Staff

Michael Martinez

Executive Artistic Director

Michael Martinez (he/him) is the executive artistic director of Live Theatre Workshop. Previously he has performed on the LTW Mainstage and Children’s Theater in delightful shows such as SOUVENIR, THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR, THE FROG PRINCE, THE WIZARD OF OZ, and YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN and SNOOPY! Michael is passionate about the city of Tucson and is committed to helping with services that arts and educational organizations provide to make Tucson a great place to live.  Michael has a Bachelor degree in music from the University of Arizona and a Masters degree in Public Administration. He loves teaching musical theatre classes at Live Theatre Workshop and previously, he taught at TUSD’s Fine Arts Youth Academy, and the OMA Project.

michael.m@livetheatreworkshop.org

Amanda Gremel

Director of Children's Programming

Amanda Gremel (she/her) started at LTW as a student in our education program more than 15 years ago. Now our Director of Children’s Programming, she is proud of the growth and direction of LTW’s Education program and Children’s Theatre series, where she also helps to create fun and exciting shows for all ages. Amanda leads the education program by creating a safe environment where students can build confidence and explore their imaginations. She also directs and is onstage for LTW’s Mainstage and Family Series. Amanda feels very fortunate to work with amazing talent of all ages, and she enjoys sharing her love of theatre with all in her community.

amanda.g@livetheatreworkshop.org

Stephen Frankenfield

Assistant Director of Children's Programming

Stephen Frankenfield (he/him) is LTW’s Assistant Director of Children’s Programming, as well as the Outreach Coordinator, helping to create fun and creative environments for kids, both onsite and in the community, that emphasize skill building and teamwork, while challenging them to grow as individual artists. Stephen writes original plays for our theatre classes, camps, and our Children’s Theatre that have been published and performed in theatres and schools across the world. He is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where he studied acting for theatre and film. He is an actor and director on LTW’s Mainstage and the Children’s Theatre stage with multiple Arizona Daily Star Mac Award nominations to his credit.

stephen.f@livetheatreworkshop.org

 

 

Holli Diffin

Operations Manager

Holli Diffin (she/her) is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and the University of Arizona. Growing up in Tucson, she was bitten by the theatre bug early and began performing in local productions at a young age. Some of her favorite roles with Live Theatre Workshop include Carnelle in THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST, Lizzie in THE RAINMAKER, Corie in BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, Shelby in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Lorraine the Squirrel in JEREMY FREY KICKED A HOLE IN THE SKY, Maggie in DANCING AT LUGHNASA, Lil’ Bit in HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, Lucy in SNOOPY THE MUSICAL!!!, and as Sylvia in A.R. Gurney’s SYLVIA for which she earned the 2005 AZ Daily Star Mac Award for Best Actress. Holli feels incredibly fortunate to be part of the LTW staff serving in many fulfilling capacities. She is grateful to work with such creative, inspiring, and genuinely wonderful people.

holli.d@livetheatreworkshop.org

 

Taryn Wintersteen

Technical Director

Taryn Wintersteen’s (she/her) first introduction to LTW was as a student just starting to develop an interest in theater. Her love of theater continued through highschool and into college where she found that her passion for theater is more fully realized in the technical side of productions rather than the performance side. She graduated with a BFA in Theater Production with an Emphasis in Scenic Design from the University of Arizona in 2013 where she was the Properties Master for NINE and Scenic Designer for BOEING BOEING. She then explored the world of museum fabrication and motherhood for a few years before jumping back into theater. You can see some of her work in the Witte museum in San Antonio, TX, the Robert Moses Nature Center in Massena, NY and various other museums across the country. While the skills she learned and experiences she had while doing museum work was unforgettable, she couldn’t be happier to be back to designing sets at LTW with such amazing staff and coworkers.

taryn.w@livetheatreworkshop.org

Richard Gremel

Resident Lighting Designer and Technical Advisor

Richard Gremel (he/him) started at Live Theatre Workshop as a student in high school. He later went on to become an instructor in many of the different classes and camps as well as, writing many of the plays performed in the classes. Richard has a B.F.A in Theatre Education, which he received from the University of Arizona. He also has an M.A. in Career and Technical Education from Concordia University-Portland. In addition to teaching at LTW, Richard is the acting and technical theatre teacher at Empire High School. Richard has been teaching at Empire for 15 years. During his time there, his students have earned numerous regional and state titles for individual events, one-act plays, and MainStage performances. Richard was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Arizona Thespians Teacher of the Year, the 2018-2019 OnMedia Tucson Arts Hero Award, and was a top finalist for the Circle K Outstanding High School Faculty Award in 2016.

