Jerelyn Newman - Founder / Artistic Director
Born and raised just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Jerelyn embraced her love of the arts at an early age, studying and performing dance, voice, and musical theatre. After high school, she was accepted to The Boston Conservatory where she continued to follow her passion in both classical vocal performance and musical theatre. While at the Conservatory, she studied classical/operatic performance with Elisabeth Phinney and musical theatre with Walter Boyce. In addition to the Conservatory, she received a degree in Early Childhood Education/Child Development from Fisher University in Boston in 1998. Jerelyn simultaneously taught children while performing on the East and West Coasts, including a 2007 performance under the direction of famed choral composer, John Rutter at Carnegie Hall. In California, Jerelyn studied acting with Judy Kerr and Voice with Gerald White. While raising her 3 daughters, Jerelyn has worked as a voice-over actor and a TV/film session singer (SAG/AFTRA). For several years, Jerelyn volunteered for her children’s elementary school musical theatre productions. It was then that she realized she wanted to combine her love of teaching and her passion for kids-teens social/emotional development with the arts into a career. Since 2012, she has been a Theatre Group Facilitator at Polaris Teen Center, a residential adolescent mental health facility in Tarzana, CA. Around the same time, she launched the TK-2nd grade “Upstage Juniors” program at Westwood Charter Elementary in Los Angeles, CA. She successfully directed two separate casts in each production of Annie (2013) and The Jungle Book (2014). The popularity of the Juniors program was such that it sold out its 2015 inaugural summer production of Aladdin, in both cast and ticket sales. In September of 2015, Jerelyn’s passion for combining the artistic education and social/emotional development of children led to the opening of Westside Children’s Theatre. In 2019, she was asked to be a guest teacher by Artistic Director, Denise Cecere with The Northeast Youth Ballet in Massachusetts. In efforts to support the philosophy that theatre education enhances the artistry of a dancer. Jerelyn actively continues her theatre education with the Drama Teachers Academy since 2015 and traveling to NYC for The Broadway Teachers Workshop since 2018.
Kim Hanke - Creative Director
Kim began performing in her small town of Goshen, Indiana in third grade with a local theatrical group, Shout for Joy. Aptly named, she has continued to sing, act, and shout joyfully ever since. A true drama kid, she knows firsthand how theatre creates community while nurturing the uniqueness of the individual, and after 20 years of working with young children in the arts, Kim continues to be inspired by watching her students discover the pure magic of collaborative storytelling. She received a bachelor of music in vocal performance from Northwestern University and has worked as a professional actor and singer in Chicago and Los Angeles, performing such roles as Viola in Twelfth Night, Guinevere in Camelot, and Anne in A Little Night Music. She has toured with Perry Como and sings with The Angel City Chorale. She also lends her voice to commercials and movie scores. She was a lead artist with The Imagination Workshop, a non-profit, theatre arts outreach organization based at UCLA’s Semel Institute, which moved her to pursue a master of arts in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. She blends her love of helping children express themselves through the arts and her understanding of child development to create a safe stage upon which to explore, express, and excel. She is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Jerelyn and the glorious WCT team.
Josh Bedlion - Musical Director Grades 3-12
Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Josh Bedlion is doing what it takes to leave a mark as an artist, music director and friend to those around him in his musical journey in LA. In 2012, having cofounded 15 Miles West, the official male a cappella group for Western Oregon University, and receiving his master of music degree in 2010, Josh made a bold move to Los Angeles leaving his home-town. Since his arrival, he has been involved in the industry as a studio singer, music director, voice teacher, and percussionist for film, TV, and music directing. Since the fall of 2016, Josh has been the music director with Westside Children’s Theatre for grades 3-12. Shows include: Alice in Wonderland, Dear Edwina, Willy Wonka, Into the Woods and The Lion King. WCT has given him the opportunity of participating in three ‘Broadway Teachers Workshops’ in New York in 2018 and 2019. For film, he has recorded vocals for Deadpool 2, War for the Planet of the Apes, Rogue One, Star Trek Beyond, Goosebumps and Jurassic World. Some live performance work include being a part of the choir for The Nightmare Before Christmas LIVE at the Hollywood Bowl for three years, and providing background choir vocals on camera on several occasions for the show The Voice. Other studio works include artists such as Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake.
Daniela Santi - Choreographer Grades 3-8
Daniela was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and started performing in musical theatre productions at the age of 12. She worked as an actress at the On the Road Theatre Company performing in shows that served as a multi-level stimulus for English students. She was the lead singer of Reservoir Songs, a rock show inspired by the soundtracks of Quentin Tarantino movies. After 8 years of taking singing lessons, Daniela started working as a private vocal coach and in 2016, she got her degree after finishing her 4 -year program in musical theatre in Argentina. She decided to move to Los Angeles in 2017 to continue her studies and professional career where she performed in several shows such as Beauty and The Beast, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid and others. She currently works as a vocal and piano teacher, and is a choreographer at Westside Children’s Theatre. She’s very grateful to be a part of this amazing team!
Julie Cadena - Choreographer, Assistant Director Grades 6-12
Julie graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in communication studies and dance in 2014. A Los Angeles native, Julie has always had a meaningful inclination for the arts and for helping others explore their world through movement. She has been a dancer since childhood, and has over ten years of choreography experience. Julie has created award-winning pieces for collegiate dance competitions, and has choreographed routines for cheer & dance teams, school musicals, middle school physical education classes, and even flash mobs. While Julie is an avid creator, she is passionate about teaching dance as a means to empower her students. She says, “Dance is a human instinct. There is nothing greater than guiding students back to the love of movement they were born with, but which may have dulled over their formative years by fear of judgement. There is room for everyone on the dance floor, and my number one priority as a dance teacher will always be to ensure that students develop the tools to move with joy. Each day I get to work with the kids of WCT is a gift! I’m honored to be a part of their theatre journey at a company that so closely aligns with my values as both an educator and a performer.”
Loretta Lemmo - Production Manager
Loretta Lemmo is excited to be a part of the WCT family! Born and (mostly) raised in San Diego, CA, Loretta graduated from California State University Long Beach with a BA in liberal studies, classical history. She currently lives in West Los Angeles with her husband and two incredibly creative teen daughters. Loretta’s background in hotel management and advertising sales has her prepped to manage many aspects of WCT’s expanding program in the community and theatrical production details. She loves being a part of such an inspiring and challenging musical program for kids and teens. When she’s not working, she’s fastidiously planning her family’s next travel adventure, wandering around the Getty or other area museums, or chilling out at a concert.
Joey Newman - Director of Business Affairs
Joey Newman (ASCAP) is an Emmy-nominated, third generation film and television composer of the famed Hollywood musical Newman dynasty. Joey’s grandfather is Oscar-winning composer and conductor Lionel Newman, and his great uncle is nine-time Oscar-winner Alfred Newman. His cousins Randy, Thomas, David and Maria Newman are all successful composers. Joey’s father, Joe Frank Carollo, played bass and sang in the famed 1970s rock group “Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds.” Joey earned his music degree from the Berklee College of Music and got his start working in television, co-composing with Emmy-winning composer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden on ABC’s drama Once and Again and NBC’s Providence. Joey has composed the music to award-winning feature films, numerous television series, video games and provided arrangements for recording artists like Rufus Wainwright and Broadway composers Marcy & Zina and Cinco Paul. As a conductor and orchestrator, Joey has worked across the media spectrum including orchestrating for his cousin Randy, Bill Ross and conducting alongside Michael Tilson Thomas and John Williams.