Teaching Artists

Teaching artists are professional artists who apply their creative skills in educational settings. The Smith Center has selected talented Southern Nevada teaching artists to lead a variety of the center’s education and outreach initiatives, including Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts, Disney Musicals in Schools, and performances and residencies in schools and community centers. These artists hail from extensive careers in dance, theater, vocal and instrumental music and storytelling.

Early Learning
Through The Arts Teaching Artists

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Bethany Campbell

Dr. Bethany Campbell is a pianist and private piano instructor who hails from Southern California. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of Southern California, graduating Pi Kappa Lambda. She was chosen as the “Most Outstanding Keyboard Graduate” at the doctoral level within the Thornton School of Music and her minor fields were music education, college teaching, and music industry. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2007 and her recordings have been featured on 91.5 KUSC’s “Thornton Center Stage” program. She served on the piano faculty of Santa Monica College from 2014-2016 and held a recurring role on season 5 of the television show Glee. She maintains a private piano studio in Las Vegas which she established in 2010. 

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Steve Clark

Steve Clark is a percussion professional with over 35 years of experience as a touring artist and instructor for both traditional and special needs students. He has delivered music workshops for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults, parents and teachers of homeschooled pre-K students in collaboration with The International House of Blues Foundation. Steve has recorded over 100 released songs and has performed on stages around the world. He founded Junior Drummer Music Education and authored The Junior Drummer Kit. Steve is affiliated with the Percussive Arts Society and the Vic Firth Private Drum Teacher Program. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

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Karla Huntsman

Karla Huntsman is a drama specialist, actor, and storyteller with over 20 years of teaching experience at universities, high schools, junior high, and elementary schools across the country. She presents seminars, workshops, in-services, and residencies at festivals, conferences, conventions and schools. In addition to directing and acting, Karla enjoys performing theatre improv and storytelling programs for adults and children.  Her lively storytelling programs include singing, guitar, autoharp, djembe drum, washboard, and puppetry.

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Ms. L.A.

L.A. is an accomplished percussionist, who has performed around the world with notables, such as Eubie Blake & Lenny Godfrey, Winton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson. L.A. performed for Nelson Mandela at the United Nations World Summit, accompanied Maya Angelou, and performed as a solo act for Oprah’s 50th birthday tribute. She currently serves as the musical director of the Austin Dancers Academy and has developed a musical percussion program for autistic youth and adults.

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Jay Nagle

Jay Nagle recently moved to Las Vegas from Chicago where he worked for the park district for 15 years teaching theater, dance and early childhood development. Prior to that Mr. Nagle ran an original Musical Theatre Company from 1990 to 2002. Jay’s acting credits include National tours of Jesus Christ Superstar, Beauty and the Beast, N.Y.C. Lincoln Center Town Hall and Off-Broadway as well as off off Broadway. Currently, Jay is involved in numerous education and outreach programs of The Smith Center.

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Marcia Raquel Robinson

Marcia Raquel Robinson has a background in opera and dance. She performed in Treemonisha at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Jubilee and Hallelujah Hollywood in Las Vegas, and performed with the world famous vocal group The Platters. Her passion is researching African culture and philosophy, and its influence and positive character building effects on African American youth. Marcia received her Masters of Fine Arts in Theater from the University of California, San Diego and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

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Marcus Weiss

Marcus Weiss has been a professional actor for more than 25 years working extensively in theater, film, television, radio, and voice-overs across the country and in Europe. Some of his favorite screen credits include Life Is Beautiful, The Trust, All My Children, 21, and Scrubs. Born in New York and raised in Switzerland, Marcus received a B.A. in Drama from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University. While working as an original cast member of Blue Man Group Las Vegas, Marcus simultaneously performed for the world-renowned improvisation and sketch comedy show, The Second City for over 7 years. He also received critical acclaim for his starring role in the Las Vegas premiere of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, winning a Best Actor nod from The Las Vegas Review-Journal. Marcus has taught improvisation for The Second City Training Center and countless classes and workshops in acting, movement, voice, and speech for students of all ages. When not onstage, Marcus is a teaching artist for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts’ Disney Musicals in Schools and Southern Nevada Wolftrap programs, a core faculty member of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Initiative, and an Acting and Improvisation Instructor for The College of Southern Nevada. He portrayed a clown in Le Rêve–The Dream at The Wynn and has also been a sub in O at The Bellagio. In between it all, Marcus enjoys juggling his family life, which includes his lovely wife, Anastasia and two nutty kids, Jacob and Lukas.

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Patrick Worley

Patrick is an award-winning, multi-faceted guitarist. He spent a decade working in Nashville, sharing the stage and studio with some of the music industry’s great artists and songwriters. Patrick holds a Bachelor’s degree in music business and guitar performance from Middle Tennessee State University, and a Master’s from UNLV. He serves on the music faculty of UNLV and Dixie State University in Utah.

