Old Town Playhouse Young Company

Meet the Director, Instructors & Guest Artists

Meet the OTP's Education Director, Mychelle Hopkins. Mychelle holds her Master’s Degree from the prestigious Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, England where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar. She has received critical acclaim as a Director and Actress both regionally and internationally.  Her theatrical background is extensive with over forty years of professional experience.  

Mychelle joined the equity company of The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan in 2005 after 15 years at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre where she began her tenure as its Youth Theatre Director and was promoted to serve as the organization’s Associate Director. Her theatrical affiliations include The Houston Shakespeare Festival, The Royal Shakespeare Company in England and The Athens Theatre Center in Greece. Serving as an Adjunct Professor in the Western Michigan University’s Theatre Department, Mychelle introduced thousands of students to the joy and challenge of Theatre. A native of Northern Michigan, she returned to Traverse City in 2008 with her husband, Steve Smith, their son Macready and daughter Molly.

Matt Archibald teaches our Singing for Musical Theatre class and has been the Summer Camp Musical Director for the past seven years.  A gifted singer and musician, Matt has his degree in Education and Music and lives in Traverse City with his family.  You can usually find at least one Archibald at the theatre!  The whole family participates in musicals, classes and even behind-the-scenes work in the scenic and costume shops.  Matt appeared in the OTP MainStage musical, Les Miserables, Man of La Mancha, and The Sound of Music, Elf, the Musical, just to name a few.

Kat Brown teaches our Storybooks to Life class and serves on the Young Company Advisory Board.  Kat also works with the 5 & 6 year olds in our week-long Summer Workshops in June and July.  A veteran dancer, Kat infuses her classes with a pound of wit and an ounce of the zany.  Kat is an over-all creative talent and is a dynamic addition to the Young Company staff.  She is a free-lance artist and teacher here in Traverse City.  Kat Brown is K-12 Teacher Certified and holds her Early Childhood Development Accreditation.

Natalie Douglas, [Guest Artist, Summer Performing Arts Camp] Musical Theatre Performer & Cabaret Artist, was born in Los Angeles, California and has garnered rave reviews with multiple awards and nominations for her unique mix of jazz, blues, standards and contemporary country music blended together with the assistance of her Musical Director, Avenue Q's Mark Hartman.  Natalie is a seven-time MAC Award Winner, a Nightlife Award Winner and a Backstage Bistro Award Winner whose concert and theater appearances include regular sold-out performances at Birdland as part of Jim Caruso's Broadway at Birdland series, The Kennedy Center, The London Cabaret Convention and many others.  Natalie's critically acclaimed debut CD, "Not That Different," was nominated for a 2000 MAC Award for Outstanding Recording and is currently in its third printing.  She is a graduate of USC where she received a BA in Psychology with certificates in Theatre and Women's Studies and holds a Master's Degree in Psychology from UCLA.

Denni Don Hunting taught our Act Up, Act Big class which are part of the Broadway Junior series.  She also taught Intro to Acting & Theatre and Play Production Workshop.  Denni is an accomplished actress and director and is one of the best stage managers in the area.  Having performed countless roles on stage (and in film!) she has a wealth of experience to share with her students.  Denni attended Ohio University where she was certified in Elementary Education and received her degree in Social Work.  Denni is a recipient of the Old Town Playhouse Hall of Fame Award and the Peg Brace Award for outstanding service to the Playhouse.

Kristy Jackson [Guest Artist, Director, Stage Manager] has a Master's in Teaching and was the Managing Director of Stage One Youth Theatre in Richmond, IN from 2007-2015. While working with Stage One she directed, produced, and designed youth-for-youth plays and musicals for a 500+ seat theatre, working with a large volunteer base and an active board of directors. Her favorite and most memorable productions include A Wrinkle in Time, Disney's Peter Pan, Jr. and Stuart Little.  Kristy was the Co-Director for the Young Company's Robin Hood and has trained several YC members in Stage Management.

Arin Mulvaney recently joined the roster of Guest Instructors for our Summer Performing Arts Camp.  A native of the U.P., Arin attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and graduated from Columbia in Chicago, where she founded the Shakespeare All-Stars.  Arin continues to work and perform in Chicago but is always eager to visit Traverse City.  Arin's teaching style is fun and dynamic and the students have a blast under her guidance.

Brian J. Nash, [Guest Artist, Summer Performing Arts Camp] Musical Theatre Performer & Cabaret Artist, has been music directing and orchestrating for the theatre since the age of 16.  Recent projects include Crossing Brooklyn (Transport Group), Writing Arthur and Something's Wrong With Amandine at TheatreWorks New Works Festival in Palo Alto, CA, Writing Arthur at NAMT, The $trip, Phenomenon at HERE, The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds I and II, Undercover Showtunes, and But I'm A Cheerleader for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and A Broadway Diva Christmas, starring Ellen Greene and Kathy Brier.  Other NYC and regional credits include Songs for a New World, Kate Pazakis' The Sexless Years, Red, Room to Grow, Lend Me a Tenor, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Rocky Horror Show.  Brian has produced albums for singer/songwriters Justin Tranter, Shanna Sharp, and Stacy Allyn Baker, recently performed at Town Hall, The Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Birdland with Natalie Douglas, and is in extensive demand as a pianist and singer throughout NYC; he has also been a featured performer on Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell's family vacations cruises.  His first songs were written for two recent editions of The A Train Plays, and were featured on NPR's All Things Considered.  Brian holds a Bachelor's of Music degree from Boston Conservatory and studied record production at Berklee College of Music.  Brian is an alumnus of Interlochen Arts Academy.

Joelle Mabey teaches our Creative Play class in the Fall and Winter Session of Classes. You may have seen Joelle on the OTP stage where she performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Calendar Girls and most recently, Elf, the Musical.

Minda Nyquist began working with the Old Town Playhouse in 2009.  She received her Masters Degree in Education from Aquinas College and her BFA from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.  An accomplished dancer, Minda appeared on Broadway in Saturday Night Fever and also in several day-time soap operas before returning to her native Michigan.  The Old Town Playhouse Young Company is fortunate to have Minda Nyquist working with us as a guest artist.

Zac Thompson is the Young Company's Guest Artist in Make-up Design and Stage Combat for the Summer Performing Arts Camp.  Zac first joined us five years ago and continues to spend a few days in Traverse City every summer, working with the students in the Summer Camp.  A graduate of Western Michigan University's Theatre program, Zac is talented actor, director and artist.  Zac lives in Kalamazoo where he free-lances as a combat expert and theatrical director.

Kathy Verstraete [Costumer] has been designing for the Young Company for decades and is its third floor heartbeat.  Kathy recieved her degree from MSU in Retail, Clothing and Textiles.  In addition to her work with the Young Company, Kathy designs for theatre, film and special events.


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