At NextStage, our core team is made up of "Artists At Large" who weigh in on production evaluation, casting procedures, and general development. Get to know our family of artists by scrolling through the biographies below.
Jessica Erin Swanson
Jessica Erin Swanson is an award-winning actress who performs across the Colorado Front Range. She has graced stages from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs bringing her to stages such as Ellie Caulkins Opera House and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She has studied dance for the majority of her life with companies such as Colorado Ballet and trains privately with former Rockettes. Even though she loves performing, she finds the most joy in working with children and sharing her love for the theatre to the next generation.
Kirsten "Dessa" Lang
Kirsten is an avid singer, writer, and actress with a passion for mentorship and development. Her acting credits include work with DCPA Education, Phamaly Theatre Company, and (of course) NextStage. As the founding program administrator for the Diversity in the Arts Internship, she partners with nonprofit organizations in Colorado to provide college students with an internship aimed at their growth as diversity advocates and future leaders. Kirsten is excited to join NextStage on its mission to grow the skills and talents of its participants.
Tyler Phillips is an award-winning playwright, composer, director, and musician. Tyler moved to Colorado after working as a New York City based theatre director and session musician for the better part of a decade. He is the critically-acclaimed writer/director of the 2013 production of Under The Greenwood Tree (Flea Theatre, NYC) and in 2010, co-founded Phillstock Entertainment, a music and theatre production and management company focused on developing the original works of independent writers and performers in Brooklyn, NY. Tyler's work has been enjoyed at The Flea Theatre (NYC), 17 Frost (Brooklyn, NY), The Lucille Lortel Theatre (NYC), The Laurie Beechman Theatre (NYC), The Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT), The Arkansas Rep (Little Rock, AR), StageDoor Theatre (Conifer, CO), The Bakery (Denver, CO), The Zach Scott Theatre Center (Austin, TX), The Magik Theatre (San Antonio, TX), The York Theatre (NYC), and others.
Angelica is a local Denver musician and actress with 16 years of experience in all aspects of theatre, on stage and off, including: directing and technical theatre, dancing and creating choreography, writing, and teaching. She studied theatre and acting at UNC in Greeley and holds a bachelor's degree from MSU Denver in Creative Writing & Dramatic Analysis with a theatre emphasis. She provides music therapy to local senior residents of Denver as the director of the choir program at Balfour Senior Living. Angelica is also an actor with Casa Milagros Youth Solutions, a program aimed toward teaching the youth of the Denver metro area how to resolve difficult life situations through interactive and immersive theatre. She is a self-employed entrepreneur who loves to crochet and binge-watch any and all forms of entertainment! Angelica believes that theatre and art is essential to the human experience and hopes to be a strong puzzle piece in the bigger picture that is performing arts and story-telling.
Krista Choate is a determined young stage manager and technician. She has been heavily involved with technical theatre for 6 years and has held numerous technical director, stage manager, and construction lead positions in various theaters. Krista has worked as a technician and SM mentor to not only her former high school peers but also for middle school students. In addition to her work with Center Stage (Evergreen), Evergreen High School Theatre, and Evergreen Middle School Theatre, Krista has spent 100+ hours interning with top stage managers at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Krista is overly excited to bring her strong work ethic and knowledge to NextStage.