Performing Arts Academy 

After School Programs for at-risk youth

Students Enriched By the Arts Through This Program

After School Programs

How many students in 2019

The Beginning

PAA’s 2014 Outreach Pilot Program began through a collaboration with East Elementary School in Littleton, Colorado, a federally-funded Title 1 school where 80 – 90% of students are considered socio-economically at risk. The summer two-week musical theatre program was a first of its kind for the school, and performing arts participation was a new experience for many of the students. The program included curriculum-based voice, dance, and acting. The experience concluded with a full-scale production of Disney’s The Jungle Book KIDS, which the children performed for an enthusiastic audience of family and community members.

With this strong momentum and overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, families, and school administrators, PAA is committed to expanding after school programming and access to address the need for quality, student-centered, arts and education experiences.

With this strong momentum and overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, families, and school administrators, PAA continues to address the unmet need for quality arts and education experiences by continuing to collaborate with Littleton Schools. PAA’s continued goal is to provide the best experience possible and ensure we utilize all the resources necessary to best serve our community

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

– Pablo Picasso

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Grants Received this year for After School Outreach Programs for at-risk youth equaling $12,500

The amount of funds needed to support the After School Outreach Programs

Aida Rasoli

“Hello. My name is Aida Rasoli. I am now in 6th grade [in 2018]. When I had to leave Performing Arts academy because I wasn’t going to be in elementary school anymore was hard. Performing Arts academy was the reason why I love doing what I am doing. Aka singing and acting. The first time I went to Performing arts academy I was very nervous to show my voice. But the experience they showed was the best. They made me feel good of myself that I could be me. Honestly when I did my first performance was the best time ever. When it ended I begged my mom if I could do Lion King in fifth grade. So when I did it I was myself and had fun. Seeing the crowd smile laughing made me feel good of myself. Plus the character I played which was Pumba was a lot like me. The last performing arts program I did was in the summer which was Seussical Kids. I was upset it was my last one but I had fun with my friends and new people that I met.

The thing I loved about being in Performing arts academy is I got to meet new people and got to know them better. I feel like meeting new people and getting to know them better is the best feeling ever.  I think everyone should know the thing you learn in performing arts academy is practicing what you need to do so you can be in front. Performing arts academy has changed my life a lot. Before doing performing arts academy I was this shy girl but now I do what I desire and be myself. I don’t even care what people say about me. Because I know people like me for who I am. Thank you.”

Aida Rasoli exemplifies why programs like this one are so important. The faculty and staff that had the pleasure helping to guide Aida through the 3 shows she participated in were thrilled when she asked to come back for the last show Performing Arts Academy (PAA) did at East Elementary, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as a student volunteer. Aida could not be in the show as she has graduated from East Elementary the previous year. She was an excellent assistant and a great role mold for the students.

Seussical Kids

Seussical Kids

Seussical Kids

Seussical Kids

Lion King Kids

Aladdin Kids

Goal One
Offer grade and age-appropriate music and performance skills through immersive instruction and practice in singing, acting, dance, and basic music theory.
Goal Two
Engage students, instill confidence, and foster collaboration as they prepare and apply their skills through performances for families and the local community.
A broad education in the arts helps give children a better understanding of their world…We need students who are culturally literate as well as math and science literate.”

-Paul Ostergard, Vice President, Citicorp

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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

– Dr. Seuss

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In honor of our 15-year Anniversary, we are offering 15% off Spring Classes when students register for 2 or more classes!

The same student must be registered in both classes for the discount to apply.
Offer expires Monday, January 31


John Boggs

John Boggs is a pianist, composer and vocalist based currently in Thornton, Colorado. He holds a DMA in Composition from the University of Colorado Boulder, a M.M. in Composition from the University of Michigan and a B.F.A. from Bard College. Previous piano instructors include German Diez and MaryAnn Griebling. He taught students of all ages and experience during his undergraduate and graduate studies.

At Bard College he studied voice with tenor Rufus Müller. He has sung such roles as Jamie in The Last Five Years, The Lecturer in Reefer Madness, and El Gallo in The Fantasticks. He teaches repertoire in the genres of musical theater, art song, pop and opera. He currently is a Choral Pro for both the Ars Nova singers and the St. John’s Episcopal Compline Choir. In 2016, John co-founded Renaissance and Contemporary a cappella group, Solis, to promote new works from local and national composers.

His music direction includes Pippin and Rocky Horror Picture Show with the Bard Musical Theater Company. In 2017 he music directed Centerstage Theater Company’s production of Godspell, and most recently their 2021 production of Theory of Relativity.

He has had composition premiers by such groups as the American Symphony Orchestra, University of Michigan’s Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir, DaCapo Chamber Players, Ars Nova Singers, the Columbine Chorale, 303 Children’s Choir (now Vocal Coalition), the Chamber Music Society of Ohio, and new music ensemble Contemporaneous. He is the co-founder/co-writer as well as the keyboardist and vocalist for experimental rock band Fifth Veil, and is delving into the world of film and interactive game scoring.

