Melani Lyons

Artistic Director, Director, & Playwright

Melani Lyons is well known among youth in the Puget Sound as an enthusiastic and caring director and teacher. She is the founder of Dandylyon Drama and playwright of the musicals “Lasso the Moon,” “A Mother for Neverland,” “The Amazing Ever-Changing Alice in Wonderland,” and “Bad Apples.”  She holds bachelors degrees in Music and Theatre from Seattle Pacific University and she is grateful to have assistant directed under the inspirational Professor Andrew Ryder at SPU, the incomparable Karen Lund at Taproot Theatre, and the prolific Lani Brockman at Studio East.  Melani loves to sing and is active locally in The Salvation Army Seattle Temple Songsters as well as the Western Territorial Staff Songsters which performs around the world.

Melodee Miller

Teaching Artist, Director, & Producer Mentor

Melodee loves kids, loves theatre, and is native to Shoreline so directing with Dandylyon Drama is a match made in heaven! As a daughter of a theatre teacher and director, she hasFullSizeRender been involved with plays from an early age. Since Melodee didn’t get tired of doing plays growing up she decided to get a BA in Theatre from Seattle Pacific University. Some of her favorite shows from over the years are Pirates of Penzance, As You Like It, A Murder is Announced, Dr. Dolittle, ande and the Chocolate Factory. After an 8-year break from the theatre scene to focus on raising her 4 kids with her wonderful husband of 10 years, she is excited to jump back in to directing. Melodee’s love of children carries over into her work as a volunteer child ambassador for World Vision and doing her small part in fighting the injustices of human-trafficking.  In her free time you’ll find her singing while studying up on nutrition, deeply concentrating on her crossword puzzle Charlies, playing the piano, or dreaming of Disneyland.

Thera Langham-Knapp
Teaching Artist, Director/Choreographer, Costumer

Thera was born in Colorado where she began the first steps in her dance career at a very young age. After relocating to Washington in 1998 she continued her dance education at Olympic Ballet School with her main focus on Ballet, and Modern Dance. In 2003 she joined Olympic Ballet as a Company Member, and went on to perform multiple seasons with the Company. For the past 10 years Thera has been choreographing, and teaching dance throughout the greater Seattle area. She is thrilled to be teaching with Dandylyon Drama where she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of choreographing for musical theater productions! Thera spends her free time volunteering at her daughter’s school, exploring nature while hiking and camping, dancing, and sewing up a storm. She is also overjoyed to be currently serving as the Arts Representative for the Edmonds Elementary S.T.A.R.S. Foundation, where she helps bring visual, and performing arts opportunities to the students.

Kaelyn Langer-Mendoca, PHD

Teaching Artist, Director

Kaelyn is thrilled to be joining the creative team at Dandylyon Theatre! Most recently, she directed Honk Jr. at Cedar Way Elementary School and ran several youth programs at Edmonds Driftwood Players, including MIGHTY, which she wrote and directed. Theatre Arts has been a touchstone in Kaelyn’s life for over 20- years, giving her a space to create, explore, and take risks.  As an arts educator, she finds joy in encouraging and supporting students to cultivate relationships, explore their innate ability to imagine and play, develop positive emotional and social skills, and flourish with pride and accomplishment. When not on stage or behind the scenes, Kaelyn spends her time with her husband, Anthony and toddler, Jack playing hockey, listening to Hamilton, and watching Moana (over and over and over again). 

Mary September

Music Director

Mary has a rich pallette of educational, cultural, and performing arts experience.  Her BA in Music Education and MA in Theatre Direction allow her to offer her students a wide variety of tools for success.  Mary has worked in countless schools and theatres, locally and abroad, ranging from choreographing for youth in a Dzaleka Refugee camp in Malawi, to teaching musical theatre to gypsy kids in southeast London.  She’s not afraid of a challenge and quickly learned to how play trombone on stage in 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Guys & Dolls.  She’s thrilled to be working with the fabulous kids and families in our community.  Mary’s husband Pat is on Dandylyon Drama’s Board of Directors!

Aaron Cadam Samuels

Music Director

Aaron is a music teacher, performer, songwriter, and composer. Raised in Chicago, Seattle has been his home (sweet home!) for over a decade. Seven of those years were spent at the Seattle School of Rock where he directed the rock choir and over 15 themed rock shows and summer camps including the Advanced Rock Band camp in partnership with the EMP (MoPOP). Aaron continues to teach voice, piano, guitar, theory, songwriting, and composition from his home, “Castle Bitterlake Studio”. Aaron loves performing regularly for senior citizens at retirement communities in and around Seattle as a solo pianist/vocalist, as well as with his brother in the quirky and well-loved duo “The Music Brothers”. Aaron composes original music for fun, for stage, and for film, and has received two awards for “Best Original Music” from the Seattle 48 Hour Film Project festivals. When he’s not making music, you can find him on the Cascade Mountain trails…unless he is hiking with his spirit flute, and then, as they say, the hills are alive. For more about Aaron’s lessons studio, performances, music, and films, please visit his website:

Rebecca Herivel

Music Director

Rebecca Herivel is a musician, actor, and teaching artist with over 15 years of performance experience. She trained at the University of Washington and works professionally throughout the Seattle area. Rebecca lived for drama club in elementary and middle school and is passionate about bringing the same life-changing experience she had to her students. Raised in a musical family, her lifetime joy of music making is combined with extensive training to provide students with the best tools possible to find their voice, and have plenty of fun doing it! She is thrilled to be joining the Dandylyon Drama team at Einstein. You can catch her in action performing with The Murder Mystery Company!  Rebecca teaches voice & low-brass lessons:

Brian Nagurny

Music Director

Brian has always loved being around music and creativity since he was a child, and is happy to be able to share that love with his students. He has been teaching  piano lessons for 9 years, and been involved with musical and theater groups as an accompanost or an actor since he was in middle school. He is excited to be a  part of Dandylyon Drama!


