Creative Kids Playhouse Children's Theatre of Orange County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fun theatre opportunities for children, and entertaining children's theatre productions for the community. Every child can experience the exhilaration of performing. Every child can enjoy the theatre experience!
We are an education-based organization. Our focus is not on the overall production as much as it is on making sure that each individual student has a GREAT experience. In our opinion, that makes for a great show!
Our most important core value is that the children in the cast have fun, learn, and feel proud, happy, and confident in a job well done at the end of each show. The exhilaration of successfully performing a rehearsed piece on stage and receiving feedback afterward is one of the largest affirmations of worth and achievement that a child can get, similar to winning a scholastic award or athletic championship. Realizing that they have talents worth applause is a lesson in self worth that can provide life long benefits. Musical theatre helps children with reading skills, memorization skills, public speaking, music and movement, imagination and creativity, self-discipline, problem-solving, and working as a team. These moments instill the value of working hard to achieve a goal, and inspire them to aim even higher in the future. We are unique in that we work hard to give every member of the cast a moment in the spotlight. In our mainstage shows, every part is a speaking part.
Originally of the San Jose Area, Michele first fell in love with the theatre at the age of 10 when she was cast as the princess in the San Jose Children's Musical Theatre's production of The Frog Prince. Dozens of roles in musical theatre later, Michele graduated with a BFA from the prestigious theatre program at University of California, Irvine. She went on to perform on stage in New York City, Germany, Switzerland, onboard the msWesterdam, and regionally throughout the United States. Michele designs musical theatre programs for children that are fun, nurturing, organized and creative. She creates safe opportunities for kids to challenge themselves, express themselves, and execute a performance of which they are are truly proud. Michele has personally directed dozens of productions for CKP since 2011, and has supervised every show that we have ever produced. Michele is eager to share her love of children and musical theatre with your child! You can reach Michele by email at Michele@CreativeKidsPlayhouse.com
Elizabeth Green Ramirez, Business Director, Co-Founder
A native and current resident of Lake Forest, California, Jennifer comes to us with an expertise in vocals, with a Bachelor of Arts from Arizona State in music, and over twenty years of experience performing in community theatres and choirs throughout Southern California. Jennifer's earliest childhood memories involve singing and performing for any willing audience. Jennifer has extensive experience in performing, and working with young children, and is the creative force and instructional talent behind our Tom Thumb Players Productions. Jennifer's passion is to share her love of music with others and bring it back to the community and home. A founding Creative Team member, Jennifer has helped direct dozens of Creative Kids Playhouse main stage productions since 2011. You can reach Jennifer by email at Jennifer@CreativeKidsPlayhouse.com
About Creative Kids Playhouse Children's Theatre
Creative Kids Playhouse ® 23382 Madero Suite K, Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Michele Sheehy Bowren, Artistic Director, Co-Founder
Elizabeth first fell in love with children's theatre during a summer program with the Peacock Players in Amherst, New Hampshire, when she was nine years old. She is eager to create a similar experience for your child. Despite her early ambition to become the next Julie Andrews, Elizabeth has, until recently, kept the arts as a hobby while earning an Engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University, working as a mechanical and biomedical engineer, and enjoying her husband and four children. Elizabeth brings many of her professional and creative talents to benefit our organization. As our founding Business Director, Elizabeth's responsibilities include working out the logistics for every production- from budgeting, securing venues, marketing, set design and creation, as well as managing the general day-to-day of running the nonprofit, she's often referred to as the 'everything else person' at CKP. You can reach Elizabeth by email at Elizabeth@CreativeKidsPlayhouse.com
Jennifer Beaver Estrada, Creative Team, Founding Staff Member, Director of Tom Thumb Players Programming
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Maureen Russell, Senior Staff Member, Creative Team
Maureen is an accomplished singer, dancer, actress and songwriter, and is thrilled to be directing for Creative Kids Playhouse! After earning her BA in Musical Theatre from The University of Northern Colorado, she spent 4 years as the lead singer for Holland America Cruise Line, then 12 years performing and teaching in New York. She became the head of the singing program for kids at Applause NY, and established her own private voice lesson business which she still maintains here in California. Since her move out west, Maureen has taken on many new roles, including music director for Fiddler on the Roof and Grease at The Encore Dinner Theatre in Tustin, and Dreamgirls at Center Stage in Fontana. She just finished choreographing Bye Bye Birdie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Peter Pan for CKP. Maureen continues to perform with Live It Up Productions-a corporate entertainment company, sings with her cover band “Sugar Shack”, and has an album and many singles released on I-Tunes. She won the award for Best Pop Song in the 2015 Alchemy Songwriting Competition. You can learn more about her original music at www.maureenrussellmusic.com. Creative Kids Playhouse is terribly proud to have Maureen on staff! You can reach Maureen by email at Maureen@CreativeKidsPlayhouse.com
