Mike Mazur – Head of School
Mike is thrilled to be a part of the NTPA family, having worked as a theatrical director, writer, choreographer and educator since earning his Bachelor’s in English, Speech and Drama Education from Bowling Green State University in his home state of Ohio. Since graduating, Mike has taught theatre at the High School, Community College and University level and earned his Master’s in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
He has directed over 60 shows in New York, New Jersey, Ohio and California. Among his favorites are Rent, Hair, Oklahoma!, The King and I, and Children of Eden. As a writer, his youth theatre piece THE SIXTH DAY has been performed in NYC three times, and he was commissioned to create “Simple Joys,” a revue of the work of Stephen Schwartz at the Cassidy Theatre in Ohio. As a youth, he was a member of The Singing Angels Performing Chorus, an internationally touring show choir based out of Cleveland, Ohio.
After graduating from NYU, Mike became their Artistic Director. Under his direction, the group toured Hollywood, London, Warsaw, and Paris; released two recordings; performed with Nancy Sinatra and Roberta Flack; and was invited to a Command Performance at The Pentagon. He then became a professor of Musical Theatre at California State University, Chico, where in addition to teaching and directing shows, he led the “Off-Broadways” Touring Ensemble in performances in New York and San Francisco.
These experiences have led Mike to lecture on the role of theatre in society at both The Sondheim Symposium in New Jersey (where he met Stephen Sondheim) and the International Conference on Fine and Performing Arts in Athens, Greece. He shares his experiences with the talented youth of North Texas and empowers them to use the performing arts as a tool to build the self-confidence needed to succeed in any career path they choose.
DeAnna Stone – Managing Director
DeAnna Stone serves as the Managing Director for the North Texas Performing Arts Academy. She began her adventure on the stage at the young age of six years old and continued to pursue the stage throughout college. After college, she continued her theatre journey within the homeschool community. As a homeschooling mother of four children, she has a passion for creating opportunity for students that desire an alternative style in education. She has a passion for motivating the youth and inspiring others to achieve their best. The North Texas Performing Arts created opportunity for her own personal family and upholds the values that she deems important is growing future leaders.
Over the past 14 years, she has served the McKinney Area Christian Homeschoolers (MArCH) as President, Vice President and Enrichment Theatre Department Managing Director. During that time, she has been directly involved with teaching and directing children with a passion for theatre between the ages of 3 and 18. She has directed productions such as Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka, Jr., The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe as well as worked as the choreographer for high school and middle school casts in productions such as “Beauty and the Beast”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Tom Sawyer” and many others.
She has served as a leader in the Home School Athletic Association for the last 8 years. In working with youth on the stage or on the court it all translates to where she finds her passion which is investing in the youth. She has also taught group fitness for over 20 years that has provided the opportunity to coach, mentor, encourage and inspire others in setting and accomplishing goals. It is an honor for her to serve the North Texas Performing Arts families and continue the quest in developing character in the youth through the amazing journey of the stage.
Cheryl Greif – Assistant Head of School
Cheryl Greif is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with degrees in Education, French and Political Science. She is married to her college sweetheart and has 3 daughters. She was an educator for 10 years within the Frisco ISD school district working with upper elementary and middle school students. Her love for teaching continued after she stayed at home to raise her two younger daughters, taking time to write curriculum and facilitate summer camps in Zambia, Africa for a locally based non-profit in Frisco. Cheryl has dedicated her life to working with children and finds joy in helping students work toward their full potential in all aspects of their lives.
Kira Kerstine – Core Learning Counselor
Kira is a school psychologist who specializes in individual and group counseling, psychoeducational testing, positive behavioral supports, consultation, and classroom-based interventions. A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Kira has always had a passion for theatre and the arts. Kira completed her undergraduate work at The University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in psychology and minored in child development. Kira earned her masters in school-clinical child psychology at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology in her hometown of New York City. While originally planning to move back to Texas right after graduate school, she took a detour to Cincinnati, Ohio after meeting her husband, Jeff.
Throughout her 17 years in Cincinnati, Kira worked with children and adolescents in both the public and private school settings. In 2016, Kira moved backed to Texas with her husband and three children. Her youngest son, Jake, performed in his first NTPA production in 2017 and she and her family have called NTPA home ever since. Kira is thrilled to work at the Academy where she can combine her two passions of helping children become their best selves and her love of theatre.
