Joe Kemper is the Chair of the Department of Theatre at DA. His recent directing credits include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, Well, Rent, A Chorus Line, Black Comedy, Curtains, Guys & Dolls, and My Fair Lady at DA, Kinky Boots, SpongeBob the Musical and In the Heights at Players by the Sea, Spring Awakening at Jacksonville University, and The Call and Love! Valour! Compassion! at The Five and Dime. 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 in Washington, DC. 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. His DA production of A Chorus Line won 17 Regional Applause Awards from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Director of a Musical. As an educator, Kemper is a former "Rookie Teacher of the Year" in St. Johns County, has been 6x recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and recently received a spot on the 2020 US Presidential Scholar's National Influential Teacher List, the only theatre teacher to appear on the list. He received his MFA from UCF.
Bonnie Harrison is the Co-Chair of the Theatre Department and Director of Performance Theatre. She has an 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.
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.
Mr. Beaman is thrilled to be joining the DA Theatre team. For the past twelve years, Mr. Beaman has been a teacher in St. Johns County; first at St Augustine High (Teacher of the Year, 2017) and then at Tocoi Creek High School, which he helped open in 2021. Mr. Beaman sits on the State Board of the Florida Thespian Festival of the Educational Theatre Association, representing Duval, Nassau, Clay, and St. John’s counties as District Chair. As a theatre educator, Mr. Beaman has been recognized by the National Young Arts Foundation (2020) and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC (2015 Distinguished Director of a Play Award for Endgame at Flagler College). For three years, Mr. Beaman’s productions of The Normal Heart, Seascape, and Agnes of God at SAHS have enjoyed runs at the state level in Tampa at the Florida State Thespian Festival, the highest honor a high school production can receive. Mr. Beaman’s production of Next to Normal at Tocoi Creek received 27 nominations in TCHS’s inaugural submission to Orlando’s Applause Awards, with Mr. Beaman receiving nominations for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Scenic Design. Performance credits include John/James (Love! Velour! Compassion! - 5&Dime) Emcee (Cabaret - Limelight Theater) and Oliver (As You Like It - Theater Jax). Mr. Beaman has twice been recognized as the Best Actor in Northeast Florida by Folio Weekly (2018 and 2019). Additional directing credits include Fool for Love, Hedda Gabler, Amelie, Lend Me a Tenor, The Producers, Into the Woods, Pride and Prejudice, A Midsummer Nights Dream, and 20 seasons as director and choreographer with the Summer Musical Theatre Camp at Flagler Auditorium. Mr Beaman received his MFA from UCF.
Seth is a veteran improv comedy performer and teacher. Seth performed as part of TheatreSports for several years and also trained with the director of the Second City touring companies, Martin DeMaat. Seth taught Voice/Speech & Acting at Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts and Theatre History/Acting/Improv at UNC Wilmington. He has lead workshops and performed extensively in interactive theatre. In addition to earning a Masters Degree - including Foreign Language Pedagogy - Seth worked as a presenter for the Carnegie Museums and served in the U.S. Military. While living in Germany and South Korea, he expanded his language skills, increased his cultural awareness and broadened his perspective on human interaction. He partnered with his wife, Emily, performing as character clowns in two separate tours with Cirque du Soleil.
Paul hails originally from England, and has long since made America his home. and has earned an MFA in Lighting and Scenic Design from Kent State University and a BA in Theatre Design from the University of South Florida. Paul’s design credits include Jenny Wiley Theatre’s A Christmas Survival Guide, The Princess and the Pea and Forever Plaid. Sound Design for Porthouse Theatre’s Godspell, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, and The Spitfire Grill, as well as Tampa Bay’s Moving Current and New Tampa Ballet. Aside from sound design, Paul has also done lighting and scenic design for Porthouse Theatre on such productions as A Streetcar Named Desire and Dames at Sea, and has experience with Cleveland Opera and Cleveland’s Convergence Continuum Theatre Company. Paul is also In his 12th season as Sound Designer with The Stephen Foster Story, and works with the little company and shooting stars theatre both in Kentucky.
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.
Calder Yates is an artist, writer, and educator. He was a contributing writer for KQED and Artillery magazines, was formerly a columnist for Art Practical and Daily Serving, co-founded of The Thicket Residency, and currently consults for the Mayo Clinic's Center for Humanities in Medicine. He received his BA from New College of Florida in Art and Political Science and a dual master's degree—MFA in Studio Art and MA in Visual & Critical Studies—from California College of the Arts. His artwork has been exhibited at Southern Exposure, Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art, and—as part of KCHUNG Radio—at The Hammer Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. Yates is passionate about serving audiences, educators, and students in pursuit of meaningful creative experiences that result in a more just and sustainable world.