Catharine Bishop, Senior Staff Member, Creative Team
A native Orange County resident, Caty Bishop earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance/Music Education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Involved in musical theater from a young age through the Laguna Playhouse, Caty made the transition from the stage to behind the keyboard while at Vanderbilt, using her talents to direct musicals there. Caty continues to perform as a cantor and with chorales, and frequently collaborates with local elementary, middle, and high schools. Caty toured Italy as the assistant conductor and accompanist for Santa Margarita Catholic High School, and is the music teacher for grades K-8 at Mission Basilica School. Her love of theater and children is contagious, her natural demeanor constantly communicates to each cast member that they are valued and appreciated, which translates to inspiring every child to confidently do their very best. Kids clamor to be in programs directed by Miss Bishop! Creative Kids Playhouse has been thrilled to have her on our staff directing and assistant directing numerous productions since January, 2013. You can reach Catharine by email at Catharine@CreativeKidsPlayhouse.com
23382 Madero, Suite K
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Travis Kendrick first found theatre as a five-year-old in a school production of Peter Rabbit – and has been hooked ever since. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts, Travis has worked professionally in New York City and around the country as an actor, director, choreographer, and teaching artist. As an instructor, Travis has taught a variety of subjects in the arts, including: musical theatre, acting, voice and speech, improvisation, dance, and yoga. He wrote the book and lyrics for the new children’s musical, Dotty Dot, which premiered and ran in New York City for over a year. Travis is pursuing his MFA in Directing at the University of California - Irvine, where he has directed Oleanna, Happy Journey To Trenton And Camden, Fifth Of July, and Matthew Lopez’s Reverberation. Mary Zimmerman is quoted as saying, “They don’t call it a play for nothing. We think of ‘play’ as a noun. ‘I’m going to see a play’ We forget that it’s also a verb.” He passionately believes that theatre has magical powers to nurture young people as they learn, grow, explore, and play! www.traviskendrick.com
Travis Kendrick, Creative Team
Angela Capps, Senior Staff Member, Creative Team
An Orange County native, Angela fell in love with acting, singing and dancing as a toddler, often performing anywhere she could. After high school, she began studying Fine Arts in college, but her overwhelming love for performing convinced her to move to Los Angeles and pursue acting professionally. She spent 3 years studying at Playhouse West and Improv Olympic and performed in over 40 Los Angeles plays and several independent films. It was while doing improv that her ambition as an actress began to change. She knew she loved working with children and realized that her dream was actually to be a member of the Wiggles more than it was to be a movie star. She became a Preschool Music Teacher at Grace Christian School and is currently developing a children’s comedic, musical web show, where she stars as Mrs. Buttercup. She is starting a family with her husband and is currently in college studying Music Education. With her passion for acting, musical theatre, production, comedy and working with children, she is thrilled and honored to be a part of Creative Kids Playhouse since December, 2013.
Lisa Baker has been playing some type of instrument since she was 7 years old and comes from a very musical family. That naturally led her to becoming a music teacher for Grace Elementary in Lake Forest, where she has been teaching since 2007. Lisa particularly loves directing musicals in which she has previously performed. Lisa actively enjoys the spotlight herself, performing in numerous stage productions across Southern California for the much of her adult life. She has actually shared the stage with her husband and two children! Lisa is doing what she loves- sharing her love of music and theater with the next generation. Lisa creates a creative, welcoming and fun atmosphere for the students, that encourages them to stretch themselves and try new things. She is delighted to be part of the wonderful group of creative and talented people that make up Creative Kids Playhouse, and jumped right in by helping direct two full length musicals beginning in January, 2014.
Lisa Baker, Creative Team
Katie acted in television commercials as a child, and began acting onstage when she was 12 years old. She has performed in productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Bye Bye Birdie, and The Mousetrap. Katie currently attends Chapman University where she is creating her own major in the arts. In addition to performing, Katie is interested in every aspect of theatre and has been involved in everything from set decoration to costuming to stage managing. Katie has also had extensive experience in hair and makeup in both theatre and film productions. She enjoys sharing her passion and experience. Katie's calm, joy-filled teaching style draws in students in all age ranges with impressive results.
