creative team

creative team

Richard VidaRichard Vida – Director

Richard Vida has had an amazing career as an award winning actor, singer, dancer, teacher and producer. Some of his Broadway and National Tours include: 42nd Street, Les Misérables (Original and 25th Anniversary Productions), The Drowsy Chaperone, Busker Alley, and Anything Goes. He has performed all over the United States, around the world, on television and in movies, and is featured on several recordings. He has entertained two presidents and three kings, and is one of the Emmy-winning team who produced The Mole People: Life in the World Below (Discovery), The New Sideshow (TLC) and Repoman (USA Networks). Richard continues to teach master classes in musical theatre and in “applied theatre” where theatre practices and exercises are used in non-theatrical venues to inspire people of all walks of life to share their diverse voices and cultural experiences together.

Lainie SakakuraLainie Sakakura – Choreographer

Lainie Sakakura is an award winning choreographer, recipient of the Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography and the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography. Sakakura performed in the original casts of six Broadway shows and as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Sakakura classically trained at San Francisco Ballet, and started as a concert dancer at Ballet Hispanico and at The Metropolitan Opera. She has been a teaching artist for 30 years, including as an adjunct instructor at NYU and Pace. Sakakura is the mother of two wonderful daughters, Avelina and Isabela Sanchez.

Steven FisherSteven Fisher – Writer, Music Supervisor

Steve Fisher, like most artists, does a bunch of different things, but writing musicals for young people and the young at heart is one of his favorite things to do in the whole world. When his family musical Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell had its world premiere, the New York Times really liked it. But what makes Steve the most happy is when the kids who come to see one of his shows like it. the little dancer is dedicated to Dr. Paul Boskind, and was written in memory of Guillermo Schiess – both Degas of sorts.

Joshua Suslak – Accompanist

Josh is a professional pianist, teacher, and accompanist. He is currently the Singer-Musicianship Coordinator and Accompanist for the Commonwealth Youthchoirs, and previously worked as accompanist for the renowned American Boychoir School. As a concert pianist, he has performed at many prestigious music halls such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He has also won numerous awards, including first place in the Marian Garcia International piano competition and finalist at the Eastman International Competition. In his free time, he also enjoys playing trombone, saxophone, and jazz/rock piano.

Jeremy Bailey Smith – Set and Costume Design

Known for his extensive design work both on and off the stage, Jeremy Bailey Smith is an experienced and accomplished fashion and theater designer in both the United States and abroad in Australia. With a Bachelor of Dramatic Art (Set & Costume) from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) from the Whitehouse Institute of Design, Jeremy’s commitment to superior design has seen him recognized with several awards and nominations for his work from the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria and Lyrebird Awards. His theatre credit highlights include West Side Story, Rent, Anything Goes, Sweeney Todd, Oklahoma! and The Wizard of Oz.

Angela WendeAngela Wende – Marketing Consultant

Angela Wende has been working in marketing leadership positions for 25+ years, including tourism, global language services and the performing arts. From Heidelberg to San Francisco, Philadelphia, and other places around the world, she´s been drawn to achieving results for theatre, dance, and educational projects. Since 2005, she has supported Commonwealth Youthchoirs with marketing and recruitment efforts.

John KahlerJohn Kahler – Web Design & Support

Working in media, communications and technology throughout his career, John Kahler has been a video producer, photographer, writer, communications director, instructor and instructional designer, and media consultant in academia, healthcare, broadcast, non-profit, and startup organizations, and as an independent producer and media consultant. His work has extended beyond traditional media into pioneering work in online learning, and as a freelance producer and photographer lead production crews creating personalized runner videos at marathons in the US and Europe, including a number of years for the New York City Marathon, where he produced the highlight reel for the awards ceremony.