James’s first theatrical experience was playing a sunflower in the Wewoka, Oklahoma public library’s summer production of Oklahoma! when he was 5. You may not remember the pivotal role of the sunflower in productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ground-breaking musical that you may have seen, but he remembers it like it was yesterday.
For 25 years, James McQuillen has been a music director in musical theatre, concerts, cabaret, and opera, having worked on somewhere between 150 and 200 individual productions. Some of his favorite music directing experiences include the southwest premiere of A New Brain, Ed Dixon’s Whodunit for the York Theatre Company, conducting the Dallas Wind Symphony in Watertower Theatre’s production of Guys and Dolls, the national tour of Three Redneck Tenors, and the 2018 Apprentice production of Sweeney Todd, directed by Casa’s former Director of Theatre for Youth, Noah Putterman.
As co-founder of Front Line Cabaret, James co-produced and curated a performance series exploring the artistic possibilities of cabaret in the 21st Century. From 2013 to 2018, the company celebrated the depth and diversity of North Texas talent by featuring performers such as Sergio Garcia, Jay Gardner, Marjorie Hayes, Catherine Johnson, Sheran Keyton, Calvin Roberts, and Diana Sheehan in evenings of intimate, engaging, and theatrical solo performance. James created 3 award-winning cabarets with Diana Sheehan and 2 recordings based on those shows: Nobody’s Hart: The Lyrics of Lorenz Hart and Diana Sheehan Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook.
Education is central to James’s career. He has been on the faculty at universities and colleges in North Texas, Missouri, and New York, music directing productions and teaching courses on musical theatre performance, auditioning, singing, and musical theatre history. For many years, he has also been a private teacher and coach, working with young people and professionals alike. His private clients and former students appear in national tours and regional theatre, sing with leading opera companies and symphony orchestras, and are accepted into the top university musical theatre, acting, and voice programs. He has taught performance masterclasses across the country for universities, theatre and opera companies, and arts education organizations.
After living in North Texas for many years, James relocated to Washington, DC, in 2018 to pursue an MA in Arts Management at American University. While there, he was awarded the Strathmore Fellowship in Marketing and Development, and he graduated in May of 2020.
James is happy to be back home in North Texas among family and friends. He looks forward to building on the enormous strengths of Casa Mañana’s Education programming and TYA series. James is excited to work with Casa’s board, staff, and community to create even more meaningful arts experiences for North Texas’s growing and diverse population.
Annie Olive Cahill
Teaching Broadway Dance 1 & 2
Teaching Broadway Studios (Pre-K – 3rd Grade)
Ms. Jacque is excited to be back home at Casa where she grew up taking classes and performing in Playhouse productions and mainstage musicals. While earning her BFA in acting at UT-Arlington, she was a constant on their stage and a member of their nationally ranked speech team. She taught at the University of North Texas, Casa Mañana, Theatre Arlington, Lyric Stage, Applause Theatre in Houston, the MET in Houston, UT-Arlington, TCC, CATS, and many private Christian schools. Her passion and joy come from teaching kids of all ages about live theater and how to develop the creativity that is within them.
Teaching Live on Stage!: Frozen Jr. (Grades 2-4, 4-6) and Musical Theatre Dance (Grades 3-6)
Torris Curry is excited to be joining the Casa Manana family! He holds a bachelor’s degree of Arts in theatre from Texas Wesleyan University. His love for dance and performing started at a young age in his living room recreating numbers from “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew”! He now dances for NBA G-Leauge as a Texas Legends Dancer and hopes to share the love and passion will everyone at Casa!
Jessica Dahl-Colaw is excited to join the All Abilities Musical Theatre class at Casa Manana! Jessica’s love for theater began decades ago when she was cast as a sheep in a children’s production of Charlotte’s Web. As an educator, she has over 15 years of experience including with Dallas Children’s Theater and Dallas Theater Center’s education departments, with Big Thought’s outreach programs, and as a special education teacher. Jessica still loves to perform here and there (her favorite role was Hermione in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale). She has an MFA from the University of Texas at Dallas. Jessica’s passionate about serving those in the special needs community and promoting inclusivity in theatre.