Karin Hupp

Box Office Manager

Karin Hupp (she/her) started out as an LTW theatre mom, eventually becoming the box office manager, prop master and scenic painter. Some of her favorite projects include making giant cookies for FROG AND TOAD and creating a wedding cake for ONE SLIGHT HITCH. Favorite scenes she has painted include the backdrop for the education show ALADDIN and DOROTHY PARKER’S VICIOUS CIRCLE. Karin enjoys working at LTW because she loves the people she works with and it helps her grow as an artist.

karin.h@livetheatreworkshop.org

 

Claire Oda

Administrative Assistant

Claire Oda (she/her) has been involved with LTW in many capacities, including but not limited to: student, student volunteer, stage manager, teaching assistant, music director, box office and facilities assistant, and teacher. In 2023, she’ll have even performed in her first Children’s Theatre production! She owes so much to the LTW instructors who inspired her as a kid and supported her in becoming a more confident person. She is keeping up with her music education with her piano professor, and is hoping to continue to learn and teach music for a long time. Her favorite part about teaching at Live Theatre Workshop is learning new ways to encourage and connect with students through music!

claire.o@livetheatreworkshop.org



Kat Basso

Kat Basso is an actor, director, and instructor. She moved from Chicago in 2022 and holds a BFA from the University of Florida in performance and directing. She was heavily involved with a community troupe in IL for 15 years: acting, directing, educating, and serving on the board. She is beyond thrilled to have found LTW and is incredibly grateful to be working with the students. Theatre broadens the mind, builds self-esteem and awareness, and ignites a passion that can have a lasting impact in their lives. She adores being a part of it all.

Samantha Cormier

Samantha Cormier holds a M.F.A in Performing Arts from SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) and a B.F.A in Directing/Theatre Production from the University of Arizona. She has performed and directed in theatres from New York to Savannah to your favorite theatres in Tucson/Phoenix including The Gaslight Theatre/Music Hall, Invisible Theatre, Arizona Broadway Theatre and The Rogue Theatre. Favorite shows Directed/Choreographed: THINGS BEING WHAT THEY ARE [MAC Award Nom, Best Director] YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, and SNOOPY!!! THE MUSICAL[MAC award nomination, Best Director] Favorite roles include: Senga in DANCING LESSONS [MAC Nom, Best Actress] Vanda in VENUS IN FUR, Princess Fiona in SHREK THE MUSICAL, Louise in ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE, Winnifred in ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Columbia in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW [MAC Award nomination, Best Actress], and Frankie VOICE OF THE PRAIRIE [MAC Award Winner, Best Actress]. She is currently an Artistic Associate with Invisible Theatre and tours with her show LUCY AND RICKY LIVE!. With over 17 years of teaching theatre, she has had the pleasure of teaching here at LTW, Gaslight Theatre, BASIS North and Stagedoor Manor In New York [#1 Theatre Camp in the world] She thanks you for supporting the Arts in Tucson

Gianbari Deebom

Gianbari Deebom (She/They) is an actor, singer, filmmaker, and director in Tucson, AZ. She has her AFA in Theater from Pima Community College and is currently studying film. Gianbari has worked at many of Tucson’s theaters including: Live Theater Workshop, Winding Road Theatre Company, The Rouge Theatre, Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre, Arts Express, Something Something Theatre, and Invisible Theatre. Her favorite acting credits are TALL TALES: LEGENDS OF AMERICA, CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC, MAMA MIA!, OSO FUERTE, and KILLED A MAN (JOKING), FAUSTUS: THAT DAMNED WOMAN. Directing credits are PROOF and THE PIANO LESSON at Pima Community College along with GIRL SCOUT COOKIES, CLOSING DOORS, and A**HOLE THE DOG at Winding Road Theatre Company. It is a gift to teach and continue to share the importance of arts in our community. Theater is a chance to explore, find yourself, and own your identity. Our students are our future leaders and artist, let us nurture their talents and watch them grow. Follow: @msdeebom on most social media for current updates.

Holli Diffin

Holli Diffin is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and Rehabilitation from The University of Arizona. Holli grew up in Tucson where she was bitten by the theatre bug early and began performing in local productions at a young age. Holli has been fortunate to serve as an educational instructor at Live Theatre Workshop for over twenty years. She also enjoys serving LTW in many fulfilling capacities as a staff member. Holli is grateful to work with such creative, inspiring, and genuinely wonderful people.

Tina Evans

Tina Evans (she/they) is so grateful to be teaching at Live Theatre Workshop. They are passionate about creating accessible and inclusive spaces within the arts and love watching their students light up as they grow and express themselves. She has also been seen on the stage in productions like ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE, THE CONUNDRUM AT CAMP CATALINA, and MONA LISA ON THE LOOSE. She is looking forward to the next time she gets to dance, sing, act, and HAVE FUN with her students.