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
DeWitt Cooper III
DeWitt Cooper III is a 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 attended 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 assistantship 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 the 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 ship's 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, CooperMorgan Dance Theatre, with Savery Morgan. 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.
April Henehan is an alumna 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 (4 yrs) and the American College Dance Festival (4 yrs). She’s worked alongside and has performed repertoire sets 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.
Jocelyn Geronimo is a native of Jacksonville and grew up in Atlantic Beach, FL. She started performing at a young age and sang and danced her way through school. She studied Music Education at both Florida State College of Jacksonville and the University of North Florida. But before that she had the incredible opportunity to work at Disney World’s MGM Studios right after graduation. Jocelyn considers herself very fortunate to be able to continuously be creative in her life whether it be through performing or teaching. She remains active on the stage and in the community as the owner and artistic director of SET Studios (Showcase Educational Theatre) which was established in 2018. SET Studios is a children’s theatre located in the intracoastal/beaches area where she offers performing arts classes for kids ages 4-18. Her students have performed locally, regionally, and nationally winning awards such as the Excellence in Music Award at the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, GA, in 2020 and 2022. As well as being awarded the Best Musical Theatre School at the Access Broadway Competition in Orlando, FL in 2018 and 2019 and AB National Champions in 2018 in New Jersey. In addition to these works, Jocelyn founded and created the Stageland Scholarship Festival which is a new musical theatre competition for kids where students may perform solos, duets, and group numbers for adjudication, study and attend masterclasses with Broadway stars, and then also get the chance to win scholarship money to continue their studies in the arts. 2021 was the inaugural year for Stageland, and she is currently in the midst of planning the next great one!
One of her most memorable roles was dancing professionally for the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1996-1999, as well as for the All-Stars NFL Superbowl Players Party. Jocelyn continues to remain active with the NFL Alumni Organization by coaching and mentoring kids in cheerleading and sports camps. You might have also heard her and/or her students sing the National Anthem a few times at the Jaguars games over the years.
For the past ten years Jocelyn has been heavily involved in developing children's programs. She teaches acting, musical theatre, dance, voice and piano. She was the Performing Arts Director at the Foundation Academy for 2 years before moving to Players by the Sea as the Education Director, where she led an extremely competitive and enthusiastic group. She has directed and choreographed some incredible youth productions such as Aladdin, Willy Wonka, Legally Blonde, School of Rock, Elf, Bye, Bye Birdie, 13 the Musical, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Seussical the Musical, Les Miserables, The Addams Family, Shrek, the Musical, Godspell, Matilda, Annie, and Into the Woods. But when she is not teaching, she is on the stage! Some of her favorite theatre roles include Passing Strange (Heidi), Young Frankenstein (Choreographer), Chicago (Mona), Godspell (Choreographer), Grease (Jan), Shrek (Fairy Godmother), Avenue Q (Christmas Eve), Little Shop of Horrors (Director), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Choreographer), Company (Jenny), Next to Normal (Diana), and American Idiot (Director/Choreographer). www.setstudiosjax.com
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.
Jacksonville native, mezzo-soprano Regina Torres began her vocal studies at the University of Florida and finished her graduate work at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. For over a decade, her private voice studio has taught students of all ages in vocal technique and performance in classical and musical theatre. She was previously the voice instructor at the St Johns County Center for the Arts for their Master’s Track Program and at the Northeast Florida Conservatory of Music. She specializes in incorporating breathing technique with performance practice, especially in classical and musical theatre. Her high school students have advanced to university training in music and theatre to the Tisch School of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Frost School of Music at University of Miami, Florida State University, Shenandoah University, Ithaca College, and many others.
Described as a “tour de force of vocal virtuosity married to a fabulous stage presence” (Captain Classics – WFCF, St. Augustine), Ms. Torres wields her voice with equal acclaim in opera and musical theatre.” Comfortable in every genre, her most recent appearance was as Violet in 9 to 5: The Musical at the Amelia Community Theatre.
Tess Sturgeon began her dance training in Jacksonville, FL at Ballet Arts Centre, one of the oldest studios in Jacksonville, and the dance program at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. She continued her education at the University of the Arts, Oklahoma City University, and Florida State College at Jacksonville dance programs; each bringing attention towards her focus in musical theatre, modern, and jazz techniques. Tess returned to Jacksonville to teach and choreograph at several locations such as Ballet Arts Centre, Apex Theatre Studio, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, and Seacoast Christian Academy. She has traveled as a choreographer and workshop instructor to Dance Theatre of Jacksonville in North Carolina, and Nashville School of the Arts. Tess is a current Featured Artist and Production Manager of Three Hearts Dance, a contemporary dance company that works to create storytelling experiences through dance film and live performances. Currently she is certified in Yoga through Yoga Den and Progressing Ballet Technique. Tess began dancing professionally with Jacksonville Dance Theatre in 2016 and serves as their Social Media Manager