Meet the Staff


Program Director: Andrew Sherman


 

Andrew Sherman is a native of Fort Wayne, IN and actively works in many community and professional theatrical productions in and around the Fort Wayne area. Andrew now serves on staff as Program Director for the Fort Wayne Summer Music Theatre. Directing, assistant directing, and choreography credits include: RENT, Beauty and the Beast, The Addams Family, Hairspray, Anything Goes, and many more. Andrew is a proud product of FWSMT. Over the past 11 years Andrew has worked his way from a student performer, marketing manager, assistant director, to his current position as program director. Featured acting credits include; Barrett in Titanic the Musical, Tom Collins in RENT, Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Tony in West Side Story, Emmett in Legally Blonde (FWSMT) Priest/Apostle in Jesus Christ Superstar, Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. (USF) Ensemble in Les Miserables, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast.  (F.W CIVIC) Dr. Madden in Next to Normal. (TRMT) Andrew also enjoys staying busy behind the scenes as a stage manager, master technician, dresser, and stagehand for many local theatre originations. Aside from theatre, Andrew is very active in the show choir community as a director, choreographer, adjudicator, and clinician at both the high school and middle school level all around the Midwest. Currently, Andrew works full time as the assistant director at Homestead High School for both groups, Class Royale and Elite. Andrew also serves as the assistant director for Garrett High School’s, ENCORE and, Technical Director for the Homestead High School Theatre Department. Andrew is proud to have choreographed and worked with groups that are consistent finalist in both the large and small school divisions at competitions all around the Midwest.

 


Program Founder & Executive Artistic Producer:  Kirby A. Volz


Kirby Volz is a native of Fort Wayne, IN teaching theatre education for over 30 years. Kirby was the co-founder and program director for the FWSMT for the past 20 years.   Currently Kirby is the director of theatre at South Side High School. Kirby recently moved back home from Indianapolis where he taught theatre at Ben Davis and Shelbyville high school for 4 years. Kirby has made his career teaching theatre arts at the high school level with over 50 directorial credits as a high school theatre director and educator. When not in the director’s chair, Kirby finds time to be on stage as much a possible. Last seen on stage as Monsignor O’Hara in Sister Act the Musical at USF.  Kirby has a Civic Anthony Award for George in Big, and an Arena Award for Best Director for The Odd Couple. When living in Indianapolis, he directed Little Shop of Horrors (Hendricks Civic Theatre) and Torch Song Trilogy (Spotlight Theatre). Kirby appeared in Office Hours and Bathroom Humor (Theatre on the Square), Little Shop of Horrors, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The Belfry Theatre). In his spare time Kirby loves to travel to New York City to see all the latest theatre productions and, is a HUGE IU Basketball fan.  

 

Music Director: Ben Wedler 



Ben Wedler is a graduate of IPFW with a B.S. in Music, majoring in Vocal Performance. He has music directed for many theatres here in Fort Wayne. For FWSMT he has music directed Beauty and the Beast, Addams Family and Hunchback of Notre Dame.  He has music directed Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, Dracula Baby, And the World Goes Round,  I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Company, Assassins, A Little Night Music, She Loves Me and Blood Brothers and led the orchestra for Violet and Bat Boy at Arena Dinner Theatre. In 2009 he music directed and performed with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in a production of Camelot. He has music directed Catch Me if You Can, Willy Wonka, Will Rogers Follies, Sister Act and All Shook Up and worked with the munchkins for Wizard of Oz at the University of St. Francis. He has music directed for First Presbyterian Theatre for their production of Crowns. He recently was asked to music direct Rock of Ages for the Civic Theatre. Ben has been seen on stage at the Civic in Into the Woods, Once Upon a Mattress, Shadowlands, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Christmas Story and in his Anthony Award winning role as Horton the Elephant in Seussical.  He is on the board of directors at Arena Dinner Theatre. By day he is the music and liturgy director for St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. Ben would like to thank his wife Leah and children Evelyn and Henry for their support and letting me play!


Assistant Director: Alex Leavell


Alex is incredibly excited and honored to be named as the Assistant Director for Fort Wayne Summer Music Theatre. As an alumni of the program himself, Alex hopes to help continue to grow the amazing program that has been built over the past 20 years. Alex began his love for theatre at Northrop High School, where he was taught and mentored by Tim Miller and Jeanette Walsh. He performed in several plays and musicals, and received the acting award during his senior year. After graduating from Northrop in 2011, Alex attended Indiana University-Bloomington, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education in 2015. Alex is currently in his fourth year of teaching at Bellmont High School, where he teaches 11th and 12th grade English and Speech. He is also the JV softball coach and has recently taken over as the director of the Fall Plays. Outside of work, Alex is highly involved in the Fort Wayne theatre community. Some of his favorite roles include: Jack Kelly in Newsies at the Civic Theatre, Joey in Sister Act at Saint Francis, and his performances in the Christmas and Disney Cabarets at Three Rivers Music Theatre. Some other of his favorite performing experiences are: Jesus Christ Superstar at Saint Francis (Ensemble), Memphis at the Civic (Ensemble), Rocky Horror Live at the Civic (Phantom), The Wizard of Oz at Saint Francis (Tinman), and RENT at Fort Wayne Summer Music Theatre (Ensemble). Alex would like to thank Andrew Sherman for trusting him to be his right-hand man in this process. He cannot wait to work with him to put on some fabulous shows and to help these talented young artists reach their full potential.

