I’m Doing This – A KIDSTAGE Originals Production
Location: Cope Gillette Theatre, Everett
Devised, Created, and Written by the 2021-2022 KIDSTAGE Originals Team
Amani Velada, Cole Harbak, Colin Albrecht, Ella Heiner, Ethan Case, Hayden Austneberg, Isabel Zollman, Jenna Denny, Risa Walles, Sage Jennings, Teigun Pesce, and Will Lemcio
Devising Mentorship by Andrew Coopman
Directed by Jeremy Steckler
Music Directed by Andrew Pang
There is an apartment complex that seems unremarkable on the outside, like all the other boring buildings on a plain urban street, but is in fact filled with people on the precipice of something great. Some are working on their next big hit, or daring to ask that person they see in the elevator out on a date, or just creating new ways to make their customers happy. Each resident is at the dawn of something new, uncharted. Pushing beyond their boundaries to achieve a goal. This interwoven narrative musical explores what it means to be human and on the cusp of greatness.
The cornerstone of devising work in theater, for me, is that it is truly Community Based Theater, which is theater by the people, for the people, and of the people. That means that every creative team member, every cast, every project is unique and special to the group of people experimenting, writing, and creating the piece. Devising work is about celebrating the process over the product while simultaneously knowing that, at some point, something will become a show performed for the community.
It’s every creative’s nightmare and dream, an empty canvas waiting for us to dive in together and do something magical: make something from nothing.
My philosophy as a mentor for this KIDSTAGE Originals project was to embrace and encourage the voices of the students through a variety of creative explorations, exploratory playwriting, and interdisciplinary art making that sought to navigate complex issues that are weighing on their own hearts and minds.
This is a collaborative, creative process, and I call my method the Toy Box.
We spent the first many weeks in the germination phase, which is when everyone is assigned writing or creative prompts. Students had anywhere from a week to a day to three hours to make something and share it with us. These prompts were meant to explore a variety of techniques, access points, and topics to inspire the imagination and practice material generation. Every piece generated became a part of the toy box, which in the second part of the process, became the pieces of a large puzzle that became our script. The process was quick and was centered in the question: So what story are we telling together and how is it all connected? This phase embraced everyone’s personal perspective to make the thing that excited them and demanded that we, as a community, come together, find the connection points, and bring it all together in the third phase to form some sort of script. It’s exciting, terrifying, exhilarating, and a wonderful opportunity to refine and define your work as an artist, and really lean into and on the community we have made in our creative work.
I’m looking forward to our work together, so let’s make some magic. -Andrew Coopman
Being part of a staged reading is a special experience. It’s the opportunity to watch a show in its infancy grow and change shape. It’s an even greater special experience when it’s a show written by 12 inspirational students during a bizarre time in our world. These young writers and actors crafted a story that speaks to what it means to be part of a community.
Every single day, we pass people that are part of our daily routine but we don’t acknowledge their stories. All of them have fears, aspirations, and dreams, and we’re all connected by a tiny bus ride or coffee shop. Especially now, it’s easy to shut down and view others as one-dimensional human beings or simply secondary characters in our lives. When we open ourselves up to the fact that we are all connected through a common thread of humanity, it’s like the flood gates open and empathy is abundant.
Thank you to these magnificent writers and performers for reminding us that everyone we pass in our lives have dreams, and we all have everything we need inside of us to make them come true. Enjoy the show and do something special for someone you don’t know this week.
AMANI VELADA (She/Her) has been performing starting at the age of six years old. She has been in ballroom competitions and performs, acts, and sings at Everett KIDSTAGE and Institute for four years.
COLE HARBAK (He/Him) is very excited to be participating in this production! He’s a sophomore at his high school. His favorite past roles include: Timon in The Lion King, Senator Fipp in Urinetown, and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins. He would like to thank his family, friends, and his two cats.
COLIN ALBRECHT (He/Him) is thrilled to be a part of his first KIDSTAGE Originals. He’s loved participating in KIDSTAGE productions. His favorite roles were Ralphie in A Christmas Story and Lawrence in School of Rock. Colin is a passionate piano player and adores the KIDSTAGE community!
ELLA HEINER (She/Her) is excited to be a part of the KIDSTAGE Originals production. Past roles include Godspell soloist and Bagheera in The Jungle Book. Ella enjoys playing guitar/ukulele. Her favorite thing about KIDSTAGE is the community.
E CASE (He/Him) is excited to be back on stage. Briefly being spotted on the Zoom stage in Not So Grim where he was the loveable, non-huggable, Pestilence. E is passionate about theatre as well as showing others kindness. Love to all.
HAYDEN AUSTNEBERG (He/Him/His) is thrilled to be a part of this production. Prior work through Village Theatre KIDSTAGE include Sing It Forward (Ensemble), Godspell (Ensemble), and School of Rock (Ensemble). Middle school productions include Mary Poppins Jr. (Von Hussler, Ensemble) and The Lion King Jr. (Ensemble). He thanks his parents, friends, and instructors.
ISABEL ZOLLMAN (She/Her) is excited to participate and share this KIDSTAGE Originals work. Some of her favorite past roles include Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka Jr. and Renka in I Never Saw Another Butterfly. She participates in the “Teens in Action” at Seattle Children’s Theatre. Thanks to everyone involved in bringing this work to life!
JENNA DENNY (She/Her) is thrilled and honored to be a part of this production! Favorite past roles include Madison (School of Rock) and Gingy (Shrek Jr.) In Jenna’s free time, she loves editing random videos. Shout out to family, EC, MW, JH, MD and HK for their support!
RISA WALLES (They/Them) is super excited to be back (in-person-ish) at KIDSTAGE after a few years! Recent roles include Miss Andrew (Mary Poppins Jr.), Omar (Aladdin Jr.), and Orcus/Ronnie (She Kills Monsters). They enjoy writing, drawing, and complaining about the school system. Huge thanks to their family & friends.
SAGE JENNINGS (She/Her) is very excited to be applying their writing to a public project for the first time! They have never shared their songs before and are thrilled to be able to do so with such a supportive group of people. You may have seen Sage in shows with Edmonds Driftwood Players, Ballyhoo, or Kitsap Forest Theatre. Sage has worked with the Village Theatre Institute program for two years now and is excited to get involved with the behind-the-scenes element of theatre out of interest for a profession in both performing and directing.
TEIGUN PESCE (He/Him) is in disbelief to be working with Village once again. Recent productions in Seattle/Everett include Big Fish as Young Will (Taproot Theatre), A Christmas Carol as Charles Cratchit (ACT), Shrek Jr. as Pinocchio (Village Theatre), Willy Wonka Jr. as Willy Wonka (Village Theatre), and Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter as Brian/Klaus (Village Mainstage). Never ending love to my incredible mom and family, the girl bosses I get to call my best friends, and Micaela.
WILL LEMCIO (He/Him) is excited to be a part of this KIDSTAGE production. Past shows include School of Rock and Godspell Jr. at KIDSTAGE and The Lion King and Mary Poppins at school. Will enjoys everything about movies. Thanks to the production team for this opportunity.
JEREMY STECKLER (He/Him) (Director) is honored to be directing again with Village Theatre KIDSTAGE. Having directed Jasper in Deadland this summer, Jeremy found joy in both the creative aspect of directing and the educational component of working with young adults. Jeremy is a recent graduate from the University of Washington and currently works at DocuSign. When he’s not selling eSignature, he’s out auditioning and collaborating on creative projects as an actor, director, writer, and musician. Favorite past projects include As You Like It with Seattle Shakespeare, RENT with KIDSTAGE, and Modern with VTFONM. Much live to his friends and family for always supporting his pursuits!
ANDREW PANG (He/Him) (Music Director) has been performing in musical theater for over eight years. He has been heavily involved with Village KIDSTAGE at both locations, and worked on In the Heights and Out of Bounds before the pandemic. He also teaches a variety of music focuses, such as violin/viola, piano, and composing. He spends his free time watching anime and video gaming with his cat Ellie.
ANDREW COOPMAN (They/He) (Writing Mentor) is a Seattle-based director, choreographer, devising artist, and teaching artist, and they couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Village Theatre Teaching Faculty. Their teaching philosophy is centered in being an ally to each young artist’s individual journey to mastery; the goal is simple: That by the end of the class each student can say, “I did it!” Andrew graduated from Whitworth University with a BA in Theater, English – Literature, and Community Based Theater before touring domestically and internationally as a Tour Actor/Director with Missoula Children’s Theater for three years. Since then, Andrew has received a Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Washington School of Drama (2021) and a Masters of Arts in Educational Theater from New York University – Steinhardt (2015). Throughout their career, Andrew has worked in many theater organizations across the country, such as Opening Act (NYC), Stages on the Sound (Brooklyn, NY), Spotlight Youth Theater (Chicago, IL), Seattle Opera, Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Children’s Theater, and the University of Washington. During the pandemic, Andrew directed and devised an original Zoom musical production with Cooperative Theater in Milwaukee call RE:Social/Divide, which tackled the relationship of relative truth, social media, and human connection. As a Youth Theater Director and Choreographer, some highlight credits include In the Heights (Village Theatre, Everett), Once on this Island (Studio East, Seattle), Into the Woods (Studio East, Seattle), James and the Giant Peach (Village Theatre, Issaquah), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (EDP, Seattle), and Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Kitsap Forest Theater). A fun fact about Andrew is that they LOVE Frozen so much that they named their dog after a song from the musical: Hygge! AndrewCoopman.com
CLINT BULL (He/Him) (Lighting Designer) graduated from Gonzaga University with a BA in technical theatre in 2020. He has previously designed for Village Theatre on the KIDSTAGE production of Jasper in Deadland in 2021 and is excited to be back! He would like to thank his family for all the support.