Disney Musicals In Schools Teaching Artists

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Rebecca Kernes

Rebecca Kernes, a Chicago native, has studied theater and dance with companies in Chicago such as Gus Giordano's Dance Center and Talent Forum, Second City, Steppen Wolf, and Remy Bumpo Theater.  Recent Credits include Mikey in The Odd Couple Female version (LVLT), Desdemona in Othello (Shakespeare Institute), Rosalind in As You Like It (Shakespeare Institute), Juju in Juju Goes to Pahrump (LVLT), Phoebe in Eastern Standard (LVLT), Germaine in Picasso at Lapin Agile (Onyx Theatre), and Elaine in The Graduate (Onyx). She also performs With Alibi: The Show That’s Not a Show in downtown Las Vegas, she was a company member of the Rainbow Kids touring show, and is the founder and Executive Director of Ants in the Pants, a non-profit Children's Theatre that focuses on creative writing. Aside from theatre you can see Rebecca in films and television, and you have probably heard her voice as she provides voices for several radio and television ads across the country. 

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Sarah Lowe

Sarah Lowe has been performing in film/television, and stage shows since childhood. Some of her favorite on camera credits include Gloria Bell and Bridesmaids. She first came to Vegas with the premiere Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia and returned later to serve as the dance captain for nine years with Jersey Boys. As a choreographer, Sarah has worked on the Nurse's Ball for General Hospital and as assistant choreographer for the hit show Crazy Ex Girlfriend (she can also be seen dancing in the season two opening credits for the same show). Sarah is proud to be a teaching artist with The Smith Center and also enjoys working as a director/choreographer with Camp Broadway.

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Tiffany (Thompson) Luce

Tiffany (Thompson) Luce is a dancer, actor, director and instructor with over fifteen years of experience in the performing arts and education field. Tiffany holds a BS in Human Services from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Over the last six years she performed in numerous plays and musicals regionally and internationally. A large part of her career has been working with 80 plus students during the summer for performing arts based educational summer programs.   

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Jay Nagle

Jay Nagle recently moved to Las Vegas from Chicago where he worked for the park district for 15 years teaching theater, dance and early childhood development. Prior to that Mr. Nagle ran an original Musical Theatre Company from 1990 to 2002. Jay’s acting credits include National tours of Jesus Christ Superstar, Beauty and the Beast, N.Y.C. Lincoln Center Town Hall and Off-Broadway as well as off off Broadway. Currently, Jay is involved in numerous education and outreach programs of The Smith Center.

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Kathy Ortiz

Kathy Ortiz has an extensive background in dance and theater. She graduated as Valedictorian with a BFA in Jazz Dance and Musical Theater from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and went on to perform for Epcot Center, Princess Cruise Lines, The American Gladiators, The Atlantis Resort and Casino, and Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana. Not only has Kathy performed in numerous local productions such as Hairspray, All Shook Up, West Side Story, and Peter Pan…she has also choreographed for local productions of Next to Normal and The Music Man. Currently, she is a Music Specialist and Musical Theater Director/Choreographer for Las Vegas Day School, an Assistant Stage Manager for Camp Broadway, and runs a nonprofit organization called Parts for the Arts which assists high needs schools in creating sustainable musical theater programs.

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Rommel Pacson

Rommel Pacson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from Towson University, MD. He began his dance career performing at King’s Dominion in Richmond, VA and King’s Island in Cincinnati, OH. He moved on to Orlando, FL, dancing at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center as a World Dancer and as a Kid of the Kingdom at the Magic Kingdom. He has performed in the US and abroad. His choreography credits include The King and I and Hairspray with Signature Productions, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with PSFX Productions, Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Wedding Singer, The Sound of Music, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Palo Verde High School, Urinetown at West Tech and Career High School, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Coronado High School, and Leader of the Pack with Super Sumer Theater. Both Hairspray and Leader of the Pack were nominated for best Off-Strip Show by Broadway World Las Vegas. His choreography was also featured in the Cirque du Soleil/Nevada Ballet Choreographer’s Showcase. He was dance coach for Cirque du Soleil’s Love at the Mirage and has taught at the Nevada Ballet Academy. Not included are the numerous commercial, industrial, and touring shows he has performed with various production companies including Elton John, Charo, CHAZZAM, Chicago Tourists Bureau, Amtrak, Met Life, and Wynn Resorts just to name a few.

