The people and the productions of AZ ACT come together through both talent and “the try.”
By providing direction and guidance, Arizona Community Theatrical Company (formally Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre) encourages our students to stretch and grow as they try out and try it out.
We provide the opportunity to fail and we cheerlead improvement to help our students overcome their fears, watching as their confidence emerges and they achieve success.
Meet our Staff
AZ ACT cares deeply about the community we serve and the one we’ve built. Using our deep and narrow expertise, we challenge, direct, and validate our actors’ progress and performance.
Melissa Snow grew up in California studying dance, music, and theatre from some of the top artists and educators in the business. She danced competitively and was a corps member of Ballet Repertoire Theatre.
At the age of 16 Melissa was hired by the Disney Company as a parade performer. She had amazing opportunities to perform in street shows, stage shows, commercials, and television specials with Disney. The opportunity to work alongside performers such as Dick Van Dyke, Chubby Checkers, Little Richard and of course Mickey Mouse himself, was enriching as a young performer.
Melissa has used those skills and passion that Disney ignited to teach dance at multiple studios not only here in Arizona but as part of a dance convention that traveled the country.
Melissa came to find ACT in 2005 when she was brought on as a choreographer. Since then, she has directed and choreographed numerous stage shows here at ACT as well as our award-winning show choirs. Melissa is proud to have taken the position of “executive director” since the 2021-2022 season. She knows that with faith and family, all things are possible!
Bailey has been with Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre for over 20 years. She began teaching classes and directing shows at the age of 15 and continues to direct show choirs and productions. She studied vocal lessons for over 10 years and performed in countless musical productions throughout college. Currently, during the day, Bailey teaches 5th grade at Kyrene de la Estrella. She graduated with a Masters in Elementary Reading Education in 2021. She loves to sing and share her passion with other students! Some of her most beloved friendships have come from the theatre. ACT holds a very special place in her heart and she loves showing the magic that is ACT to others.
Megan Snow has been directing show choirs and shows at Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre for the past 10 years. Megan first started as a student in 2005 and continued participating in musicals and show choirs until she graduated in 2014. Since then Megan has continued making alumni appearances in “A Christmas Carol” and teaching the students coming through A.C.T. Megan has recently graduated from Northern Arizona University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.
She grew up in the competitive dance environment, but always has had a love for all things musical theater.She has directed and choreographed main stages such as Heathers, Addams Family, and many others.
Kendall enjoys being able to teach master classes when she can and loves teaching all ages and all levels.
Abby Van Vianen
Abby has been involved with ACT since she was 10 years old. After years of show choir, private voice lessons, and shows, she has continued to remain a member of the ACT family, teaching choral music, a cappella, and ukulele, giving voice lessons, and facilitating vocal camp during the summer months.
Abby studied music during her time at the Arizona School for the Arts, where she explored music theory, learned to play piano, and was president of ASA’s Chamber Choir. After high school, Abby continued performing as a member of the ASU Pitchforks, ASU’s only all-female a cappella group. For her day job, she works full-time as an adolescent guide at Keystone Montessori in the Ahwatukee Foothills, where her students have just made her the advisor of the school’s first Glee Club.
Abby spent a few years living in Madrid, Spain, but she is happy to finally be back home and able to be more involved with the theater. She loves music and the arts, but she loves the people and children she gets to work with even more. There truly is no place like home!
Jacob has been studying music for seven years. He is currently studying at ASU for music and film study and was briefly apart of the music therapy program there.
He has a very wide taste in music and has been on stage for his entire music career. He is relatively new to ACT but believes it is a wonderful program. You could have seen him in our most recent production of “Beauty and the Beast”. He is excited to see student in the classroom and on stage!
Morgan has been apart of the ACT family since 2010 as a student, and is thrilled to be apart of the ACT staff! She loves being able to work with kids and direct some of the wonderful productions here at the theatre.
Shannon is working as ACT’s Accounting Secretary and brings 9 years experience working with different non-profit organizations and serving as a Board Treasurer for many years. She’s excited to join the ACT family!
Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre Board Members:
Mike McDaniel is president of Modern Workplace for DXC Technology. He is responsible for DXC’s Modern Workplace business, leading innovation and growth, managing all activities and a global staff, and achieving customers’ expectations.
Previously, Mike spent 15 years in several senior positions at Accenture. Most recently, he was senior managing director for Accenture’s North America sales organization, active in sales origination, customer management, technology and innovation development, and C-suite engagement plans for major transformation programs.
Mike has substantial experience in general management, technology, engineering, business and operations across a variety of disciplines, including technology consulting and sales, global business process outsourcing, logistics, procurement and engineering development and testing.
Before Accenture, Mike held a variety of senior-level positions at Honeywell Aerospace, including vice president, Military Aircraft Aftermarket, Defense and Space, and vice president, System Components and Accessory Services, Aviation Aftermarket Services.
Mike holds an MBA from Bowling Green State University and a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Valley of the Sun YMCZ, Hooker Board for Entrepreneurship at Bowling Green State University, and ICAN in Chandler, Arizona, in addition to his service here at AZ ACT—Arizona Community Theatrical Company. He has also served on the board for Make A Wish Foundation in Georgia.
Cynthia Anderson is the proud mother of Jacob Anderson, AZ ACT instructor. Her heart still warms with sentiment when recalling Jacob’s first solo on stage. Jacob found his voice and place in the world through his musical experiences.
Cynthia retired from the Kyrene School District in May 2019. She taught at Kyrene de los Lagos for 19 years, teaching grades first, second, and third, and in 2009, she transferred to her neighborhood school, Kyrene del Cielo. At Cielo, she found joy in teaching third and fifth grade. As a mother and a certified teacher with over 30 years of experience, Cynthia appreciates the value of an outstanding arts education for children and adults.
Cynthia is a financial coach and the proud owner of Anderson Direct Financial Coaching where she helps people achieve their dreams through financial wellness and literacy.
A note from Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre Founder:
A.C.T is more than just four walls. We are more than a “staring role”, harmonies, or costumes. We are a family. A special place where kids can be creative, take chances, make mistakes, succeed, fail, laugh, cry and just BE WHO THEY ARE. In this hurry up, technology driven and chaotic world, A.C.T offers a place to slow down, sing a song, throw up your arms and dance, connect with peers and mentors and just HAVE FUN!
Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre was founded in 2000 by Michele Rubino. Michele wanted to provide kids and families a community based performing arts program that fostered confidence in children. ACT became a government sanctioned 501(c)3 not for profit organization in 2002 and since then have produced well over 50 shows, traveled the globe with our award winning show choirs and have made thousands of friends along the way. We teach our kids to leave the world better than we found it and we strive to do just that on a daily basis.
We offer private vocal lessons, private dance lessons, show choirs, musical theatre classes and full scale musical productions for grades K through age 19. Not only do we do a fine job at educating children in all aspects of the performing arts, but that education goes far beyond those skills. We teach personal responsibility, time management, how to work with a group, learning to face disappointment with grace as well as being a gracious leader. Our students excel in public speaking, feel comfortable in their own skin and make life-long friendships that extend way beyond our four walls. Theatre is open to children of various backgrounds, abilities, beliefs weaknesses and strengths. The ability to accept one another for who they are and work towards a common goal is one our favorite parts of A.C.T.
Being a not for profit organization means we rely on our community to help support us and keep our doors open. We are always looking for individuals and businesses to offer monetary and in-kind donations. We are in need of sponsorships for our main stage shows, special events and our scholarship fund! It is also a wonderful and fun place to volunteer some time! Please don’t hesitate to contact us to see how you can become part of the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre family! We ALWAYS have room for one more member!
AZ ACT is a theater company formed to bring a variety of people together into one community through the joy of performing.
It is a place where educational programs become performances and challenges are overcome through connection.
We guide and direct as we develop and grow into the best performers we can be.