[Top photo] ALT 2023-2024 Staff (from left to right)
Harrison, Annika, Noah, Michael, Jason, Jo, Carrie, Brandon, Raquel, and Lissa
ALT is staffed by a dedicated team of theatre professionals with a diverse range of training and skill sets. Our staff collectively spends hundreds of hours each week leading a highly committed corps of volunteers in the successful creation of over a dozen theatrical productions each year. Under the capable guidance of ALT’s staff, volunteers will perform on stage while working tirelessly behind the scenes to build and paint sets, sew costumes, and contribute in countless other ways to help ALT produce community theatre of the highest quality. The staff and volunteers at ALT work hard to refine every production detail so that Amarilloans can enjoy stunning theatre produced by dedicated artists right here in their own community. One of the greatest aspects of the ALT experience is the fact that hundreds of volunteers of all races, genders, ethnicities, religious affiliations, and sexual orientations join together to commit themselves to this beloved artform while creating lifelong friendships and meaningful bonds.
“For a couple of years now, at my advanced age, I’ve come to understand one thing. There is nothing in the world as wonderful as making art with your friends.”
John Kander, New York, New York
Email Jason: [email protected]
Jason is very excited to begin his 16th season of working for ALT and his 2nd season as ALT’s Managing/Artistic Director. Jason was ALT’s Academy Director for 15 years and has been volunteering with ALT since 1999. He is a proud graduate of the 2001 ALT Academy program. He graduated from WTAMU in 2006 earning a degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Advertising and Public Relations. In 2018, Jason was named into the WTAMU Communications Hall of Fame. He is a board member of Theatre Network of Texas and has also served on grant evaluation panels for the Texas Commission on the Arts. He is an active volunteer in the community and loves to travel to NYC when ever he has any free time.
Jason loves working with actors of all ages. He has directed or choreographed over 40 Academy productions and brought National attention to the ALT Academy through several different fine arts platforms. Jason has also had the pleasure of directing the 1st community theatre production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as well as CLUE, Elf the Musical, Guys and Dolls, Shrek the Musical, Murder on the Orient Express, The Sound of Music, Rock of Ages, Legally Blonde and Little Shop of Horrors for the ALT Mainstage and Adventure Space as well as choreographing several productions for ALT. No stranger to the stage, Jason is also a veteran actor for ALT where he has appeared in over 45 ALT productions. He has been a TONY Award correspondent for NewYork.com, was a winning contestant on NBC’s Hollywood Game Night and was the final four contestant on Live with Kelly Ripa Co-Host contest where he appeared live for ABC.
Email Allen: [email protected]
Allen Shankles has been creating theatre “magic” at ALT for 36 years. He has directed
hundreds of shows at ALT and has managed the growth of this organization as it has become one of the finest, most successful and highly respected theatres in the country. During his tenure at ALT, Allen has taken ALT from a struggling organization with a $50,000 annual budget to its current budget of over $1,200,000 annually. Allen is a visionary who has developed the ALT Academy, the ALT Adventure Space and the construction of the beautiful Terk Lobby. He has developed a culture of success at ALT that permeates every facet of the organization.
Allen is grateful and proud that he has been able to have a wonderfully fulfilling career and an equally fulfilling personal life. He has always believed that there was no reason why great theatre could not exist in Amarillo, Texas. Now it does.
He and his extraordinary wife, Carrie, have two wonderful daughters. They have also recently become proud grandparents to Reno Hart DeMezza and he is perhaps the greatest gift they have ever shared.
Allen served many terms as a Theatre Peer Review Panelist for the Texas Commission on the Arts. He has served on the board of Texas Nonprofit Theatres and is a member of the American Association of Community Theatres. Allen was inducted into the Branding Iron Theatre’s “Hall of Fame” at West Texas A&M University and in 2016, Allen was honored to be named “Man of the Year” by the Amarillo Globe-News.
Allen wishes to thank the ALT staff, both current and past, for its dedication, commitment, and passion for creating the finest in theatre art and entertainment.
Above all, Allen wants you to know that his great success is due to the incredible support and commitment of so many volunteers and patrons who have supported ALT over the years. Many, many great people have given their all to make ALT the “Place to Be.”
Email Jo: [email protected]
A volunteer for over 30 years, Jo’s first role at ALT was as Hope Harcourt in the 1990 production of Anything Goes. She moved to Amarillo in 1990 to do the musical TEXAS. Jo holds a BFA in Theatre from Cameron University. After many years away, she is so happy to finally be working among the people who share her passion for theatre!! Some of her favorite roles include Lola in the 1995 Amarillo College Summer Arts Festival production of Damn Yankees, Soul Girl in the 1994 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Multiple roles in the award winning 1995 touring production of BEEHIVE, Sheree in Dixie Swim Club (2010), Huckaby in The Fantasticks (2004), Ensemble in the incredible production of Les Miserables (2012), Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and most recently Diane in The Birds, Virginia Noyes in the hilarious production of It’s Only a Play, for which she received her first ALTA’s.
Jo loves sharing her love for ALT with her Academy students. She is an Academy instructor, teaching grades 3-8 in various theatre classes. It brings her great joy to see the growth in the students in class and especially watching their lights shine on stage.
Jo is proud to share her love for theatre with her daughter Hana, who was an ALT Academy student since she was 3 and is now a grown woman who spreads her own passion for theatre. Her husband, Kyle, is an Amarillo Firefighter. The Smith family is rounded out by their Corgis, Piper and Korki.
