Staff

Artistic & Managing

 

Director Maureen Watson – studied theatre at West Chester State University and at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC.  She performed internationally with UWP in between schools She also has a BLS from ASU.  Maureen has been a Resident Artist, Director, Teacher and Actor in the Valley for years, working with Childsplay, Theatre Artists Studio, and others.  Maureen worked as AD in the early 2000s at Greasepaint and returned in 2010.  Greasepaint is home and Maureen tries to direct at least one show each season, most recently Heathers The Musical, NYA Best Director and Peter And The Starcatcher.  In addition, she directs at Brophy College Prep in Phoenix and performs whenever possible at her other theatre home, Theatre Artists Studio.

 

Directors

 

Jim Gradillas – has been teaching /directing youth theatre for 24 years. He has been a professional actor, teacher, director and writer all over Arizona during this time. Jim has won ten AriZoni Awards for Theatre Excellence, which includes three for original writing. He has also won and several National Arts Awards and Child Empowerment Awards.  He was also a teaching artist for Arizona Commission on the Arts. He has directed and taught for Mesa Arts Center, Valley Youth Theatre, Theater Works, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, and has directed and wrote for Scottsdale Christian Academy, Montessori Kingdom of Learning and Mesa Arts Academy. He currently produces, directs and writes for a youth theatre, Acting Zone in Goodyear, AZ. In addition, he is also the Auditorium Manager for the Paradise Valley Unified School District.  Jim directs the Bare Bones Jr program, workshops, main stage shows with Greasepaint Youth Theatre, a place that is near and dear to his heart. Jim lives with his lovely wife, Michelle (and writing partner) and son, Christian in Avondale.

 

Dale Nakagawa – After a long career as an itinerant theatrical artist, Dale has finally settled in down in the Phoenix area making Greasepaint his home theatre. Before arriving in Phoenix, Dale worked extensively as an actor, dancer, director, choreographer and lighting designer in a variety of cities. In Phoenix, Dale has worked with most of the professional theatre companies in town in a variety of capacities – including Arizona Theatre Co, Childsplay and Phoenix Theatre. He is currently a lighting designer for the Arizona Cardinals, in addition to teaching at Phoenix Country Day School. Dale received his degree in theatre from Southern Oregon University and served an internship with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

 

Elizabeth Ashley Reynolds – Beth is an arts administrator and musical theatre actress, director and choreographer whose love for the arts began as a young dancer in her hometown of West Palm Beach, FL. She also trained in New York at BDC with Frank Hatchett before making the transition from dance to musical theatre and theatre arts management. She earned BA in Journalism from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School with a minor in Dance. During her career, she has worked in professional theatres on both coasts, including The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Locally, Beth has held arts leadership roles at Greasepaint Youtheatre as Managing and Artistic Director; Phoenix Theatre as Director of Development, performer and Fosse dance instructor; and currently for Arts and Design at ASU as Associate Director of Development. She worked for the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and is a member of Actors Equity Association

 

Jodie Louise Weiss – works at Childsplay, where she has acted, is a teaching artist, and is currently their Special Events/Volunteer Coordinator. She has directed with Scottsdale Community Players, Greasepaint, and Childsplay. Jodie has worked locally as an actress at Phoenix Theater, Hale Theater Center, Greasepaint, Childsplay and SCP in Steel Magnolias as Truvy, for which she won an AriZoni award, and elsewhere at The Globe, San Diego Rep, La Jolla Stage Company, Oregon Cabaret Theater, and Starlight Musical Theater. Favorite roles include Gertrude in Seussical, Lucille in Junie B Jones, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Sister Robert Ann in Nunsense Ruby in Dames at Sea, and Hedy LaRue in How To Succeed in Buisness” at the Scripps Ranch Theater where she won an Aubrey award for her performance. Jodie has her BFA in Theater from ASU and her MFA in Musical Theater from SDSU.  

