Ali Lemus (formerly known as Ali Dizikes) is originally from the Washington DC area and is so excited to be teaching for the Palace Education department! She holds a BFA in Theater performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. She moved to NYC after graduation and worked for ten years in various theaters around New York as well as in commercials and film and television, joining the Screen Actors Guild in 2005. She began working regularly as a Stand In on Film and Television Productions from 2005-2011. She can be seen as Rachel in the Independent film “Peace After Marriage,” a Tribeca Film Festival winner. She was seen most recently on stage as Bella in “Lost in Yonkers” at The Palace Playhouse. She lives in Georgetown with her husband and two daughters who are 5 and 7 years old and their fur baby Coco. When not in the theater she can be found at home submitting self tapes for commercial auditions, swimming, running or riding her bike with her family.
Deborah was born in Ohio but has lived, worked, and has attended school in seven different states. In 1992, she received her BFA in Acting. She has been an educator via after school programs, children’s theatres, summer camps, community theatres, and public schools for over twenty five years. She has held a wide variety of positions and worn a great many hats including theatre board member, director, actor, stage manager, costume assistant and designer for theatre productions. After touring as an actor in children’s theatre, she pursued a teaching certification and continued to be part of a local acting troupe. Deborah received her certification in 2002 then taught high school, directed, and continued taking Masters classes in theatre production & design. After moving to Texas, she has continued her love for theatre on and off the stage.
Ella has been with the Palace since 2019 as a performer, and now as a teacher and choreographer too. Previous Palace main stage credits include: Elf (Jovie), Grease (Marty), Mamma Mia (Ali / ensemble), Peter Pan (Liza), and Newsies (newsie). She was also a part of the Palace Performance Company her last two years in high school, where she trained in vocals, dance, and acting, as well as getting to play Catherine in Pippin, and Rulon Stacey in The Laramie Project. This past year she joined the offstage side of Palace Education where she got to be an assistant for two shows over spring break, and a choreographer over the summer in summer camps! Before the Palace, Ella was training as a ballerina, and was a part of two different ballet companies, Ballet Royale, and Dance Institute’s Pre Professional Ballet Company. She was also on the top competition team at Dance Institute where she won several award’s, including: Overall Highest Score in the Competition (SEC), Outstanding Technique Award (NYCDA), 1st Overall Solo (WDC 2x & HOF), Top 12 Ballet Solos (YAGP International Ballet Competition), and she was invited to New York where she competed in NYCDA’s National Final. She is now signed with Acclaim Talent Agency, and you can catch her as Robin on season 1 of CW’s Walker!
Jamie Rogers is an Associate Professor of Drama at Austin Community College and has been a Teaching Artist at the Georgetown Palace Theatre Education since 2020. He holds an MFA in Acting from the Actors Studio Drama School and an MFA in Arts Administration from Texas Tech University. He has worked as an actor and teacher in New York City, Los Angeles, and in various cities across the country. Recent directing credits at Georgetown Palace Theatre Education include: Clue (High School Edition), The Laramie Project, and Pippin.
Jerry Brown has been involved in teaching for over fifty years and in theatre for even longer. He has taught every age level from early childhood to college students, and each summer works with AP English Literature teachers in week-long institutes. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music and certifications in English, speech, music, and theatre arts. While living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, he worked with students in both public and private schools. Each year he directed middle school and high school students in two productions—one of which was always a Shakespearean play. He directed and appeared each week in the television program The Carpenter’s Children, where puppets played a significant role. That resulted in puppeteering workshops led by Jerry and his spouse, Judy. Jerry was also active in Dallas/Fort Worth area theatres in such plays and musicals as Damn Yankees, Sweeney Todd, Lead Me A Tenor, Diamond Studs, Waiting for Godot, Rhinoceros, Our Town, and more. He was especially privileged to perform with his son, Damon, in Damon’s original play, The Light on the Diamond, that toured the United States and gave a special performance in Singapore. Since moving to Georgetown over fifteen years ago, he has enjoyed appearing in Georgetown Palace productions and last year began working with homeschool students in theatre arts. He is excited to continue that work this year with the Education Department.
