Founding Member, President - Blue Butterfly,
Executive Producer - 4x6 Fest
Artistic Director, Playwriting Instructor - Theatre eXceptional
Brianna Larson is an actor, playwright, director, and teaching artist. She graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Theatre from the drama program at the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University where she studied acting and playwriting. She has performed and produced her original work in New York City; St. Louis, MO; Dublin, Ireland, and now Tampa Bay. Some of her favorite roles include Mary Warren in The Crucible (NYU), Lizzy in The Respectful Prostitute (NYU) Jeannie in Hair (Eight O'Clock Theatre), Katherine in Proof (Gypsy), and Lauren in Circle Mirror Transformation (Players Theatre).
Some of her most exciting and artistically satisfying experiences have been performing in her own original work. She premiered the role of America in her original play Fear and Loathing: An Epitaph to the American Dream, a biography of American Journalist Hunter Thompson. She also played Janis Joplin in her original play I Bet You Think This Song is About You which told the stories of seven iconic women in rock n roll. She recently ventured into the world of directing with her production of The Year of Independent Living by Tampa playwright Lil Barcaski which premiered at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival in 2014, and a ruckus reinterpretation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest with Gypsy Stage Repertory. After being awarded Theatre Tampa Bay's Jeff Norton Dream Grant, Brianna produced Tampa's first 4x6 fest: A 24-hour play festival that produced new original work by 6 Tampa playwrights from start to finish in just 24 hours. Brianna currently resides in St. Petersburg FL with her three cats.
Founding member and Executive Director - Blue Butterfly
Michelle Wilder Larson has directed or co-directed over 100 productions since dancing through the pain with a sandspur in her foot during an elementary production of The Nutcracker when she was in the second grade. Her passion for theatre and for social awareness and change have easily merged as she feels strongly that theatre is an important element to raise awareness, transform lives and change perspectives. Theatre – for a cause, not just for entertainment.
She is the founder and producing artistic director of A Three Fold Cord Community Theater ( St. Louis, MO (1999 – 2011), founder former vice president, and guest director for The Riverside Players (St. Louis, MO), 2005 – 2011. She also served for two years as a high school theatre director. Additionally, she has written and produced numerous short plays for churches, schools, and community centers. She worked as a Speech and Dramatic Interpretation Coach for middle school and high school students
A few of her favorite productions have been Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Whistle Down the Wind, The Miracle Worker, and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Michelle also directed Theatre eXceptional's inaugural performance of The Boys Next Door and will be directing the upcoming production of Oliver! in September of 2017.
Founding Member, Marketing Director, Board Member - Blue Butterfly,
Advanced Musical Theatre Instructor - Theatre eXceptional
Katie has been navigating the vast interwebs since the ripe age of 9-years-old but didn’t decide to make it her career until she began her degree in Mass Communications at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Now she enjoys writing and working with groups like Blue Butterfly where she is able to express her love for communicating and the arts.
Katie is also a founding member of Theatre eXceptional and the chair of the Marketing Committee on the Board of Directors. Before TheatreX, Katie performed in children's productions with Actors Reaching Out and also co-founded Accio Actors, a nonprofit community theater group that performed parodies of popular fiction free to the public, and started her career in Public Relations and Social media Management with Blue Butterfly Productions. Away from Blue Butterfly, Katie works as a Media Buyer for Marshall Advertising in Tampa. Since its inception, Katie has been involved with Theatre eXceptional since day one. She played 'Clara' in TheatreX's inaugural performance of The Boys Next Door and has been actively involved in the summer musicals, classes, as well as acting Marketing Director and secretary on the Board of Directors.
Aside from managing the website and social media pages, Katie also teaches Theatre eXceptional’s Advanced Musical Theatre class.
Founding Member, Educational Director - Blue Butterfly
Alicia’s love for theatre started at the age of 9. Since then she has been involved in many productions, including her portrayals of Peter Pan, playing Miss Hannigan in Annie, and Meg Giry in the Phantom of the Opera. Alicia played Mrs. Warren in Theatre eXceptional’s first production, The Boys Next Door, and has been involved with every Theatre X summer musical. Alicia is a founding member of Theatre eXceptional and has been involved with teaching the program’s Theatre 101 classes since the very first session. In addition to teaching, she is also the Education Coordinator for Theatre eXceptional.
Alicia has her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Tampa. She has a passion for working for individuals with disabilities and is able to support that passion with the knowledge she has obtained from her education and experience, including an internship at Pepin Academy, a charter school for kids and teens with special needs. She takes great joy in being Education Coordinator and a teacher of Theatre 101 in the fall and spring and is incredibly proud to be a part of such a wonderful, positive, and extraordinary organization.
Advanced Improv Instructor - Theatre eXceptional
Johnny Garde has been a professional actor, director, technician, and educator in Tampa Bay since 2012. Johnny has worked with several professional theatres and has also taught with many reputable schools and conservatories. He has worked for several districts in Florida judging their Individual Events and One Act competitions. His teaching has ranged from pre-school age all the way up to high school, and he also focuses and teaches for students with developmental disabilities. Johnny also has a wealth of technical theatre knowledge, working as a stage manager, light board operator, props master, and sound designer and operator. He works and has worked in arts administration and has worn many hats including arts marketing, box office work, audience engagement, and admin work. Johnny graduated from USF with a BA in Theatre Performance and immediately went on to begin working professionally (booking his first professional role while still in school.)
Assistant Instructor - Theatre eXceptional
Maxx Janeda has been acting in the Tampa Bay area for over 14 years. He has worked with theatres such as Hat Trick Theatre, Tampa Rep's TRT2, Tampa Rep, American Stage, St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival, and the Tampa Fringe Festival. He also likes to flex his comedic chops in the Tampa based sketch comedy group, Some Sort of Show. He began his Theatre Exceptional journey in their summer production of Mary Poppins as a rehearsal assistant. This involvement inspired him to take another role in their company. He is so appreciative of Theatre Exceptional for bringing him on and is excited for his future with them.
Accompanist, Assistant Instructor - Theatre eXceptional
David Estevez is originally from South Florida and is a professionally trained pianist specializing in musical theater accompaniment. In addition to his work at numerous educational institutions across Florida and New York, David has worked at some of the most prestigious theatrical venues across the country. In addition to assistant teaching Musical Theater, David provides private vocal coaching to our Advanced Musical Theater students and accompanies the company during the showcases and is the musical director during our summer musicals.
Shakespeare Instructor - Theatre eXceptional
Jonathan Foster got bitten by the acting bug in the 5th grade & hasn't stopped "acting up" since! A Florida native, he graduated from USF St. Petersburg in 2007. After college, the opportunities to perform dried up. Luckily for him, he met Theatre eXceptional founding members Katie & Alicia through the Accio Actors troupe, enabling him to get back into musical theater. Now, he participates in community theater in the Tampa Bay area, most recently appearing in Eight O'Clock Theatre's productions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Young Frankenstein. He also was able to land his dream role of Uncle Fester in Richey Suncoast Theater's production of Addams Family. He's also been in the independent film Father of Lies. He has been with Theatre eXceptional for a year now, making his debut on stage as Mr. MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, and started as a co-teacher for the Intro to Shakespeare and Musical Theatre classes soon after. He is absolutely thrilled to be teaching the Intro to Shakespeare class and looking forward to introducing new students to the works of the Bard.