Email Noah: [email protected]
Joining the ALT Family in 2009 as an ALT Academy Student, Noah discovered his passion for theatre. He appeared in many Academy and Mainstage productions, his favorites being Huck Finn in Tom Sawyer, Snowbell in Stuart Little, Bill in Cheaper by the Dozen and Sky in Mamma Mia! When he wasn’t performing in the productions, he often volunteered to work backstage. Noah joined the ALT staff as a Theatre Technician in June of 2019, and plans to learn as much as possible about Technical Theatre.
Noah would like to thank his grandmother Cynthia for introducing him to the magical world of theatre, Jason Crespin, Carrie Huckabay and Allen Shankles, as well as the rest of the ALT Family for their consistent love and support.
Box Office Manager/Volunteer Coordinator
Email Lissa: [email protected]
Lissa was born and raised in the Texas panhandle and currently a practicing Licensed Massage Therapist. She has been a volunteer at ALT for the past 13 years along with her family, Team Garren. Lissa has a 13 year background in dance and loves dancing in as many musicals as possible. Some favorites include A Christmas Carol 2007, Ruthless, The Producers, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, South Pacific, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chicago and A Christmas Story. Lissa especially loves working with the production crew backstage, up in the booth or running a spotlight and was most recently a Production Assistant for Rock of Ages. She and her family were recognized with the 2009 Daniel J Schwartz Award which they are extremely proud of.
Lissa is lucky to share her life with her harmony, Jason, who can usually be found running in Palo Duro Canyon. She is incredibly proud of her kiddos and their significant others: Jaelyn and Micah Hanbury, Ryce and Mikayla Garren and youngest son Mayson who were all students of the ALT Academy.
Community Relations Director
Email Annika: [email protected]
After volunteering for 16 years, Annika is thrilled and honored to join the ALT staff and contribute to the place she loves in a new capacity. Annika was born and raised here in Amarillo, and went on to earn her BFA in Theatre from Abilene Christian University in 2006. Annika has appeared in over 20 productions and special events at ALT since moving back to Amarillo in 2007, including Liz/Beth in If/Then, Cinderella in Cinderella, and Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
A proud member of Actor’s Equity and SAG-AFTRA, Annika has performed professionally across the US, including the Texas Regional Premiere of The Last 5 Years and the Third National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera. Annika studied with TONY Award winner Betty Buckley, and in 2020 starred in the “Hey Moon” music video for rising country music star, Randall King. Annika believes that her diverse professional acting experience along with her many years spent at ALT give her a unique perspective to be able to grow and enhance ALT’s presence in our beloved community.
During ALT’s 2012 production of Les Misérables, Annika met her now husband and the two married in 2014 and have since had 2 children, Liv and Stellan. The Spalding family is grateful to ALT for nurturing so much local talent and for creating a safe, accepting, and inclusive space for so many Amarillo residents.
Email Raquel: [email protected]
Inspired by her achievements in One Act Play in 2006, where she secured the Best Actress title three times in a row for her captivating portrayal of Popeye in The Miss Firecracker Contest, Raquel Marasky’s passion for the arts has flourished over the years. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, Public Relations, and Media from Howard Payne University, she now brings her dynamic skillset to the Amarillo Little Theatre (ALT) as the Marketing Director, having joined the team in 2023.
Throughout her career, Raquel has cultivated valuable expertise in digital media curation and content strategy. As the owner of Mar a Sky Media, she has provided businesses with comprehensive digital content services, leveraging her talents in photography, videography, and strategic social media solutions. Moreover, Raquel’s professional journey has taken her across the states of Texas, Colorado, and Kansas, where she has gained diverse experience in advertising, market research, and even luxury car sales for Alfa Romeo!
This multifaceted experience has not only honed Raquel’s creative mindset and strategic thinking but also deepened her dedication to making a positive impact. Excited by the opportunity to contribute her expertise to ALT, Raquel aims to advocate for the rich theatrical history of Amarillo and propel the ALT’s marketing efforts to new heights.
Email Harrison: [email protected]
Harrison is a native Amarilloan and has been performing at ALT since he was 10 years old. Now, he is so excited to be returning as Academy Director! Harrison graduated from Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and an emphasis in Creative Writing.
His favorite regional and college productions include The Drowsy Chaperone (Man in Chair), Shrek The Musical (Ensemble, Shrek Understudy), Mame (Ensemble), and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charlie Brown). While working under esteemed professional directors, choreographers, and performers – both in the classroom and in the rehearsal room – Harrison found a keen interest in all of the work behind the scenes necessary to create performances that leave a lasting impression. He cannot wait to put these skills to work with the immensely talented youth of the Texas Panhandle.
The most important part of Harrison’s creative process is a sense of play. Having the space and freedom to laugh at yourself and make mistakes is what makes theatre magic. He hopes that – whether in the classroom, on the ALT stage, or in whatever next stage life has in store – his students never forget to find joy in the mess. That’s where greatness lies.
Assistant Technical Director
Email Brandon: [email protected]
After serving as our Theatre Technician for two years, Brandon has been promoted to the Assistant Technical Director position. He studied briefly as a student in Theatre Performance at WTAMU. He hopes to continue learning and gaining experience in all areas of the theatre, including performance, set building, design and even directing.
Brandon wishes to thank his mother for her love and support, Shannon Mashburn for opening the doors of theatre performance and to Allen Shankles and the rest of the ALT family for accepting, teaching and sharing their amazing talents.