Creative Team


Directors

Nancy Davis Booth

Hailed by the Arizona Daily Star as “Tucson’s pre-eminent soprano,” Nancy is a nationally acclaimed singer, teacher and director with a career that spans 45 years. Singing for Presidents, Governors, Senators and Congressmen, her guest appearances have included The White House, Arlington Cemetery, Annapolis Chapel, The Bravo Colorado Festival, The Oregon Britt Festival, The Redlands Bowl, the Copper Bowl half time and the symphonies and opera companies of Detroit, St. Louis, Rochester, Nashville, Colorado, Las Vegas, Virginia, Greenville, San Antonio, Chattanooga and Tucson. Musical Theatre, cruise ships, cabaret, recital and corporate clientele have rounded out her busy career.

While on the faculty of Concordia College in Minnesota, she taught voice and conducted the Women’s Chorus. She then served as Associate Professor of Music on the faculty of Butler University in Indianapolis where she was recruited to conceive, write and implement a musical theatre program. She was also a clinician and judge for the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Competition. Returning to Tucson she joined the faculty of Pima Community College where she taught acting, voice, musical theater and directed mainstage and black box productions. During her years in Tucson, Nancy also served as the Assistant Director and Director of Residential Services at Casa de los Ninos Crisis Shelter and was a founding member of the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center. She has an MFA in Acting and Directing as well as a Master of Science in Child Development and Family Studies from the University of Arizona.

Chris Will

Chris Will has been directing, teaching and performing musicals all around the world for the past 19 years, including two Off-Broadway shows (Time Being and The Jungle Queen Debutante). He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Wyoming in Theatre & Dance and continued his education in the United Kingdom, earning his Masters of Performance in Musical Theatre from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and received an MFA in directing form the University of Idaho. Chris Will is excited to start working full time as the theater professor at Pima Community College.

Susan Stokes

Versatile, joyful, multi-talented Susan Lane Stokes brings enthusiasm and expertise to her performing, teaching and directing careers. As a singer, Susan’s appearances in over 40 opera, operetta, musical theater and orchestral works across the US have garnered both critical acclaim and popular appeal for her warm, lovely voice, effortless singing and immediate believability. Favorite roles include Violeta in La Traviata, Mim in La Boheme , Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Lady Shayne in Noel Coward’s Bittersweet, and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. One highlight among many was her appearance as a  part of San Francisco Opera’s 75th Anniversary Celebrations.
She brings this extensive experience to her voice studio, imparting solid vocal technique, dramatic ability, languages, and musical skills. Susan works with students of all levels.
Locally, Susan directed the successful Opera on the Streetcar for the Opera Guild of Southern Arizona, including a popular first time flash mob opera chorus on Tucson’s Streetcar. She has written, produced, and directed several children’s shows. She also produced ‘Sounds of hope, a benefit concert boasting over 140 musicians from The University of Arizona, Tucson Boys Chorus, members of the  Tucson Symphony and chorus which benefited Habitat for Humanity‘s work in Sri Lanka after the tsunami of 2004.
Susan has appeared with Arts Express as Mrs. Fezziwig in ‘The Christmas Carol’ for the past three years. She is happy to join the Arts Express directing staff for the upcoming Let Freedom Ring concert at the Fox Theater on July 4th.

Music Directors

Anne Grimes

Anne Grimes has worked as a musician,  music director and music teacher in the Tucson area for several years. She has taught high school and middle school choir and band for TUSD, SUSD, Desert Christian High School, and has served as music director for three Tucson churches. She is currently playing piano at Gaslight Theatre in her 25th Gaslight production. Anne has earned degrees from UA in piano (BA) and choral conducting (MM & DMA[ABD]). Additionally, Anne works as adjunct faculty at Pima College teaching private voice.

Mike Padilla

A native of Tucson, Mike has entertained and worked in Tucson, San Francisco and Japan as a cabaret entertainer, pianist, singer, actor, musical director and teacher. He spent 17 years in San Francisco where he studied acting/singing at Studio ACT and the SF Academy of Performing Arts where he was mentored by Richard Nickol.  As an actor he has played Archie & Dr Craven in The Secret Garden, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, Dr Parker in Bay Boy, Cladwell in Urinetowne to name a few.  Locally, He’s done musical direction for the Invisible Theatre, SALOC, The Gaslight, The Great American Playhouse, UofA’s Arizona Repertory Theatre, Arts Express and CYT. He has been the vocal coach/music director for The Monte  Awards (Tucson Starlight Awards) the last 4 years as well as ATC’s Summer on Stage. Mike was an instructor at the UofA School of theatre for 4 years serving as the staff pianist, vocal coach and musical director. Mike is a member of NATS (Nat’l. Assoc. of Teachers of Singing) and maintains a private voice studio.

Choreographers

Simone Jolivet-Manuel - Choreographer

Simone Jolivet-Manuel, a member of that rare breed of Tucsonans actually born in Tucson. She received her BA from Northern Arizona University and her M.Ed in Elementary Education. Simone began dancing at the age of 7, she continued training over the years with workshops and conventions across the country with high-end choreographers - Savion Glover, Mandy Moore, Paula Abdul, JT Hornstein, Denise Leitner and many others. Currently Simone is in her 13th year at Salpointe Catholic High School and 2nd year choreographing for Arts Express. Simone’s professional achievements include work with Salpointe Pomline, Dance Force-1 Productions, Gaslight Theater and Danswest Productions and the 2001, 2005 and 2009 Link Cotillions. She thanks her husband Scot, children Lincoln and Maxine and her mother, for their support and love.