And Justice for Some: The Freedom Trial of Anthony Burns  marked Mariem Diaz’s Coterie debut. Previously, she appeared in Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Playat Unicorn Theatre and The Learned Ladies and Freedom Rider at UMKC Theatre. She received her BA in Theatre Arts and Political Science at Gettysburg College and is currently a MFA Acting student at University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Nedra Dixon directed The Coterie's Once On This Island and has appeared twice on its main stage as Aunt Em/Glinda in The Wiz. In addition to the honor of performing at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Madison Square Garden, Nedra has received critical acclaim as a “triple threat performer,” director, and choreographer in numerous venues on Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tours, and regional theaters.
Lucas Zachary Dorrell has been in Seussical and Lyle the Crocodile with The Coterie. His former shows are Nuncracker at American Heartland Theatre then Peter Cottontail and Aladdin with Starlight. When Lucas is not performing he can be found playing soccer or practicing the drums.
Shawna Peña-Downing is a 2012 graduate of Avila University with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a BA in Communications. She continuously works as a professional actor and teaching artist with various youth-centered organizations in Kansas City. Shawna has been seen on many Kansas City stages including The Coterie, Unicorn Theatre, Mesner Puppet Theater, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, Theatre for Young America, and KC MeltingPot Theatre. Shawna loves to spend her time, energy, and free spirit being an educator, laughing, eating, and giving back. She lives to create and perform quality work that inspires, entertains, and educates.
Anthony T. Edwards has served as music director for a number of Coterie productions including Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, A Year With Frog and Toad, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Wiz, Lyle the Crocodile, Shrek The Musical, Spring Awakening, Once Upon A Mattress, and Lucky Duck.
Aaron Ellis made his debut as fifteen year-old Martin Luther King Jr. in The Coterie World Premiere of Becoming Martin. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, the production was Aaron’s first at The Coterie and in Kansas City. Other credits include The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins at The Rose Theater, and Heathers with Bluebarn Theatre.
Bailey Ellis first stepped onto the stage when she was 11 years old and never looked back. She is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with a BA in Theatre and Marketing. Bailey has worked with multiple theatres in Kansas City and is a company puppeteer for StoneLion Puppets. When she isn’t teaching at The Coterie, Bailey works as a local Makeup Artist. Bailey has fallen in love with KC and enjoys finding new coffee shops, going to markets, and walking her dog around the beautiful parks with her husband.
Jazlyn Epps is extremely excited to join The Coterie's teaching artist program! She was most recently seen on The Coterie stage in Puffs and is currently involved in The Coterie's STD/HIV prevention program. Jazlyn recently earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at Avila University where she was seen as Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors and Officer Lockstock in Urinetown.
Alisha Espinosa got her jump start on the stage when her seventh grade teacher Mrs. Hensel cast her in Bye, Bye Birdie, her first production. Alisha has also been seen at The Coterie in To Whom it May Inspire, and Afflicted, Daughters of Salem. Past performances include Pericles at UMKC Theatre, Our Town with Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and Echoes of Octavia for KCMelting Pot. Alisha’s hometown is Canadensis, PA, and she is a MFA Acting student at UMKC.
Ray Ettinger has worked with The Coterie Theatre for many years. He appeared on The Coterie stage in such shows as The Seven Dwarfs, Wind in the Willows, and 101 Dalmatians. He also taught the Musical Theater Skills class for several years. He has played the piano for School House Rock, Live and other shows, and accompanies Coterie musical classes.