Executive Artistic Director
Christina Lazo has been involved in performing arts education for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College, New York. She has performed, choreographed and directed for local, regional, and touring companies across the country. As a teacher, Christina has worked with students from pre-school through professional level and enjoys helping each student reach their full potential. Happily, she has been part of the wonderful staff at MTW for over ten years. She is grateful to be able to share her passion for theatre with others, and is excited to bring a real theatre experience to young performers at MTW.
Carolyn Miller (A.K.A. ‘Mz. Music’)
Founding Executive Director
With 35 years experience teaching Music History, Theatre and Choir in San Francisco schools, and a dream of starting a musical theatre company for young people, Carolyn Miller created MTW in 1997. MTW has fulfilled Carolyn’s vision of a challenging and exciting musical theatre company for young people in San Francisco. Through MTW, Carolyn, who is also a published composer and credentialed Music teacher with degrees in Vocal Music and Music Education, has been able to help Bay Area students experience full-scale, professional-level Musical Theatre. Carolyn continues to help guide MTW towards the future by serving on its Board of Directors, reaching out to new MTW families, and being involved in all major events and performances.
Meghan Crosby-Jolliffe (they/them) is a Mezzo-Soprano and educator who is passionate about creating a vibrant and inclusive environment for the next generation of performing artists. They graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a M.M. in vocal performance and they hold a B.M. in voice from the New England Conservatory. While living in the Boston area they worked with multiple musical theater troupes as a vocal director, stage director, and producer, including The Lilac Players on which they continue to serve as a board member. Meghan has loved musical theater since their own experiences in children’s theater and they are thrilled to be a part of the team at Musical Theatre Works.
Chanel is our Lead Teaching Artist for the Broadway Bound 1 Company, and has also taught Summer programs and Gotta Sing Gotta Dance classes. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Communication and minors in Theatre and Music Industry. Passionate about Arts Education, Chanel has worked with students all over the Bay Area at companies such as Bay Area Children’s Theatre and Berkeley Playhouse. Chanel originated the role of Kitty Bennet in the world premiere production of Paul Gordon’s Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, now streaming on Amazon and StreamingMusicals.com. She most recently appeared in Kinky Boots with Ray of Light Theatre. She is always excited to learn and create with all of our MTW actors!
Lore is a Filipino-American, non-binary interdisciplinary artist, theatermaker, and teaching artist based in Oakland, CA. As a multifaceted artist, they’ve worked as an actor, director, photographer, musician, writer, puppeteer, and arts producer. Their art often explores the boundaries of theater, performance, visual art, music, and everything in between. Lore is passionate about theatre education, community-based art and community building through storytelling. Over the years they have collaborated and performed with various companies in the Bay Area, notably with Shotgun Players, Bindlestiff Studio, Cutting Ball Theater, ShadowLight Productions, SF Playhouse, Cal Shakes, Theaterworks, and Berkeley Rep. They received a BA in Theater & Performance Studies from UC Berkeley and have also studied with American Conservatory Theater, the SITI Company, and Dell’Arte School of Physical Theater.
Ashley has choreographed many shows with MTW, including Cinderella, The Addams Family, Shrek, and The Music Man. She has instructed, directed, and choreographed for several youth theatre education programs across the Bay Area, as well as pre-professional college and adult programs. She is currently on staff at The Ballet School Performing Arts where she teaches private voice and tap classes. As an actor, singer, and dancer, she has performed onstage regionally and internationally in musical theatre, cabaret, and live events. Ashley holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from AMDA LA and is a member of Actor’s Equity.
McKay Elwood moved to the Bay last year from Salt Lake City, UT, where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University with a minor in Contemporary Dance. He taught acting, improv, musical theatre, and dance classes with Utah Children’s Theatre for two years, as well as worked as a teaching assistant with a private elementary school for 3 years. Originally from Minnesota, McKay has performed professionally for 8 years in various musical theatre and dance productions. He currently teaches voice lessons from his private vocal studio in Berkeley, as well as online, specializing in musical theatre, classical, pop, and contemporary vocal styles. Locally he has performed with Landmark Musical Theatre, NCTC, and Berkeley Playhouse, and is looking forward to upcoming productions. He is thrilled to be able to share and collaborate with the actors at MTW!
Jenna grew up immersed in the Bay Area theatre community. From her first theatre class, at age 5, she fell in love with the art form. Jenna is now a teaching artist, stage manager, and director. She currently works with many local arts organizations including the Berkeley Playhouse, Town Hall Theatre, and SF Playground. She is thrilled to be part of the MTW community as the lead teaching artist for Gotta Sing Gotta Dance, for kids in grades kindergarten through second.
Marianna Elise Ferris
Vocal Coach / Voice Class Instructor
Marianna has been performing for over 24 years, studying singing for 18, and teaching full time for six. She loves music of all kinds and has sung and coached in such disparate styles as Musical Theatre, Opera, Rock, Jazz, Cabaret and Folk Rock. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors from Carnegie Mellon University, and believes that a solid singing technique should be easy and comfortable for any singer.
Kevin has been an instructor with MTW’s summer program since 2005. He works as a director and choreographer throughout the Bay Area, and has staged numerous productions, including The Boy from Oz (Theatre Rhinoceros), Rock of Ages (Ohlone Summerfest), and more. For MTW, he choreographed productions of Aida, Guys and Dolls, Grease, and Footloose. Kevin holds a BA in Radio, Television, Film, and Theatre from San Jose State University, and an MA and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the University of San Francisco. He is second grade teacher with Fremont Unified School District.
Traci has been teaching dance and performing arts in the Bay Area for over twenty years. She loves to see the joy movement brings into the lives of her students. Traci is currently an award-winning Choreographer and Dance Instructor with the City of Newark’s Betty Gentry Dance Program, in the East Bay. During the academic school year, Traci is the Librarian and 3rd Grade Instructional Assistant at Our Lady of Guadalupe School, in Fremont. She also choreographs the spring musical and founded and directs dancersDivine, a dance and movement ministry group at the school.
Marissa has been an assistant instructor with MTW’s summer programs and has been Lead Teacher for Singing/Music for the Introduction to Theatre program since 2016. She holds an Associate in Arts degree in Fine Arts with a Theatre and Dance Concentration and an A.A. in Theatre Arts from Ohlone College. During her time at Ohlone, she also received Certificates of Accomplishment as a Dance Teacher/Choreographer in Ballet, Tap, Contemporary, and Jazz. In Fall of 2020, she will be attending NYU Tisch School of the Arts to earn a BFA in Drama studying musical theatre at the New Studio on Broadway.
Magdalena (Maggie) Shumanova
Originally from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Maggie started her piano studies at the age of four. She attended Secondary Music School “Dobrin Petkov” from 1st – 12th grade. After graduating with honors, she continued her studies at Florida State University, pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance. Magi graduated with her Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2012. Maggie has accompanied world-renowned musicians at the Summer Brass Institute for four years, and at the International Euphonium Institute for twelve years, including international brass soloists and brass members from the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet Orchestras, as well as the Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra.