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The Company

The company

Glorifying Christ Through
Excellence In the Arts

CSDC was established in 2002. For co-founders Irene Miller and Marla Ripps, it literally all began with a dream and a prayer.  Irene had a dream, and Marla had a prayer for a place where God could be glorified through theatre and where  Christians could find an outlet for their talent.  Since 2001, CSDC has taught all aspects of theatre arts to students K-12.  Through this pre-professional training, the students are able to utilize their gifts and talents to serve others in any aspect of theatre or in business.


With God’s blessing and direction, we envision Crystal Sea Drama Company continuing to grow in its ability to offer classes and productions in a first class facility. Crystal Sea Drama Company is dedicated to training artists in theatre arts education and performance. 

 

In August, 2009, we moved into our current location – a warehouse at 8414 Speedway.  The building used to be an archery warehouse.  The space, affectionately known as “The Studio”, has been transformed into a black box rehearsal theatre complete with costume shop, extensive costume, props and sets storage, and classrooms.


Co-Founders 
Irene Miller, Artistic Director and Acting Instructor,  has been involved in theatrical productions since 1970. She has a degree in Theatre and Communications Arts from the University of Iowa. 

Marla Ripps, Lead  Costumer and Instructor, is a civil engineer who received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M.

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Arsenic and Old Lace, February 2020

Staff

the Staff

Irene miller

Executive Artistic Director, Founder

Irene Miller graduated with a Theatre and Communications degree from the University of Iowa. She is the Executive and Artistic Director for Crystal Sea Drama Company. She teaches Directing and Performance and directs two shows a year. She has been acting since she was young and has performed in numerous plays, including The Sound of Music, Arsenic and Old Lace, and The Hallelujah Girls. Irene has directed over 60 plays, including The Magician's Nephew, The Doctor in Wonderland and The Bard! She is the mother of nine children and has four grandchildren. Irene has been homeschooling for 34 years and loves to read, scrapbook, and spend time with her family.

Marla ripps

Founder, Photographer,
Costume Dept. Head Emeritus

Marla Ripps co-founded CSDC with Irene Miller in 2002. She has worked in some capacity in every show CSDC has produced. Her expertise can be seen in CSDC's makeup designs and applications, costumer designs and construction, and photography. Mrs. Ripps has a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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jenn tonak

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Managing Director, Graphic Designer

Jenn Tonak is originally from Colorado and has lived in San Antonio for 17 years.  She attended the Art Institute of Colorado to study photography but found that wasn't really what she was interested in.  She did, however, find that she really liked the digital aspect and photoshop.  She moved more into graphic design, designing tickets and flyers for events.  When her daughter wanted more in the way of acting, they found CSDC.  As chance would have it, CSDC needed a graphic designer to create their show posters!  Since starting at CSDC, she is not only the graphic designer, but also the finance manager, and office manager.  She is also a homeschool mom, entrepreneur, and avid crafter!

Mike dannelly

Improvisation Teacher

Mike Dannelly was born a natural athlete, but his dreams of becoming an International Olympic Fencer  were dashed at the ripe age of 2 ½ years old in a terrible backyard accident involving a llama and a plastic kiddie pool. Mike was introduced to theater in high school and went on to perform throughout college and early adulthood. During his theatrical escapades, Mike was introduced to the world of comedy and laughter. He found that his true passion in theater was making people laugh and enjoyed hearing them have a good time. Mike harnessed the power of laughter and wit to become a professional improvisor. He's the former owner of ComedySportz San Antonio and has been teaching improv for 10 years with the last few being here at CSDC and is self-proclaimed "favorite teacher" to most of our students. 

 

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Kelly Hanson

Elementary Teacher,
Art Instructor

Kelly Hanson is a local artist and entrepreneur with over 20 years of professional experience. She has run several art related businesses including working as a decorative interior painter and running an international children’s art kit subscription business. She also spent over 10 years performing locally with the National Comedy Theatre and Comedy Sportz improv troupe. Currently, Kelly is a homeschool mom and teaches kindergarten in a hybrid model school. She loves teaching scenic painting, children’s theatre and art classes here at CSDC!

Gwen kandt

Director, Teacher

Gwen Kandt teaches English and Drama at Crestmont Christian Preparatory School in Boerne. She has been involved in drama ministries at four churches and led a homeschool theater program in Sioux City, Iowa. Over the years, she has written scads of skits, one-acts, and full-length plays for her students to perform, including two published one-acts: Do-Overs and Everyman 2.0. In her spare time, she reads, blogs (ingennesaret.blogspot.com), and indulges in far too many desserts.

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Teresa fehrenbach

Costume Department Head,
Photographer

Teresa Fehrenbach learned the basics of sewing in middle school Home Ec classes and has continued to create things with textiles through the years. She has made baby quilts and clothing for her children and grandchildren, costumes for her church theatrical productions, and most recently has been an assistant costumer and photographer for CSDC. She taught sewing classes in her home and at a 4H club a number of years ago and is excited to offer a sewing class at CSDC again this year. Samples of her work in sewing and photography can be seen on her website at www.tfehrenbachstudios.com.

kari west

Teacher, Music Director

Kari teaches a vocal training class at CSDC and directs the musical aspects of most of our productions. She came to CSDC looking for a place for her daughter to pursue her love for theatre and quickly got involved herself. A private piano teacher, she has a BA in Music Business from Northeast Missouri State (now Truman University) and has played piano since she was 7. Kari and her husband Jeff recently co-founded South Texas Arts Academy in Devine, where she is the managing director and music instructor. They have five daughters; Kari homeschools the one still living at home.

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devon whalen

Technical Director

Hi, I’m Devon, Tech Director.  I like doing cool things with cool people and with technology, have a knack for figuring out how things work and how to fix them when they inevitably break, and I love doing all the theater things to God’s glory and strive to do everything for that purpose.  I look forward to meeting all of you and hope you enjoy what we do here!

sam moellendorf

Technical Director

Sam Moellendorf is a CSDC alumni with ten years of experience in theater. He spent his first four years in elementary theater acting in shows such as Little Women and Byline: Amanda Danger. He then spent six years acting, teching, and improvising in a variety of shows, and learning from the best. He especially loved his time in tech, learning major life lessons and basic teching skills he's carried into his everyday life. His passion for tech has brought him the opportunity to teach tech class, which he is excited to dedicate his time and effort to the quality and value of teaching he can provide to the upcoming techies. He attributes the blessings in his life to God’s generous love, and the wonderful leaders he now has the privilege to call colleagues.

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rhapsody hanson

Instructor

Rhapsody is a CSDC alumni with a natural passion for theater. She joined CSDC in 2019 and has been acting and helping in shows ever since. She values the skills she has gained from Crystal Sea and how it has helped her to grow. She is very grateful for everything that she's been able to learn at CSDC and how she can now share that knowledge and passion for theater through teaching.

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