Spring 2022 Youth Theater Workshops Begin The Week of Jan. 30!

In order to avoid meeting in person during the surge in Covid cases, we will begin the Workshops online via Zoom with the intention of going back to in-person as soon as possible. This will allow the opportunity for all students to participate, even if they have to quarantine.

 From the information currently available, we expect that only the first month of Workshops will be online and we will be able to go back to in-person instruction at the theater by the beginning of March.

Please note: our Stage Combat Class, which must be held in-person due to the nature of the class, will begin Sunday, January 30 and run through April 3 (rather than beginning this Sunday). Full safety protocols will be in place: all students and staff must be vaccinated and everyone will wear masks and socially distance. Again, safety is everything.

We hope you will consider participating in our Workshops while we await the clearance to do shows again.  

We were very lucky that Little Women was able to perform during the period when Delta was diminishing and Omicron was not yet an issue. We expect Frozen Jr. to have that same luck!  

In the meantime, whether or not you choose to audition for a Y.E.S. show, this is the perfect opportunity to work on your performance skills!

Spaces are still available—register today!

Spring 2022 Youth Theater Workshops

The Morgan-Wixson Theatre and the Youth Education / Entertainment Series (Y.E.S) have been working with youth actors and delighting audiences throughout the Los Angeles area for over 26 years. In addition, this educational program has been offering workshops in vocals, acting, dance and audition preparation for the past year.

A highly skilled team has designed curriculum for all levels of experience from the novice to the advanced. We hope you can join us!


All Workshops (except Stage Combat) will begin on Zoom.

As soon as it is safe to do so, we will hold the Workshops at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. 

More details provided upon registration. When we resume in-person instruction, we will be following all CDC requirements on masking and social distancing, with vaccination required for all. Our Covid-19 policy can be found here.

Dates: Our Stage Combat Workshop begins January 30, 2022 and runs for 10 consecutive weeks through April 3. All other Workshops begin the week of January 31st for 15 sessions ending the week of May 23, 2022. There will be a two-week break from April 4 to April 17.

Tuition: Our goal is for total inclusion and we realize that there will be families that cannot afford this opportunity given current circumstances. The tuition is listed below under each workshop description, but if you are unable to pay part or all of the tuition, we are accepting all students on a “pay what you can” basis. There is no need to apply for a scholarship or to provide any family financial information. If your family is able to donate monies above the tuition to help support this program, we will provide you with a donation letter for your tax return (and be eternally grateful).

Vaccinations: All students must be fully vaccinated. If a student has a medical exemption from vaccination, please contact us at to discuss. The Morgan-Wixson's Covid-19 policy can be found here.

Please note: We are beginning our Y.E.S. shows in the Spring of 2022 with Frozen, Jr. playing in May with rehearsals beginning in March.  

These workshops are designed to support and expand a young actor’s skills, therefore it is possible (and encouraged) to be enrolled in workshops and still be cast in a Y.E.S. show. The instructors of the workshops and directors of the shows will work together so that actors will only miss one workshop date during tech week of a show. 

Please note that enrolling in workshops is not a guarantee of being cast in a show.   

Intro to Theater Part 1

for youth with very little or no experience and/or training.


To introduce novice artists to all aspects of theatre by teaching fundamental skills in all areas of performance: Acting, Dance, Voice & Musical Theatre Auditions

Mondays, 3:45-5:00 pm for ages 8-18 

Tuition:  $300


Intro to Theater Part 2

- for students who have completed Intro to Theatre Part 1 in Fall 2020, Spring 2021 or Fall 2021


To overview theater techniques and build upon skills learned in Acting, Dance & Musical Theatre Auditions

Mondays, 5:00-6:30 pm for ages 8-18 

Tuition:  $350

January 31 through May 23, 2022 (No class on April 4 and 11)


Performance Foundations

-for students who have completed Intro to Theater Parts 1 and 2 OR who have completed 2 or 3  Y.E.S shows OR who have prior stage experience and/or training (private lessons, outside performance programs). This workshop is a prerequisite for Advanced Performance Foundations.

