Chief Executive Officer
Darrell joined the Plano Children’s Theatre Board of Directors in 2010 and served pro bono as its Executive Director through 2011, guiding it through financial difficulties. He was elected Board President for eight consecutive terms leading the organization to over 600% growth and to evolve into the North Texas Performing Arts.
Darrell served the dual role as the chief operating executive overseeing all operations during 2015-2018. He initiated the creation of a leadership succession plan with the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors appointed Darrell Chief Executive Officer in September of 2018 which he serves without compensation on a pro bono basis.
Darrell created the AMP Awards, ACE (Acting Company for Excellence), the North Texas Performing Arts organization and structure, the “Ten Characters,” and the NTPA – Academy. Under his leadership, other new programs were successfully launched including NTPA – Fairview, NTPA – Frisco, NTPA – Dallas, NTPA – Starcatchers and NTPA – Repertory.
Darrell was critical to the creation of the Willow Bend Center of the Arts, convincing Starwood Retail Partners to provide the space on favorable negotiated terms. He secured financing, engaged the construction partner and designed much of the facility, serving full-time for almost two years on a full-time uncompensated basis as pro bono Project Executive. He recruited and worked alongside the incredible “Team of Steel” volunteers who generously contributed their time and talent to design and construct the mainstage theatres.
Darrell and Lisa Rodenbaugh and their children Chris and Lee contributed the largest private cash gift in NTPA’s history to help underwrite the Willow Bend effort.
Lisa has served in volunteer roles for a dozen years at NTPA and was the creator of the “Curtain Club”, the precursor to the current NTPA Membership Program and volunteer system. Lisa serves as Chairperson of the NTPA Repertory Theatre Management Board and is its Programming Chair. Chris and Lee were founding members of the ACE’s and together participated in over 70 NTPA productions. Chris attends Loyola at Chicago, and Lee attends Baylor University.
Darrell is a Plano-area investor and volunteer who spent twenty-five years in the high-tech industry in sales, sales management, and general manager roles with IBM, Oracle, Yahoo!, i2 Technologies, and prior to this role was SVP and General Manager for McAfee’s global $300M Mid-Market business division. He went on to create a security and life-safety services company which he sold in 2016. Darrell is a graduate and now Trustee at Washburn University and earned his MBA at the University of Houston.
Vice President of Development, Founder of Plano Children’s Theatre
Sara entered her first talent show in the first grade with a dance routine to “Let’s twist and shout!” She started choreographing dance numbers for elementary class productions in the fourth grade at Walnut Hill Elementary. She continued to volunteer at Walnut Hill Elementary throughout her high school years. It was through her teachers and watching live performances at Dallas Theatre Center that she decided what she was going to do with her life – have a theatre – a place to create.
Sara received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University with a major in Dance and a minor in Theatre. Sara continued her education at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s Theatre and Creative Drama. During her time at UTA, Sara received the Aurand Harris Playwriting Award and taught on the UTA faculty for two years. In 1981, Sara began teaching Creative Drama and Movement at The Lamplighter School in Dallas Texas, where she taught for 9 years. During this time, she also taught and directed at Dallas Theatre Center, Children’s Arts and Ideas Foundation, and the Junior Players Guild. Sara founded the Imagination Company underneath the umbrella of JPG.
In 1991, Sara founded Plano Children’s Theatre, and has watched the company grow from a small theatre in Plano to a family of theatres covering the North Dallas area. Sara now works as the organization’s Vice President of Development and is responsible for NTPA’s fundraising, grant writing, and member development activities.
Managing Director, NTPA – Plano/Head of School, NTPA – Academy
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.
Assistant Head of School, NTPA – Academy
Cheryl is a mother of 3 girls and has been married for 19 years. Prior to becoming a full-time mom, she was an educator in the North Texas area for over 10 years. During that time, she worked with elementary and middle school students and served as a history department chair. She was educated at Southern Methodist University with Bachelors degrees in French, Political Science and Education. Cheryl became involved with NTPA when her middle daughter discovered her love for the stage. She takes her experience as an educator to serve as Assistant Head of School, endeavoring to encourage students to reach their full potential on and off the stage.
Senior Marketing Director
Lauren joined NTPA in December 2016. Lauren grew up in Alma, Arkansas, where most of her evenings were spent doing homework and playing the back of the Alma Performing Arts Center, where her mom is the Executive Director. Lauren fell in love with theatre and first took the stage in high school. She continued participating in theatre both on stage and behind the scenes in college. Favorite roles include Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof and Mary (the tap dancing maid) in The Bald Soprano.
Lauren received her BA in Electronic Media Production from Harding University. Before coming to NTPA, Lauren worked as Marketing Director for the Alma School District, Alma Performing Arts Center, and ChristianWorks for Children. In 2014, Lauren was selected for the NSPRA “35 Under 35” list of top young marketing professionals in the nation.
Lauren is thrilled to be back in the theatre world and working full-time in the performing arts. She hopes that through her marketing more students can be exposed to and find joy in the performing arts at a young age, just like she did.
Production Design Assistant
Bill grew up in the Dallas-area where he developed an interest in all things art at a young age. In high school, he ran his schools broadcasting program and competed at a National level through the nation-wide organization, Business Professionals of America. Bill also was involved in theatre throughout all 4 years serving in various technical roles and developed a strong interest in set building amongst other skills.
Upon graduating high school, he pursued arts and technology as a career and went to Texas A&M University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication Media Studies and a minor in New Media Art in 2017. Throughout college, he further honed his design, animation, video production, and photography skills through classwork, organizational involvement, and personal work where he even had one of his photographs featured in an art exhibit consisting of graduate and undergraduate artwork from Texas A&M called Viz-a-GoGo in 2017.
Bill began pursuing design as a professional field after working through Texas A&M’s library system as a student worker creating designs for library events. He has freelance and contracted with various clients and has since joined the staff at NTPA. Bill is excited to bring his versatile background of illustration, branding, design and more to help develop and build the NTPA brand.
Production Services Manager
Donovan Marie Lawson graduated from Oklahoma City University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre for Young Audiences with a Directing Minor. She started performing at a young age at Miss Persis Studio, Theatre Arlington, and around the DFW metroplex. Her favorite stage credits include Rusty in Footloose recently earning her the Best Actress in a Musical at the 45th Annual Stony Awards, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Rita La Porta in Lucky Stiff, and Dorothy in Oz! Discovering her love for the arts and children, she decided to combine the two and work in children’s theatres across North Texas.
Donovan’s favorite NTPA directing credits are Junie B. Jones The Musical Jr, Annie Jr, Alice in Wonderland, and Once on This Island, Jr. Donovan is thrilled to be a part of the NTPA family where she has the wonderful opportunity to share her knowledge as a theatre artist, director, designer, and arts advocate helping to enrich the lives of children!
Core Academics Coach
Rare Orion is a self-proclaimed very enthusiastic, passionate, and quirky guy. He holds a Neuroscience degree and a Cardiopulmonary degree. He has held many medical positions, such as Respiratory Care Practitioner, Allergy Specialist and as a Transplant Tech for UT Southwestern, harvesting tissue and organs from donors. On top of this, Rare attended the Art Institute of Dallas for video and audio engineering. He is currently the lead singer of a band called Rare Savant as well as a tutor for all ages in general studies, acting, theatre, voice, and more.
Rare has been blessed to work with some great theaters such as the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Uptown Players, Firehouse Theater, NTPA, Greater Lewisville and more. He has played roles, such as Radames in Aida (twice), Marty the Zebra in Madagascar, Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, Marty in The Full Monty, Huey Calhoun in Memphis (He has played this role twice and even won a Column Award for Best Actor in a musical), Benny in In the Heights, Billy Crocker in Anything Goes, and more. Rare strives to make sure that each student sees that he looks at them as complete individuals, all with something special to offer. He is excited to join the NTPA family and looks forward to each day and what it brings.