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Our Amazing Artists

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Greg Thompson,

Founder, ActorSpace
Director, S.M.T.I.

GREG THOMPSON is an award-winning film and theatre artist and has been a member of Actor’s Equity Association, Society of Directors and Choreographers, and is SAG-AFTRA eligible. For more than three decades Mr. Thompson has served as Director/Choreographer, Director, Choreographer, Actor, Singer, Dancer and/or Production Designer for more than three hundred theatrical, film and media productions throughout the U.S. His work has encompassed Theatre, Musical Theatre, Opera, Light Opera, Film, Television, Dance, Voice Over, Academic Theatre, Corporate Theatre, Cruise Ship and Theme Park. In addition to his production work, Mr. Thompson has held teaching positions with several Colleges, Universities and Performing Arts High Schools (including the acclaimed DeKalb Center for the Arts, Atlanta, GA) throughout the Eastern US.

 

Thompson also developed and implemented several courses of study for therapeutic dance and drama for the Kennedy Center’s VSA program, including the New Visions Ballet Curriculum for the blind. Mr. Thompson currently serves on the Theatre and Dance Faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso. Mr. Thompson’s Corporate Theatre credits include Producer/Choreographer for the finale portion of the world’s largest interactive convention experience for Intercontinental Hotel Group in Dallas, TX featuring the famed Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

 

He served for 6 years as a resident performer for Miami’s Mega Entertainment, where he was seen in numerous productions including, An Extraordinary Evening With Sophia Loren and Friends, to support AMFAR. Greg was the only principal performer hired from the East coast for the Jack Morton Worldwide produced, Home Depot’s 20th Anniversary Celebration. As Talent Coordinator for Macy’s South, he provided contract entertainment services and celebrity appearances for all Georgia and Florida stores from 1987 to 1991. Other clients include Sheraton, Simon & Schuster, Alexander-Proudfoot, Gould’s Pumps/ITT, AT&T, SunTrust, Haddasah International and IBM to name a few. Mr. Thompson distinguished himself as the Resident Stage Director and Choreographer for the Atlanta Lyric Theatre for ten seasons. He also produced and staged the Southeastern regional premiere of Stephen Schwartz’s, Children Of Eden, which enjoyed a sold-out run that held over for four weeks; staged the first regional production of Frank Wildhorn’s, The Scarlet Pimpernel, immediately following it’s successful Broadway run - a production which garnered 9 awards including Best Production. He has enjoyed a long-standing relationship - more than 20 years - with The Springer Opera House (The State Theatre of Georgia) as a director, choreographer and performer. He has also worked as guest director, choreographer and instructor for Ocala Civic Theatre since 1990. Mr. Thompson’s first dance role was the coveted title role in the perennial holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, for Lynne Tanner Dancers; other roles include Don Lockwood (the Gene Kelly role) in Singin’ In The Rain - performing the original choreography, Joe/Josephine (the Tony Curtis role) in Some Like It Hot, Judas In Jesus Christ Superstar, the Emcee in Cabaret, Billy Crocker in Anything Goes (4 productions) and Curly (dream ballet) in Oklahoma.

 

Greg’s film work includes more than 70 studio and independent features, shorts and series where he can be seen in the supporting role of Darrell Waltrip in the highly- acclaimed ESPN Original Film "3" starring Barry Pepper, and as the FDR’s photographer in the multi-Emmy winning HBO Original Film Warm Springs, starring Kenneth Branagh, Cynthia Nixon, Kathy Bates and Jane Alexander. Lead film roles include Allen in the supernatural/suspense film Dark Remains and the Baron in Psychopathia Sexualis. He is visible (albeit briefly) in Down With Love and in the leading role of Richard (best supporting actor award) in the indie feature Ghost Of The Needle. Dawson’s Creek fans will remember him as Peter, the slimy film producer, and One Tree Hill fans saw him in the recurring role of Dr. Adams.

 

Greg has several screenplays currently in development/optioned. In 2006 he debuted his first efforts as Director/Producer/Screenwriter with, Swimming To The Moon, the first of his six short-film scripts to be produced, which took the prestigious “Audience Choice” award at Rome International in it’s festival debut, followed by, Down A Dark Road, another award-winning short film in 2007, which earned him the Mason-Dixon Best Filmmaker award. The most recent, MINE, was nominated for best short film in its debut festival and won two audience choice and three juried awards for best short in its first seven festival screenings.

 

His work on stage and screen has paired him with such notable performers as Jennifer Holliday, Marcia Lewis, Kenneth Branagh, Ewan McGregor, Renee Zellweger, Sophia Loren, Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren, Cliff Robertson, John Cullum, Harve Presnell, Jodi Benson, Ruth Gotschall, Barry Pepper, J. K. Simmons and Norm Lewis.

Kimberley D. Wolfenbarger-Nakamoto, BM.,

Artistic Director, Youth Opera of El Paso
Co-Founder, 
Young People's Musical Theatre
Musical Director, S.M.T.I.

Kimberley D. Wolfenbarger-Nakamoto -  A proud West Texas A&M “Buff,” Kimberley is the past co-chair of Children’s Opera for the National Opera Association, and is the current Artistic Director of the Youth Opera of El Paso, where she has served as the music director for Hansel and Gretel in collaboration with Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe Culture & Technology Center, Hans Krása’s Brundibár (San Antonio), Les Misérables (El Paso), Godspell (Texas Panhandle tour), and the world-premiere performance of Searching the Painted Sky by Martha Hill Duncan (NYC), followed by its Canadian premiere in Toronto.

