Director of Education
Kevin earned his B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Richmond in Virginia and his M.A. with an emphasis in writing and directing for the theatre from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Kevin spent many years touring as a professional actor before settling down to teach acting as well as to create and manage theatre productions. Kevin’s theatre management includes productions with Penn and Teller, Kathy Bates, Farrah Fawcett, Gary Sinese, Lynn Redgrave, John Mahoney and Holly Hunter (all NYC), Sheena Easton (Las Vegas), David Cassidy (Las Vegas, National and International Tours) as well as one of the largest production shows in the world MGM Grand’s EFX (Las Vegas). Kevin wrote the book for GET HAPPY one of the definitive works on the songwriter Harold Arlen and won Winter Haven’s National Playwriting Award for Best Musical for the children’s fantasy A DRAGON’S TALE! Along with composer and arranger, Denis Kashoid, Kevin has recently written the children’s musicals COOL YULE TIDINGS – A WORLDLY CELEBRATION, TOY TROUBLE, THE PIED PIPER OF POSSUM KINGDOM and an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes called THE ROCKER’S NEW RAGS. Denis and Kevin are currently creating a musical theatre adaptation of Dracula scheduled to open in Dallas in July of 2013.
Acting, Lyric Interpretation
ElizaBeth Bontley graduated from Trinity University with a BA in Speech/Drama; from the Circle in the Square Theater School in NYC; and recently completed her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts through Goddard College. While in New York, she performed extensively off and off/off Broadway with Willow Cabin Theater, Our Gang Theater, Circle in the Square Projects and Roundabout Stage II.
Locally, she appeared in Echo Theater’s Fefu and her Friends; in Theater Three’s The Women; The Memory of Water, as well as several staged readings at Circle Theater; Steel Magnolias at Artisan Theater; and has been active in Ft. Worth’s V-Day celebrations.
She has directed for DFW Playwrights, the Texas Unbound Festival, Watertower’s Out of the Loop Festival, Unity’s Magdalene Festival, TCC, Bedford Onstage, Wingspan Theater, and was assistant director to Susan Sargeant’s Moon for the Misbegotten at Circle Theater. She produced, directed and performed in The Guys. Recently, she has been focusing on creating original material including, 6 Women Who Have Found their Author at TCU, The Girlz2Women Quest, and her year long project 12 in 12 at the Firehouse Gallery.
She is an acting and performance coach and a speaker on holistic principles, eco-philosophy and women’s issues. She taught acting at TCU and TCC; currently teaching at Stage and Dallas Summer Musicals.
Dance Instructor / Choreographer
Amanda teaches choreography for the DSM Academy. Amanda has been dancing since before she could walk. She was trained in classical ballet, pointe, and contemporary ballet, modern, tap, and jazz for over 20 years and has been teaching dance for over 9 years. Originally from Abilene, she was a company member of Abilene Ballet Theatre and a dance instructor for Ballet Abilene from 1999 to 2005. Her company performed The Nutcracker every winter, and attended Regional Dance America Southwest every spring, where she featured contemporary ballet dance pieces. When she graduated from Wylie High School in May of 2005, she attended and graduated in August 2009 with a BBA in Arts and Entertainment Marketing from Baylor University. From 2006 to 2009, Amanda taught at Joy’s School of Dance ages 3 to adult in ballet, jazz, contemporary ballet, and tap. In June 2009, Amanda began an internship at Dallas Summer Musicals in the Marketing Department. Amanda was later given the position of Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Dallas Summer Musicals, and began teaching for the DSM Academy in September of 2010. She is so excited to be a part of the DSM Academy!
Choreographer, educator, and performing artist, Michelle Gibson received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance and Performance Studies from Hollins University / American Dance Festival at Duke University. “Second Lining” from New Orleans, Louisiana, she has been blessed to have studied at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, with the Delta Festival Ballet Company, Milton School of Dance, the Young African American Dance Ensemble, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and at the American Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow. Michelle has had the opportunity of performing works choreographed by Baba Chuck Davis, Baba Richard Gonzales, Donald McKayle, Sean Curran, Ronald K. Brown, Trebien Pollard, LaMora Perez Prades, Marlies Yearby,Tommy F. DeFrantz, Thaddeus and Tanya Davis, Vernel Bagneris and Scott Grossman.
Michelle was awarded a 2013 National Performance Network Creation Fund Grant, has toured and performed throughout Germany and Japan, and will go on a US tour again in 2015. She has been a four year faculty member with the American Dance Festival, a six week school intensive held at Duke University, and also with the Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive. She was an artist in residence during the summer of 2014 in Port Au Prince and Jacmel Haiti, with New Waves Dance and Performance Institute. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Exhibit Dance Collective, has taught and set choreography at various intensives, institutions and universities.
Currently Michelle is an artist in residence with the South Dallas Cultural Center, Artistic Director of the Dallas Youth Repertory Project, and Adjunct Professor at Brookhaven College in Dallas, TX.
Her choreographic works range from genres of the African Diaspora, Contemporary Modern, Afro Funk, Jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic.
Denis Kashoid comes to Dallas Summer Musicals by way of Russia. Following ten years of studying the art of music, Mr. Kashoid continued his education by completing a Masters degree in music performance and education awarded by Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Denis is a teacher accredited on the college level, a performance artist in piano and trumpet, musical director for the theatre and an orchestrator. In the United States, Denis has most recently been the conductor and musical director for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, SEUSSICAL, GODSPELL, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, FAME, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK, JUNGLE BOOK, THE BIG BAD MUSICAL, and WILLIE WONKA. Denis has partnered with author Kevin Cook to write the music and arrangements for COOL YULE TIDINGS, TOY TROUBLE, THE PIED PIPER OF POSSUM KINGDOM, and the modern adaptation of the Emperor’s New Clothes called THE ROCKER’S NEW RAGS. Denis has also recently scored the new film I AM GABRIEL. Denis is currently working with Kevin Cook on creating a musical theatre adaptation of Dracula scheduled to open in Dallas in July of 2013. To hear samples of some of Denis Kashoid’s original composition and film scoring, visit www.deniskashoid.com or ckcreatives.com.
Steven Kavner is the Peabody Award winning producer of the critically acclaimed PBS Children’s Series, Wishbone. The show also received four Daytime Emmy Awards as well as the Television Critics Association Award for best children’s program two years in a row. Their feature-length presentation, Showtime presents Wishbone’s Dog Days of the West was co-produced, co-written, and co-starred Steven and was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards.
Steven has been an actor for over 30 years in film, television, commercials, and theater where he received two DRAMA-LOGUE Awards for excellence in acting in Los Angeles and appeared on many television shows and commercials including recurring roles on the Daytime Dramas Bold and the Beautiful and Generations as well as Hill St. Blues, Gidget’s Summer Reunion, The New Leave it to Beaver, Lou Grant, Dynasty, and Remington Steele. Steven was a performer for many years with the acclaimed improv troupe, The Groundlings, and then created the improv troupe, The Alley Oops at Actors Alley in Los Angeles. Steven was an instructor at the famed Stella Adler Academy as well as his own studio, Improv For The Actor.
Currently, Steven is the Founder and Managing Director of Salty Pretzels Entertainment (www.saltypretzels.com), developing a number of properties for kids, tweens, and teens. The advertising division has created and produced national commercials for such children’s icons as Barney, Bob The Builder, Sesame Street, The Cat in the Hat, and Fraggle Rock among many others
Kristina has thirty years of dance experience. She has studied classically in both Ballet and Modern Dance with New York University, Tisch Dance, NYC - BFA, Nutmeg Ballet, Vagonova Program and at North Carolina School of the Arts - High School Diploma, Boston Ballet and various other ballet summer programs, such as BalletMet and School of American Ballet. She was a company member in Darrah Carr Dance Company and the Doug Elkins Dance Company, both based in New York. Through the latter, she performed at several premiere spaces in New York and abroad, including The Duke on 42nd Street, The Joyce SoHo and others. Kristina has been reviewed in the New York Times, an article which showcased a color photo of her. She and her husband moved to Oslo, Norway, in 2004, where she took over a family dance school with approximately 500 students and an attached professional children’s dance company. During this time of serving as leader of the then 55 year old institution the children’s ballet company toured to Turkey and Italy and performed at premiere spaces in the Oslo community, including the Oslo Concert House and the National Theatre. Simultaneously, while managing the ballet school, together with her husband Jim Hart, they launched The International Theatre Academy Norway, a two year accredited conservatory for arts (Theatre) entrepreneurship and also served as Rektor Both schools are still in operation today. Currently she enjoys teaching dance and theater and developing young performing artists.