 

Choreographer & Education Director: Leslie Beauchamp


Most recently serving as Director/Choreographer for the Civic Theatre’s production of Newsies and as Assistant Director/Choreographer for USF’s Sister Act, Leslie’s production credits also include Choreographer for Civic Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast and Cabaret, Director/Choreographer for Civic Theatre’s Memphis and The Marvelous Wonderettes, and Director/Choreographer for USF’s The Will Rogers Follies.  Leslie is a familiar face and voice to area audiences, having been involved in our Arts and Show Choir Communities for over 30 years.  Last seen onstage as Desiree Armfeldt in Arena’s production of A Little Night Music, Leslie is an avid theatre director/choreographer/performer working with all our Fort Wayne Community Arts Theatres, as well as Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Ford Theatre at the Honeywell Center, and with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.   In addition to theatrical productions, Leslie has choreographed award winning show choirs throughout Indiana, serves as an adjudicator and motivational clinician, and works as a voice over talent for local, regional, and national companies. Favorite performances include Margaret Johnson in Light in the Piazza, Guinevere in Camelot, the Witch in Into the Woods, Anita in West Side Story, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Cassie and Sheila in A Chorus Line, and Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy.  Choreographic works include Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Godspell, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Dames at Sea, Bye Bye Birdie, All Shook Up, and Legally Blonde. Leslie is excited to be re-joining the FWSMT staff as it looks forward to the next 20 years! 


Vocal Clinician & Performance Technique Instructor: Mindy Cox 


A native Oklahoman, Mindy Cox received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Oklahoma City University.  She also studied voice at the Conservatory at University of Missouri- Kansas City.  She has performed in numerous roles in musicals and operas across the country.  Mindy has appeared with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and was a featured singer and dancer at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she also served as Vocal Captain for one season (and where she met her husband, choreographer Jeff Cox).  Since moving to Fort Wayne, she has appeared on the stages of the First Presbyterian Theater, the Fort Wayne Civic Theater, and the Embassy.  Mindy was the invited community guest artist to play Marian in The Music Man at IPFW Department of Theater’s Summer Classics, and has also appeared with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and IPFW as Laurey in Oklahoma! at the Embassy Centre.  At the Civic, she has received Anthony Awards for her performances as Maria in The Sound of Music, Sister Mary Amnesia in Nunsense, and Polly Baker in Crazy For You. Mindy has appeared as a soloist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic as part of their Holiday Pops series. She has taught a Musical Theatre Performance class at IPFW, and served as the Music Director and conductor for their musicals for a decade.   Her students have been seen in leading roles and as winners many performing arenas and competitions, including the Barn Theatre of Michigan, the Miss Indiana pageant system, Arena Dinner Theatre, the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Indiana State NATS auditions, and the William Schmidt vocal competition.  She has former students who have gone on to pursue degrees in music and theatre at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, AMDA-New York, Anderson University, Grace College, Elmhurst College, Ball State, Wright State, DePauw, and Oklahoma City University.  Mindy is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and operates her own voice studio.  She was awarded the NATS Great Lakes Region Independent Teacher award, and will be honored at this year’s National Convention in Las Vegas.


Cabaret Series Director: Kia Miller 


This year marks Kia’s thirteenth year with FWSMT, four as an actor and nine as an assistant director/director. Kia attended Interlochen Arts Camp, where she studied Musical Theatre and realized her role would be better played behind the script and in the classroom. She earned her BA in Secondary Theatre Education from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL where she graduated with the Distinguished Scholar Award. After returning to Fort Wayne, Kia was blessed to become the Drama Director at Bishop Dwenger High School and a teacher at Northrop High School. When not participating in theatre related things, Kia is actively involved in multiple ministries at her church and sponsors two after school clubs at her school. Her favorite acting credits include Clara Johnson (The Light in the Piazza - TRMT), Lily/Kate (Kiss Me Kate - Flagler), Madame Tourvel (Les Liaisons Dangereuses - Flagler), Tracy Turnblad (Hairspray - FWCivic - Anthony Award Winner), Snow White (Lucky Bunny - Flagler), B (Three Tall Women - Flagler), and Lily St. Regis (Annie Jr. - FWYoutheatre). The number of shows she has directed outnumber the years she has been alive. A few of her favorites include: Peter and the Starcatcher, Children of Eden, Little Women, These Shining Lives, A Little Princess, Post It’s: Notes on a Marriage (three times), and Elegant Women With Excellent Manners. In her spare time, which hardly exists, Kia does NOT enjoy grading papers, but would rather ride her bike, go camping and hiking, or try a new recipe in the kitchen with her darling fiancé.
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