Writer, Composer, Music Director
Cordelia Zars is a writer, composer, and teacher, and author of Man Up: A Musical. She grew up in Laramie, Wyoming with her two brothers. She studied classical piano from the age of 5 with Alla Latchininsky, Mana Tokuno at the New England Conservatory, and George Lopez at Bowdoin College. In college she music-directed and acted in Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, playing the roles of Johanna and The Baker’s Wife. Her senior year she combined her majors (Hispanic Studies and Music) into a thesis on the history of musical appropriation in Christian Spain. Since moving to Colorado, Cordelia has acted and music-directed local theater productions, composed original scores for plays, and taught musical theater to children at the Actor’s Academy for the Performing Arts in Denver and Boulder.
She is also Editor and Producer for one of the nation’s favorite outdoors podcasts, The Dirtbag Diaries, and spends her free time mountain biking, trail running, and gallivanting in the hills.
As a musician, writer and activist, Cordelia channels her passion for igniting social change through art. She believes the seeds of sustaining change grow in emotion and empathy, in the raw ability to feel what someone else is feeling. As emotion is the currency of art, we—as painters, writers, and musicians—have a lot of work to do to bring this fractured world together. She is thrilled to be working with one of her best friends, Max Middleton, to direct her first original show.
Max Middleton is a director, an actor, an educator, a storyteller, a musician, and the first fan of the musical Man Up. Max grew up in back corners of Maine, where he learned that truly great art can be found in the most unexpected places. He learned to sing next to stables, learned to mime in a barn, learned to act in a gymnasium, and learned to direct in an attic. He tried to learn piano in a basement and cello in a garden as well, but those only kind of stuck. Max is beyond proud to be a part of the Man Up project, and is so excited to be once again working with one of his very best friends, Cordelia Zars. To Max, theater (and art in general) is all about community and connections, and he can’t wait to see the group that gathers around this nucleus.
Ashley Ellen Frary
Ashley Ellen Frary is a passionate director, choreographer and performing artist currently working in both the Denver and Boulder areas. Since earning her degree in Theatre Arts & Acting at Millikin University, Ashley has worked on over 60 productions in the areas of direction, choreography, performance and design. She has a true love of physical theatre & visual story telling that was tailored by her studies abroad with the Globe and PunchDrunk theatre companies in London and PanTheatre in Paris. Additionally, Ashley has over 25 years of dance training in multiple disciplines. She has had the privilege of working in various capacities with many theatre companies and schools, including D’Alto Studio of Performing Arts, Ballet Indiana, University of Southern Indiana, Tales & Scales Inc, Vintage Theatre, Misassembly Productions and Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Ashley has also spent much of her time in arts education, and is currently working as Program Manager at Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids. When she’s not at the theatre, Ashley loves to keep busy with art & design projects, good books and gaming with friends. She is thrilled to be a part of the Man Up team!
Katelyn Skeen is a dedicated student in her final year at the University of Colorado in Boulder majoring in Theatre and Psychology. She is passionate about using theatre as a way to work with communities focusing on engagement and social change. Katelyn also loves working with children and had the privilege of overseeing the arts program at her second home, the JCC Ranch Camp, a residential summer camp, in Elbert, Colorado. After she graduates, she plans to get her social work license and hopes to pursue a career using applied theatre within schools and working with students. Although Katelyn has spent some time on the stage, she has truly fallen in love with stage management. Her favorite stage management ventures so far have been Spamalot, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Cabaret Kalisz. She is overjoyed to join the Man Up team.
Gabby Vallée is an undergraduate at the University of Southern Maine studying business, and music. Theater and music has always been an integral part of her life and she plans to use her business degree in tandem with her passions. Gabby is transcribing the Man Up music and lyrics, as well as composing some additional instrumental parts. When not working on Man Up, Gabby can be found playing piano, painting, or taking long walks in the woods. She is beyond excited to be a part of the Man Up team, and to be supporting her great friends in bringing this amazing musical to life.
Michelle Claire Romeo
Michelle grew up as a performer in New York City. She holds degrees in Theatre and Dance with a secondary emphasis in Film and Multimedia from Southern Oregon University, Hunter College in NYC, and Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She has extensively studied acting pedagogy, improvisation, and vocal technique in New York City at La Mama, Circle in the Square Theatre, HB studios, and Theatre Sports. She has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with such renowned acting teachers as Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, Peter Goldfarb and Ruth Zaporah among others. In 1996, she founded Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids, an award-winning youth theatre where her mission was to create highly creative, innovative, and fresh children’s theatre for the community. Michelle has directed over 70 plays in all genres of theatre from well-known musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof and Oliver to dramas such as Eve Ensler’s Necessary Targets and most recently Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone.
Julien Romeo Motola
Julien Romeo Motola is a previous student at the University of Colorado Denver and Columbia College Chicago majoring in Cinema Arts. Currently, he is taking time off from school to explore his creativity and gain more in his field. He recently moved to the Bay Area and is excited to meet other passionate creatives in his field. The theater is where Julien got his start in the visual storytelling world. This sparked his interest in film and photography as he felt storytelling could be brought to a whole new level of creativity and reality in these art forms. Recently, Julien has worked with Futuristic Films located in the RiNo Arts District in Denver, Colorado. He worked in a variety of positions from pre-production to post-production. Julien's first production with Theatre O was Assistant Directing the World Premiere of Cabaret Kalisz. He wishes he could've been more involved creatively with Man Up A Musical but due distance he was only able to participate in the realm of web development. Interested in seeing some of his work? Visit www.urbanromeoproductions.com for a full portfolio of work.