Jesee is originally from Chicago, IL. She has been performing and choreographing at the Palace since 2006. In 2010, she began teaching for the Palace Education Department. The Palace Performance Company formed shortly after that and Jesee has been the PPC Manager since the beginning. Jesee is currently the Education Administrator, PPC Manager, choreographs for a variety of levels, and teaches many of the dance classes for the Palace Education Department. She has studied dance for more than 20 years under various professionals including Lisa Boehm (Ballet), Frank Boehm (Jazz), Randall Newsom (Ballet, Graham Technique), Judith Chitwood (Ballet, Horton Technique), Paula Frasz (Modern, Tap, Musical Theatre), Karen Williamson (Ballet, Modern), Lila Dole (Spanish), Danny Herman (Broadway Jazz, Tap), Rocker Verastique (Broadway Jazz), Kenney DeCamp (Jazz, Performance), and Joel Hall (Jazz). Jesee moved to Austin in 2006 after graduating from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management (Human Resources) and a Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Education. She currently choreographs and performs in and around Austin, including multiple performances per year at the Georgetown Palace Theatre. Jesee taught ballet, pointe, modern, tap, and jazz for ten years prior to moving to Austin. She was a founding member of the award winning competition group “Petite Feet” with DancEncounter in Geneva, IL. While attending Northern Illinois University, Jesee was the director and producer of Art for Life, an AIDS benefit concert associated with Dance for Life in Chicago.
Kali McBurney Taha is a 2013 graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama, studying at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School and Stonestreet Studios. She has enjoyed performing in various original works in New York City, as well as singing in the choir for the Off-Broadway production of Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians” at Playwrights Horizons. Before moving to Texas, Kali worked for Wingspan Arts, an arts enrichment organization in New York City, where she organized after-school programming for several public schools. Working at the Palace since 2017, she has taken on many hats, including acting in Theatre for Young Audiences productions and directing education productions. When not onstage or backstage, Kali can be found spending time with her husband and daughter, most likely taking a stroll around town and stopping at a coffee shop along the way.
Kristen Rogers is an award-winning director, teacher, and actor based in Austin, Texas. She began her career fresh out of college as a Management Assistant for the Broadway production of Swing! through Richard Frankel Productions. Since then, her career has taken her all around the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, and the Chicagoland area. Kristen holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts (Theatre) from Texas Tech University and an M.F.A. in Acting from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City, and she was an apprentice director at New York Stage & Film’s Powerhouse Theater, where she was the assistant director to Max Mayer on the original workshop production of Lee Blessing’s play Chesapeake, starring Mark Linn-Baker. Kristen considers herself lucky to have established a close, collaborative relationship with playwright and actor, Jaston Williams (of Greater Tuna fame). She has directed many of his recent works, including: A Wolverine Walks into a Bar, starring Jaston and actress Lauren Lane (best known for her role on TV’s The Nanny), as well as his newest one-man shows, Clear to Partly Crazy, Blame it on the Car!, Blood and Holly, I Saw the Lights, and An Evening with Jaston Williams. Kristen enjoys directing a wide range of works, from intimate plays to big Broadway musicals, from minimalist pieces to elaborate farces. Other favorite directing credits include: Ride the Cyclone (Southwestern University), Well by Lisa Kron (Austin Community College), Little Women: The Broadway Musical (Texas Tech University), Noises Off (LHUCA), Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (Texas Tech University and Southwestern University), and Return to Roswell (Prague International Fringe Festival). As an actor, some of her favorite roles have been: Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lucille Lortel Theatre/NYC), Amy in Tape and Amy-Joy in Life Under Water (Westbeth Theatre/ NYC), Hecuba in Women of Troy, Marilyn in David’s Redhaired Death, and Rizzo in Grease. Her greatest passion, however, is in theatre education. She has been teaching for over 20 years, with students of all ages from young children to adults, including as a college professor teaching classes in Acting, Voice for the Actor, Directing, Theatre History, and Theatre Appreciation. Kristen has been the Director of Education at the Georgetown Palace Theatre since December 2019, and she has overseen more than 75 (and counting) fully-produced school-year and camp shows in that time (despite the pandemic!).
