Faculty & Staff

Kevin Cook

Kevin Cook

Director, Production & Design Conservatory

Teaches: Stage Management

kevin.cook@ocsarts.net

Mr. Kevin Cook holds a Master of Fine Arts in technical theatre/design and a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from California State University, Fullerton. Mr. Cook brings more than 30 years of experience in both the educational and professional entertainment industry to his position. During his tenure as Director of the Production & Design Conservatory, the program has grown from a high school-only program with 50 students to a middle and high school program with more than 120 students. In addition to running the conservatory, he is the technical director for many special annual events, including the Tree Lighting Ceremony at South Coast Plaza, Gala at Hotel Irvine, and Season Finale at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Mr. Cook previously served as technical director and lighting designer for Brite Ideas, Inc., where he provided overall technical direction and lighting design for special event companies. Some of his high profile clients included Segerstrom Center for the Arts, J. Paul Getty Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Lexus, Audi, Samsung, Maroon 5, Elton John, Roberto Cavalli, Stevie Nicks, Cal State Fullerton, and many more. Mr. Cook has also served as an associate faculty member at Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College, and Santa Ana College, as well as a freelance designer, production manager, and technician for a variety of professional theatre groups, including the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival. 

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Victoria Hoyt-Heydon

Victoria Hoyt-Heydon

Assistant Director of Production & Design

Teaches: 7th Grade Intro to P&D

victoria.hoyt-heydon@ocsarts.net

Victoria Hoyt-Heydon is a graduate of USC’s Thornton School of Music and OCSA’s Production & Design program. Victoria has worked for Live Nation, Sennehiser, and Sumerian Records. She has designed sound for USC theatrical productions such as Crimes of the Heart and Taming of the Shrew, been A1 for Fullerton College’s productions of American Idiot, Parade and Twelfth Night, and was resident A2 for all Musical Theater West shows at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, including Nice Work if You Can Get It, White Christmas, and In the Heights. She has worked tech crew for Bigger Hammer, been a Production Runner for The Mill, and was Assistant to the Costume Designer for Atelier Mela (including 3D Theatrical’s Beauty and the Beast). She was also a freelance entertainment technician for Southern California. She is excited to “come back to her roots” and have the opportunity to give back to the school that started her in her profe­ssional journey.

Ben Penman

Ben Penman

Technical Director, Production Manager

ben.penman@ocsarts.net

Benjamin Penman, a graduate of University of California, Irvine, got an early start in production in high school working on the Golden Globes, Riverdance, and several major Fashion Shows. Mr. Penman is best known for his lighting and sound work in the haunted attraction industry, where his work is featured in several theme parks around the globe.

In addition to designing lighting and sound for themed attractions, Mr. Penman owns a production company based in Orange County that has been successfully servicing the special event industry, focusing on weddings and other large social events.

Mr. Penman has worked in a variety of theaters, working in a variety of capacities, including: sound designer, sound engineer, lighting designer, master electrician, head carpenter or scenic design for over 300 shows.

At Orange County School of the Arts, Mr. Penman has held the position of Technical Director/Production Manager since 2014 and has been quoted saying, “My favorite thing about working at OCSA is the amazing students.”

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Arlene Somers

Arlene Somers

Staff Assistant

arlene.somers@ocsarts.net

Arlene Somers received a BA in Fine Art from Chapman University. She previously worked as an artist and designer in the video game industry, working for a couple of well-known companies on what are now classic games. She currently freelances in graphics and admin assisting, as well as being an entrepreneur.

Mrs. Somers became involved with the Production & Design Conservatory when her daughter Claire became a student. First as a parent volunteer, she eventually transitioned into a lead Parent Rep. Though Claire has since graduated, Mrs. Somers continues to assist Mr. Cook and Miss V in the communications to parents, creates the Conservatory newsletters, designs and maintains the Production & Design Arts Announcements webpage on the school website, as well as curates P&D student works displays in Symphony Hall and the Webb Theatre.

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Gina Cowley

Gina Cowley

Instructor

Teaches: Advanced Props, Pattern Making, Costume Design

virginia.cowley@ocsarts.net

Virginia "Gina" Cowley is an accomplished costume designer and seamstress, with nearly 20 years of experience designing and creating costumes for dance, skating competitions, and theatrical performances in Southern California.

Ms. Cowley is passionate about her work and has had the opportunity to costume a wide-variety of different shows and performances, from classical ballet and traditional Irish dance to well-known musicals and modern interpretations of popular plays and operas to haunted movie palaces.

She is experienced in advanced costume crafts, including millinery, rhinestone application, dying and distressing as well as working with stretch fabrics and complex construction techniques. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Irvine and attended Fullerton College, where she earned certificates in Fashion Design and Costume Design.

She currently serves on the board of directors for Costumer’s Guild West and regularly teaches classes and workshops on different costuming techniques.

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Cat Elrod

Cat Elrod

Instructor

Teaches: Makeup Fundamentals, Intermediate Makeup, Advanced Makeup, History of Hair & Makeup Design in Film

catherine.elrod@ocsarts.net

Cat Elrod received an associate's degree in theatre and two bachelor’s degrees in technical theatre and anthropology from California State University, Fullerton, respectively. She is a Special FX Makeup Artist, personal celebrity makeup artist, and costume designer.