 

Musical Directors

 

Leslie Fields – is the music teacher at a K-8 charter school in Chandler, Dobson Academy. She is in her first year teaching after graduating from Northern Arizona University this past May with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She also loves the theater and has been music directing for professional theaters around the state. In college she was involved in many vocal ensembles including a cappella, vocal jazz, and concert choirs. She is currently having a blast teaching, directing and doing what she loves!

 

Curtis Moeller’s – recent work includes MD/keys on Next To Normal with Nearly Naked Theatre, Heathers at both Stray Cat Theatre and Greasepaint, and Now. Here. This. with A/C Theatre. A frequent collaborator with SMTC, he has served as MD for their productions of My Fair Lady, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Hello Dolly!, Sondheim on Sondheim and The Producers. During his music direction Master’s studies at ASU, he music directed Anything Goes and Children of Eden (Zoni nom). He spent much of this last summer working at Childsplay’s summer academy.

 

Jennifer Whiting –  An Arizona native, Jennifer has trained with world-renowned vocal instructors across U.S. She has won numerous vocal competitions and was accepted to many university programs with full-ride tuitions as a result of her vocal auditions. Her love of the theatre has grown over the years through numerous productions. She has been seen on the stage in productions such as the World Premier of Blackbeard: the musical (Mary understudy), the Arizona premiere of The Secret Garden (Lily), an ariZoni Award for Brigadoon (Meg), She Loves Me (Amalia), DIVAS at the Laxalt (Guest Artist), and Footloose (Vi), among many others. She has worked extensively as a professional in both Operatic and Music Theatre repertory across the southwest for over 20 years.  Jennifer also is a renowned music director for countless award winning productions for the past 25 years. As an accomplished accompanist, she has played in numerous orchestra pits and been a rehearsal/audition accompanist for numerous theatre companies. Jennifer is a music theatre instructor for an east valley charter school and the owner/proprietor of a private voice and piano studio in the valley. She would like to send a shout out to her amazing kids, who are so supportive of her crazy schedule! And to Kenne – forever and a day.

 

Choreographers

 

April Rozier – April has been working with Greasepaint for 7 seasons now.  She has acted as both  Stage Manager and Choreographer.  She had her stage/fil debut at age 6 in South Jersey, performed in over 30 shows by age 16, attended AMDA in NYC, certified as a Ballroom Instructor, and has over 10 years of Stage Managing experience.  She was nominated for an NYA for Honk! Here at greasepaint and won an NYA for Pippin choreography in 2017.  

 

Tasha Spear – spent fifteen years performing in Arizona youth theatre.  She is a graduate of  Occidental College in Los Angeles, earning a degree in Critical Theory and Social Justice as well as Theatre. She spent last semester participating in the National Music Theatre Institute’s semester program at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in Connecticut, where she trained, performed, directed and choreographed. Tasha spent most of her high school career both choreographing and performing and has continued that through college. Some credits include Dear Edwina (Choreographer), 2012’s production of 13 (Choreographer), How to Succeed in Bussiness… (Rosemary), and Les Mis: School Edition (Eponine).

 

Emily Starrett – After obtaining degrees in Elementary and Special Education from Northern Arizona University, Emily moved back to Phoenix to start teaching both education and dance. She has choreographed and danced in commercials for the Arizona State Fair and Fort McDowell Casino, choreographed wedding routines, and helped pilot a program that teaches dance to kids with autism. She teaches dance workshops of various styles around the Valley, including Hip Hop, Jazz Funk, Heels, Popping and Locking, Breaking, Broadway, and Dance Fitness. She currently teaches at Chaparral High School, where she has been choreographing musical productions since 2011. She has also been choreographing musical theater production for Greasepaint Youth Theater where her choreography was nominated for a National Youth Award in 2015.