In high school and college, musical theatre and opera were Kelsey McDonald’s passion and happiness. A year after graduating from Washington State University with a degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences, she moved down to Austin and began working as a Behavior Therapist at a local clinic. Since then she has worked in various settings with Behavior and Speech. Currently, her day job has taken her to the collegiate level where she works as a Graduate Program Coordinator. Kelsey discovered the Adaptive Theatre for All Program in 2017 when she saw a performance one of her former students was in and became hooked. She often says that the Adaptive Theatre Classes are her happy place. Kelsey is so grateful to this place and all that it does!
Molly has been acting, writing, and directing in the Austin area for the last 12 years. Her recent acting credits include Steel Magnolias (Georgetown Palace Theatre), Junk, Pocatello, Waiting for Lefty and The Great God Pan (Street Corner Arts), Middletown (Hyde Park Theatre), Going with Jenny (Penfold), Trevor (Cap T), As You Like it (Shrewd Productions). She has also written and performed her plays Actor of the Year, Lady Without a Baby, MS, and I’m Still Leaving, which was selected as Best of the Fest for FronteraFest. She directed Twelve Angry Jurors and These Shining Lives for the Palace Performance Company. Molly received her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Arkansas and before that her B.F.A in Acting from Avila University. Of all the work in the theatre she has done, teaching is her favorite.
Peg Patrone caught the theater bug early and began writing and directing front-porch variety shows when she was 8; she charged 5 cents a ticket! After a publishing career, Peg took her love for theater and writing to the Iolani School in Honolulu where she taught drama and creative writing across the curriculum. She accepted a fellowship to UT-Austin, and has lived in the Austin area ever since performing in community theaters, directing and, yep! still writing. Currently Peg teaches playwriting to adults at Senior University and is happily working with future writers and thespians here at the Palace. She loves infecting others with the theater bug!
Originally from Wisconsin, Quinn moved to the Austin area with her husband to improve her career as a musical theatre pedagogue specializing in youth voices.
She earned her BA in Music, Educational Studies and Theater in 2018 from Carroll University (Waukesha, WI). After COVID-19 struck, she decided it was a good idea to go achieve her masters rather than sit on her couch. She graduated with a MM in Musical Theatre Pedagogy from Carthage College (Kenosha, WI) in 2021.
She is a Wisconsin and Regional Music Theater NATS winner in 2017 and 2018. Quinn has performed in many musicals over the years, some of her favorites include Barbie in Numbers Nerds, a Wisconsin premier at Carroll University, Gangstar #2 in The Drowsy Chaperone at Waukesha Civic Theater, Martha Dunstock in Heathers the musical and Mama Rose in Sondheim’s Women at Carroll University. She is very excited to be a part of the Palace family!
Roxane moved to Georgetown in 2002 from Indiana. She first experienced theater in high school in six different musicals. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue and a M.A. in Counseling from Liberty University. Roxane has also trained in dance and piano. She has professional experience teaching both children and adults. In addition, she has worked with Autistic children using Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the Son-Rise Program from the Option Institute.
Trina has been performing in and around Austin since she was 7. A regular performer at the Palace, she was the driving force behind creating the Inclusion shows for the theatre. Trina also is a mother to a young adult with Autism. Her son graduated from high school on the honor roll despite being minimally verbal. Trina attended Blinn Junior College and majored in Theatre and on a scholarship for French Horn. When not on stage she keeps busy writing and was published in local newsletters and The Austin American Statesman. She looks forward to engaging the minds and unique personalities of this group and encouraging them to explore the gift of expression.
Veronica DeSantos Ryan has been performing in various ways since before the age of ten, and can often be seen on stage here at The Palace. Veronica has a degree in Journalism from Ohio University with specializations in English, Music, Theatre, and Dance. She is a former Teach For America alumni and a former middle school Language Arts teacher. She has worked in Round Rock ISD, and in South Texas in Brownsville ISD and Harlingen CISD as a teacher, athletic coach, and academic teams coach. While in Harlingen, Veronica had the privilege of helping to direct the music for The Little Mermaid Jr. for Harlingen High School South, as well as spending a summer teaching music with the Summer on Stage daytime performance camp for HCISD. She also performed in various community theatre productions in South Texas as well as sang with the South Texas Chorale. In the Austin area, she is currently a performing princess for Lexi’s Little Princesses, a member of the Songs for Young Whippersnappers entertainment group, and a member of the vintage singing trio The Vintage Dreams. She loves bringing her passion of music and acting to children of all ages.