Youth Theatre Carson City to hold Virtual Master Class Series

Youth Theatre Carson City is hosting a Virtual Summer Workshop Series, held exclusively online over six weeks, June 16-July 23 as part of their YTCC@Home initiative.

Youth Theatre Carson City is bringing local experts, home-grown successes, and industry professionals from New York, Los Angeles, Boston and beyond right into your living room covering topics from acting and singing to theatrical design and songwriting to building relationships and becoming a successful professional in the arts.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Youth Theatre Carson City, along with other local arts organizations, has been forced to cancel all of their in-person programming and live performances for the duration of the summer, leaving a void in many students’ summer plans. But Youth Theatre Carson City isn’t completely closing its metaphorical doors.

“Theatre is always changing and adapting to the times. This is no different,” commented Andie Wilkerson, Artistic Director of Youth Theatre Carson City. “Just because we can’t meet in person right now doesn’t mean we can’t experience the art and magic of theatre through other means. Our creative team has been working hard to create the best quality performing arts education and performance opportunities for our students and families that we can in these unprecedented times.”

For younger children entering grades K-5, YTCC is offering 45-minute workshops and master classes in Creative Drama, Movement/Dance, Clowning and Improv. For teens and tweens entering grades 6-12, there is a full line-up of one hour workshops and master classes on a wide range of topics including Voice, Playwriting, Songwriting, Auditions, Design, Comedy, and more. A full workshop schedule can be found below.

And workshops are just the beginning. Youth Theatre Carson City is working on a host of exciting online activities, performances, and more through our YTCC@Home platform to keep our active youth theatre community engaged during the Covid-19 closures and beyond. “We hope to encourage our community to keep playing, keep creating, and keep connecting during these difficult times. We’re all in this together, and together we will come back stronger than before.”

For more information, or to enroll your student in Youth Theatre Carson City’s Virtual Summer Workshop Series, please visit Tuition for individual workshops is $10 each, or $100 to sign up for all 12 workshops (a $20 value). All workshops will be delivered via Zoom and a link to each workshop will be released upon registration.


For children entering grades K-5

Creative Drama taught by Andie Wilkerson. Get creative with us as we play games, tell stories, use our imaginations and more! A new theme every week. June 16, 23, 30, July 14, 21

Disney Dance Party taught by Rachel Wilkerson. Learn to express ourselves through movement and dance to favorite Disney tunes. A new theme every week. June 18, 25, July 2, 16, 23

Master Class: Awakening Your Inner Clown taught by Leora Sapon-Shevin. Explore movement and physical comedy as we learn to coax our own unique clowns out to play in a supportive environment.July 7

Master Class: Improv for Little Comedians taught by Summar Elguindy. Time to think fast and make it up as you go learning the basics of improvisational comedy. July 9

For tweens and teens entering grades 6-12

Vocal Technique for the Stage taught by Briana Valley. Musical technique and vocal health. June 16

Beyond the Stage: Theatre for Social Awareness taught by Andie Wilkerson. Experience ways in which we as artists can use theatre to explore our world, approach tough subjects, and respond to injustice with creativity and heart. June 18

Vocal Auditions 101 taught by Briana Valley. Techniques and skills for navigating the vocal audition process. June 23

Master Class: How To – Headshots & Auditions taught by Melody Ricketts. Insights and tricks for headshots, the audition process, and connecting with the script. June 25

Hair & Makeup for the Stage taught by Briana Valley. Learn basics of theatrical hair and makeup and some fun techniques for specific characters. June 30

Master Class: Design for Theatre – Intro to Scenic, Costume and Lighting Design taught by Jason Simms. Explore the general processes of designing for the theatre and learn important skills related to the design process. July 2

Master Class: Awakening Your Inner Clown taught by Leora Sapon-Shevin. Explore movement and physical comedy as we learn to coax our own unique clowns out to play in a supportive environment.July 7

Master Class: Improv for Teens taught by Summar Elguindy. Time to think fast and make it up as you go learning the basics of improvisational comedy. July 9

Master Class: Theatrical Comedy and Improv taught by Joe, D Paslov. Explore and develop more advanced theatrical comedy skills. July 14

Master Class: Creating Opportunities Through Songwriting taught by Jen Coogan. Discuss what it takes to create opportunities for yourself and others, how to get started writing songs, and how writing can be the secret weapon to getting what you want. July 16

Master Class: The Actor’s Life – Tools, Experiences and Lessons that have helped me pursue my Dream taught by Monica Ricketts. July 21

Master Class: Building Relationships for Success in Theatre and Life taught by Matt Coogan. Relationships are the key to having a solid network of opportunities and life experiences. July 23


Jen CooganJen Coogan, Composer/Lyricist, has been involved in theatre since age seven, but recently began writing musicals in her desire to create more roles for women. Her short musical “The Morning After My Family Fell Apart” was produced by Left Coast Theatre Company in San Francisco in 2017. Jen received a grant from Theatre Bay Area to help support her full length musical “The Oregon Trail Pages”, which was first workshopped with Musical Café in Berkeley. She is also developing “The Women in Theatre Project” featuring personal interviews and stories from some of the most powerful women in theatre. Her music has been featured in Vents Mag, Prelude Press, Idobi Music, Cliché Mag, and New Music Inferno, among others. Her songs have been shared on social media by Lin Manuel Miranda and Broadway Producer Ken Davenport.

