WYART prides itself in bringing the highest level of professional artists and teachers from central Ohio and throughout the US to guide our students. You will find exceptionally well-qualified professionals are teaching at the Playhouse.
The Weathervane Playhouse is pleased to announce the appointment of Jessica Wiseman as its next Theatre Education Director. As the Theatre Education Director, she will build upon the legacies of her predecessors, notably, Kirsten Upchurch, and Erika Wills. We are confident she will be a great leader at a very exciting time of growth for Weathervane, as we prepare for our 50th Anniversary, in 2018, which is also the 10th Anniversary of our WYART program.
Jessica is currently the Choir Director, at Liberty Middle School, in Newark, Ohio. Throughout her 12-year teaching career she has taught a variety of subjects including choir, band, music theory, drama, and media arts. Her students at Liberty Middle School maintain the highest standard of musical excellence and consistently, receiving the highest ratings at contests. Her students were selected to perform at the 2017 Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference. Additionally, they were also selected to be the Demonstration Choir, at the Kodaly Institute, at Capital University.
In our WYART program, Jessica has taught Musical Theater Performance and Acting for Young Actors. She was the Musical Director for Les Misérables School Edition, The Addams Family, and State Fair G2K. She was the Musical Director and Choreography for Panda and the Moon, Shrek the Musical Jr., and The Magic and Me.
Jessica graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, from Kent State University. She went on to earn her Master’s in Music Education, from Capital University. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, at Liberty Middle School, she has taught private instruction in piano and voice for 14 years.
Kirsten has been working with Weathervane Playhouse on and off for over 15 years. Kirsten began her career at Weathervane Playhouse. She began volunteering as a backstage hand, usher, concessions and anything she could be involved with here at Weathervane which eventually landed her her 1st job as an Assistant Director for The Children’s Workshop theater at Weathervane in 1996 at the age of 16. She then went on to earn her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from Texas Christian University. She continued to follow her dreams and earned her Master’s of Fine Arts in Performance from Florida Atlantic University in 2005. Kirsten has performed with companies such as Palm Beach Drama Works, The Women’s Theatre Project, Hampstead Stage Company, The Alliance Theatre Lab, Rosebriar Shakespeare Co, Miami Edge Theatre. She was the founding Theatre Director of Artistic Soul Studios, an adjunct professor of Acting for Florida Atlantic University, and has been a Dialect Coach for the National Tours of Jekyll & Hyde(2014-15) & Flashdance (2016-17). Kirsten has held the following positions with Weathervane Playhouse over her tenure: General Manager, WYART Director, Production Manager, Production Stage Manager, Master electrician, Stage Hand, Props Master, Scenic Painter. Kirsten has toured as the Production Stage Manager for the Broadway National Tour of Jekyll & Hyde (2014-15)and The National & Canada, & New Zealand Tour of Flashdance the Musical (2015-16). Her favorite experiences include playing Lina Lamont in Weathervane’s 2012 production of Singin’ in the Rain,Directing a condensed version of The Merry Wives of Windsor for Rosebriar Shakespeare in 2007, and landing her first Broadway National Tour as a Swing Tech for Godspell. Kirsten is excited to be sharing her experiences, and passion with WYART students, families and our community. *Kirsten Upchurch is a member of The Actor’s Equity Association.
Tonya Kraner is well versed in choreographing, teaching and performing many different styles of dance including Tap, Hip Hop/Street Jazz, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Tumbling as well as foundations in Mixed Swing Styles, Clogging and Lyrical Signing utilizing ASL.
Ms. Kraner has trained and performed with many dance legens including Dianne Walker, Jimmy Slyde, Robert Reed, The Tap Dogs, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Cris Judd, Eddie Garcia, Sheila Barker, Tyce D’Orio, Mia Michaels, Mikhail Barychnikov, and Twyla Tharp. Ms. Kraner works as an instructor at The Ballet Academy in Newark, as an instructor for Susan’s Tap-n-Toe Studio in Lancaster where she also directs TNT Dance Team, and as an adjunct professor of dance and exercise for Ohio University. She worked previously at Weathervane Playhouse as the 2016 Resident Choreographer. She is thrilled to return to Weathervane as a WYART dance instructor!
Jason Speicher is the Artistic Director of Patient Zero Theatre Company in Columbus. He has been an ensemble member and manager of The Raconteur Theatre Company, and holds an Advanced Actor Combatant Certification from the Society of American Fight Directors. His fight choreography for the Actor’s Theatre of Columbus has been critically acclaimed. We are extremely excited he has decided to share his talents with WYART!
Stephen is a native to Columbus, OH. A graduate of Reynoldsburg High School. Stephen has earned his bachelors degree from the University of Phoenix while working as a professional theatre artisan around Columbus. His recent acting credits include 9 seasons with Actor’s Theatre, Jacob in Columbus Civic Theatre’s production of Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, Renfield in SRO’s production of Dracula. Stephen has also been an acclaimed director with Rosebriar Shakespeare Theatre, as well as a stage manager with several companies. Stephen is excited to bring his working knowledge and experience to WYART.
Allen DeCarlo (Director) Allen is a proud panther having been the second graduating class of Pickerington High School North, the same year Mariah Carey’s We Belong Together was the #1 hit song for the year! A few years later he received his Bachelor’s of Art in Theatre with a minor in Dance from Northern Kentucky University. What did that get him you may ask? Employment at Pickerington North High School North and Lakeview Junior High as the theatre teacher and Director. With Pickerington North being Allen’s alma mater, he feels so privileged to be able to teach the future of the community he grew up in. When Allen is not teaching, he enjoys directing for WYART at Weathervane Playhouse. Lisa & Jeff DeCarlo brought Allen into this world so whether you love or loathe him, you can thank them!
Cheridy (Dee) Saunders
Cheridy holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Music Therapy from Michigan State University in piano and woodwinds, where she marched in the MSU Spartan Marching Band in both the color guard and the drumline. She teaches vocal music at Granville Middle School. She spent 7 years directing summer stock musicals at Weathervane Playhouse where she served as Resident Music Director. She works as an arranger for many show choirs throughout Ohio, creating both vocal and instrumental arrangements for competition. She has written many original compositions, including the original score for Weathervane’s 2008 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is a contemporary worship leader at both Pickerington Epiphany Lutheran Church and St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Grandview, OH.