Matthew Koehler is a teaching artist, lifelong thespian, and believer in the value of artistic expression. Forged in the Omaha youth theatre scene, he went on to earn a BFA in Theatre with a concentration in acting from Kansas City's Avila University. Matthew has worked at many theaters around town, both on and off stage. Previous credits include Young Frankenstein at The White Theatre, Band Geeks with Faust Theatre, and the Kansas City Fringe Festival. Growing up in the arts taught Matthew that the lessons of theatre are inherently bound to the skills it takes to cultivate a full and forthright life. He uses this mindset - along with heaping loads of creative energy - to help inspire his students to grow both as actors and as people (and have some fun along the way).
Stephen Kopel is a proud Kansas City native. Stephen’s life long love of the theatre began as a teenager, attending local productions with his family, including many at The Coterie. Stephen currently resides in New York City, where he maintains an active freelance career, while also serving as casting director for Roundabout Theatre Company, the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre. Broadway credits include: Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Jagged Little Pill, The Lifespan of a Fact, The Play That Goes Wrong, Sunday in the Park with George, Amelie, Holiday Inn, She Loves Me, Noises Off, On the Twentieth Century, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Violet, The Winslow Boy, The Glass Menagerie, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Once, Harvey, Don’t Dress for Dinner, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Road to Mecca, Anything Goes, The People in the Picture, The Scottsboro Boys, Brief Encounter, Sondheim on Sondheim and Hedda Gabler. Select Off-Broadway credits include: 72 Miles to Go…, Toni Stone, The Robber Bridegroom, Merrily We Roll Along, Kingdom Come, Invisible Thread, Indian Ink, The Common Pursuit and The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. Stephen also served as resident casting director for Encores! Off-Center, an annual musical theatre concert series, from its inception in 2012 until 2017. Encores! credits include: Little Shop of Horrors (with Jake Gyllenhaal & Ellen Greene), A New Brain (with Jonathan Groff & Ana Gasteyer), The Wild Party (with Sutton Foster & Steven Pasquale) and Tick Tick Boom (with Lin-Manuel Miranda & Leslie Odom Jr). In his free time Stephen enjoys working with many of the nation’s top regional theaters. Recent collaborations include work with American Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Denver Center Theatre Company and Hartford Stage. Stephen is a five-time recipient of the Casting Society of America’s Artios Award, presented annually to recognize excellence in casting. He has served as a Tony Award voter since 2016.
Stephanie Laaker is a teaching artist and actor happily residing in the Kansas City metro. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from University of Central Missouri, and is so grateful to be working in her hometown! In addition to The Coterie, some of the orgainziations Stephanie has taught with are Heart of American Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City Young Audiences, and the Barn Players. Stephanie loves teaching Shakespeare and language, and also loves exploring new ways to communiate and create with her students.
Sarah Mae Lamar is a native of Kansas City, with degrees in Vocal performance and Theater Education from Mid America Nazarene University and Kansas State University. She has performed in and produced musical theater all over Kansas City for the past seven years. Some of her local professional credits include shows at Starlight, Musical Theater Heritage, Quality Hill Playhouse, and The New Dinner Theater. Sarah also spent a year singing at a dinner theatre in Aspen, Colorado, and a summer with the Lyceum Theatre in Arrowrock, Missouri. Some of her favorite roles include: The Homeless Lady in A New Brain, Anna Murrant in Street Scene, and the Stepmother in Into the Woods. Sarah Mae has recently started her Master’s degree in Liberal Arts with a Theatre emphasis to pursue teaching at the collegiate level. She is thrilled to start with Donnelly College as an adjunct professor in October.
Todd Lanker is a director, actor, and teacher. He was trained at WORKOUT (the physical theatre ensemble of Wheaton College), the Michael Howard Studio NYC, the Actor’s Gang Theatre LA, and the Master of Fine Arts program at UMKC. Todd has served as the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Shed, a theatrical collaboration with Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles and as Associate Artistic Director of METropolitan Ensemble Theatre.
Katie Lee is a proud K.C. native, teaching artist, director, and stage manager. She graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a BSEd in Speech, Theatre, and English. She taught high school for a while before heading to the University of Central Missouri where she received her MA in Theatre with an emphasis in history and criticism. Katie has been teaching theatre to Kansas City's youth for nearly a decade and has directed several children's shows in the area. In her free time, Katie can be found painting or exploring the Kansas City arts and food scenes with her husband and son.
Bob Linebarger's past Coterie experience includes the Young Playwrights Festival, The Presidents tour, and as a teaching artist. Bob’s other productions include Fat Pig at Living Room, The Legend of Tex, which toured around South America and Mexico, and Death of Cupid with Living Room. Bob received a BA in theatre from Baker University.
Gabriel Livingston is a Kansas City born-and-raised teaching artist, director, stage manager, dramaturg, and writer. Locally, he has worked with The Coterie, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Smashing Frames Productions, and Astra Theatre Company. Gabriel is a graduate of University of Central Missouri (B.A., 2018) and University of Missouri-Kansas City (M.A., 2020).
Nina Lopez earned her Bachelor of Science in Education for Speech Communication and Theatre from the University of Central Missouri. She also holds a minor in dance and in theatre. Upon graduating college, Nina began teaching at a brand new school in Olathe, KS, called Summit Trail Middle School. She had the absolute honor and privilege to start a brand new theatre program from scratch, as a first-year teacher. In her free time, Nina enjoys singing karaoke, seeing plays and musicals, and spending time with her family and fur babies.
Nancy Marcy has been seen at The Coterie for many years, performing in Tuck Everlasting, Pooh!, Great Expectations, The B.F.G., The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and After Juliet, as well as serving as The Coterie’s first Education Director. Other recent credits include Justice in Embers at The Living Room, Antigone at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, and Inspecting Carol at Unicorn Theatre.