 

Kimberley has most recently been the children’s chorus mistress for El Paso Symphony’s Carmina Burana & The Orchestra Rocks, El Paso Opera’s La bohème, Tosca, Carmen, and The Magic Flute, as well as for Grammy winners Dave Koz, Christopher Cross, and Bill Medley.

 

Her performing credits include TEXAS! The Musical, Julie Jordan in Carousel, Magnolia Ravenal in Showboat, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Cecily in La Divina, Alais in The Lion in Winter, as well as serving as the soloist for Third Church of Christ, Scientist (El Paso) for nearly a decade. Kimberley is an Allied Arts gold medal winner in classical solo, and silver medal winner in musical theatre. She is also an El Paso Opera scholarship winner.

 

With more than 25 years of private studio teaching experience, her students have gone on to prestigious schools such as Interlochen, Manhattan School of Music, NYU, Berklee, Baylor, SMU, Carnegie Mellon, University of North Texas, Oklahoma City University, and Richmond University in London. Kimberley’s primary teachers include Dr. Christopher Meerdink, Dr. Kathryn Barnes-Burroughs, Suzanne Bowles, Beverly Laubach, and BJ Graham. 

 

Kimberley is a founding collaborator of the EP Summer Musical Theatre Intensive, serving as music director, and cast vocal instructor for Little Women, the Musical. She a member of NOA, NATS, TMEA, as well as serving on the El Paso Opera Board of Trustees, and the El Paso International Music Foundation.

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Sarah Curtis,

Assistant Director, S.M.T.I.

Sarah Curtis is currently pursuing her degree in theatre education here at the University of Texas at El Paso. Recent projects include: John Kolvenbach's Love Song and favorite, Monsters We Create, a collaborative work devised in conjunction with UTEP playwrights, actors, and designers. She is also proud to be a 2021 Kennedy Center Student Directing Fellow and a Kennedy Center Directing Intensive scholarship recipient. She is interested in exploring and shifting power imbalances both in her work and outside of it. Her heart lies in all aspects of relationship communication on stage and redefining what that looks like, specifically in stories that portray women. 

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David Austin Nakamoto, BM

Assistant Music Director, S.M.T.I.

David Austin Nakamoto earned his first bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance, at West Texas A&M University in May 2021,  and  is pursuing a second Bachelors degree in Instrumental Education, with a minor equivalent in piano (Dec 2021).   While at WTAMU, Austin has served as principal trumpet for the WT Symphony Orchestra, WT Symphonic Band, Vice President of Choirs, Chorister for Kappa Kappa Psi- Alpha Psi, and scholarship singer at Polk Street United Methodist.  Additionally, Austin has served as assistant music director for the WTAMU Theatre Department's production of Songs for a New World, by Jason Robert Brown. Austin is a scholarship recipient of the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute, and the Fairbanks International Arts Festival Opera Program, in addition to WTAMU.  He is a UIL Texas State Champion in voice and trumpet, a past TMEA All-State
Band member, and member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

His stage credits include Martin in Copland’s THE TENDERLAND, Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE, Mr. Lindquist in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Ensemble ‘TIS THE SEASON FOR OPERA, with El Paso Opera, in collaboration with Santa Fe Opera, Curly in OKLAHOMA!, Jack, in SEARCHING THE PAINTED SKY (world premieres in NYC & Toronto). Austin’s principal teachers are Dr, Christopher Meerdink & Rick McDole (voice); Dr. Frank “Pancho” Romero, Dr. William Takacs & Buddy Deshler (trumpet); Dr. Esequiel Meza, Mila Abbasova & Dr. Denise Parr-Scanlon (piano).

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James Harkness,

Guest Artist, S.M.T.I.

James Harkness was born and raised in El Paso, TX. James graduated from Bel Air High School and has been on a diverse journey ever since: dancer to choreographer to singer to director to writer to actor and back and forth and in between. Having had the honor of working with Debbie Allen, Twyla Tharp, Kenny Ortega, Chayanne, Kristine W, Rob Ashford, Wayne Cilento, Ne-yo, and others. From back-up dancer, to dancing on a table in a cowboy outfit in his first film, to touring Latin America & the U.S. with renowned star Chayanne, to dancing in a show on the Las Vegas strip, to guest starring on a tv show, to starring in a Broadway show. Credits include – Broadway: Aida ; The Color Purple (OBC); Chicago; Beautiful, The Musical; Ain’t Too Proud (Current – OBC). Film: North (film Rob Reiner); Television: Blue Bloods (Guest Star); Law and Order (Guest Star).

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Mindy Escobar-Leanse,

Guest Artist, S.M.T.I.

Mindy Escobar-Leanse is an actor, puppeteer and voice actor. As a puppeteer, she has performed all over North America, parts of Europe, Israel and Japan. Selected credits include: PBS/Jim Henson’s “Dinosaur Train Live!  Buddy’s Big Adventure”, Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show” (Broadway, UK, Japan), Georgina Escobar’s “Alebrijes” (Portland, Puerto Vallarta and, coming soon, El Paso), “The Last Rat of Theresienstadt” (Awarded in Poland). As a puppet designer, Escobar-Leanse focuses on using recycled, environmentally conscious materials. Anyone can be a puppeteer and anything can be a puppet! More information and work samples on website: www.mindyleanse.com