Board of Directors

Anna Katarina (Founding Member)
Nena Lauerman
Deana Kerns
John Litten
Shoshana Kuttner

Our Talented Team

Happy Mahaney (Director, Acting Instructor)

Happy has been working professionally as an actor in and outside of Los Angeles for the past ten years. Recent television credits include NEW GIRL (Fox) and  RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (CBS) as well as numerous television commercials for Home Depot, Olive Garden, Citibank, and V8. He has studied at the Second City Conservatory in Hollywood and regularly performed at the World Famous Hollywood Improv and Comedy Store. Favorite theatre credits include: EMCEE (Cabaret), WILLARD (Footloose), BOTTOM (Midsummer Night’s Dream), CHAD (ALL SHOOK UP), and YASHA (The Cherry Orchard). He most recently completed the Broadway North Americanl Tour of MAMMA MIA! performing the role of SKY for 609 performances, visiting over 148 cities and finally playing the Pantages Theatre here in Hollywood. He is very excited to be working with Young Actors Project!!!

Alex Montano (Technical Director/Lighting Designer)

Alex graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in Technical Theatre. He has designed lighting for over 50 Young Actors Project productions, working in three different theaters. He also designed the lights for Fat Men In Skirts by Nicky Silver at Sunset Gardner Stages. His expertise in Sound Design and Set Construction have been called upon so often during YAP productions that he has become the resident expert on ‘all things technical’. He currently travels all across the United States lighting really big productions.

Emma Fyffe (Writer, Costume Designer)

Since graduating James Madison University with a BA in Musical Theatre, Emma Fyffe has worked continously in children’s theatre performance and education.  She spent two and a half years as a Tour Actor/Director for Missoula Children’s Theatre directing and performing in numerous shows including The Little Mermaid, Rumpelstiltskin and Frog Prince, which she was forunate enough to bring overseas to American Airforce Bases, Naval Bases and International schools in Japan, South Korea and China.  A “Jill of all trades”, Emma has worked in both the scene shop and the costume shop at her university, directed a fully orchestrated musical in a black box, and costume designed numerous shows including Sideshow, Edges and All my Sons. In addition to assistant teaching and designing costumes, she is currently studying screen writing at UCLA and improvisation at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.

Michelle Kuttner (Graphic/Production Designer, Assoc. Producer)

Michelle has designed all of the posters, print ads, brochures, programs, banners, postcards and signs for Young Actors Project since 2006. She has also been responsible at some point for nearly every visual element in many YAP productions; designing sets, costumes, and props. In addition to her skillful creative contributions, Michelle has managed almost every aspect of the public benefit corporation, and been in nearly every role, from class assistant to accountant. She has even jumped onstage to fill in for actors when coerced. Michelle holds a Bachelors Degree in Visual Communication with a Graphic Design Concentration from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ayla Harrison (Acting Instructor)

Ayla Harrison has developed courses on acting, Shakespeare, playwriting and various aspects of creative writing and movement. She previously taught at The Shakespeare Theatre/DC Prep Academy and at UCLA, among others. She is thrilled to be working with the talented young artists at Young Actors Project this summer. Ayla holds an MFA in Playwriting from UCLA and a BFA in Acting from the University of Central Florida.

John Casto (Set Construction)

John is an engineer and knows how to build a really sturdy set. He began working with the Young Actors Project in the spring of 2009 and has constructed massive sets for Pinocchio, Robin Hood, and Alice In Wonderland.

We would also like to acknowledge the many talented actors, designers, and instructors that have been a big part of our program & productions:

Sam Williger (Costume Design)

Erin Walley (Scenic Design)

Michael Stahler (Acting Instruction, Musical Direction)

Ryan Johnson (Chorepgrapher)

Ivory Reid (Chorepgrapher)

Wes Sheer (Set Construction)

Kelly Crowder (Scenic Design)

Sage Smith (Production Assistant, Acting Instruction)

Morgan McIntrye (Production Assistant, Acting Instruction)

Trevor Schwerdtmann (Acting Instruction)

Mia Perry (Acting Instruction, Costume Design)

Dan Cohen (Acting Instruction, Fight Director)

Sarah Krainan (Scenic Design)

Jess Frucht (Set/Prop/Costume Construction)

Amelia Funderburk (Costume Design)

Todd Kramer (Lighting Design)

Michael Gunderson (Sound Design)

Mark Crowley (Sound Operator)

Matt Pittenger (Acting Instructor, Stage Crew)

Sarah Gaboury-Pittenger (Acting Instructor, Stage Crew)

Jen Cain (Acting Instructor)

Stephanie Ann Saunders (Hair & Make-up)

Alexandria Smith (Director’s Assistant, Stage Crew)

David Robinson-Hicks (Stage Crew)

Amber Wines (Hair & Make-up)

Caitland Smuin (Stage Crew)

Yakira Chambers (House Manager)

Janine Sugawara (House Manager/Stage Crew/Backstage Photographer)