Mary-Jo Okawa – Director

Mary-Jo is Copperstar's founder and Artistic Producing Director, Mary-Jo Okawa is an award winning educator who has been a professional director, choreographer and performer for over 25 years. A talented educator in theatre, dance and vocal music, Mary-Jo is also an accomplished professional singer who has traveled throughout the United States, Asia and Southeast Asia sharing her talents. She is proud to have entertained our troops in the USO. Over the past three years, Mary-Jo has built Copperstar into a reputable theatre company which offers enrichment, education and entertainment to community members of all ages through high quality theatrical productions, camps, workshops and classes. In 2010, Copperstar was honored with six Gilbert Mayor's Arts Awards nominations and was awarded the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery Award for providing Gilbert with services enabling an expansion in the scope and quality of the arts. She is the proud mom of two amazing children, Shanti will be a junior at Mesquite High School and Chris will be entering University of Arizona as a Musical Theatre major. Mary-Jo teaches voice and acting privately and is grateful for her loving supportive husband David. Mary-Jo finds great joy in the journey of creating in the theatre, enriching the lives of community members of all ages.

Laura Christian - Choreographer

Laura is excited to continue as the Resident Choreographer for Copperstar! She recently choreographed OLIVER!, finishing off her fifth season with Copperstar and finished her fifth full summer of camps. She teaches dance and musical theatre classes at Copperstar Studios and teaches Math at Kyrene Middle School. Laura is also a performer, having appeared in numerous shows at Arizona Broadway Theatre and Phoenix Theatre. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA degree in Theatre. 2014-2015 will mark Laura's 6h season with Copperstar. Thanks to Matt, Mary-Jo, Shanti and everyone at Copperstar!

Andrew Briggs – Music Director

Andrew Nathan Briggs recently earned his Doctorate in Vocal Performance from Arizona State University, where he also got his Masters in 2010. He is a graduate of Southern Utah University where he graduated in Voice Performance and Music Education. Andrew currently sings with the Arizona Opera chorus, as well as the Scottsdale Choral Artists as a section leader and soloist with his wife Kristin. He currently teaches Voice, Choir, and Rock History at Mesa Community College. Andrew also teaches weekly classes at Copperstar Studios in Voice, Musical Theatre and is the Resident Musical Director for Copperstar's main stage productions. He is the father of three children (Nathan, Carson, and Michael), and lives and teaches voice in Mesa.

Stephen Wertz - Director

Stephen is excited to be returning to Copperstar Repertory Company for Broadway Bound Teen Intensive. Stephen is an Assistant Administrator in his native, Denver, Co. where he recently returned. He had spent the previous 10 years teaching music and theatre in upstate New York where he was the Music Department Chairperson and head of an amazingly successful theater program. Stephen performed regionally as well as in NYC, including the Off-Broadway show Our Life and Times (Newsical, The Musical) and the title role in Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, to name a few. Stephen is thrilled to be a part of this award winning theatre company and looks forward to returning to perform in Broadway Buddies in September.