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Program Overview

PAA offers musical theatre shows and performing arts classes during the Fall and Spring semesters. In the Summer, PAA offerers several two-week-long musical theatre day camps.

Theatre Master Classes and Workshops occur occasionally throughout the year and have short time frames for registration due the availability of the artist. In addition to local artists, PAA engages touring artists to the master class setting that want to help enhance our students experience in voice, dance, and acting.

Classes and shows are grouped according to age and abilities, supporting high quality experiences and learning opportunities.

Fall Semester

A variety of Classes and Musical Theatre Shows

Fall Musical Theatre Shows
For the Fall of 2020, PAA is offering Performance Classes, small scale musical theatre shows, for grades 2-6 and 7-12. Performance Classes meet twice a week throughout the fall semester and perform at the end of the semester. Learn More

Fall Classes
Many different classes are offered during the fall semester. PAA offers classes in Dance, Acting, Improvisation, and Voice. Learn More

Fall Outreach Program
PAA provides a large number of scholarships to students in this program. The scholarships are funded through donations, sponsorship’s and grants for at-risk youth. Students attend rehearsals and classes after school for a musical theatre production. Learn More

Spring Semester

A variety of Classes and Musical Theatre Shows

PAA offers musical productions through Performance Classes in the spring for grades 2nd-6th and for grades 7th-12th. Performance Classes meet twice a week throughout the spring semester.

Spring Classes
Many different classes are offered during the fall semester. PAA offers classes in Dance, Acting, Improvisation, and Voice. Learn More

Spring Outreach Program
PAA provides a large number of scholarships to students in this program. The scholarships are funded through donations, sponsorship’s and grants for at-risk youth. Students attend rehearsals and classes after school for a musical theatre production. Learn More

Summer Camps

Multiple 1- and 2-Week Summer Camps for Kindergarten – 12th grade!

During the months of June and July, PAA offers 1-week and 2-week summer camp programs that involve curriculum-driven and performance-based rehearsals and performances for grades K – 12.  Learn More

Workshops and Masterclasses

Learn from industry professionals in one-time classes

Theatre Master Classes and Workshops occur occasionally throughout the year and have short time frames for registration due the availability of the artist. In addition to local artists, PAA engages touring artists to the master class setting that want to help enhance our students experience in voice, dance, and acting.

If you’d like to be notified when when new theatre master classes and workshops are scheduled, subscribe to our mailing list.

PAA Afterschool

After School Musical Theater Outreach Programs for At-Risk Youth

Each Fall and Spring, PAA runs an after school outreach program for students at East and Field Elementary schools in Littleton, Colorado. The program is offered to students and families who have limited access to extended arts programs due to financial constraints.  Students register through PAA’s website once the dates and times are coordinated with the school calendar.  PAA is thankful for the many donors and foundations who help make this program possible for the students in our community!

Our Story and Our Future

The Performing Arts Academy (PAA) is located at 8817 South Broadway, in Highlands Ranch, Colorado

In 2006, Dr. James Ramsey created a theater arts program that would engage 26 children and their families, inspiring them to reveal brilliance and to grow within their community. In the south metro Denver area, PAA is unique, attracting students of all backgrounds and employing quality, seasoned professionals with degrees in music theater, music performance and music education. The teaching staff consistently designs and implements curriculum that delivers a high quality experience in performing arts for children of all abilities. Our educational model focuses on teaching confidence, cooperation, collaboration, creativity, and community through performing arts experiences.

PAA has grown from 26 students in 2006 to over 900 students in 2019. Facility needs for staff and faculty have been accommodated by the continued generosity of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, but our rapid growth will soon demand additional space. Staffing and program needs will expand proportionately, demanding skillful management to maintain steady and successful growth over time. Long term strategic planning options include but are not limited to:

  1. Building successful programs in music and theatre for children.
  2. Expanding into local schools to enhance music and theatre education.
  3. Developing community partnerships to support and sustain growth.
  4. Creating a safe space where students are inspired, nurtured and challenged to learn, perform and grow.

PAA continues its efforts to become a self-sustaining organization, with partnerships, fund-raising and grant writing supplementing the current model of “fee for services.”

Growing with PAA

Our focus in classes and productions by age group.

Pre-K and Early Elementary

Children use creative discovery and imaginative play as they explore dramatic expression in the forms of dance, acting and music. Theatrical skills are learned through age-appropriate theatre stories and scripts, and the skills are applied in fun practice sessions. At the end of the semester, children share what they have learned with friends and family in a Shareformance.

Elementary

Child artists learn and apply theatrical skills in the disciplines of dance, music, and text-based acting work, and are encouraged to explore how acting is inside all components of stage craft. More complex, age-appropriate theatre stories are explored, and scripts are introduced as a regular part of the classes. Ideas of character and story choices, theatre vocabulary, and guidelines for proper practice in theatrical work, including in rehearsal and production processes, are presented in fun and drama-based ways. These ideas are then applied in mini practice sessions in classes, as well as in productions.

Middle & High School

Young artists engage in studies of dance, music and text-based acting work, using scripts and non-scripted practice to learn and apply theatrical skills. More complex age-appropriate theatrical material is used for this age group, to keep their interest and engagement as they explore stories in dramatic fashion. At this age, the artists often ask to be challenged, and we meet them where they are so they can express their individuality, as well as learn to be a part of a collaborative whole, while encouraging them to go further in their theatrical learning and application.

Adults

For our theatre loving and theatre curious adults, we offer a variety of classes at different levels. We create a safe and fun environment where adults can learn and create in a variety of artistic disciplines, both on and off the stage. If you are an adult who has always wanted to try theatre, or someone who used to do theatre and wants to get back into it, or a practicing artist who has lots of experience and is seeking a community of fellow theatre enthusiasts, we welcome you!

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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.