Tom Crew is an actor and director of over 100 plays, having performed for UNL, Flatwater Shakespeare, the Lincoln Community Playhouse, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, The Angels Theatre, The Haymarket Theatre, TADA, and his own company, The Crooked Codpiece Company. He has directed shows for Flatwater, the Haymarket, The Playhouse, Crooked Codpiece, and is now very excited to be at YAAL.
Tom has a B.A. in Theatre from University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Michigan State. Besides being on the stage, his passion is directing and teaching youth of all ages as they make developments in their theatre skills; reach their goals as actors, dancers, and singers; and more importantly, as they personally grow through the experiences of being part of a fun, creative, and fulfilling endeavor: the Arts.
Tom has directed shows at YAAL since 2013, including Hairspray Jr., Grease, The Princess Bride, A Christmas Carol, The Little Mermaid, Jr., and Elf Jr.
Growing up in Elkhorn, NE. as a competitive dancer, Rachel fell in love with theatre and music at a young age. Beginning to perform in musicals in elementary school, Rachel brings over 15 years of experience both on stage and behind the scenes in the performance world with her to YAAL.
Participating in Show Choir, musicals, dance and vocal lessons helped prepare Rachel to spend three years with the Wesleyan Theatre Department appearing in several musicals before finishing a Communications and Training Degree at Doane University.
Rachel has been a dance teacher and choreographer in tap, hip hop, and musical theatre since 2008 at Chase Dance, and enjoys sharing the passion she has for the arts with the students she gets to be with each week. Although this is Rachel’s first show with YAAL, she hopes she can spend more time with the YAAL family in the future.
Beth has been an actor and director for over 30 years. She trained at the prestigious Second City Improvisation Training Center in Chicago, and although she was asked to audition for the Second City troupe, she followed her heart and returned to Lincoln to teach improv classes at the Lincoln Community Playhouse. There, she met her partner in crime, Shelly Griess, and the two founded the Lyp Schtick Improvisational Comedy Troupe. Beth also teaches adult improv workshops that many of our other instructors have taken.
Beth has taught improv classes at YAAL in the past, as well as directed Beauty and the Beast, Jr. and Aesop’s Foibles.
Amanda Rickert graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music Education. Amanda has been performing (vocally, instrumentally, and theatrically!) since middle school and has enjoyed every minute of it! Amanda served as the vocal music teacher and drama teacher/director at Schoo Middle School and now at Hill Elementary. She has several musical directions under her belt, including Broadway Jr. productions. Theatre arts are passion of Amanda’s and she is excited to share her love of performing with others!
Amanda is our show choir instructor, and just finished our Glee & Footloose Show Choir classes. She has been the music director for The Wizard of Oz, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, and Legally Blonde Jr. at YAAL.
Sarah is an actor, singer, teacher, director and Lincoln, Nebraska native. She is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with YAAL on ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Death Star,’ after performing in the show at venues in Nebraska and Iowa. While living in Minnesota, she performed with Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Skylark Opera, Lyric Opera of the North, Park Square Theatre, Theatre L’Homme Dieu, and Mixed Blood Theatre. Recent credits include The Light in the Piazza (Signora Naccarelli) at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Sunset Boulevard (Norma Desmond) at the New Century Theater, Boeing Boeing (Gretchen) at Paul Bunyan Playhouse and Lend Me A Tenor (Diana) at Pioneer Place on Fifth. Regional credits include Bucks County Playhouse (PA), Fiesta Dinner Theatre (NJ), Pocono Playhouse (PA), and the historic Highfield Theatre on Cape Cod (MA).
Christina Stai – Lead Instructor & Director
Christina Stai is thrilled to be back for another amazing summer at YAAL! She is a current senior B.F.A. Musical Theatre Major at Drake University, graduating a semester early in January of 2018! She is an actress, director, writer, and musician, excelling in all of these areas. She was most recently seen playing Heather Chandler on the Drake MainStage in Heathers: The Musical, and just finished working as a stage manager for See Rock City and Other Destinations. She is a frequent jazz and wedding singer, performing in restaurants and jazz clubs in the Midwest, that loves to teach with all of her heart! She loves whales, stage combat and singing in the shower and would love to see your child in one of our summer camps or
Last summer, Christina directed Schoolhouse Rock, Jr., Night at the Wax Museum, The Trials of Alice in Wonderland, and Hello Shakespeare. She was also the originator of YAAL’s director-led show, A Tale of Two Kitties, which mashes two shows into one, using the students as writers and developers of their own characters. This summer, the director-led show is Hard Knock High School!
Hannah Lambert – Music Director
Hannah Lambert is a Lincoln native who studied Music Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she performed in various ensembles including University Singers, Big Red Singers, and the Cornhusker Marching Band. During her time at UNL, Hannah also co-founded a women’s a cappella group, Boots & Cats. Hannah grew up loving to sing, perform, and play make-believe. She is passionate about youth, and about seeing young people grow through involvement in performing arts.
Hannah has served as a music director for children’s theatre productions, including YAAL’s productions of Elf Jr. and Night at the Wax Museum, and has worked long-term as the Assistant Director of the LPS All-City Girls Chorus. Currently, Hannah is a substitute teacher with LPS. She is thrilled to be a part of the YAAL family as the director of YAAL-SING, YAAL’s community children’s chorus.
Maddie Fanton will be a sophomore at the University of Kansas, where she is a music therapy major with a vocal emphasis. Maddie attended Lincoln Southwest High School and was involved in both show choir and theater. She was in the prep show choir for one year and varsity for two. Maddie was also involved in chamber, concert, and varsity choir. She was in the theater program for all four years of high school, and her favorite role in high school was Maggie from “A Chorus Line”. Maddie has been involved in theater since she was nine, and she is thrilled to be the Music Director for YAAL’s production of The Music Man, Jr., because she played the role of Amaryllis in The Music Man when she was younger.