Aaron Mateo Arroyo – Resident Director
Aaron Mateo Arroyo comes to NTPA after working on stage and video in Los Angeles earning his Actor’s Equity status. Aaron grew up in Texas earning his BA in Acting and Directing, then went on to earn his Masters in Fine Arts in Drama from the prestigious Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine, one of the nation’s top theatre and film acting universities. Aaron’s lovely wife Sterling also holds a BA in Acting and Directing.
Aaron brings his passion for teaching and extensive on stage acting and dramatic talent to expand NTPA’s offerings of non-musical/play productions. Aaron has extensive experience in multiple acting methods and genres including Shakespeare, modern drama and comedy and a long list of equity and non-equity roles to his credit. He also provides individual instruction in the NTPA Private Lesson program in the areas of Audition Prep, Acting, Stage Combat and more.
Favorite gigs include: Pizza Chapel Theatre CO., Shakesepare in the Bar, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, touring with Missoula Children’s Theatre, performing at the beautiful Irvine Barclay Theatre and, NTPA Rep. A few favorite acting credits include Florizel in The Winter’s Tale, Hook in PAN!, Jonathan Waxman in Sight Unseen, Abram Baker in Our Class, and Freddie Trumper in CHESS: The Musical. Aaron is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be working with the strong talent pool of artists in North Texas. He firmly believes theatre can shape young actors into outstanding adults. His favorite works as a director so far are: Los Vendidos, Quoth the Raven, The Crucible and Shakesepare in Love. Aaron is represented by RPM Talent.
Christian R. Black – Senior Resident Director
Denver Danyla – Senior Resident Director
Denver received his BFA in Acting for Stage and Screen from Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles. He found his passion for acting while in Jr. High and High School, landing such roles as Curly in Oklahoma! and Harold Hill in The Music Man. He went on to pursue his study of acting. Stage credits include Lord Goring in An Ideal Husband, Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing and several other Indie stage productions. While in college he worked as a counselor at several youth camps including Kanakuk and Forest Home where he then knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life working with students.
Soon after graduating, he began directing children and young adults in the Houston area and is thrilled to continue his love for teaching, directing and mentoring here in the Dallas area, as a Senior Resident Director for NTPA. Some of his favorite works as a Director are Seussical JR, Puffs and Avenue Q: School Edition. Denver was named NTPA Director of the Year for 2019.
Jacob Hemsath – Choreographer
Caddo Lindsey, Director
Caddo is an actor, stage manager, and scenic artist based in DFW. Caddo is honored to be a part of the creative staff at North Texas Performing Arts, where he has the privilege to help cultivate skills in young artists. From a young age, he studied voice, and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance with a Certificate in Theatre Technologies from the University of North Texas. During his undergrad, Caddo served as a writing tutor, Orientation Leader, and peer mentor. His favorite stage credits include A Charlie Brown Christmas with Dallas Children’s Theatre, The Merry Wives of Windsor with Shakespeare Dallas, Don Giovanni with the Dallas Opera, and Disturbance: An Immersive Theatrical Experience with Arts Mission Oak Cliff at Sweet Tooth Hotel. He has been the lead scenic painter for WaterTower Theatre and Shakespeare Dallas, as well as stage managed for Shakespeare Dallas for three consecutive seasons. Caddo serves as the Assistant Productions Manager for NTPA.
Hannah Makepeace – Resident Director
Hannah earned her BFA in Musical Theatre from Ouachita Baptist University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. She grew up training in many forms of dance and getting involved in every performance opportunity she could.
Hannah participated in competitive dance until the age of 12, where she became a full-time ballerina as a member of the pre-professional ballet company Arkansas Festival Ballet. She also directed and performed in an improv troupe called Off the Top, which traveled the state of Arkansas. At her university, she had the opportunity to perform, write, design and direct for several opportunities, culminating in the opportunity to direct a MainStage production that she developed. Following graduation, she moved to Orlando, where she worked and performed at Walt Disney World before moving to the Dallas Area!