Production Stage Manager
As a student of theatre and cultural anthropology, Ms Lawrence attended Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. Her technical stage work includes productions of OKLAHOMA!, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK and PENNY. Ty began her stage management career with the Junior Players Guild in Dallas with THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGENT EVER. She was Production Stage Manager for the SPECTACULAR SENIOR FOLLIES presented at the historic Majestic Theatre. She is currently the resident Production Stage Manager for Dallas Summer Musicals Academy of Performing Arts. Student know her management skills from recent academy productions such as COOL YULE TIDINGS, THE BIG BAD MUSICAL as well as TOY TROUBLE, THE PIED PIPER OF POSSUM KINGDOM and this summer’s teen intensive FAME. Ty is also stage manages productions for DFW Performing Arts Conservatory including FAME, SUNDAY NIGHT LIVE and their upcoming production of GODSPELL .
Cherish Robinson has over 15 years of experience in the music field. Learning how to play the piano at the age of 7 and professionally singing since the age of 12, she knew that music was going to be a vital part in her life. She has been teaching piano and voice for over 7 years and founded The Shining Fame School of Arts (a performing and visual arts school).
Cherish has traveled to Europe and the United States as a singer, producer, and writer. She has worked with many choirs, artists, and producers such as Yarbrough & Peoples, Pat Peterson, Liz Mikal, Erykah Badu, N'Dambi, Emily King, and the Louisiana State University gospel choir. In May of 2007, she was the Music Director for Dallas' 1st Annual Divas and Daughters Tribute (an award show, honoring influential women of Dallas, TX.). In June 2008, she toured with Erykah Badu as her newest background vocalist on the Vortex Tour.
In March 2010, she recorded an album with A.W. Brown Fellowship Leadership Academy (as their then music teacher) entitled, "Music In Our Schools: It's All Up To Me". In June of that same year, her all-girl band, Beauty &the Beats released their highly anticipated 3-song EP and is currently working on finishing the album along with her solo jazz project. She also serves as Rising Star Baptist Church, Minister of Music in Ft. Worth, TX.
As a native New Yorker working professionally in the theatre for over 15 years, Joe's passion for musical theater performance landed him a scholarship to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in Manhattan, NY. Joe graduated and went on to perform in numerous summer stock productions and regional playhouses, including New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse. He received his Actors Equity Union card in 2001 from his first national tour with Theatreworks USA. Joe has lent his voice to multiple Nickelodeon commercials including "Sponge Bob Square Pants" and radio spots for McDonald's and other national leading brands. Commercial credits include "Sex and the City", a national spot for TBS. In 2008 Joe spent a year "down under" where he performed and taught a variety of theatre classes for Riverside Theatre in Sydney, Australia. His work with children has been a constant through out his career. Joe has spent numerous summers teaching, directing, and choreographing at French Woods Festival for the Performing Arts, a summer camp located on a beautiful private lake in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. Prior to arriving in Texas, Joe was a director for Wingspan Arts, a not-for-profit program which brought all types of Arts Education to schools that lost funding due to increasing budget cuts. After his first year he was asked to direct their Summer Conservatory's musical production. An avid believer of the important influence Arts Education has on our youth, it was a privilege and honor for him to be part of such a special organization. Joe is thrilled to be a new member of the DSM Academy and is looking forward to a great year of playmaking!! Recent Dallas teaching/directing credits include Dallas Children's Theater, Junior Players, and DFW Performing Arts Center.