J. Jason Daunter
Founder + Artistic Director
Jason has spent the last fifteen years working professionally on the road and in New York City on Broadway. His Broadway management credits include; To Kill a Mockingbird starring Jeff Daniels, Meteor Shower, A Doll’s House, Part 2 starring Laurie Metcalf, Shuffle Along, Wicked, Glory Days, and Cyrano De Bergerac starring Kevin Kline. National tours include: A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder, Wicked, Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Christmas Carol. Jason has been fortunate to work closely with theatre luminaries such as Meryl Streep, Chita Rivera, Steve Martin, Aaron Sorkin, Chris Cooper, Laura Benanti, and directors from Bartlett Sher, Joe Mantello to Jerry Zaks and George C. Wolfe. On the national level of Educational Theatre Jason is the recipient of the Educational Theatre Association’s President & Founders Awards. Jason is a proud member of Thespian Troupe #5140 (Fort Zumwalt North High School in O’Fallon, MO) and an Honorary Member of Troupe #5929 and #2129.
“Dare to dream”
Krista Carson Elhai
Claremont High school Theatre Director
Educational theatre association board member
CAlifornia Educational Theatre Association,
Krista Carson Elhai has taught theatre for 36 years and directed over 275 productions as Theatre Director at Claremont High School where over 530 students are involved in eleven sections of theatre. 13 of her productions have performed mainstage at the International Thespian Festival and the California State Thespian Festival. She sits on The College Board’s Pre-AP Arts Committee, the CA State Thespian Board, is Past President of the California Educational Theatre Association, and serves on the Educational Theatre Association national board.
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
Freelance Production professional
Kimberly is somewhat of a renaissance woman and works a handful of odd jobs when they become available. To name a few, Hair Stylist, Optometrist assistant, Production Coordinator, Tech Student Coordinator, Event Manager, Blogger, Sign Maker and Make-up Artist for old men. She loves to help support others in their efforts to make this big world smaller and brighter!
“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
Kyle D Cole
Principal Show Control Designer, The Walt Disney Company
Audio Engineer/Designer by trade and Show Control Designer by job, Kyle has worked for The Walt Disney Company for his entire adult life, moonlighting for various stage and television productions in his off-time. He’s done systems designs for every resort in the world for Disney and beyond.
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
– Walt Disney
San Juan Hills High School
I am a 17 year old junior at San Juan Hills High School. I have participated in 4 musicals and 1 play in the Stallion Theater Company. I also play in the Chamber Orchestra.
I am the content stage manager for all current PwJ shows. Mixing camera shots and digital content.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Theater manager, disney theatrical group
John was involved in some of the first Making Magic, Defying Gravity events, as a performer in Seattle and Costa Mesa, and as production staff (and jingle bells-player) for Honolulu. He was lucky enough to perform in the original Festival Opening of Making Magic, Defying Gravity in 2013, and to also act as Company Manager for the 2017 Festival Opening (We Tell The Story).
“What’s past is prologue”
– William Shakespeare,
Vice President, Disneyland Entertainment
Matt leads all production and operations for live entertainment at the Disneyland Resort. Matt joined Disney in 1989 as a stage technician at Walt Disney World and beginning in 1998, served in multiple entertainment executive roles before transitioning in 2005 to the Disneyland Resort Entertainment team. Matt is a BFA graduate of the SUNY, College at Purchase, with a degree in Theatre Design and Technology and is also a Thespian alumni of Troupe 335, Wootton High School in Rockville, MD. Matt is the Chair of the Educational Theatre Foundation Board of Trustees.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in always rising when we fall”
Hi there! I’m Will, son of the famous Matt and brother of the famous Caroline! I’m a 23 year old recent advertising grad living in Chicago, IL.
I enjoy going to Steppenwolf productions and restaurants where you throw peanut shells on the floor!
“Doh” – Homer Simpson
Alum at Los Alamitos High School
Louie is a recent graduate of Los Alamitos High School, located in California. He is a video creator/actor whose video work can primarily be seen on TikTok. Most recently he was lucky enough to collaborate with the show, “Some Good News.” Hosted by John Krasinski. He is excited to join the PWJ team and create new content for Social Media!
“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” – Jim Henson
Dylan Elhai has been a graphic designer, theatre technician, lighting designer, and stage manager for 10 years. Over the years, she has taught workshops to high school students on stage management, lighting design, and being an independent contractor in live entertainment. Dylan is a proud Thespian from Troupe #2129!
“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
-Cesar A. Cruz”
Drama Teacher, San Juan Hills High School
Cambria Graff has been working at San Juan Hills High School as the Director of Theatre Arts for the past seven years, teaching high school theatre. She has a Masters in Theatrical Production and Design from Southern Oregon’s Center for Theatre Studies, and a Masters in teaching and BA in drama from the University of California, Irvine. She s a current California Educational Theatre Association Board Member, and an Orange County Cappies Critics Steering Committee Member.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien,
The Lord of the Rings
Fine Arts Department Chair, Jesuit High school
Executive Director, Young People’s Theatre Project
Moving from touring artist to arts management to education, Jeff has been working for the last three decades in Portland, Oregon, directing the Jesuit High School Theatre Program and creating theatre education resources with The Young People’s Theatre Project. His passion is bringing young people and artists together and watching the creative sparks fly.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
– Walt Disney
Emeritus Faculty, El Dorado
Gai Jones is the President of the national Educational Theatre Association Governing Board which sets policy for the professional members and students of Theatre; Thespians; California Youth in Theatre Founder; has a theater named after her at El Dorado High School. She writes Theatre Education books, directs, produces educational Theatre productions, and is a SAG/AFTRA commercial actress.
“You need three things in the theatre—the play, the actors, and the audience, and each must give something.”
– Kenneth Haigh
Student, University of Iowa
Travis Kelley is a graduating senior at the University of Iowa studying Computer Engineering with a certificate in Public Digital Art. He loves projection mapping/design and explores the intersection of art and technology. His research focuses on VR in live performance and how to utilize haptics / human interaction to tell a story.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Edison
Senior Stage Manager – Shows and Atmosphere
Vanessa has worked in Entertainment at the Disneyland Resort in various capacities over the last 18 years. She has a passion for supporting artists and the arts, and creating environments that allow all individuals to be at their most creative! She is also mom to an amazing 6 year old and an avid yogi!
“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
– The Dalai Lama
Principal Lighting Designer, Disney Parks Live Entertainment
KC is an award-winning designer who leads the team that designs, implements, and programs entertainment lighting for The Disneyland Resort and Aulani. A professional member of the Association of Lighting Designers, he has been published in Live Design, Stage Directions and Teaching Theatre among others. He develops and presents technical workshops for Disney Performing Arts and is a speaker for high school and college tech students.
“What makes you strange is what makes you powerful” – Ben Platt
Jason Yarcho is pleased to serve as Projects with Jason’s Musical Supervisor, Composer and Arranger. His Broadway and National Tour Credits include: Wicked, West Side Story, Bullets Over Broadway, An American In Paris, Falsettos, and Bright Star. Jason also plays in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra.
Regional Credits include: The Little Theatre on the Square, The St. Louis MUNY and Barrington Stage Company. Jason has collaborated with members of the PwJ team for years creating projects for the Educational Theatre Association including: Making Magic, Defying Gravity and five years of Thespian Festival Openings celebrating Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. He also collaborated with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the American Theatre Wing, and the Educational Theatre Foundation. Education: University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, Master of Music in orchestral conducting.