JOSHUA BLAISDELL (He/Him) (Sound Designer/Sound Engineer) is thrilled to be back for another with Village Theatre KIDSTAGE. Previous KIDSTAGE credits include: In the Heights, The Lion King Jr., Oliver!, Shrek Jr., Les Misérables, Chicago, Willy Wonka Jr., School of Rock, and In the Heights. His recent work outside the Village Theatre family includes: Secret in the Wings and Guys and Dolls with Bishop Blanchet High School, and Ay Carmela with Latino Theatre Projects. Thank you all for another wonderful production.
BRITTANY STERLING (She/Her) (Stage Manager) is excited to be working her 14th KIDSTAGE production! Previous Stage Managing at KIDSTAGE includes: Out of Bounds (Originals 2020), In the Heights, School of Rock, Willy Wonka Jr., This Is What They Tell Me, Sing It Forward 2018 and 2019, Seussical KIDS, Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, Annie KIDS, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King Jr., and James and the Giant Peach Jr. Other credits include productions at iDiOM Theatre, Bellingham Theatre Works, The Neighborhood Playhouse, Fairhaven Historical Association, WWU Theatre and Dance Department, and Bellingham Theatre Guild.
AYANA URIU (She/Her) (KIDSTAGE Education Programs Associate, Everett) Ayana is proud to be part of the KIDSTAGE family. A graduate of Everett HS, Ayana attended Western Washington University where she earned a BA in Theatre Arts. In her eight years at KIDSTAGE, she’s worn many hats, working with Institute/Pathway, classes, camps, and productions. Ayana has also had the honor of stage managing many KIDSTAGE shows. Favorites include: The Addams Family, Hairspray, The Lion King Jr., Les Misérables School Edition, and In the Heights. Ayana also works with the Evergreen MS and Whittier ES Drama Clubs. She is living the dream every day here at KIDSTAGE!
AARON ALONSO (He/Him) (KIDSTAGE Production Manager, Everett) Aaron was a KIDSTAGE kid before joining the Village Theatre family, working at theatres including: The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Kennedy Center, and his alma mater of Western Washington University, where he holds a BA in theatre arts with an emphasis in stage management and technical theatre. Some favorite productions at KIDSTAGE include: A Christmas Story, In the Heights, School of Rock, Les Misérables, The Lion King Jr., and Hairspray. Aaron thanks his family, friends, and mentors as he valiantly attempts to put his theatre degree to use. Member of Village Theatre’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Committee, the City of Everett Cultural Arts Commission, the Mukilteo Schools Foundation Board of Directors, and the United States Institute of Theatre Technology. His motto: “MacGyver it!”
KIDSTAGE Originals gives emerging young artists the opportunity to create their own new musical. Students generate their own original material under the mentorship and guidance of a professional writing, composing, and directing team. The piece is then turned over to a directing team who works with a cast to create a first reading of the show.
This year’s Everett KIDSTAGE Originals team members are both writers and actors in the production. It is a devised piece, where a company of actors created a piece of theatre using a variety of theatre and writing techniques, including improvisation, character development, free form writing, and more.
KIDSTAGE Originals productions are written by, for, and about teens, and can address some of the most important issues to teens today. Past KIDSTAGE Originals shows include: Last Exit, In Your Eyes, Save As…, Hot Mess, Playing Fair, This is What They Tell Me, Sincerely Yours, Out of Bounds, and All That Glitters – A Rock Legend.
Everett staff on site Wed – Sat
Issaquah staff on site Tues – Sat
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Wed & Thurs: 11:00 am – 6:30 pm
Fri & Sat: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Skills for Theatre… Skills for Life
To provide a personal development program for young people which uses theatre arts:
- To teach creativity and responsibility
- To encourage teamwork and personal integrity
- To foster self-esteem and appreciation for live theatre
Everyone benefits from an inclusive, multi-cultural environment of students, staff and programming. We welcome people of every ethnicity, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, income and ability.