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Angela Palmeri-Davis

Angela Palmeri-Davis is a dance instructor and performing artist with 28 years of professional experience. Her first break in showbiz came at the age of 17 when she was cast as a Middle Eastern dancer by Farrington Productions for “The Bacchanal Dinner Theatre.”  Following her first professional contract, she began auditioning as a back-up singer or dancer for internationally touring productions, such as “Vegas Nights” with Greg Miller and “Aloha Hawaii”, UAE & Egypt tour.  Angela’s passion for Middle Eastern Dance has led her to study throughout the U.S and Africa with some of the biggest names in Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, including legendary pioneer Mahmoud Reda.  In early 2000 she began working as a choreographer in productions on the Las Vegas strip, including “The Bacchanal” at Caesars Palace and “Desert Passage” at Aladdin and Mandalay Bay, some of which were accompanied by live Arabic musicians. In 2001 she wrote the curriculum for Middle Eastern Dance & History for the College of Southern Nevada. Angela continues to teach as adjunct faculty at CSN while simultaneously working as a teaching artist at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

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Keriann Parkes

Keriann Parkes has a strong background in Musical Theatre performance and production. Keriann Parkes has been working as an Early Childhood Edu-tainer since 2007, bringing magical classes & events to San Diego, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Las Vegas through Gymboree Play & Music. She started Miss Keri, LLC, in 2012, which brought to life such characters as “Keri the Fairy” from the page to the stage. Keriann currently performs her one woman show all over Las Vegas, encouraging children (and adult children) of all ages to Celebrate Diversity and use the Power of Words for the good of all human and fairykind! Keriann enjoys the variety of all creative expression as a model, both print and runway. She donned her first cover this February 2017 issue of David Magazine in a wedding dress made of balloons, and stormed the runway in September 2017 for Circus Couture’s “Prysm”. Keriann can now be found bringing magic to local elementary school assemblies, as well as pediatric medical centers throughout the Greater Las Vegas area… and beyond!

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Ann-Marie Pereth

Ann Marie Pereth is a theater director and choreographer and has worked with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, and American Girl in New York City. Ann Marie acts as Guest Director for Rainbow Company Youth Theatre shows, such as Charlotte’s Web, Cheaper by the Dozen, and The Odyssey. Her recent directing credits include: Jewish Repertory Theater of Nevada’s The Diary of Anne Frank, Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s Rabbit Hole, and Glory in the Flower. Ann Marie is also Resident Acting Coach for JRS Media and works as an adjunct theater professor for the College of Southern Nevada. She received her Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Ann Marie is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of A Public Fit Theatre Company.

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Graciela Strahan

Graciela Strahan is an actor who grew up in Las Vegas, studied theatre at Southern Utah University, and completed a year-long internship in events, hospitality, and technical theatre with The Walt Disney World Resort ® in Orlando, Florida. She served as a Regional Coordinator for StateraArts Las Vegas Mentorship Chapter. Some of her favorite credits include: August: Osage County (Johnna Monevata), Twelve Angry Jurors (Juror 3), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Tragedian), Romeo and Juliet (Lord Capulet), The Lover (Director), The Spit Fire Grill (ASM), and Into the Woods (ASM). She started teaching in an arts integration program with fifth grade literature and theatre in Cedar City, Utah. She is grateful for the opportunity to advance the arts in her hometown!

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Shaquida Vergo

Shaquida Vergo is a California native and moved to Las Vegas to obtain her BA in Dance Production Management. She graduated from UNLV, Spring 2014, and is now a part-time instructor in the Dance Department. She also guest teaches at various schools throughout the Las Vegas valley, is a yearly Director and Assistant Stage Manager for Camp Broadway Las Vegas, and is a part time employee at The Smith Center. She has been training in dance since age eleven and is also a lighting, sound, video, and costume designer.

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Marcus Weiss

Marcus Weiss has been a professional actor for more than 25 years working extensively in theater, film, television, radio, and voice-overs across the country and in Europe. Some of his favorite screen credits include Life Is Beautiful, The Trust, All My Children, 21, and Scrubs. Born in New York and raised in Switzerland, Marcus received a B.A. in Drama from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University. While working as an original cast member of Blue Man Group Las Vegas, Marcus simultaneously performed for the world-renowned improvisation and sketch comedy show, The Second City for over 7 years. He also received critical acclaim for his starring role in the Las Vegas premiere of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, winning a Best Actor nod from The Las Vegas Review-Journal. Marcus has taught improvisation for The Second City Training Center and countless classes and workshops in acting, movement, voice, and speech for students of all ages. When not onstage, Marcus is a teaching artist for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts’ Disney Musicals in Schools and Southern Nevada Wolftrap programs, a core faculty member of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Initiative, and an Acting and Improvisation Instructor for The College of Southern Nevada. He portrayed a clown in Le Rêve–The Dream at The Wynn and has also been a sub in O at The Bellagio. In between it all, Marcus enjoys juggling his family life, which includes his lovely wife, Anastasia and two nutty kids, Jacob and Lukas.

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Mary Beth Zentner

Mary Beth Zentner holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Sierra Nevada College, and has been participating in and teaching theatre and voice for most of her adult life. As an actress, she has appeared locally in numerous productions such as The Sound of Music, Les Misérables, The Secret Garden, Mary Poppins and Company. As a theatre educator, she has combined her passion for teaching with her lifelong love of theatre in the direction of over twenty elementary and middle school productions. Mary Beth currently teaches youth theatre classes through her program, Downstage Center Theatre for Youth and is a private vocal coach. Having witnessed so often the transformative power of the arts in children's lives, she is grateful for the opportunity to continue her favorite kind of work at The Smith Center.