Kari Kraakevik is a versatile composer, performer and teacher. Holding degrees in Music Performance, Theory and Music Composition from Pepperdine University and University of Colorado. Ms Kraakevik is constantly searching for ways to combine her loves of performing, teaching and composition.
While obtaining her masters in Music Composition from CU, Ms. Kraakevik focused her studies primarily on large-scale productions that were exclusively interdisciplinary. Working with dance, visual arts, theater and even children’s choirs, Ms. Kraakevik found that her niche in the composition world was to not have a “niche”, but rather never limit herself or others.
All of her large scale musical compositions (some over 60 performers) were successfully and completely funded with grants, donations and commissions. This in part, made her dream beyond academia... dream even bigger… What if she could get funding for a larger project….?
Living off just a adjunct faculty's stipend.. She began to think.. Why NOT? Why not create a space that CREATES…? Luckily, her students, and their parents, supported this dream and seminal to the creation of Reel Kids!
In 2013, Ms. Kraakevik emerged in the world of entrepreneurs while still holding teaching positions at CU and Metro University in Denver. Loving the world of collaborative arts, in 2015 Ms. Kraakevik bought existing long-time music school Wildflower School of Voice and expanded the school to now, Boulder Music.
Today, Ms. Kraakevik enjoys being a full time entrepreneur, adoring her students, creating every day in a safe, collaborative FUN environment, REEL KIDS!!
Director, Music Faculty
Joshua Rich is a self-taught pianist, director, teacher, music director, composer and performer who entered professional at the mere age of 9. Originally from Boston, Joshua has worked from coast to coast as both a composer and performer.
Relocating to the Washington, D.C. area, Joshua began working with children as a director, music director, performer and teacher. He founded several after-school performing arts schools. He has directed and/or musically directed numerous shows, from classics like “Godspell”, “Guys and Dolls,” You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”, “Annie” to more edgier shows like “Fame,” and even “Rent," and "Cabaret!" He is looking forward to directing "Heathers" with a select group of late-high school/college students in Fall 2021!
Joshua has created and released over 30 CDs of original music, as well as albums in the jazz, children’s and classical genres. He also had the opportunity to work as music director and choir leader for Grammy and Oscar winner Marvin Hamlisch “(A Chorus Line”, “The Way We Were”). Additionally, Joshua served as music director, choral director and pianist for several gala events, most notably playing for Hillary Clinton at the Warner Theater.
In the early 2000s, Joshua moved back Los Angeles, working with Grammy and Oscar winner Randy Newman and with-winner Luther Vandross (“Here and Now”, “Superstar”, “Always and Forever”).
In the late 2000s New York City was "home." In NYC he found himself accompanying, directing, composing and music directing for several notable Broadway dancers, performers, and performing arts schools. His favorite collaborations were with Gail Crutchfield (original cast of “42nd Street”) and owner of Shuffles, the Broadway Tap and Musical Theater School.
Recently, Joshua relocated to Colorado, where he was fortunate enough to begin working with Kari Kraakevik, the multi-talented owner and founder of Boulder Music and Reel Kids. Putting his many years of experience to use, Joshua serves as pianist, director, teacher, music director and business manager for Kari, and the two have even formed a jazz duo, “Take Two”, which performs locally. Joshua continues to compose and release new CDs and is looking forward to sharing his love of inspiring young people through the arts for many years to come!
Director, Acting Faculty
Kelly McAllister is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, and director.
In 2012, his lay Lovers, Lunatics, and Poets was a finalist in Playscripts' Pitch-n-Play contest. In 2010, his play Hela and Troy was named a finalist for the Heideman Award as part of the Humana Festival. His first play, Last Call, won the Excellence in Playwriting award at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. In 2005, his play Burning the Old Man won the New York Innovative Theatre (NYIT) award for outstanding full length script. Other plays include Some Unfortunate Hour; Fenway: Last of the Bohemians; Muse of Fire; and The Morons.
He also wrote and directed the short film Strong Tea. His plays have been produced by Divadlo na Zabradli of Prague, hope theatre, inc., Boomerang Theatre Company, the Triangle Theatre of North Carolina, Impetuous Theatre Company, The Other Theatre Company of Denver, Art House Productions, and many more.
In 2003, he was named Graduate of the Last Decade by San Jose State University. He was also a senior reviewer for nytheatre.com from 2003-2005. His work has been published by Applause Books, Smith and Kraus, and the New York Theatre Experience.
Mr. McAllister lives in Denver with his wife Lisa and enjoys directing and teaching at Reel Kids with his best friend Kari Kraakevik! You can read his blog at www.rkmcallister.blogspot.com.
Kari Jensen is thrilled to re-join the Reel Kids community as their new Managing Artistic Director! She returns to Kari’s company—yes, that makes two Karis under one roof!—completing a journey that began nine years ago, when she first began working as a choreographer on many shows, such as “Cats," "Godspell" “The Wiz”, and “Fame”!
Kari (Jensen) brings over 30 years of experience in both theater and dance, and she is incredibly excited to work with all of the talented teaching artists and students at Reel Kids!
She is returning to Colorado from Taiwan, where she has spent the past five years on faculty in the Theater and Dance Department at the Taipei American School, most recently, as the department head!
Along with teaching and choreographing, Kari is also a talented director, and she lent that ability to numerous shows at the school, including “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Godspell”, "Peter and the Starcatcher" and an original theatrical interpretation of the novel “The House on Mango Street”.
Kari also mentored numerous student pieces and created the curriculum for a brand new class at the school, entitled Movement Theater, which fuses spoken word with interpretational movement.
