Academy Teachers & Staff

Full-time Academy Faculty & Staff

Matt Daniels (Director of the Young Company/Lead Teacher) is a frequent collaborator at First Stage, as an actor (EDWARD TULANE, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, THE SNOW, ELLA ENCHANTED, SHREK, A MIDNIGHT CRY, and A WRINKLE IN TIME, among many others), director and movement director (ANIMAL FARM, TXT U L8R, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, OUR TOWN, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, NANCY DREW, CYMBELINE), and Director of the Young Company and teacher for the Theater Academy. In addition to First Stage his directing work has been seen at MCT’s New Play Development series, Sunset Playhouse, goats & monkeys, and in New York with his company Tyrannosaurus rep. Matt’s acting credits include appearances at Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, In Tandem Theater, and the late Milwaukee Shakespeare, as well as Forward Theater, Kentucky Rep., Lake Geneva Theater Co., several regional Shakespeare Festivals, and on many independent stages in New York. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School Drama Division.

Shaqita Crockett (Family Partnership Coordinator) is thrilled to join the First Stage Theater Academy team as the Family Partnership Coordinator. Her transition from Front Desk Receptionist for the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center and First Stage Box Office Representative has been an easy one to make. She is a fellow First Stage parent, and has a lot of experience working with non-profit organizations and families. She is excited to get to know all of our new and returning families. Stop by the Academy office and say hello! Contact Shaqita at (414) 267-2973 or scrockett@firststage.org.

Samantha Montgomery (Resident Teaching Artistis a performance artist who is committed to the process of learning. Teaching is her passion. She has taught in both traditional and non-traditional settings. She is a licensed educator and an acting coach. She has worked for Milwaukee Public Schools and parochial/private schools in the Milwaukee County area. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with First Stage Academy.  She believes that theater is a powerful instrument that can be used to educate and change the hearts and minds of people around the world. Samantha has earned a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and a M.A. from Alverno College in Education. Contact Samantha at smontgomery@firststage.org

Giana Blazquez (Resident Teaching Artist) is excited to continue her love of Theater for Young Audiences this year with First Stage! She grew up in Orlando, FL and recently graduated from Rollins College with a B.A. in Theater & Dance. In Orlando she worked as a teaching artist and assistant director/choreographer with the Orlando Repertory Theatre. Performance credits include but are not limited to: Ensemble/Dance Captain (HELLO, DOLLY!), Mayzie LaBird (SEUSSICAL), Hot Box Girl (GUYS & DOLLS), and Candy Cottingham (WORKING). Giana can’t wait to see the creativity that the First Stage students bring to the table.


Summer 2018 Teaching Artists

Hannah Anderson

Hannah Anderson

JT Backes

JT Backes

Amy Bahr

Amy Bahr

Bethany Bendtsen

Bethany Bendtsen

Graham Billings

Graham Billings

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown

 Cassidy Buenz

Cassidy Buenz

 Ryan Cappelman

Ryan Cappelman

 Joey Chelius

Joey Chelius

 Matt Daniels

Matt Daniels

 Kelly Doherty

Kelly Doherty

Dean Drews

Dean Drews

 Tejay Echols

Tejay Echols

 William Esty

William Esty

 Jim Fletcher

Jim Fletcher

 Mary Francis

Mary Francis

 Marion Frank

Marion Frank

 Mica Gaard

Mica Gaard

 Jo Gray

Jo Gray

 Megan Gray

Megan Gray

 Audra Handschke

Audra Handschke

 Kim Hardtke

Kim Hardtke

 Lori Hartman-Keiser

Lori Hartman-Keiser

 Meggy Holdahl

Meggy Holdahl

 Elizabeth Horn

Elizabeth Horn

 Olivia Jardas

Olivia Jardas

 Marcy Kearns

Marcy Kearns

 Daniil Krimer

Daniil Krimer

 Grant Latus

Grant Latus

 Danielle Levings

Danielle Levings

 Beth Lewinski

Beth Lewinski

 Ansley Lynn

Ansley Lynn

 Olivia Mauseth

Olivia Mauseth

 Logan Milway

Logan Milway

 Lawson Mithcell

Lawson Mitchell

 Anthony Munar

Anthony Munar

 Erin Oberdorf

Erin Oberdorf

 Ashley Patin

Ashley Patin

 Ashley Pavlak

Ashley Pavlak

 Mary Jo Perez

Mary Jo Perez

 Josh (JP) Pohja

Josh (JP) Pohja

 Katy Radiske

Katy Radiske

 Haley Rapisarda

Haley Rapisarda

 Kelli Rediske

Kelli Rediske

 Matt Roth

Matt Roth

 Nick Rulon

Nick Rulon

 Joe Schwaller

Joe Schwaller

 Amy Shu

Amy Shu

 Alec Sill

Alec Sill

 Lyric Simonson

Lyric Simonson

 Ro Spice-Kopischke

Ro Spice-Kopischke

 Jer Stampfli

Jer Stampfli

 Noah Stone

Noah Stone

 Mackenzie Swart

Mackenzie Swart

 Emilie Thomas

Emilie Thomas

 Zachary Thomas

Zachary Thomas

 Patrick Thompson

Patrick Thompson

 Paula Tillen

Paula Tillen

Kayla Tillisch

Kayla Tillisch

 Emily Vitrano

Emily Vitrano

Teddy Warren

Teddy Warren

Abby Wesley

Abby Wesley

Chloe Wong

Chloe Wong