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!
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.
Creative Kids Playhouse is available to provide a customized musical theatre program for the youth of your church, school, or community group. From one-week immersion camps to full length productions, we can create a program that meets your needs.
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, and is our primary Voice Coach. With a Bachelor of Arts from Arizona State in music, Jennifer has 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 voice instruction and is the creative force and instructional talent behind the Creative Kids Playhouse Performance Choir. 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. Jennifer is particularly fond of teaching our youngest performers, and is our primary Director for Tom Thumb Players productions.
About Creative Kids Playhouse Children's Theatre
Creative Kids Playhouse ® Lake Forest, CA
Michele Sheehy Bowren, Creative 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
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Maureen Russell, Creative Team
Maureen is a seasoned voice and musical theatre instructor and is continually delighted to combine her gift of music with her love for children. She spent 12 years in New York City as head of the singing program for Applause NY, where she created and developed a performance-based singing class and private voice studio, using her own fun approach to teach kids to appreciate and perform in all different styles of music. Not only does Maureen hold a B.A. in Musical Theatre from the University of Colorado, she is a professional singer and songwriter with an international resume and extensive performance experience. Maureen released her first EP, The Bittersweet, in June 2012 and currently fronts the rock cover band Sugar Shack. In addition to directing productions for CKP, Maureen also directs musicals for the Encore Dinner Theatre in Tustin. Young actors and singers eagerly respond to Maureen's fun and energetic teaching style. Maureen is particularly popular with our middle school and high school performers, her role at Creative Kids Playhouse frequently involves Directing Excalibur Players productions and teaching Musical Theater Workshop classes, as well as helping direct Mainstage productions. Creative Kids Playhouse is terribly proud to have Maureen on staff!
Catharine Bishop, 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.
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, 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 and is very excited to be working with the students of Creative Kids Playhouse. She enjoys sharing her passion and experience. Katie's calm, joy-filled teaching style draws in students in all age ranges.
Katie Jenner, Creative Team
As of December 2013 Cinthia just finished her B.A. in Drama from the University of California, Irvine, and is excited to continue her journey in theatre as a director, performer, sound designer, and overall dedicated and well-rounded artist and teacher. Most of Cinthia's music experience comes from choral and chamber singing, and she has a huge passion for musical theatre. She whole heartedly believes that sharing and growing as a community, as a team, regardless of age, brings about the best lessons and life experiences. When not in the rehearsal or performance space, she enjoys swing dancing, yoga, and traveling. To read more or follow her adventures online, visit www.cinthiapalmer.com. Cinthia's extensive experience, calm & caring personality combined with her effective use of humor to communicate enriches performers' experience at Creative Kids Playhouse.
Cinthia Palmer, Creative Team
Born and raised in Southern Orange County, Leah attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Education from CSUF. She joins Creative Kids Playhouse with an eagerness to share her love of art and music with children. A decade of piano lessons, years of art lessons and multiple classes on children’s theatre taught Leah to be creative, expressive and imaginative. Leah knows how to work with young ones in a way that allows growth and development. She is excited to be working with everyone from Creative Kids Playhouse!
Rachael Gaffner, 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.
Kallin Zehren is ecstatic to be a part of the Creative Kids Playhouse staff! A San Juan Capistrano native, Kallin is a student at Tulane University in New Orleans. Her love for musical theater and singing was nurtured early on through school musicals at Mission Basilica School and JSerra High School. She has performed lead roles in several productions, including The Mousetrap which was nominated for the international Fringe Festival in Scotland. At JSerra, Kallin sang in the Advanced Women’s Ensemble and Chamber Choir while taking opera lessons.Kallin received the JSerra Fine Arts Award her Senior year. In addition, she performed and helped teach children at 3 Peace Studios. Kallin is highly involved in the Tulane University Performing Arts Society and sings in choir as a first soprano for the Tulane Newcomb Chamber Choir. In her spare time she enjoys swing dancing and surfing. For Kallin the only thing better than performing is teaching others to do so. Kallin's sunny personality and joy and love for performing is contagious, she is a perfect fit for Creative Kids Playhouse Children's Theatre of Orange County.
Kallin Zehren, Creative Team
A senior at Mission Viejo High School, Megan works hard to balance her IB courses and involvement with the award winning MVHS theatre program, while staying on the Honor Roll. Megan has most recently been seen as Ruth Condomine in Blithe Spirit and Ellen Teller in Pollution Solution. She has been a favorite with the students of the Creative Kids Playhouse productions since December, 2013. Megan loves helping students build confidence, as well as instilling a love and appreciation for the theatrical arts.