Stephen Frankenfield

Stephen Frankenfield (he/him) is LTW’s Assistant Director of Children’s Programming, as well as the Outreach Coordinator, helping to create fun and creative environments for kids, both onsite and in the community, that emphasize skill building and teamwork, while challenging them to grow as individual artists. Stephen writes original plays for our theatre classes, camps, and our Children’s Theatre that have been published and performed in theatres and schools across the world. He is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where he studied acting for theatre and film. He is an actor and director on LTW’s Mainstage and the Children’s Theatre stage with multiple Arizona Daily Star Mac Award nominations to his credit.

Amanda Gremel

Amanda Gremel (she/her) started at LTW as a student in our education program more than 15 years ago. Now our Director of Children’s Programming, she is proud of the growth and direction of LTW’s Education program and Children’s Theatre series, where she also helps to create fun and exciting shows for all ages. Amanda leads the education program by creating a safe environment where students can build confidence and explore their imaginations. She also directs and is onstage for LTW’s Mainstage and Family Series. Amanda feels very fortunate to work with amazing talent of all ages, and she enjoys sharing her love of theatre with all in her community.

Richard Gremel

Richard Gremel started at Live Theatre Workshop as a student in high school. He later went on to become an instructor in many of the different classes and camps as well as, writing many of the plays performed in the classes. Richard has a B.F.A in Theatre Education, which he received from the University of Arizona. He also has an M.A. in Career and Technical Education from Concordia University-Portland. In addition to teaching at LTW, Richard is the acting and technical theatre teacher at Empire High School. Richard has been teaching at Empire for 15 years. During his time there, his students have earned numerous regional and state titles for individual events, one-act plays, and MainStage performances. Richard was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Arizona Thespians Teacher of the Year, the 2018-2019 OnMedia Tucson Arts Hero Award, and was a top finalist for the Circle K Outstanding High School Faculty Award in 2016.

Kris Kissel

Kris Kissel holds a BFA in Theatre Education from the University of Arizona and a Masters of Theatre in Production and Design from Southern Oregon University. He is the theatre teacher at Sabino High School and has taught, written, directed, and acted for Live Theatre Workshop as well. He occasionally works with TUSD’s OMA program and is currently the Arizona Thespians South Region Theatre Director. He is also the author of 4 published plays, 3 of which premiered at LTW.

Tristan Kissel

Tristan Kissel graduated from Sabino High School in 2020, and has been a student and volunteer of Live Theatre Workshops from a very young age. He has acted in several shows both for Sabino’s drama program and Live Theatre Workshops children summer camps. While at Sabino, Tristan received a superior award at the Southern Arizona Festival of Theatre (SAFT) for his role of Scrooge in the one act performance of The Christmas Carol. He also was a member of the improv club for 3 years which he favored for the friendships and laughs. As of recent, Tristan has taken comedy classes at Tucson Improv Movement (TIM) and now exercises his love for comedy by writing stand-up material and taking it to local Open Mics around Tucson, along with acting and helping out with student films.

Christopher Newsome

Bio coming soon!

Claire Oda

Claire Oda (she/her) is a homeschool graduate who is interested in pursuing a career in music education, and is currently taking steps towards this. She is lucky enough to have spent many years involved with LTW in one capacity or another, be it student, volunteer, instructor, or administrative assistant. As an instructor, her goal is to help create an environment where students can have fun and learn to work and create together. She is very grateful for her fellow teachers as well as her students, who are constantly showing her new aspects of this world to appreciate.

Ericka Quintero Heras

Ericka Quintero Heras earned her B.F.A in Theatre Education from the University of Arizona in 2007 and studied musical theatre and dance at Collaborative Arts Project 21 (Cap21)in New York. She is the Theatre Arts Teacher at Salpointe Catholic High School, teaching acting and technical theatre. Ericka was Arizona’s Theatre Teacher of the Year in 2016 and Salpointe’s theatre program has been awarded Gold Honor Troupe for the past 20 plus years and is growing. Ericka also works at several local theatre companies as a teaching artist, actress, director, and choreographer.

Amaya Ravenell

Amaya Ravenell is currently at the University of Arizona pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She has been in theatre for years including roles like Phylicia in Fremont Jr. High is NOT Doing Oklahoma and Cassie in A Chorus Line. She thanks her friends and family for their constant support which has helped her get here today.