Matt CooganMatt Coogan spent several years working in the Lake Tahoe and Carson City before moving to the Bay Area with his wife, Jen, to pursue their professional careers. He performs regularly with his cabaret duo Constant Coogan. With over thirty-five years of experience in several aspects of theatre including musical theatre, immersive theatre, industrial theatre, and fight choreography, his main specialty is in the art of building relationships. Matt is also the dramaturg and creative assistant on several new musicals in the Bay Area.

Summar Elguindy is a Boston-Based veteran improvisor with over 10 years experience. She is a co-owner of Sea Tea Improv based out of Hartford, Connecticut and is a theatre teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has written several original musicals and is passionate about teaching theater to youth.

Joe, D Paslov is a local musical and comedic theatre veteran, and is a mainstay for several theatre companies in the area including Proscenium Players, Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company, and Carson Valley Community Theatre. He studied at the Ruskin School of Acting at Southern Oregon State Universiry.

Melody Ricketts is a Los Angeles-based musical theatre performer, singer-songwriter/producer, photographer, and writer. She has been in over 40 stage productions since she started doing children’s theatre in Carson City at the age of 8, and she’s lived in L.A. the past 6 years. Along with having extensive experience in navigating the arts industry, she’s also made a majority of her living as a traveling Disney princess/character performer – which led to a feature in an interview with Allure Magazine that has over 5 million views on YouTube.

Monica RickettsMonica Ricketts is a Los Angeles-based actor/singer, who has performed all over the globe, including Universal Studios Japan, Disney Cruise Line and the 2019 production of “Into the Woods” at The Hollywood Bowl. You can find more information about her on her on Instagram: @monicadanae or website:

A person smiling for the camera

Description automatically generatedLeora Sapon-Shevin is a performer and teaching artist with a passion for social clowning and creative collaboration. In 2019 she toured her solo clown show “Safe Passage” across the country and traveled to The Bahamas with Clowns Without Borders, creating and performing a show with two other clowns in the aftermath of Hurrican Dorian. She holds a M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College and is a graduate of Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater. Leora lives in Tuscon, Arizona.

Jason SimmsJason Simms (he/him) is an award-winning scenographer for Theatre, Opera, and Musicals and has designed over 150 productions. Born and raised in Carson City, NV, Simms started designing for theatre at the age of fifteen. He now resides in Ithaca, NY where he is an Assistant Professor of Design at Cornell University. He designs sets in New York City as well as at regional theaters all across the United States.


Andie Wilkerson, Artistic Director, is an accomplished performer and director who has been part of the Northern Nevada Arts Community since the age of six. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from the University of Nevada, Reno. Andie served as for six years as the Artistic Director and lead instructor for the Brewery Arts Center’s BAC Stage Kids, and has been teaching Theatre and Musical Theatre in Northern Nevada public schools since 2012. Most recently, spent three years as the Theatre/Musical Theatre instructor at Carson High School, then pioneered a new Theatre program at Carson Middle School (the first of its kind in the area) for two years, and in the fall she will be returning to Carson High School as Theatre, Musical Theatre and English Teacher.

Briana Valley, Musical Director, grew up in Carson City participating in local theatre programs. After graduating from Carson High School she moved to Reno to obtain her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Nevada, Reno and is working toward her Masters in Music Education from Kent State University. While at UNR, she enjoyed singing in campus groups like the Chamber Singers, performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City and at the National MENC convention in Milwaukee. Miss Valley is happy to be teaching choir and musical theatre at Carson Middle School. Bri has been working with the youth theatre community in Carson City for the past ten years and loves to see student faces light up on the big stage.

Rachel Wilkerson, Choreographer, started dancing and performing locally at the age of three. Rachel’s favorite roles include Millie Dilmount in Thoroughly Modern Mille, Jr. and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Jr. She has also performed in the dance troupe of many shows with Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company including The Music Man, Mary Poppins, and Beauty and the Beast. Rachel has served as choreographer for Youth Theatre Carson City’s productions of Singing in the Rain, Bye Bye Birdie and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She is currently attending the University of Nevada, Reno, studying Elementary Education and will be moving to Florida in August to participate in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World.

About Youth Theatre Carson City

Youth Theatre Carson City is an accomplished youth theatre group in Carson City, Nevada. We provide a safe, inclusive environment for young people and their families to explore, create, learn and grow through quality theatrical experiences. We strive to be a model for excellence in theatre with an emphasis on quality theatre education and exceptional family entertainment.

Youth Theatre operates in partnership with the Carson City Department of Recreation and the Bob Boldrick Theatre and is a Nevada non-profit organization.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment