Mrs. Allison Barron Brandon is the Founder of Wonderland Performing Arts & serves as the company's Artistic Director. Allison grew up in Lafayette, LA as a dance enthusiast. She studied ballet, tap, & jazz during her childhood and went on to enjoy and study the genres of modern dance, show choir, and musical theatre as a teenager & adult.
She has performed in numerous professional, college, and community theatre productions. Her most recent local performances are Legally Blonde (2018; Paulette), The Bumpy Road (2014; a show she wrote, directed, co-starred & co-produced with Sarah G. Roy), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2106; Rona Lisa Peretti), and Nunsense (2017; Sister Mary Amnesia). In college she played Eliza Doolittle in IPAL's My Fair Lady in 2008. Her ULL musical theatre credits include Les Miserables (2004; Eponine), Into the Woods (2005; Cinderella), & Grease (2007; Rizzo). Before moving back to Lafayette, LA, Allison lived in NOLA where she performed in Let Freedom Swing! (2009-2010; Lorna Baker) at the National WWII Museum, The Wedding Singer (2010; Holly) at Le Petit Theatre, The Drowsy Chaperone (2011; Janet Van de Graaff) at Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre. & Thoroughly Modern Millie (2016; Gloria) at Tulane SLT.
She has an M.A. in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans & a B.F.A. in Performing Arts - Theatre from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She's been privileged to attend workshops with the American Theatre Wing & The International Cabaret Conference at Yale University. Some of her instructors in these settings have included: Seth Rudetsky, Faith Prince, Neil Patrick Harris, Anika Noni Rose, Kathleen Marshall, Erv Raible, Sally Mayes, and Sharon McKnight. She was recently accepted into the Broadway Evolved Educators' Workshop where she will learn from Broadway stars including: Audra McDonald, Taylor Louderman, Andrew Rannells, Kelly O'Hara, & Laura Osnes.
Throughout her life, she has accumulated 30 years of performance experience; 16 years of choreography experience for projects such as school & community musical theatre, Mardi Gras Balls, & fundraising projects like Dancing with the Stars & Lip Sync Battles (Sacred Heart, Ascension Episcopal, & St. Pius); 7 years of directing experience; 3 years of experience teaching ballet, modern, tap, and musical theatre for The Ballet Studio in Lafayette, LA; 3 years experience teaching grades 2-11 for Lafayette Parish Public School's Talented Theatre program; and 4 years as a business owner working to bring performing arts to her hometown areas of New Orleans (2010-2011) & Lafayette (2016-2017).
She is the proud mother of Adelaide Greer Brandon (her fantastic 4 year old daughter) and wife of Noah Brandon (the world's most supportive husband) who is also an entrepreneur. Noah runs operations for Bon Temps Properties LLC, Brandon Real Estate LLC, & serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Unitech Training Academy.
Allison is passionate about growing the performing arts scene in our community, and she seeks to raise the caliber of live theatre in Lafayette, LA.
Tabatha Roberts has an extensive background in office/clerical work and accounting. Her daughter has a love for the stage which has led Tabatha to participate in theatre behind the scenes. In January of 2018 she left the corporate world to join Wonderland as the Office Manager. She handles everything from bookkeeping, event planning and even stage managing! She has become an extremely valuable part of the WonderCrew at Wonderland and as Mr. Martin said....she's Mrs. Allison's right hand.
Kady is a native of New Orleans and found her love for theatre with the Genesian Players at Archbishop Rummel High School. She is studying Performing Arts with a concentration in theatre at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is slated to graduate in the Spring of 2020. She was most recently seen as Katherine in Newsies, Jaques in As You Like It, and Fiona in Shrek: The Musical. She is so excited to be a part of the Wonderland Family!
"Trevor Chapman is an actor, improviser, and comedian with over 10 years of experience.
He graduated in from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette with a B.A. in finance, but his passion has always been to make people laugh.
* He has performed in numerous productions with Iberia Performing Arts League, Abbey Players, Cite des Arts, and CCT.
* Past productions include: Legally Blonde(Kyle UPS guy), Singing in the Rain(Rod), and Street Car Named Desire (Mitch).
* Being part of an Improvisation troupe and studying, has allowed him to explore even more characters that he creates in his scenes.
* Stand-up laid the foundation for Trevor to understand the craft, and expanded then on too Acting and Improv which has allowed him to travel doing what he loves.
He is energetic and ready to help students reach their pure potential in Performing Arts. Comedy and humor are great tools that can be utilized in all facets of life.
So come have some fun, and learn to "yes and.." at Wonderland!"
Linnzi Zaorski is a professional performer and recording artist. She has been a member of the Screen Actor's Guild, now SAG/AFTRA, since 2008 and has a bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts from the University of New Orleans. Linnzi has recorded 6 albums and has appeared on stages around the country and in France, Canada, and Sweden. In 2018, she did a brief tour as the singer for the Grammy award-winning Squirrel Nut Zippers and has opened for many nationally touring acts such as Richard Cheese, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Tom Jones. In 2006, following Hurricane Katrina, she and her music were featured on NPR's All Things Considered in a story by commentator Andrei Codrescu. Her film and television appearances include Treme, NCIS: New Orleans, Simon West's The Mechanic, and Michael Almereyda's New Orleans, Mon Amour, and her music has been licensed for several film, television and commercial productions. She relocated to Lafayette in February 2018 with her daughter and performs occasionally when she's not busy designing costumes, making puppets, writing, playing make-believe, and building things.
Dani began dancing when she was 2 years old, started choreographing at 10, and teaching classes on her own at 19. She danced for 16 years for Jackie Burley at Burley School of Dance in Franklin, Louisiana. While there she was also trained by Stephanie LeBlanc and Jasmine Bertrand. After graduation she began teaching at various studios and taking classes with such artists as Mia Michaels (Cirque Du Soleil, SYTYCD) , Brian Freidman, Dee Caspray (Newsies the Motion Picture, 1992), Doug Caldwell, and Julie Kay Stallcup (LA Dance Magic judges panel, Caligo Consulting) just to name a few. She is a well rounded instructor with experience in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Lyrical.
Dani was director of Just Dance Studios in Scott, Louisiana for 3 years. There she produced and directed recitals as well as taught classes and choreographed shows. She was the facilitator for Dani's Dancers, an award winning competition team. Members of the team were invited to dance all over the country in addition to winning awards for musicality, passion, sportsmanship, technique, and stage presence.
Her classes are fun and different, engaging students in their training using strength, musicality, combined with modern and classic technique as the bases of her teaching.
Dani is very happy her journey led her to be a part of Wonderland's staff!
Brii is a teacher for LPSS, and currently teaching at Baranco Elementary School. She grew up singing with her mom and sister, along with a long lineage of vocalists in her family. She has performed in state and southern regional singing competitions with the National Association of Teachers of Singing, placing in both Musical Theatre and Classical categories, Farm Bureau Singing Competition, and Center Stage Singing Competition. She also participated in District and Parish honor choir from 2010-2014. She performed in several shows with the UL Opera Theatre: Les Miserables (Ensemble), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow: A Stephen Sondheim Evening (herself), Sweeney Todd (Ensemble), Another Opening, Another Show (herself), and Three Singers and Some Furniture: An Evening of Opera Scenes (Rosina/Susanna/Mademoiselle Silberklang). She has most recently performed in Shelby Have Productions' Chicago: The Musical, as well as graduating from UL Lafayette in May with a B.A. in Music Education.
She is so excited to be a member of the Wonder Staff! She loves teaching and spreading a love for music among all ages, and is so happy to have the opportunity to share it with the Wonderland crew!
Emolyn Liden is a lifelong artist and musician, who loves dance and performing arts. She is from the mountains of North Carolina and learned fibers arts at a young age from her mother. At the John C. Campbell Folk School, near her home, Emolyn went on to study numerous art forms such as natural dyeing, knitting, spinning, quilting, pottery, drawing, painting, 3D mixed media, paper making, stained glass, metal-smithing, enameling and more. She has a B.A. in American Studies with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Her passion for the arts has taken her around the world and back again. She studied in London and Denmark, taught English in Spain, volunteered in India and Nicaragua, and returned to North Carolina as a work/study student at Penland School of Crafts. While living in Asheville, NC Emolyn started The Roving Knitter, a handmade knitwear business to sell her own designs.
She was first introduced to Louisiana through music and dance and moved to the area five years ago. From 2015-2017 she taught dance at Encore Academy in New Orleans. This spring, she opened her own gallery La Petite Carolina in the downtown cultural district of Breaux Bridge where she teaches classes, hosts Makers Nights, and sells handmade homegoods from artisans around the country. She is excited to be a part of the amazing staff at at Wonderland Performing Arts.