Taylor Thomas

Taylor Thomas loves teaching musical theatre classes at Live Theatre Workshop and has performed in LTW’s Family Series as Helga in THE BRAVE KNIGHT SIR LANCELOT, Margaret in QUIRKUS CIRCUS & THE MISSING RINGMASTER, and Tabitha in TABITHA TURNPIKE HAS A MONSTEROUS PROBLEM. She was the Musical Director in LTW productions of YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN and SNOOPY THE MUSICAL! Taylor costumes at the Gaslight Costume Shop and has performed as Lillian in their production of BACK TO THE PAST. She has studied music theory, piano, and many other musical instruments for most of her life and hopes to inspire each student to find their voice.

Ally Tanzillo

Ally Tanzillo (She/They) began taking theatre classes at LTW when she was nine years old and they let her hang around for the next 20 years. Before becoming Etcetera’s Creative Director, they appeared on the Etcetera stage in productions such as The F Word, Reasons: The House Burned Down, and An Unkept Secret, and Dear Diary . They are an actor, writer, director, and improvisor, and she is thrilled to pay forward what Live Theatre Workshop gave her as a student.

Zach Wetzel

Zach Wetzel is an award-winning singer, actor, and Arts Educator based in Tucson. Zach’s work in teaching and performing has been featured in Arizona magazines/newspapers and on television (ABC KGUN9). Zach has worked in professional theater with numerous Broadway and National Touring veterans including: Mandy Modic, Drew Humphrey, Dena DiGiacinto, Nicholas Hambruch, James Zannelli, Michelle Chin, Rachel Willis-Sorensen and Lisa Hopkins. He played Nathan Detroit opposite Broadway actress Catherine Ricafort in Guys and Dolls with the Arizona Musical Theatre Orchestra.

Savannah Whitmer

Savannah Whitmer (she/ her) has been teaching at LTW since 2015. She has been involved in theatre since middle school, and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2019 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a minor in Adolescents, Community and Education (A.C.E.). As an educator, Savannah is dedicated to making all the students feel welcome and valued. Whether it is helping a student come out of their shell and become more confident, or guiding them to discover new talents and skills, Savannah has a passion for exploring theatre with kids! She enjoys playing games and connecting with the students, encouraging them to believe in themselves. Savannah loves theatre and hopes to show her students how important and amazing theatre really is.


Julie Glass

President

Julie moved to Tucson for what I planned to be 3 years or so in 1994. 29 years later, her children were raised here and she has fallen in love with the Old Pueblo and can’t imagine living anywhere else. The arts are such a vital part of the community and she is honored to be a part of Live Theatre Workshop. A diverse, inclusive, thriving arts community helps to weave a strong fabric of inspiration and identity. She’s so proud of LTW and is deeply inspired every time she gets to see a show. After 5 years in the non profit community, Julie returned to her previous world of construction management and accounting, and is the Construction Accounting Manager for Dove Mountain Homes. She lives in Marana with her husband Larry, two senior dogs, and is currently obsessed with their grandson Aiden.

James Cramton

Treasurer

James Cramton James has enjoyed watching his youngest child grow as a part of the LTW community for the past decade, and is proud to be able to support LTW as its treasurer. Over his 30 year career, James has served as a technical writer, software engineer, software engineering manager, IT director and business owner in industries ranging from e-commerce, consulting, tourism, and higher education identity management. An avid cyclist and trail runner, James is also president of Southern Arizona Rocketry Association and owner of Rocketry Works, an educational model rocketry retailer in Tucson. He loves teaching science, engineering, creativity, organizational skills and teamwork through model rocketry.

Dave Sewell

Vice President

Dave Sewell Dave Sewell has been active in the Tucson theatre scene since 1995 as playwright, director, actor, set designer, grant writer, board member, stage tech, and teacher. A native of Los Angeles, Dave holds a degree in Theatre (directing emphasis) from University of California, Riverside, where he studied under Jules Aaron and Rick Risso. He has directed nearly thirty full stage productions in his native Southern California and in Arizona. In addition to LTW, Dave has served on the boards of Desert Players, Tucson Theatre Ensemble (founding member), and Old Pueblo Playwrights (President and Vice President/Treasurer).

Rachel Cramton

Secretary

Rachel Cramton is a professor of clinical pediatrics and a practicing pediatric hospitalist and palliative care provider at Banner University Medical Center-Diamond Children’s. Rachel was raised performing and watching theater, thanks to free tickets provided to Philadelphia public school students, and a father who thought cooking for a community dinner theater sounded like fun. Together with fellow board member James, Rachel is raising another thespian who has spent the last decade learning and performing at Live Theatre Workshop. Rachel is ecstatic to be able to give back to LTW as a Board Member, to ensure the continued success of this warm, welcoming place for theater lovers of all ages.

Margaret Barber

Cynthia Robison

Kelly Holt