Some of her favorite directing credits include Not a Clue, Wanda’s Visit, Junie B. Jones and Annie Kids. She also has choreographed for many NTPA productions, some of her favorites including Legally Blonde Jr, Hello Dolly, Once on this Island, Beauty and the Beast and Matilda. Hannah has a true passion for the theatrical arts, and loves being able to see the students she works with grow in their skills and challenge themselves to be daring in their pursuits. She loves her husband Andrew, her two cats, her friends, family, and NTPA family so dearly, and is thankful for all of their support and encouragement.
Gregory McKnight – Technical Director
DeeDee Munson – Choreographer
DeeDee is the Staffing Coordinator and part of the Executive Staff at MA Dance & MA Visual FX and teaches for the North Texas Performing Arts – Academy. She has been teaching & educating students since 1991! She is the former General Manager/Artistic Director for the Power House of Dance. Her credits include Kilgore College Rangerette, Stephen F. Austin Repertory Company Member, Stephen F. Austin Pom Squad member and coach, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, and Dallas Mavericks Dancer. While attending SFA she won two consecutive NCA National Dance Championship titles. She is also a former Walt Disney World Dancer where she performed in The Beauty & The Beast Show, Pleasure Island Explosion Dancers, various conventions and special events, and the Rhythms of the World Show at Tokyo DisneySeas.
DeeDee has taught and choreographed for drill teams and dance teams across the country as well as being a head instructor and adjudicator for MA Dance. She has appeared in Body Wrappers, Dance Spirit, Cheerleader & Danzteam, YM, and Glamour Magazines. She also modeled for Disney Animation where her likeness was used for the image of Princess Kida in Atlantis Milo’s Return. Her television appearances include Good Morning Texas, Good Day Dallas, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Salvation Army Halftime with Reba McEntire, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade with Aaron Carter and John O’Hurley, Live with Regis and Kelly, the Oprah Winfrey Show and Street Talk with Wendy Williams. She was also a dancer/actress in the movie Miss Congeniality starring Sandra Bullock and can be seen judging in the documentary Sweethearts Of The Gridiron featuring the Kilgore College Rangerettes. DeeDee has served as a judge for The Dance Worlds held at Walt Disney World. She has served on USASF Dance Worlds National Advisory Board, Power House Dance Foundation, Twelve 12 Ministries & the North Texas Performing Arts Management Board.
Morgan Southard – NTPA Creative Director
Morgan Southard is an actor, director and teacher who is thrilled to be making a difference in the lives of our youth! She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville in 2007 and her Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from Southern Methodist University in 2010. She taught at Southern Methodist University 2008-2010 and has been teaching and directing professionally in the area since 2013.
Other experience includes time spent at Les Subsistances Theatre Performance Program in Leon, France where she received training in acrobatics, improvisation, play, masks and puppets. Professional stage experience includes roles in A Bright New Boise (Circle Theatre), Mrs. California (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas), Arms and the Man (Stage West), Macbeth (Trinity Shakespeare Festival), As You Like It (Trinity Shakespeare Festival), Boeing-Boeing (Circle Theatre/WaterTower Theatre), Donʼt Dress For Dinner (Theatre Arlington) and Bright Ideas (Circle Theatre). Favorite directing credits include The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown, School of Rock, The Addams Family and Mary Poppins. She loves her boyfriend Cesar, her dog Bandit, and her NTPA family more than words can say!
Jason Villarreal, Director
Kaitlyn Wright – Resident Director
Kaitlyn Wright graduated in 2013 Cum Laude from Texas Woman’s University where she performed in both their opera and theater productions. She has been with NTPA since 2017 and has directed and music directed with the organization on many occasions. Some of her favorite titles have been: Elephant and Piggie (director), Sleeping Beauty KIDS (director), and Little Women (music director). She taught music and choir in Plano ISD for five years. Kaitlyn is certified in the Kodaly Method of music education and completed her third level of training in the summer of 2015. For the 2015-2016 school year, Kaitlyn received the Bass Hall Fellowship for excellence in music education and in the spring of that year presented about elementary music at the Texas State Music Education Association conference in San Antonio. Kaitlyn is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society, Who’s Who Nominee, Presser Scholar Nominee, and the recipient of the first Lily Mildred Hodges Endowed Scholarship. For the 2016-2017 school year, she was nominated as Teacher of the Year and received the PTA Life Member Award. Music and theater are her passion and she loves to see children grow through the arts.