Martin Smith is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He earned his B.F.A in Performing Arts with a concentration in Theatre in December of 2012. He has been involved in numerous community productions such as Iberia Performing Arts League's Spamalot (Sir Bedevere), Acting Unlimited's The Addams Family Musical (Uncle Fester), and The Riveters Theatre Company's Nunsense (Sister Hubert). Directing credits include Cheaters by Michael Jacobs, No Kidding by Scott Icenhower, and Fat Pig by Neil Labute. Martin has been with Wonderland for about a year and is really excited about the new Wonderland Studio Space! He will be teaching classes, directing shows, and of course will be Mrs. Allison's left hand, because Mrs. Tabatha already is the right one!
Colin Smith began his life at the piano at age 3, with acclaimed Yamaha instructor Ellene Owens. He briefly attended the NOCCA institute with Dr. Jee Yeoun Ko, and attended ULL, studying with Dr. Susie Garcia.
He has stage and orchestra pit experience with Family Playhouse, City Park Players, and Acting Unlimited, and has far too many songs in his head at once.
He is also Music Director at Our Lady Help of Christians in Jennings. He is excited to be sharing the creation and joy of playing music at the piano.
Karen Melancon has been involved in music education and music ministry in Lafayette for over 33 years. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Karen taught in the Lafayette Parish School system for five years before transitioning to the position of Music Minister at St. Pius X where she still serves as cantor and music minister, directing the adult and children's choirs there. For the last 11 years, she also taught the pre-K and K music classes at St. Pius Elementary School then served as the chorus and Musical theatre instructor as well for the middle school students for the last 9 years.
Karen always enjoyed musical theatre and opera, and was cast in many shows during her years at USL. (ULL) She has also performed as guest soloist with Choral Acadienne, Lafayette Concert Band, the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra, and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. Karen was also a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera auditions held in New Orleans.
Etienna Wright is the Director of Communications and Youth Formation at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church and serves on the Board of Directors of Acadiana Repertory Theatre. She comes from a family of performing artists and studied theatre at Northwestern State University. Etienna has a passion for new theatrical works and has appeared in several productions with Acadiana Rep including The Woman's Part, The Insidious Impact of Anton, and The Macbeth Project, among others. She has also appeared in The Teasippers/Wanderlust Theatre Co's production of Peter and the Starcatcher. Etienna feels strongly about teaching young people about every aspect of the theatre and loves being part of Wonderland's mission to provide a well-rounded theatre education to the youth of Acadiana.
Victoria Duhon graduated from the Aveda institute of lafayette and is a licensed esthetician since 2016.
Victoria's dance training started at the age of 3 focusing in ballet but also studied jazz, modern and tap throughout the years. She has trained under Beverly spell, Esther Winn, Leah Twilley, Jasmine Bertrand, Jessica Henke, Finus Chung, and Kay Sandel. In addition to participating in an intensive at the Alvin Ailey school in New York City, she has taken classes at broadway dance center. Spending most of her formative years as a teenager by assisting she grew into a love of teaching. She can't wait to share her passion for dance with Wonderland!
Christy Leichty has years of experience in the theatre as an actor, writer, director, and teacher. Her experiences range from acting in university plays, experimental theatre on the streets of San Francisco, educational theatre in schools, feature length ﬁlms, commercials, and MTV videos. She spent 4 years as the Program Director at Cite Des Arts, a grassroots community art center Downtown Lafayette. She has directed numerous plays and musicals and is currently a Talent Theatre teacher for LPSS
Kaleigh Lay is excited to be teaching at Wonderland Performing Arts after directing and acting in the area for the past 5 years at various theatre companies including Iberia Performing Arts League and Abbey Players. This past year she was honored as Best Director of a Play in the area by the Rosie's for her production of "The Little Foxes". Kaleigh began directing in college and has spent the past 20 years directing all over the country. Professionally, she worked with Peterborough Players Regional Theatre under Broadway director, Gus Kaikkonen. Favorite roles include Diana in "Next to Normal", Mae Tuck in "Tuck Everlasting", and Celia in "As You Like it". She has a BA in Communication Arts and Media Communications with an emphasis and certification in theatre /speech education and a MS in Gifted Education. She currently teaches gifted students in Iberia Parish.