 

Stage Managers

 

Rebecca Courtney – is very honored to be a part of the Greasepaint family! She has been a part of Greasepaint’s production of “Into the Woods”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Oliver”, “Heathers: The Musical”, “Pippin”, and many others. She started performing in shows throughout the valley in 2001 after moving to Scottsdale from Rockaway Beach, NY. Rebecca has worked as both an actor and a member of the tech and production crew throughout the last 15 years. Her most recent work as an actor was in the production of Cabaret as Kit Kat girl- Helga at Desert Stages. Some of her favorite roles she has been are: Louise Lerman in “Ruthless”, Rizzo in “Grease” (NYA winner), and Snow White in “Into the Woods”. Rebecca is a graduate from Arizona State and earned her BA in History with a minor Political Science. She hopes to being attending law school in the fall. Rebecca would like to thank her family for their support. A very big shout out to GC and AJ- thank you for everything you taught me, you got me here! “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground”

 

Savannah Thompson – is in her junior year at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, where she studies Arts Administration and Theatre with aspirations of someday opening her own theatre. She most recently had the opportunity to try her hand at stage managing for the first time with Elf Jr., and had the chance to direct during Sci-Fi week of summer camp! Previous Greasepaint involvement includes Nevermore (Player 11), Grease (Teen Angel), Hairspray (Lorraine/Ensemble), The Addams Family (Sound Op.), The Pajama Game (Sound Op.), Peter and the Starcatcher (ASM), and The Laramie Project (ASM). Savannah is so grateful for Maureen and everyone at Greasepaint for always giving her opportunities to grow both in her career and as a person.

 

Musicians

 

Russell Adams – or how he is known amongst friends, “Kenne”, is very happy to be a part of “The Wedding Singer”. By day Kenne serves as the owner and Designated Broker for CODA Properties and Managament but his life has always involved music and the theatre.  While his credits are simply too old to matter, he has been performing sense the age of 7.  Recently he taught himself how to play the bass, admittingly to impress a girl.  It seems to have worked, as she is still around and they live very happily in Fountain Hills, Az.  A special thanks goes to his family, his kids (all 5) and specifically Jennifer, for believing in him unconditionally and loving him forever and the day after.  A huge shout out to this unbelievably talented Cast, Production Crew and to Greasepaint Theatre for allowing him to be a part of this wonderful production.  Break Legs and Rock On!!!!

 

Designers

 

Maria Amorocho – better known as an actor in Phoenix theatre circles, is grateful to Maureen for giving her a platform to work as a visual artist. This is Maria’s first outing with costumes, though she has done props for several shows with Greasepaint, and also for The Wallace and Ladmo Show with the Scottsdale Community Players (Zoni Award). Through her company, Keepsake Kippot, Maria has been crafting beaded head coverings for women and selling them in Judaica shops throughout the country for fifteen years. Visit KeepsakeKippotAZ on Etsy for more information.

 

Benjamin Bozovich – is thrilled to have been apart of the Greasepaint family for the past five years. He is originally from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, where he caught the theatre bug at a very young age. It was there he attended a production of The Phantom of the Opera and the rest id history. He pursed his love of theatre by majoring in Theatre at Arizona State University where he achieved his Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration on design. He would also study design with the Walt Disney Company, that would lead him to making cosplay costumes for his friends. Soon after he was able to transfer his love of theatre and costume design to finally working on shows. He began his designing career at Greasepaint with shows such as Cinderella, Sweeney Todd, How to Succeed…, Fiddler on the Roof, Steel Magnolias, Alice in Wonderland, Legally Blonde, Romeo and Juliet, Into the Woods, Hairspray, The Producers (for which he earned an outstanding costume design nomination for the National Youth Arts award.) Peter and the Star catcher, Nevermore, The Pajama Game, The Addams Family, and Elf jr. His work has also been seen at Mesa Encore Theatre where he designed The Wiz. He has even performed onstage with “The Music Man”, also at MET. As well as Brophy-Xavier Prep. He hopes to keep designing and eventually work on a national tour of some show. He would like to thank Maureen and the Greasepaint family for all the amazing opportunities he has been given over the years.