hawaii. He can be seen in numerous Disney Promos and several commercials Mr.Cooper is co owner of a local dance company ,with Savery Morgan; CooperMorgan Dance Theatre. His directing credits include Harold and the Purple Crayon, I love My Hair, Once on this Island, and a Cabaret aboard the Norwegian Escape. Mr. Cooper continues to strive for excellence and he continues to promote the importance of Art and education in the city of Jacksonville and beyond. 

Ellie Potts Barrett

 

Ellie Potts Barrett, internationally recognized choreographer, dancer and dance educator, attended College at Boston Conservatory and received her BA in Dance, cum laude, from the University of South Florida. Ellie danced with the Ina Hahn Modern Dance Company, Boston Dance Company and Mary Anthony in New York, as well as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She has been an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts to Master Artists Merce Cunningham, Meg Harper and Elizabeth Streb, and Florida’s prolific author, Carl Hiaasen. Ellie has had an illustrious career as a choreographer.  She has created shows and dances for Walt Disney World, Sea World, theme parks and musical theatre companies worldwide, surpassing the 200 show mark.In addition to teaching Modern at The Dance Company, Ellie also teaches Modern and Musical Theatre at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, in Jacksonville, and also at the Orlando Ballet School. She is a proud member of both, Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). www.ElliePottsBarrett.com

Taylor Baines

 

Taylor Baines, dancer, singer, model, teaches Musical Theatre Foundations specializing in Ballet and Modern at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. A graduate of DA’s Dance Department, Ms. Baines then studied dance at SUNY Purchase and Jacksonville University, where she was Captain of the Sirens Dance Team. In addition to DA, she is currently a faculty member at Northside Center for the Arts, Jacksonville Center for the Arts and Don’t Miss a Beat, Inc, teaching ballet, modern, jazz, and hip-hop. As a performer, Ms. Baines has worked extensively across the country, including with Joffrey Ballet in both New York and Los Angeles, the Wissahickon School in Philadelphia, The Golden Nutcracker, First Coast Nutcracker, The Chocolate Nutcracker, The Soulful Nutcracker, and several half-time shows with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ms. Baines received her BFA from Jacksonville University.  

April Henehan

April Henehan is an alumnus of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida; a nationally recognized magnet program and two-time Grammy Foundation winner. Following graduation, she continued to pursue dance & choreography earning degrees from both Florida State University & Jacksonville University. In addition to being awarded ‘Most Artistic’ by Faculty three years in a row; April was a selected Gala performer for both for the National High School Dance Festival (4yrs) and the American College Dance Festival (4yrs). She’s worked alongside and has performed repertoire set by Alonzo King, Demetrius Klein, Douglas Gawriljuk, Yanis Pikieris, Ronen Koresh, Michael Foley, Mia Michaels, Adele Myers, Eddy Toussaint, Kavin Grant, Cathy Young, Alyn Cassal, and Bill Evans to name a few. In addition to furthering her studies with elite choreographers, April traveled on scholarship as a Faculty assistant with Hoctor's Dance Caravan throughout 1997-2002.  April has danced principal roles of ‘Lead Chinese Doll’ and ‘Nutcracker Doll’ alongside the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for the First Coast Nutcracker, performed for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Pro Bowl, televised commercials, on tour alongside several national Entertainers, and can be seen in episodes as a semi-finalist on Season 4 of the hit TV series “So You Think You Can Dance” in addition to BRAVO TV’s “Step It Up & Dance.” Her Dance Photography has been featured by Dance Spirit Magazine, while her choreography has been showcased on tour in 2015 with “American Idol” Season 12 Winner, Candice Glover, and featured twice by Dance Teacher Magazine; first in January, 2016 and most recently in June of 2017. April has been a guest choreographer for 5 time ABA National Champions the Jacksonville Giants’ Jewels & Gems Dance Teams, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, LaVilla School of the Arts, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, Lindenwood University, and the Teen Jacksonville & Miss Jacksonville USA pageants. As a choreographer, her work is consistently recognized at Regional & National Competitions nationwide, and currently April travels as a Competition Adjudicator and Convention Teacher with several Nationally Recognized Dance Competitions.  April continues to teach in the Jacksonville area as a guest teacher and on Faculty within the Dance Department at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where she is the director of the Creative Dance Ensemble.  

​Jack Leon

 

Jack Leon is an alumnus of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, who has returned home to lead the Vocal Music Department as a Co-Department Chair. Before working at DA, Jack spent ten years in the music industry working with choirs, artists, and recording engineers as a producer based out of Nashville, TN. Jack holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and a Master’s of Music Business from Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of Educational Leadership from the University of Florida. Jack has a passion for creating unique musical experiences through combining practical teaching and harnessing the student’s individual skills. In his spare time, He enjoys traveling, spending time in the Riverside/Avondale district with friends and spoiling his 2-year-old niece.

​Sarah Morrell

Sarah Morrell began music studies in elementary and middle school on violin and cello, as well as singing. She began formal piano lessons at age 11. Sarah continued her music studies at Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama, a member of Delta Omicron Music Fraternity, ODK Honor Society, and Hypatia Honor Society, Symphonic Band, and Samford Opera Workshop, and received the MENC Scholarship Award her senior year. She received her Bachelor of Music Education Degree with Recital in piano May 1988. Sarah is certified to teach music K-12. Sarah has been teaching private piano lessons for 33 years. She has led many children’s choirs, as well as youth and adult choirs, directed numerous Musical Productions, taught and directed Music Camps for more than 15 years, taught music in Preschool, Elementary, Middle, and High School. Currently in her 10th year as adjunct teacher in the Music Department at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, this is the 6th year of her teaching the Musical Theater Students a combined course of Keyboard 1 and Music Theory. Sarah is passionate about her class and works hard to connect with her students in class. She enjoys helping each student reach beyond expectations and develop musical skills that will enhance each one personally.

​Paul Denayer

 

Paul Denayer has worked extensively in production design in the areas of lighting, scenic, and sound design, and has been a college professor and educator for over 15 years. He currently serves as the resident sound designer for Stephen Foster Story in Kentucky. He has worked with various Theatre groups including Porthouse Theatre, Liminis Theatre, Cleveland Opera, Broadway Theatre Project, and Jenny Wiley Theatre. In addition to his theatre work, he has worked as a sound engineer for KRON and KSAR in Northern California. He is also an active member of several professional theatre organizations, and has given several presentations on computer drafting and modeling technology at annual professional conferences. He also is an expert in AutoCAD drafting and has worked extensively with Finelli Theatre Consulting as the lead Drafter.

Jennifer Kilgore

 

JENNIFER KILGORE (Lighting Designer/Technical Director) has been a lighting designer for Theatre, Dance, Opera, and Musical Theatre since 2000. Jennifer joined the Adjunct Faculty of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts teaching Dance Production and designing for the Dance Division in 2016. Since then, she has joined the Theatre Department full-time as Technical Director and Lighting Designer She comes to Douglas Anderson from being the Assistant Professor of Lighting Design at Stephens College in Columbia, MO.