Maria Pozen

Teaching Artist & Visual Arts Specialist

Maria has extensive experience teaching visual art and play creation with young children in and around the Seattle area.  She holds an MA in organizational psychology from Antioch University in Seattle, completed an acting program in Russia, and is fluent in English and Russian.  The last six years Maria has developed a creative drama curriculum through her work in schools and at local children’s theatres.  A parent of two, Ms. Pozen loves working with children; she believes that her primary goal as an educator is helping each child build self-esteem and confidence.


Robert Jones

Resident Composer & Music Director

Rob is a producer, composer, music director, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, actor/singer, and private piano teacher. He has appeared on television and radio, at corporate banquets, schools, churches, and theaters around the northwest. As a composer, his
music has toured the northwest with the Fifth Avenue’s Adventure Musical Theater program, been produced at Arts- West, and has wo
n the 2002 Seattle Fringe Theater’s Poncho Artistic Pick Award. He has also produced his original musicals at The Bath- house and Market Theaters, as well as numerous local public and private schools.  Rob’s musical stylings can also be heard in mulitple Seattle Radio Theatre productions.

Emily Darling

Teaching Artist & Director

Emily fell in love with theatre at the age of 3 and has been performing in plays and musicals
ever since. Some of her favorites include Annie, James and the Giant Peach, Aria da Capo, Bye Bye Birdie, Museum, The Wonders of Alice, and Private Eyes. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Seattle Pacific University and is very excited to be a part of Dandylyon Drama. When not wrangling children (both her own and as a teacher at ), Emily can be found curled up with her favorite children’s classic books or laughing til it hurts watching The Marx Brothers.

James Lynch

Teaching Artist & Director

James has an excitement for directing that stems from his time on stage as an active actor.  His favorite roles include Cornwall in King Lear, Strongman in Elephant’s Graveyard, and Caliban in Tempest with Rebate Ensemble.  He began his theatre education at age six taking classes from Seattle area theatre companies and has recently graduated with a BA in Theatre from Seattle Pacific University.  While James loves all types of theatre, Shakespeare, Improv, and Stage Combat are his specialty.  He is excited to work with Dandylyon Drama to bring that same joy of the performing arts to kids he himself experienced as a young boy.

Christine Pinto

Teaching Artist & Choreographer

Christine began choreographing musicals in college while singing and dancing her way to a BA in Theatre. Over the years, she has performed and taught in nearly every dance style, from Argentine tango, 19th century social dance, ballet, tap, jazz to flamenco. Christine’s other passion is supporting young writers through providing creative writing opportunities, teaching historical fiction, or facilitiating Oregon Trail experiences in local elementary schools.  Her daughter’s participation in a musical brought her to Dandylyon Drama!

Michelle Cecil

Music Director

Michelle is a private voice and piano instructor at 4/4 School of Music.  She studied voice at Western Washington University where she received her degree in Music Education.  Michelle loves musical theater and has had roles in The King and I, Grease, and Schoolhouse Rock.  Aside from teaching music, Michelle loves spending time with her husband, kids and 3 grandsons, as well as long walks along the beach, and singing alto with Breath of Aire choir.


Donna Rae Davidson

Teaching Artist, Director, & Playwright

Donna Rae has been doing theater for 50 years.  She has a BA in theater and studied acting at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.  She is an award winning playwright, lyricist, Version 2 director and choreographer.  She loves musical theater more than anything.  As a professional stand-up comedian she is well versed in the power of funny and is committed to having big, fat, fun during the process of putting on a show.  Donna Rae is an expert at inspiring people to get creative and apply their skills to community based productions. Her goal is to create theater for kids and adults that is exciting, powerful, educational, and inspiring.

Laura Shepherd

Guest Teaching Artist

Laura Shepherd has been teaching drama and music classes and headshot 2013camps as well as Music Directing and Directing since 2001. Working with young people in the performing arts brings her incredible joy! Laura’s favorite classes and camps are play creation, and she’s thrilled to be doing “Inside Out” camp this summer! Directing credits include “The Bully Plays,” “Godspell” and “Monkey Magic” at Studio East. Outside of theater, she teaches social skills through the arts through the LENS Project with the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma. Laura also teaches singing to students of all ages, and you can find out more You can hear Laura sing with the Seattle Symphony Chorale, and on a couple of video games! Laura is a Washington State certified teacher, and she received her training and degrees in Music Education and Theatre from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in Ohio, and her MA in Educational Theatre from NYU.

Bailey Robert

Guest Teaching Artist

Bailey’s heart is for the stage and performers of all ages. She is thrilled to be a part of the Dandylyon Drama team. Bailey’s a graduate of Baylor University where she received a BFA in Theatre Performance and specialized in directing. Bailey has acted in communiimagety theaters in central Texas and Louisiana over the past 10 years. Her favorites credits include: Annie, Footloose, Bye Bye Birdie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Emperor’s New Clothes. Her recent directing credits are The Stonewater Rapture, Sweeney Todd, and Romeo & Juliet. Bailey is also passionate about travel and theatre history; she was able to merge the two in 2012 during a summer in England and France, experiencing and analyzing productions at the world famous theaters -Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Comédie-Française.