Director

BRANDYN MCGHEE

Having been the Stage Manager for all of Kre8ive Fine Arts Academy’s previous five productions, Brandyn is thrilled to be stepping into the Director position for James and the Giant Peach.  Having worked as the Technical Director in the theatre at John A. Logan College for 10 years, working professionally with SIU’s McLeod Summer Playhouse for the past three years and having performed in over 60 theatrical productions on nearly every stage in Southern Illinois, Brandyn is no stranger to the “theatre world”.  Having directed productions in the past with Skyline Creek Productions and The Jackson County Stage Company, Brandyn loves the collaboration and creativity that come with directing a full-scale musical production.  As a Director, Brandyn believes his extensive background in the many different aspects of theatre allows him to see a show from multiple perspectives, which can often be beneficial during both the initial creative development and throughout the rehearsal process of a production.  Brandyn loves working with Kre8ive and is greatly looking forward to telling the story of James and the Giant Peach with the help of his amazing Kre8ive Team and some of the most talented kids in Southern Illinois.

Music Director

LAUREN ARNETT

Lauren holds a Master of Music Degree in Opera and Music Theater Performance from SIU-C.  Her professional performance credits include McLeod Summer Playhouse, The Diamond Circle Melodrama Theater in Durango, CO, Ohio Light Opera, and Southern Ohio Opera Theaters.  Lauren is the choral director for Carterville Junior High and High School.  Additionally, she teaches theater and music appreciation, a John A Logan dual credit course.  Lauren is appreciative for a wonderful opportunity to do what she loves, make music and work with young people...including her own!

LORI EISENHAUER ELLIS

Choreographer

Lori is Kre8ive's Choreographer for all things Kre8ive.  If you know Lori like we do you know that she loves to sparkle even in her dance gear.  We can honestly say that's what makes Lori so special, she knows how to "spark" interest in a group of young children and bring their "sparkle" to the stage.  We have yet to see her working with out youth unless she is clad with sequins and a smile!  Lori's performing interest began winning a state gymnastics title at the young age of 7 leading to jazz, tap, ballet, singing, and acting on stages all across the Midwest.  Lori has a broad performance background on numerous stages such as Six Flags over Mid America as a singer and featured dancer/dance captain and has also spent several years as lead vocalist for her country rock band.  As a resident performer of The Boiler Room Theater in Nashville, TN, Lori played leading roles in A Chorus Line, Grease, Gypsy, and Chicago.  Career highlights have been performing for the American troops abroad and singing back-ups for Martina McBride during her Joy of Christmas Tour.  Not only does she perform but she loves to teach and give back having taught dance and gymnastics.  Lori has also served as choreographer in Nashville and Southern Illinois, working on The King and I, Hello Dolly, The Wizard of Oz, Grease, A Chorus Line, and Shrek the Musical.  Finally, one of the most important roles is being mom to her three children all under the age of 5!  How does she do it?  Lots of help from her family and the community she serves, a lot of Diet Coke, and of course her glitz and bling.

JEFF KEASLER-BIRD

Stage Manager

Jeff started his involvement in the arts when he was very young at the age of five. He acted throughout his childhood and his love for theatre continued to grow as he progressed. He became interested in the technical and production side of theatre in high school and began to focus his work in that direction. After high school in 2008 he moved to the Southern Illinois area from Indianapolis where he quickly became very involved in the theatre community. He studied theatre at Southeastern Illinois College where he was their resident lighting technician from 2008-2011. From there he branched out, working and sometimes acting with many other local theatre organizations including Pyramid Players, The Stage Company, John A. Logan College, Dance4Grandma Theatricals, Skyline Creek Productions, Harrisburg High School, and the Anna Arts Center.

In 2015 he established his own group called 13Theatrics, which has successfully produced five productions over the past three years including “Rock of Ages,” “RENT,” and most recently “A Chorus Line.” He has staged managed over a dozen shows in the area including “Legally Blonde,” “Les Miserables,” “Chicago,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Godspell,” “Addams Family,” “Aida,” and “Cats.” Whether it be onstage or off, Jeff has worked in almost every aspect of theatre in some capacity over the years. He continues to enjoy the opportunity to expand his repertoire and work with new faces. He is excited to join the Kre8ive team and have the chance to help young actors grow within the arts.

DEREK HAMBLIN

Conductor

Derek serves as Founder and Artistic Director for Dance4Grandma Theatricals, a

music theater based producing group, which also serves as his private instruction studio.

 He received his B.A. in Vocal Performance from Berea College in Berea, KY and

completed his studies for a Master's in Music(Music Theatre/Opera Performance) at

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.  While attending Berea College, Derek served

as the student conductor for the Wind/Concert Ensemble, Featured Jazz Soloist(Sax) in the

Jazz Ensemble, and was the Desktop Publishing Technician for the music

department(FINALE).  During his Berea College Studies, he also composed and arranged

music for different ensembles within the music department. During his Southern Illinois

University Studies, he served as a Graduate Instructor for the Music Department’s Music

Appreciation Courses.

After completing his studies at SIUC, Derek has stayed in the Southern Illinois area working

freelance and professionally in the performing arts.  He is currently the Director of Music at

First Christian Church of Carbondale, and is the Administrative Assistant for the Marion

Cultural & Civic Center, where he manages all office and box office functions.   He has

served as Adjunct Voice Faculty at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois, and was

the Music Theatre & Vocal Coordinator for the Southern Illinois University OUTREACH

program. During his time with OUTREACH, he organized and taught voice, piano,

ensemble singing, musical theater workshops, audition workshops, and taught summer

music camps in Cape Hatteras, NC(The Outer Banks).

Hamblin has worked professionally in regional theatre as an actor, music director, musician,

conductor, and casting director.(Lincoln Amphitheatre/Jenny Wiley Theatre/McLeod

Summer Playhouse).

Studies Abroad(Salzburg, Austria) allowed Hamblin to perform, arrange and study music all

over eastern Europe. While in Europe, he performed throughout Germany, Switzerland,

Austria, and Italy. Derek is thrilled to be a part of Kre8ive again!!! Viva la THEATRE!

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