Her career began in theatre, designing and managing for The Long Beach Playhouse, International City Theatre, and The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center. At Joe Blasco Makeup Center West, she pursued certificates in beauty, glamour and advanced prosthetic makeup. Some of her television credits include Outrageous Acts of Science on the Science Channel and The Booth at the End on Hulu. For film, her credits include Badass, starring Danny Trejo and  Ron Pearlman, and The Hungover Games, starring Jamie Kennedy and Tara Reid. For theatre, her credits include Delusion: Haunted Play, and she is currently the resident costume/makeup designer for The Garage Theatre in Long Beach. She is also personal makeup artist to comedienne Margaret Cho and legendary musician Charlie Wilson.

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Anthony Hernandez

Anthony Hernandez

Instructor

Teaches: Shop Fundamentals, Intermediate Shop, Advanced Shop, Advanced Stage Carpentry

anthony.hernandez@ocsarts.net

Anthony Hernandez is a dancer, performer & artist at heart. While completing a BA in Dance from UCI, he became a founding member of the Nannette Brodie Dance Company, & in 1995 toured with the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. Mr. Hernandez also taught movement for actors at South Coast Repertory’s Youth Conservatory. Concurrently, he instructed master classes in mask making, dance, and choreography at cultural centers and high schools in LA & in OC.

Supporting himself & his family with his artistry, Mr. Hernandez works as a scenic carpenter for Disney Entertainment, where, for the past 21 years, he has and continues to collaborate with an incredible creative team on many Disney parks projects, including the opening of Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, Haunted Mansion Holidays, Mickey’s Halloween Party, Grad Nite, and the opening of all the new rides, as well as the openings of many Disney movies at the El Capitan Theater. 

Mr. Hernandez has served as a Boy Scouts assistant troop leader for his sons’ troops for 18 years. He currently sits as Vice President on the board of Dance 4 Joy Ministries, a non-profit dance outreach organization. He is also the founder & owner of Hernandez Studio Productions where he specializes in sprung, portable, tap dance floors, and is a consultant and carpenter for various high schools and professional dance companies.

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Wally Huntoon

Wally Huntoon

Instructor and Designer

Teaches: Scenic Design, Advanced Scenic Design, Drawing For Design B

wally.huntoon@ocsarts.net

Wally Huntoon has been designing scenery in the southern California for more than 40 years and has over 800 credits to his name. His design background includes theatre, television, corporate industrials, and ballet. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in scenic design, including three regional Emmy awards, Robby awards, Drama Logue awards and a multitude of nominations. He is also been the subject of a television documentary, Wally Huntoon: A Life by Design.

Kim Jones

Kim Jones

Instructor

Teaches: Costume Fundamentals, Intermediate Costumes, Advanced Costumes

kim.jones@ocsarts.net

Kim Jones began her costuming career with the Long Beach Civic Light Opera as their wardrobe supervisor and working with such celebrities as Carol Burnett, Dom Deluise, Ann Blythe, Tommy Tune, Lee Meriweather, BeBe Neuwirth, Susan Egan (‘88), and Lindsay Mendez (‘01). She has also been assistant to the designer on three Super Bowl halftime shows and many corporate entertainment shows. She was Orange County School of the Arts first costuming teacher and just celebrated her 20th year with the school.

Amanda Linhardt

Amanda Linhardt

Instructor

Teaches: Drawing for Design A, Intro to Props, Scenic Painting

amanda.linhardt@ocsarts.net

Amanda Linhardt is a graduate of Concordia University Irvine earning a BFA in technical theater with a focus in production and design and a graduate of California Institute of the Arts (CalARTS) receiving an MFA in theatre. She has designed, built, and painted various productions from the high school to college level.

Matt Roy

Matt Roy

Instructor

Teaches: Fundamentals of Audio, Intermediate Audio, Advanced Audio

matthew.roy@ocsarts.net

An OCSA alumnus, Matt Roy is a sound designer and engineer working in both live theatre, film and television. He received his BFA from California Institute of the Arts for Sound Design in Theatre and his MFA from Chapman University in Film Production. After spending the last 10 years working in multiple entertainment fields, Mr. Roy has gained knowledge working first-hand on multiple independent productions in both theatre and film. He currently travels the globe providing professional audio in all types of venues ranging from indie theatres to convention centers and sports arenas. 

 

Crystal Shomph

Crystal Shomph

Instructor

Teaches: Lighting Fundamentals, Intermediate Lighting, Advanced Lighting

crystal.shomph@ocsarts.net

Crystal Shomph is a graduate of University of California, Irvine, receiving a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in drama, and a Master of Education degree from Hope International University. She began her theater career back in high school working and performing on stage. Ms. Shomph began her lighting career in 1996 working on student projects at Cypress College and has been designing lighting for various community colleges, local theater, and other groups for more than 20 years.

