Education Staff

Sheryl Cleveland

Director of Education

From the age of 5 when Sheryl first started singing on stage at church, she has loved the theater. She moved from playing leads in high school musical productions to touring in summer stock professional theater and working in theme parks through college. Sheryl graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Math Education and a minor in Music and Theater. Sheryl has been teaching high school math for 32 years and has acted and directed at Stars since 1989. She has starred as Reno Sweeny in Anything Goes as well as the titular character in Mame. Her greatest directing triumphs at Stars include Urinetown, The Producers, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical.

Sheryl’s children participated in BMT Summer Workshop productions and she became a teacher/director of the teen workshops in 2015. She directed Les Miserables (High School Edition) in 2015, Legally Blonde Jr. in 2016 and Singin’ in the Rain Jr. in 2017. In the spring of 2017 she assumed the role of BMT/Stars’ Director of Education.

Amy Adams

Director, Stars Elite

Bio coming soon.

Natalia Mallory

Dance Instructor, Stars Elite

Natalia Mallory began training in classical ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance Technique under Patti Ashby in Bakersfield, CA at the age of four. She has also trained in Modern and West African dance under her mother, Dawn Mallory. At the age of 10 she began assisting her mother in teaching dance throughout Kern County with support from the The Arts Council of Kern, which sparked a passion for teaching and creating inspirational work. From age 12 to 18 she trained at Civic Dance Center and continued her passion for dance and performing arts at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Hollywood.

In 2011, she was featured on the hit TV show, So You Think You Can Dance, along with her sister Sasha Mallory. Shortly after, she created her competition company, Mad Dance Krew, that is now in its 8th season. Natalia has choreographed over 15 musicals, has taught dance throughout the Kern High School District and is currently the dance coach at California State University, Bakersfield. She is also pursuing a career as a recording artist and utilizing all of her artistic backgrounds to inspire the masses.

Char Gaines

BMT Summer Workshop Vocal Director, Mary Poppins Jr. (AM) & You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

Char Gaines is a retired teacher of 40 years with the McFarland Unified School District. She taught elementary grades at Kern Ave. and Browning Road Elementary Schools, plus choirs at McFarland Middle School and McFarland High School. Starting in the summer of 1976, Char began playing shows and vocal directing shows for Bakersfield Music Theatre/Stars (known then as Bakersfield Civic Light Opera). In 1992, she helped begin the BMT Summer Workshop for students. Char accompanies the Chancel Choir at First United Methodist Church of Bakersfield.

Cody Garcia

BMT Summer Workshop Director and Choreographer, Mary Poppins Jr. (AM) & High School Musical Jr.

Bio coming soon.

Kenneth Whitchard
BMT Summer Workshop Director, Mary Poppins Jr. (PM)

Kenneth Whitchard has been a fixture in the Bakersfield theatre community for over 10 years. He has performed at Bakersfield Music Theatre & Stars Theatre Restaurant, Spotlight Theatre, and Bakersfield Community Theatre. He served as the Artistic Director for the Bakersfield Community Theatre, where he also ran their Youth Arts Academy. He has directed youth productions at the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County, YMCA of Kern County, Spotlight Junior Theatre, Bakersfield Community Theatre, Thorner Elementary School and the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. When he is not directing or acting in shows, he serves as the Vocal Music Program Director at McKinley Elementary School where he has two choirs for students grades 4-6, as well as a general music program for grades K-6. It has always been his dream to direct a youth theatre production for BMT/Stars and his dream has finally come true. He looks forward to working with your children and sharing his passion for the performing arts.

Dianne Kennedy
BMT Summer Workshop Vocal Director, Mary Poppins Jr. (PM)

Dianne Kennedy has been a teacher at Bethel Christian School in Bakersfield, CA since 2000. She has a Master’s Degree in Education, extensively studied vocal music in college, and has taught grades K-12 in various capacities, including, but not limited to, vocal music. She has directed choirs for elementary, junior high, and high school, as well as trained various ensembles and soloists for yearly fine arts competitions. She has previously served as a vocal music director under Mr. Whitchard at Bakersfield Community Theatre for their youth program and their regular season. Born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, music was very much a part of her upbringing, and this has truly defined her love for musical excellence. Dianne and her husband, Michael, are parents to two beautiful children — Tyler and Audrey. Tyler has been diagnosed with a rare, incurable medical condition known as eosinophilic esophagitis, and she and her husband are strong advocates at every opportunity to someday find a cure for this devastating chronic disease.

Shairda Rejon-Rodriguez
BMT Summer Workshop Choreographer, Mary Poppins Jr. (PM)

Sharida Rejon-Rodriguez is an award-winning dancer and choreographer professionally trained at the prestigious Millennium Dance Complex and the International Dance Academy of Hollywood. She has been under the wing of world-renowned choreographers, ranging from commercial hip hop creative directors to Broadway artists. She has extensive experience in the performing arts, ranging from performing in and choreographing/directing several local theater and dance productions to dancing in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parades, where she was also a director. She has also been featured on national television, including ABC-TV’s Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, Judge Judy’s 17th anniversary performance and as a dancer for the Anaheim Ducks. Sharida owns and operates Spotlight Dance Academy, alongside her husband Bertin Rodriguez, and is committed to inspiring and helping train the next generation of performers.

Caitlin Wolfenstein

BMT Summer Workshop Director, High School Musical Jr. 

Bio Coming Soon.

Danielle Chase

BMT Summer Workshop Director, High School Musical Jr. 

Bio Coming Soon.