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La Canada Junior Theater , now in its sixteenth year, has quickly become the premiere musical theater program for children in the San Gabriel Valley. Experienced, fun, and innovative teaching combined with fully realized professional level musical theater productions make for a win-win experience at LCJT!

La Canada, California Staff

Susan Spann

Artistic Director, Producer

Susan, a veteran teacher and actress has produced local children’s theater for over 20 years. Credits include, "Mary Poppins Jr.", "Oklahoma", "Into the Woods Jr.", "Shrek Jr.", "Legally Blonde - the Musical", "Little Shop of Horrors", "Peter Pan Jr.", "Les Miserables School Edition", "Hairspray", "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", "Oliver", "Grease", “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, “Annie”, Bugsy Malone”, “High School Musical”, "High School Musical 2", “Willy Wonka”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, "Guys & Dolls", "Bye Bye, Birdie", "Sound Of Music", "West Side Story", "The Rockin' Retro Musical", "Beauty and the Beast Jr", "Newsies", "Moana Junior" and "Frozen Junior".

She co-founded Upstage La Canada in 2001 and the critically acclaimed Upstage Summer Camp in 2003.

Susan also taught in the Performing Arts Academy of John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, and has over twenty years of teaching experience.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Susan was a member of the nationally ranked Indiana State University gymnastics team and a gymnastics coach for children.

Sophia Stephens

Musical Director/Choreographer

Sophia Stephens began her career performing in her hometown with The St. Louis Black Repertory Company. She developed much of her theatrical training on the professional stage, the esteemed William Esper Studio in New York City, and The Imagined Life studio studying under Diana Castle.

She made her Broadway debut in The Lion King at The New Amsterdam Theater covering a hefty 7 roles as a swing and understudy. Currently residing in LA, her most recent TV credits include starring roles on Fuller House, Dear White People, Luke Cage, Blackish, and Showtime’s My Best Friend’s Christmas.

In 2017, Sophia began developing and writing films under her production company, Philosophia Productions. In 2020 she produced a narrative web series, Quarantine Quarrels, during the state mandated lockdown. The web series was awarded official selection for Slamdance Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival. In December 2020 her first written Christmas film, A New Holiday, aired on PBS. She is currently working on several projects under her company and in collaboration with Life Arts Creative Group as lead story producer.

Lisa Avery


Lisa has been choreographing musicals with LCJT for the past 4 years, including “Oklahoma”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Into the Woods”, “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Les Miserables”, “School of Rock”, “Lion King”, “West Side Story”, “Mary Poppins”, “Joseph”, “Newsies”, “The Sound of Music”, “Moana Junior” and “Frozen Junior”.

She has studied dance since the age of 8 and has trained in the styles of ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary, and musical theater. She traveled around the world performing with “The Young Americans”, an organization dedicated to promoting goodwill worldwide through music, dance, performance, and education. She worked for the National Endowment for the Arts and in production in Hollywood before making choreography and dance education her primary focus.

Deborah Lederer Robin

Director / Musical Director

Miss Deborah has enjoyed teaching music to children of all ages for nearly twenty years, and has worked in professional theater for most of her life.  With a background in opera and musical theater, Deborah studied at LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), was a principal actress/singer/dancer at Arizona’s famous Gaslight Theatre, and toured children’s schools performing multiple musicals (including Belle in “Beauty and the Beast”) as well as Shakespeare.  She has also taught yoga, acting, movement, and art to both children and adults.  You may have seen her in Glendale Centre Theatre’s productions of “Mary Poppins” and “Annie”!

Deborah was musical director on “Frozen Junior” and is currently directing “Beauty and the Beast Junior”.

Tayah Howard


Tayah trained at East 15 Acting School in London and has held a variety of different theatre positions including actor, director, teacher for the Summer Arts Conservatory at LACHSA, where she attended high school, and costume designer for La Canada Junior Theatre. She co-directed A Christmas Carol at Glendale Centre Theatre and was assistant director of Shakespearience at the Alex Theatre this year, with past credits including Importance of Being Earnest and Mary Poppins at GCT. Acting credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Black Comedy, Macbeth, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Beggar’s Opera, Passing-Out Parade, Our Town, Three Sisters, A Christmas Carol, and the title role in Richard II. She is set to play Viola in Shakespeare in Love this autumn for IVRT. Voiceover credits: The Hero of Color City, IGOR, and Uprooted. Tayah also is a floral designer and loves creating arrangements and installations for events and for people’s homes!

Tayah directed “Moana Junior” and “Frozen Junior” for LCJT.

Zoe Bright Howard

Director/Producer/Production Manager

Zoe Bright is originally from England where she appeared in 8 shows in London’s West End including playing Lucy in Snoopy the Musical and being an original cast member of Les Miserables. She returned to appear in the 25th Anniversary production at the O2.
She has appeared or directed in various productions in the Inland Empire and at Candlelight Pavilion, and was resident director at Glendale Centre Theatre where she won three LA Scenie Awards for Mary Poppins 2018, Pirates of Penzance 2019, Annie 2020.

She is currently playing Madame Armfeldt in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at the Kate Greenway theatre in Hollywood.

She has been involved with LCJT for many years either as a director, coach or assistant producer.

Some of our Past Shows