Ms. Shomph previously served as adjunct faculty at Cypress College and Irvine Valley College, having taught various introduction to theater classes. She is currently one of the lighting designers at Golden West College and is also an active volunteer as a lighting consultant for a local community theater group.

Mauri Smith

Mauri Smith

Instructor

Teaches: Stagecraft I - 8th Grade, Advanced Shop, Intermediate Digital Drawing

mauri.smith@ocsarts.net

Mauri Anne Smith is honored to have the opportunity to work with the talented students here at OCSA. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from California State University Fullerton, where she studied Scenic and Costume Design, as well as Scenic Painting. Ms. Smith is grateful to be able to share her knowledge and experience with these young artists. Some of her recent design work includes: The Little Prince - Chance Theatre, Godspell - Costa Mesa Performing Arts Center, Tallgrass Gothic - Cal Sate Fullerton, Les Miserables - Yes Co., A Christmas Carol - Cal State Fullerton.

Cynthia Wilson

Cynthia Wilson

Instructor

Teaches: Overview A & B - 7th Grade, Stagecraft II - 8th Grade

cynthia.wilson@ocsarts.net

Cynthia Wilson is a graduate of Chapman University receiving a BA in Communications, with an emphasis in Theatre. Cynthia enjoys teaching, directing, designing, and performing. During the past 6 years as a member of OCSA’s Production and Design Conservatory, she has been teaching 8th grade Stagecraft, as well as instructing classes in Intro to Theatre and Advanced Makeup.

Cynthia is also a Head Director, Makeup Designer and Costumer, collaborating on three musicals a year for TMR, in which she has been a part of for 24 years. Some of Cynthia’s other notable teaching positions have been 20 years as Theatrical Makeup instructor for Chapman University, 19 years as Theatre teacher for Fullerton School District’s All The Arts For All The Kids program, and Theatre instructor for Cal State Fullerton Children’s Summer Arts Camp. Cynthia has had the opportunity to work as a performer and/or designer for Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Curtain Call Dinner Theatre, 3D Theatricals, Reel to Reel Productions, Chapman University, and a variety of other community theaters throughout the area. Cynthia finds much enjoyment working with student and sharing her love of the arts.

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Advisory Board

Greg Christy

Greg Christy

Co-Founder and Owner

Brite Ideas, Inc.

Greg Christy is a 1984 graduate of the California State University, Fullerton, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatrical Lighting Design and a Minor in Sound Design techniques.

In 1987, Greg garnered the first of many accolades from Special Events magazine as the Gala Award winner of “Most Imaginative Use of Lighting.” His innovative design for illumination of 70,000 square feet of tented party space, hosting the Inaugural Opening of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, landed him in the forefront of the Southern California special events market place.

Greg has achieved an unsurpassed reputation in this field, as the creator of dynamic solutions for corporate meeting planners, theatrical performance producers, and live television broadcast coordinators, on an international scale. Event Solutions magazine recognized Greg in ‘03 and ‘04 for lighting design, stage design, and technical direction endeavors. In 2005, SRO magazine named him one of the TOP 50 Technical Directors in the US. High praise continued with the nomination for the Technical Director of the Year and the 2006 award for Technical Supplier of the Year from Event Solutions Magazine, as well as, the prestigious VISION & VISIONARIES award for his career achievements in business and his philanthropic endeavors to the community from California State University, Fullerton. Coming full circle, in 2007 Greg received his third Special Events Magazine Gala award for the opening of the concert hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Once again, Greg broke new ground by illuminating the tent strictly with video content delivered through several types of LED fixtures. In 2008, Special Event Magazine awarded Greg with Best Achievement in Technical Support for the opening of the Broad gallery at the LA County Museum of Art. This event included flying stages with live performers, 70,000lbs of chandeliers flying over the guests' heads, and one of the largest Kabuki drops ever attempted.

Greg’s lighting design credits are all encompassing including: Republican National Convention, Media Press appearances for Bush, Reagan, and Dole, NFL Super Bowls for over ten years, broadcast lighting for the dedication ceremony of the Nixon Presidential Library, and the televised State Funeral; numerous charitable events including: Fire & Ice Ball, Hollywood Alzheimer Benefit, Louis Vuitton’s United Cancer Fund. Movie / Theatre premiers: Mama Mia, Rent, Aida, Austin Powers, Lord of the Rings. Corporate Events: Grand Opening of the Venetian Resort - Las Vegas, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, WAMU, Kawasaki.

Internationally, he has successfully coordinated technical productions for Option One and ING Corporation in Canada; Thermo King in Cabo San Lucas; ASTA in Glasgow, Scotland; American Express in Cancun; Jumex in Mexico City, and Media Asia in Cannes, France. Personally served as TD for name acts: Maroon 5, Goo Goo Dolls, Black Eyed Peas, Santana, Jay Leno, Michael Bolton, Bonnie Raitt, Tony Bennett, Don Henley, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Kenny Loggins and Sir Elton John.

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Susan Hallman

Susan Hallman

Retired Chairperson

Theater Department

California State University, Fullerton

Information coming soon.

John Oliphant

John Oliphant

Head Carpenter and Technical Director

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Information coming soon.