Meet our Summer Instructors!
Cossette Asenjo — Voice I, Camp Musical Director — Cossette has been performing at Playhouse Merced for 11 years, starting with the children’s conservatory, and could not be prouder to return as a teacher! She has always loved music- she has been clarinet section leader for concert band and has taught beginning piano lessons for 4 years. She has also danced ballet for 13 years and taken vocal lessons for 7. She recently was accepted and attended the AMDA Summer Conservatory for musical theater in Los Angeles. You may have seen her as Jo or Dorothy at PHM, and plans to pursue a career in Musical Theatre at Cal State Fullerton. Cossette loves working with children and can’t wait to sing with you this summer!
Zach Calzadillas---Dance II and III, Camp Choreographer--Zach is a student at Merced College majoring in Theatre Arts. He found his love of theatre 12 years ago in the Playhouse Merced Conservatory and is thrilled to now share that passion of theatre to a new generation of students. You may have seen him on stage in various productions at Playhouse Merced including Titanic, Little Women, Heathers, and Cats. Behind the scenes, Zach has worked as a PlayAnywhere Instructor for the 2019/2020 school year and also served as the choreographer for the 2019 Summer Conservatory Camps Willy Wonka Junior and Spamalot Young@part as well as the 2020 production of Matilda the Musical.
Beth Christensen — Ballet, Dance Workshop and Cardio Dance, Camp Director and Choreographer — Beth proudly holds her BA in Dance, and has been teaching for over 20 years! After serving as the Education Director at Playhouse Merced from 2001-2005, Beth moved to New York City, where she continued to teach ballet, tap and jazz, while also choreographing and costuming Off-Broadway. She also proudly choreographed the Spring Musical for 4 seasons at Friends Seminary--the oldest co-educational private school in Manhattan. In 2011 Beth was asked to choreograph a production of Chicago for a college in Canada, where she met her now-husband Josh (the "new" Technical Director and in-house Set Designer at Playhouse Merced)! Can’t wait to dance with you!
Nicholas Johnson--Nicholas is currently a sophomore at Fresno State University studying Music Education, conducting, and piano performance. His life has revolved around music ever since he was seven. Since then he has studied many genres of music from classical to contemporary jazz and R&B. As a freelance musician, he has been blessed to have accompanied many groups and choirs throughout the central valley, while also playing in a variety of orchestral ensembles in and outside of school. Nicholas has recently been involved with the fabulous PHM Conservatory as an accompanist and Musical Director for their classes and shows. He was very fortunate to begin his Musical Direction Debut as the MD for Scruff Turbo, and playing one of the Keyboard parts in the Fun Home Orchestra. Nick is beyond excited to be working with the kids of the conservatory and cannot wait to see all of the amazing things they will accomplish!
Lauren Marie Miller--Playwriting--Lauren is an alumni of the Playhouse Merced conservatory, where she took classes and performed in shows for six years. She taught theatre through Merced College for Kids for three years, including directing Beauty and the Beast Jr. there last summer. She now studies film production at Emerson College in Boston during the year, where her short films have been recognized at international festivals. On the Playhouse Stage, you may have seen her work in Spring Awakening last July. She’s always grateful to return to her first loves, theatre and Playhouse Merced!