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, and director. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher, so she pursued a degree in Speech, Theatre, English education from Northwest Missouri State. After teaching high school for a while, she headed off 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 over a decade and has directed several children's shows in the area. Katie is the Assistant Head of School at Guidepost Montessori in Leavenworth and also serves on the board of Kansas City Public Theatre. In her free time, Katie can be found gardening or exploring the Kansas City arts and food scenes with her husband and two sons, Caellum and Elwyn.
Michael Lee has been improvising for 11 years and teaching improv for 5 years officially. A member of the KC Improv Company and Co-Founder of Crusty Mustard Improv, Michael has seen much growth in the improv community in Kansas City since returning home in 2016 and he is excited to help share the art form with a younger audience.
Noah Lindquist is a Kansas City-based actor, singer, and dancer, who you might know from The Coterie's productions of The SpongeBob Musical and Pete the Cat! Noah has also performed at Starlight Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, New Theatre & Restaurant, and Music Theater Heritage. In addition to performing, Noah has directed, music directed, choreographed, and written short plays and musicals for young performers, including new lyrics to pre-existing songs. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Theatre from Kansas State University.
Meredith Lindsey is ecstatic to be a teaching artist for The Coterie! Having made her professional theatrical debut here at the age of 12, she is over the moon about getting back to work in the best children's theater in the country. A veteran of both stage and screen, Meredith has worked in every field of media from radio to film, commercials, and even as a television news reporter. Her love of all things performance lead to a dual degree in Theatre and Broadcat Journalism at Kansas State University, where she not only worked as a radio DJ, but continued to pursue her love of theatre, appearing in shows such as Edward Albee's Seascape as Sarah (the lizard), Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard as Charlotta Ivanovna, and as Tillie in the Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. Upon graduation, she chased this insanity to Los Angeles, California, where she worked extensively in film and television. She was featured in shows such as, "Castle," "Hart of Dixie," "Jane the Virgin," and most notablly as an SCDP desk secretary for the last two seasons of AMC's "Mad Men." Although difficult to see, she is also immensely proud to have (very briefly) appeared on one of the final episodes of, "The Office". Meredith splits her time between film, theatre, radio, improv, voiceovers, and TV here in Kansas City (and occasionally Los Angeles), chasing after a fiery red headed toddler boy, two ornery cats and a VERY patient husband.
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).