Teaching Musical Theatre Production for All Abilities
Tina is a degreed music therapist who practices in the Keller School District. Her degree is from West Texas State University, where she majored in music with a primary emphasis on voice. She has been a practicing music therapist for over 20 years, working in both educational and psychiatric settings. Tina has performed in several theatrical productions, in such roles as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and Aunt Eller in Oklahoma. She has been a chorus member for several other productions, including The Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun, Brigadoon, The King and I, and No, No, Nanette. Tina has been the instructor for Casa’s Musical Theatre Production for Individuals with Special Abilities class since its inception nearly 20 years ago.
Lindsay Hayward is a performer, playwright, and educator. She spent over a decade teaching abroad at the South African National Theatre in Cape Town, London’s Buzz Theatre Group, The White House Preparatory School, and The Maria Montessori House. Hayward has performed locally with Dallas Children’s Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Theatre Three, Echo Theatre, Garland Summer Musicals, Teatro Dallas, Circle Theatre, Theatre Arlington, and Uptown Players. She has worked with the education programs at Theatre Arlington, Dallas Summer Musicals, The Montessori Academy of Arlington, and created all curriculum for the Little Harmonies Music program. Hayward holds an M.A. from Texas Woman’s University, a B.F.A from Texas Christian University, a PDA from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, UK, and an Early Years Certification from the Montessori College, Wimbledon.
Teaching Broadway Studios (3rd – 5th Grade)
Rachel is a recent graduate of Texas Christian University where she received her BFA in Performance emphasis in Musical Theatre. She recently finished teaching a Theatre Seminar class with Dallas Theater Center. She was last seen as Judy Bernly in 9 to 5 with North Texas Performing arts. Her other credits include Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors with UTD Theatre and Junior Players, Sister Chantelle in Bare: A Pop Opera (Theatre TCU), Lourdes in Luna Gale (Circle Theatre). She previously worked with Casa Mañana as a counselor for Camp Casa and Camp Casa Jr. in 2018. For more information, visit her website www.rachelnicolepoole.com!
Teaching Live on Stage! Frozen Jr. (Grades 2-4, 4-6)
Teaching Broadway Studios Inside Out and Broadway Studios Magic School Bus
Delaney is a recent graduate of Baylor University where she earned her BFA in Theatre Performance with a concentration in Musical Theatre. During her time at Baylor, she was seen in Matilda (Mrs. Wormwood), Title of Show (Heidi), Baskerville (Dr. Watson), and many more! Her regional credits include Grease (Sandy), Legally Blonde (Vivienne), and Lizzie (Lizzie Borden). In addition to performance, Delaney has taught classes with the Granbury Theatre Academy and served as a camp counselor for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Elf Jr. here at Casa! Delaney is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Fort Worth, TX, and is excited for a fun semester at Casa Studios!
Teaching Broadway Dance 3 (Adv.) and Triple Threat (Grades 6-12)
Merrill is a dancer, teacher and choreographer based in NYC for 20 yrs and originally from Fort Worth, Texas. Her choreographic work at Casa Mañana includes Madagascar, Fiddler on the Roof Jr and the recent, Once Upon a Mattress. She also serves as Assistant Director/Choreographer to award-winning Director/Choreographer, Karma Camp, at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. She is currently Adjunct Faculty in the TCU Theatre Department and has taught master classes for CCM, NYU, Towson University, ACU, OCU and The Radio City Rockettes. As a performer, Merrill had the pleasure of being one of the world-famous Radio City Rockettes for eight seasons and appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning revival of 42nd Street. She was also seen in the national tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. She has appeared on the Today Show, The David Letterman Show, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tony Awards Broadcast. She is a featured performer on Broadway’s Lost Treasures DVD from PBS. Her regional theatre credits are numerous and include a Helen Hayes Award for her appearance in the ensemble of Hello Dolly! at Ford’s Theatre in DC. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from New York University and is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.