OUR AMAZING STAFF
Sydney Chow, Academy Instructor, Dance
Sydney has enjoyed teaching dance and choreographing for Starbound Theatre Company and Benicia High School's musical theatre and dance classes. She also loved working with people of all ages while choreographing Annie Get Your Gun at Bay Area Stage. As a performer, she has performed with companies like Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Missouri Street Theatre, and Diablo Theatre Company. She is a rising sophomore at Wagner College in NYC where she studies musical theatre and dance. She has been fortunate to learn from many knowledgable teachers, and she loves to pass on what she's learned!
James Dean, Stage Manager
James Dean has been doing theatre since the age of 6years old. The first production that he had ever performed was Snow White and the 7 dwarves as Dopey. Then 3 years later, James was the understudy for Sunny in the musical Grease and has been immersed into theatre from there on. James has performed in over 20 musicals and 10 non-musical productions. He has taken some time off from performing to learn the more technical side of behind the scenes theatre. James is currently enrolled at Solano Community College earning an AA in Theatre and Business in hopes of one day opening his own theatre production company.
Traci DeLeon, Academy Instructor & Vocal Coach
Personalized music instruction in a safe, fun, friendly environment is Traci's passion. She has 22 years of experience teaching voice, piano and songwriting to musicians of all levels, from the youngest beginner at the keyboard to the touring musician. She is trained in the Bel Canto method of singing, and through her years of experience, has developed a unique and customized approach to helping students understand their own voices. She teaches with an emphasis on phrasing and story telling through song employing body language, stage movement and acting techniques to give students a professional artist's advantage.
Vivian McLaughlin, Musical Director & Academy Instructor
While working towards her BFA with honors from New York University, Vivian was chosen as a soloist for the annual Broadway on Broadway concert in New York’s Times Square. Soon after she made her Broadway debut in The Wizard of Oz. After receiving her degree in drama with an emphasis on musical theatre, Vivian starred in Disney Channel’s Out of the Box and has since made appearances on Sesame Street English, Stanley’s Great Big Animal Adventure, and Bite Size. Her career has taken her to stages around the world, including Russia and Argentina. She has recorded several children’s audio books for Scholastic, Random House, and Bantam Doubleday and can also be heard on Volume I and II of the Playhouse Disney CD Series. Vivian has filmed industrials and commercials for such companies as Western Union, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, MSN, and Visa. Vivian is proud to have now added the role of “mother” to her resume and is a member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA. She currently music directs at various local high schools and offers private voice and piano lessons from her home in Benicia.
Mollie Myers, Production Manager & Academy Instructor
Mollie has been performing in musical theatre productions since the age of five. During her sophomore year of high school she founded the Dixon High School Drama Club and found a hidden passion for the art of stage management. Since then she has worked back stage on over 15 productions in both Northern California and London; stage managing 7 of those productions including productions of Into the Woods, Narnia, and The Outsiders. She is currently a communications student at Solano Community College where she spends her time acting competitively for the SCC national speech team and working in theatre every chance she gets.
Shilah Walters, Director & Academy Instructor
Shilah has been performing since the age of five. She started training in dance and added vocal and theatre soon after. She spent four years as a Sylvan Singer at Will C. Wood High School. And even with her busy schedule found time to perform in various theatre productions. Her last few shows include Guys and Dolls (WLA), You Can’t Take It With You (WLA), Seussical (WLA), and Legally Blonde (MST). Though performing is certainly a passion of hers, Shilah aspires to work behind the scenes as a directer. So far Shilah has directed Alice in Wonderland (J&S) and stage managed Aladin Jr. (Starbound).
Yvonne Beneivdez-Wayne, Choreography & Academy Instructor
Yvonne has been teaching, choreographing and coaching dancers for 30 years. She has an extensive background in Ballroom, Country, Swing, Latin, Line dancing, Jazz, Hip Hop and Theater Arts. She has many local and national titles to her name including a UCWDC World title. She continues to actively compete at the professional level on the WSDC West Coast Swing international circuit. Her career has taken her around the world to perform and teach. She won the ﬁrst televised TNN dance championship and has appeared on many morning shows around the country and was even featured in Rodger Brown’s music video swing city. For the last 15 years her love of dance has been spreading to the next generation by teaching in programs and at schools around California, most notably Oakbrook Academy of the Arts and now Starbound Theatre.
Elizabeth Williams, Assistant Director & Teaching Artist
Elizabeth has always had a love for theatre arts, and has been acting since she was five years old. She joined Starbound theatre to play "Mrs. Potts" in Beauty and the Beast, and has also been in productions with Winters Theatre Company, Solano Youth Theatre and Sacramento Theatre Company, where she assisted in theatre outreach. She’s been a public speaking medalist and loves singing, literature and teaching others! Elizabeth is pursing a degree in education and theatre arts and plans to continue to teach theatre to children of all ages.
David Rodgers Jr, Managing Artistic Director
As a playwright, director, teacher, and performer, David has worked in the Bay Area theatre scene for over two decades. He is a graduate of the Actor Training Program at Solano College Theatre where he received degrees in Liberal Arts and Theatre Arts. After Solano, David continued his education at the University of San Francisco studying Arts Management and Art History. Since working with Starbound Theatre, David has directed "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Aladdin Jr", and "Willy Wonka Jr", "Beauty and the Beast", "Annie", and "The Wizard of Oz.". Some of his other projects include directing “The Miracle Worker,“ “The Rocky Horror Show,“ and "A Christmas Carol." In addition, David works in close collaboration with Bliss Urban Arts Center developing new works for the stage including the award winning production of "A Hip Hop Christmas Carol", which is produced annually. David also coordinates the popular Creative Kids Camps Programs in various cities. David currently teaches classes in theatre, acting and film throughout the Bay Area.