Students are introduced to the Stanislavski “System of Wants” Acting Technique and how it applies to Scene Work and Musical Theater Auditions. Musical Theater Dance skills are not continued.


Tuesday, 4:15-5:45 pm for ages 10-18 

Tuition:  $400

February 1 through May 24 (no class on April 5 and 12)


Advanced Performance Foundations

-for students who have completed Performance Foundations, Advanced Acting and/or Building Your Book during the Fall 2020, Fall 2021 or Spring 2021 sessions OR who have completed 5 or more YES shows OR who have extensive prior stage experience and/or training (private lessons, outside performance programs)


Actors begin with further exploration of the Stanislavski “System of Wants” applied to Scene Work, followed by training in Cold Reading Techniques. The final part of the session will focus on Monologues with an emphasis in the System of Wants, scoring and beats.

Wednesday, 4:15-5:45 for ages 11-18 

Tuition:  $400*

February 2 through May 25 (No class April 6 or 13)


Building Your Book – Musical Theatre Auditions

Goals:  Expanding the audition book with songs from each musical genre, an overview of the history of musical theatre,  and developing skills through practice auditions

Thursdays, 4:15-6:15 for ages 11-18

for youth who have completed Intermediate 2 or Performance Foundations

Students will explore the various periods of musical theatre history from Operetta to the present adding a song from each period to their Audition Book.  The lecture beginning each period of musical theatre history will be conducted via Zoom to better allow video samples to be viewed by all students.  Working on songs will be done at the theater.  Students will also continue working on audition techniques and the System of Wants as it applies to song.

Includes two-45 minute sessions of private instruction per student.

Tuition:  $500*  

If you have already taken Building Your Book, you may repeat the workshop to increase the number of songs in your book. You will not be required to attend the introductory session to each period of study.

Reduced tuition for repeats is $375

February 3 through May 26 (No class April 7 or 14)


*It is highly recommended that students take both Advanced Performance Foundations and Building Your Book.  If you do choose to take both, tuition will be discounted to $700 for both classes combined.  You are, of course, free to only take one of the sessions.

Additional Training Module

This module is designed to be taken with one of the workshops above or separately

Stage Combat

Like dance, theatrical swordplay is both complex in structure and beautiful in execution. The timing must be precise and the form flawless all while being executed with effortless flair. Training in theatrical combat will improve your posture, balance, eye-hand coordination and isometric strength. You will memorize complex sequences and time your actions with a partner all while continuously recalling a litany of movements, attacks, parries and evasions. It goes without saying that all of this also requires a tremendous amount of mental focus. Did I mention you get to play with swords?

January 30 through April 3, Sunday, 10:00 -11:30 am for ages 10 to adult

Tuition:  Session $250 as a single class, $150 in combination with a preceding Workshop


Workshop Placement:  It is our goal that each participant has the most beneficial experience. Please email us if you would like guidance to find the workshop that most fits your student’s needs. In addition, our administrators may wish to move a participant into a different class dependent on experience and will consult with the participant and parent(s) as needed.

Registration: Limited Enrollment – please register by this Friday, January 21 to reserve your place:

Register here!

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Praise for our Workshops

From the Parent/Guardians:

You were all wonderful and so encouraging to the students. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

My child grew because of the constructive feedback that was provided by the instructors.”

“… wanted to thank you all SO MUCH for this incredible opportunity and for opening the doors of musical theater for (our daughter). She absolutely LOVES theater, stories, performing, musicals, and music so the integration of all these into one passion outlet is dream come true for her.  You’ve been amazing and a wonderful source of joy for her during a most challenging season of life. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

What a wonderful program you created for our kids to learn and practice their craft. (Our daughter) would light up every Wednesday knowing she got to spend time with her MWT peeps. In times like this, it means even more to give our children positive experiences that bring them joy.”

From the Participants:

I really grew so much as a performer! It was really helpful.”

I loved this workshop so much. It definitely changed all of skills for the better.

Since I am really wanting to continue with the MWT, these workshops were extremely helpful to me because I could get familiar with some of the theater’s/director’s expectations and styles.”

Our Instructors

Anne Gesling (Co-Administrator and Instructor) is the founder of the Annual Youth Musical and a co-founder of the YES Program at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre. In 35 years at the MWT, she has directed and/or music directed over 150 youth and mainstage productions and served as costume designer on over 50 productions. She has received awards for direction from the National Youth Arts and the NAACP in addition to numerous awards at the MWT. Her passion is working with and training young actors.  

Eve Keller (Co-Administrator and Instructor) has been teaching musical theatre and audition techniques to youth (throughout the LA area) for over 20 years. She is also a director for the Y.E.S program at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre where she has received nominations for her directing from National Youth Arts. Eve has her Masters in Child Psychology and combines her passion for children’s development with her knowledge of the performing arts to create an inspiring theatrical space to allow young performers to comfortably tap into their artistic gifts. 


Mariana Benjamin (Instructor) is a theatre educator and director originally from Los Angeles. After graduating from Barnard College with a degree in Playwriting, Mariana worked in professional theatre in New York for several years, before returning home to become the Program Director at the Creative Kids Youth Theatre Project Los Angeles. Mariana has over 10 years of experience teaching children’s theatre, and over 4 years of experience working on Broadway. She is excited to be joining the staff at the Morgan-Wixson!

Ellen Doyle (Instructor) is a Los Angeles based teaching artist and actor and voiceover artist originally from Chicago. She has directed/taught kids in musical theatre, commercial workshops, acting and improv in the West Hollywood area for the last 8 years. Ellen can be seen in over 15 national commercials (some of which are currently airing), heard in voiceover campaigns like JBL and McDonalds and was recently seen in "Good Girls". She has performed regional theatre throughout the Chicago land area and has trained at Groundlings in LA and Second City in Chicago.  

Lindsay Merrill (Instructor) grew up in Omaha, NE where she trained extensively and competed in all styles of dance before going onto college where she studied Dance Performance and Visual and Performing Arts, as well as performed with multiple dance companies in Oklahoma and LA. She has since worked as a children’s theater director and dance instructor in Los Angeles for the past 5 years and previously taught and choreographed for dance studios across the Midwest. Currently, Lindsay is also pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and looks forward to integrating her love of the performing arts with passion for learning about the human experience in unique and innovative ways.


Marc Antonio Pritchett (Instructor/Stage Combat) works as a Director, Fight Coordinator and Session Singer in Los Angeles. He has over 20 years of stage combat experience. Stage credits include: Productions at Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, The Sacramento Theatre Company, Rubicon Theatre. Films include: The Bacchae, Privateers, Lethal Prey & Soldier of God. He is represented by Nucleus Talent Management. For additional info visit:


Krystle Simmons (Instructor) is an international performer with NAACP and Ovation Awards nominations for best leading actress and has been performing professionally for over 13 years. Krystle also teaches acting and musical theater dance from coast to coast and has a passion and love for educating children in the arts. As a seasoned performer with experiences that vary from Luxury cruise lines, regional theater, to being a featured vocalist on national television, she has lots of insight to share with her students.

Kristin Towers-Rowles (Instructor) is a Los Angeles native who trained in Acting and Musical Theatre in NYC at AMDA. She has played leading roles in 7 National Tours and in over 100 regional productions all over the USA. As a director, she has directed many award-winning productions of plays and musicals. Kristin has taught Musical Theatre and acting all over Southern California and is a college placement audition coach. She is excited to be back at one of her theatrical homes, The Morgan-Wixson Theatre. 

Register today!