He also has experience teaching students with developmental disabilities. He provided accompaniment for Tapestry Theater’s productions of Elf, School House Rocks and Shrek Jr. He was previously employed with Imagine’s CORE day program, where he instructed group music classes using midi over wifi to create the feeling of being in a band and orchestra.



Amy Arpan

Amy Arpan has worked professionally as an actress, show host, variety artist, improviser, fight choreographer, clown, and director for 22 years.

She is represented by Radical Artists Agency, and you may have seen her competing in the ‘Dish Network Challenge’ and zooming along on an electric scooter in the ‘Colorado Lottery’ Commercials.

Past local credits include Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center; Mrs. Soames in Our Town at Miners Alley; the Conductor and Engineer in The Polar Express; Madame Volange in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Miners Alley; Characters in Crisis for the Colorado Police Departments; and directing Fright Fest and the Summer Illusion Shows at Elitch Gardens. She is also a local weekly Trivia and Bingo Host.

Favorite out of State Credits and Clients
include: Nickelodean, Royal Caribbean,
Disney Cruise Lines, & Cedar Fair Theme Parks , Shakespeare Carolina, ChickSpeare, The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte,.

In addition to Clowning around with her Ringling Brother’s Circus School training, she is also fond of Juggling, Improv-ing, Performing Magic, Balloon Twisting, Lip Print Reading, Stilt Walking, Mascot work, Puppeteering, Show Hosting, and Character Roaming. She has been the owner and principal performer for Amy Arpan’s Illusions And Confusions since its founding in 1998.

Katie Reid Milazzo

Katie is thrilled to be returning to her beautiful home state of Colorado after 15 years away performing and teaching professionally, and she is very excited to be joining PAA! National Tours: South Pacific (Nellie Forbush), 'S Wonderful (Jane), Annie (Ronnie Boylan). Regional: Last Five Years (Cathy), Marvelous Wonderettes (Missy), Princess and the Pea (Queen u/s), Land of Forgotten Toys (Queen), Full Monty (Pam), Ordinary Days (Claire), B’way: The Big Band Years (featured singer), Sweeney Todd, The Who's Tommy. BFA Musical Theater from The University of Oklahoma. In Chicago, Katie taught and directed at several performing arts programs, directing/music directing over 20 shows with ages K - 12. She especially loves working one on one with students and believes in the transformative power of theater for everyone!


Jennifer Maggi

Jennifer Maggi grew up dancing in Orange County, California at the Pacific School of Ballet from the age of 5 to 18. Throughout her years there, she trained in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Tap. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from California State University, Fullerton with an emphasis in Ballet and Modern. While completing her degree, Jennifer performed and choreographed for numerous professional dance shows and showcases as well as participated in the Limon Dance Intensive under Collin Connor. After graduating, Jennifer returned to Cal State Fullerton to choreograph the BFA Musical Theatre main stage productions of Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party, and Cry Baby. In 2014, Jennifer was cast as a performer at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California where she danced and portrayed famous Disney characters in the Pixar Play Parade, Paint the Night Parade, The Frightfully Fun Parade, and The Christmas Fantasy Parade. She moved to Denver in May 2019 and is so excited to join the team at PAA and share her passion for dance with her students.

Jana Wesson

Jana Wesson is thrilled to be back at PAA! As a former alumni, Jana is excited to be continuing with PAA as a staff of the outreach program. Since her last show in 2013 Jana has gone on to do community theatre at the Pace Center and Wesley Players Theatre Company, starring in shows such as Singin’ In The RainMary Poppins, The Music Man and many more!

McKensey Struzik

McKensey graduated from Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts with a BA in Acting and a Minor in Musical Theatre in 2016.  Since, she has taught children’s theatre at various studios in Virginia as well as in Colorado.  She has taught dance, private voice and group acting classes as well as choreographed, music directed many productions.  She has tap danced for 17 years and had the opportunity to study under tap dancers such as Savion Glover, Chloe Arnold, Maude Arnold, and Jason Janas.  She is thrilled to teach tap with PAA this year and can’t wait to get started.

Andrew McGlothen

Andrew McGlothen is thrilled to be back for his 2nd summer with PAA. Originally from Texas, Andrew has been fabricator, scenic painter, director and actor for over a decade. He’s had the privilege to work for companies like the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids, Denver Comic Con, Visionbox Studio and many others. If you need something designed or created, he’s your guy. When not working in theatre Andrew is a Graphic Designer and coffee snob. He’d like to thank his husband and dogs for the support and PAA for the opportunity!”


Melanie Ware

Melanie has been with PAA as their Properties Master for six years and teaching classes for five. Melanie received her BA in Theatre from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in May of 2016. Between Acting, Directing and Properties Design she has roughly 12 years of theatrical experience. Favorite PAA design credits include: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown!, Tarzan, Mary Poppins and The Addams Family.




Stephanie Hesse

Stephanie is thrilled to join PAA, and is very proud of this group of talented kids!  With a BA in both Theatre and Dance from Colorado Mesa University,  Stephanie has performed with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Avatar Movement Dance Company, and in several musicals in the Denver area including 9 to 5, 42nd Street, Crazy For You, and West Side Story. Choreography credits include: A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, Hello Dolly!, She Loves Me, 13: The Musical, and Disney’s Mary Poppins Jr.