Katie Jenner, Creative Team
Rachael Gafner, Creative Team
Rachael is trained and proficient in every aspect of theater, from acting, dance, and voice to stage managing and technical theatre. She is currently majoring in Theatre and History at Irvine Valley College on her way to becoming a teacher. Rachael's work with elementary to high school students on the prevention of Anti-bullying with the use of the arts has been recognized with awards from professional institutions. She continues to work with today's youth in order to spread the word and counsel others. Rachael has recently been seen as Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Anne Frank in Hidden: The Story of Anne Frank, Mistress Ford in Merry Wives of Windsor and much more! Rachael has been a valuable part of the Creative Kids Playhouse staff since January, 2014. She loves working with the children who are extremely talented and teach her new things every time they meet.
Genevieve Simon got her start at nine years old playing the devious Gladys Herdman in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with Horizon Youth Theatre--and has been hooked ever since. Genevieve completed her training in 2014 at The Ohio State University, where she worked with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company on technique and touring children's productions. Genevieve is an actor based in Los Angeles and Orange County with specializations in Shakespeare, Voice, and Meisner technique. She has been coaching young actors (ages 4-18) for the past four years for various productions and auditions in California and Ohio. Genevieve plays classical violin and also has experience creating theatre with children on the autism spectrum. Genevieve currently works at the University of California, Irvine as the Outreach Programs Coordinator for the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and has recently been training with The Actor's Gang and performing in musical theatre benefits in Long Beach. She is passionate about providing children and young adults with an exciting, professional, and meaningful experience in theatre! www.genevieve-simon.com
Genevieve Simon, Creative Team
Kristin Jardine, an active actor, singer and voiceover artist, is truly enjoying sharing her passions with the students at Creative Kids Playhouse Children's Theatre of Orange County. Since earning her BA in Musical Theatre and Psychology from Asuza Pacific University she has actively worked in her field in a multitude of roles on stage and as a voiceover artist.
Kristin Jardine, Creative Team
Austen Courter, a native Orange County resident, has been involved in a multitude of musical endeavors since a young age. After starting piano lessons at age 3 and private singing lessons at age 7, she quickly fell in love with classical music. She fostered this love by attending the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, and by participating in numerous operas and shows while in the Opera Conservatory. Austen continued to study all different genres of music while at the University of Southern California, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Music (Voice) and a minor in songwriting. While in college, the Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival premiered one of over 150 songs that she has composed. Austen soon discovered that she enjoyed teaching children much more than she enjoyed performing. She continued her studies at USC and received a Master of Arts in Teaching Music, and she is now a music teacher at St. John’s Episcopal School (her former elementary school) in Rancho Santa Margarita. At this school, she teaches recorders, handbells, ukuleles, concert band, and performing arts to grades 1 through 8. Austen is thrilled to be sharing her knowledge and love of the arts with the Creative Kids Playhouse team!
Austen Courter, Creative Team
Adam Cowlin is an actor and theatre arts major based out of Long Beach. Over the years he has found himself in improv and sketch comedy groups, acting in small theaters, and teaching theater to children and college age adults. The high marks in his career were starring as the title characters In “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and adapting and directing the screenplay of the film “Clue” for a private youth theater academy. Adam is very excited to be part of the Creative Kids Playhouse team because he hopes to be a high school theater teacher in the future. His number one goal as a teacher is to impart the confidence, work ethic, and the love of cooperation that the theater can provide to all who are willing.
Adam Cowlin, Creative Team
Joey Busch, Creative Team
Ever since Joey was in the show Fiddler on the Roof with the children’s theatre company Fullerton Children’s Repertory Theatre, Joey has dreamed of working at a children’s theatre company and giving back the joy he got as a performer to kids nowadays. Currently, Joey is studying theatre and is working as a professional vocalist with Wayne Foster Entertainment putting on shows in LA, San Diego, Orange County, Indio, Napa, and even other states. He also works privately as a vocalist wherever necessary including parties, funerals, weddings, and in a barbershop quartet. He is also very involved in the local theater scene as a performer as well, performing recently at both the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and at the Chance Theater in Anaheim. Joey has worked with kids his whole life and loves it, and he doesn’t intend on stopping any time soon!
Sabrina Orro, Creative Team
Sabrina Orro’s musical theatre career began at the ripe old age of three years old; everyday, Sabrina would sing and dance along to her favorite Disney Channel stars’ music videos in her Mission Viejo residence. Since then, Sabrina has continued her enthusiasm for performing; she participated in theatre in school and community theatre from elementary until high school. Today, Sabrina is pursuing a Bachelor in Theatre Arts from California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo. She plans to utilize her degree to pursue a career as a film and television actor. While acting is Sabrina’s main passion and focus in her training, she has extensive training in playwriting, theatrical design, set construction and design, costume construction, dramaturgy, publicity, and stage management. Sabrina is extremely excited to be working at Creative Kids Playhouse; she believes theatre helped shape her into the person she is today, and she is very happy to share it with others.