Kari has also worked at Streetside Dance Studio, Front Range Community College, and Chapman University in Southern California. She holds a BA in Adolescent Psychology, as well as a Masters in Dance Education, and can’t wait to share her love of teaching and managing dance and theater with the very special community that is Reel Kids—and we are very happy to welcome her back in this capacity! Though she officially "starts" in September, she will be directing and choreographing both large-scale musicals this summer, "Suessical," and "Xanadu," and can't wait to meet everyone!
Teresa Suydam is a teacher and singer-songwriter from Denver, Colorado, who has been singing since a very young age and has always held a great passion for music. She received a Bachelor of Science in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado in Denver. Teresa found music to be her greatest emotional outlet and cites a wide variety of artists as her influences (including BTS, Amanda Palmer, Ingrid Michaelson, and Jason Robert Brown). During her time in school, she began to write music and lyrics, followed by performances with vocal group Lark, soulful R&B band Emma Mayes & The HIP, and collaboration with production duo Mom N Dad. All of these experiences benefited her ability to educate students from any discipline. In her teaching career, Teresa specializes in contemporary singers, while having the training to teach all genres, such as soul, jazz, R&B, and musical theater. In her current practice, she works with singers of all levels, while also offering beginner to intermediate level lessons in piano, guitar, and ukulele. She Started Music Directing At Reel Kids during the pandemic and has never left! you will sometimes see her on spotlight, tech or singing at the top of her lungs with an entire cast of middle schoolers!
Jacob Frye is currently a sophomore at CU Boulder! He is fascinated with all things STEM and love to learn - infact, he is currently pursuing an ATOC (Atmospheric and Oceanic science) and math degree. He loves to be in the ocean and on the mountains, and just generally being outdoors in the wonders of the world (and outer space!). Music and performance has also been a huge part of his life. He was the school mascot for a 50th anniversary play in 5th grade, and loved being in costume and putting on a show. He followed his then-girlfriend to stagedoor his freshman year and auditioned for Footloose and has been doing it ever since. He loves to play music and always has got speakers or headphones going to soundtrack his life. He's always got his mind open to expanding his worldview and experiencing new things, and he can't wait to see where this new avenue with Organic Theater/Reel Kidswill lead him.
Eliana is currently a Sophomore at CU Boulder with interests in music composition and education and psychology She is a former Reel Kids student and has been involved in the film troupes, performances, and acting classes offered there for almost 9 years.
She first met Kari when she was 6 years old and this initial connection evolved into a lifelong mentorship and friendship. Because of this, Eliana has been involved in every aspect of the musical theater process, from stage managing, building sets/lights, acting and singing, and writing, composing and co-directing her own original musical, titled “A View From Saturday”.
She loves hiking, reading, playing piano, and singing. Eliana can oftentimes be found riding her bright-pink bicycle, “Pinky”, everywhere. She is excited to continue learning and connecting in the Reel Kids Community that has become a second family.
Media & Film Editing & Virtual Education Faculty
Brette Robertson is a filmmaker who graduated from The University of Colorado, Boulder’s Film Program in 2017. The minute Brette picked up a camera when she was 12 years old, she knew that filmmaking was her life-long passion. She sees her world through the lens of a camera.
Upon graduating, she founded her video company, Sagicorn Productions, as a way to combine her unique, creative vision with her professionalism to ensure high-quality media experiences for her clients. Her primary mission is to promote women entrepreneurs, local small businesses, and artists.
Brette also teaches her love of film editing to students at Reel Kids. She was an instructor at Reel kids for two years and is coming back to teach virtual education. Brette is happy to finally be a part of the Reel Kids family again.
She eats, sleeps and breathes film. Brette hopes to teach her love of filmmaking to her students, and help them express themselves through moving images. You will also see her arranging flowers, painting and dreaming of traveling the world in a van.
My name is Shari Polis, and I am a director/choreographer from NYC. This page showcases my career in kids theater.
Directing children's musicals has always been my dream, and I've been living my dream for pretty much my entire life. Growing up, I would make my friends perform elaborate dances to New Order songs in my basement. I took over choreographing my elementary school's talent show when I was 8. When our middle school didn't have a cheerleading squad, I formed one. As the Dance Captain of my high school and college musicals, I knew early on there was one thing I did well, and that I would do it forever.
When I got to NYC after graduating from the University of Michigan, I continued and expanded my dream. In 1999 I became a teaching artist with Tada! and City Lights youth theaters, in 2000 I formed the Performing Arts program at Hannah Senesh Day School, leading them through 15 large scale middle-school musicals, and in 2001 I founded the UpBring Dance Company, putting on 12 original shows with up to 75 kids age 2-15.
Common to all of these is the positive, excited, and super energetic atmosphere I create for the kids. I also run a tight ship, because energy + organization = a great show. I am known for making kids shine that would not usually flock to the front so the whole cast feels confident. Finally, costumes, sets, and music are always vital elements to my shows, and I always push the boundaries through my amazing collaborators.
I now reside in beautiful Boulder, CO. I teach dance and choreograph musicals at the Boulder JCC, at schools, private events, Reel Kids, Organic Theater and from my home.
Troupe & Acting for Film Faculty
My name is Madi Garcia and I grew up in Minnesota before moving to Colorado about 4 years ago. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Denver where I studied film and marketing. I was awarded the Outstanding Film Studies & Production Student award and have had my work featured in festivals around the world. I now have my own photography/videography business, as well as a creative consulting/social media business. I love to teach and I love working with children, their creativity really inspires me. I also love all things film and sharing that passion with others brings me joy.
Troupe & Acting for Film Faculty
David is a Writer and Director from Denver, Colorado. Throughout his childhood, David has undergone a long journey of different storytelling mediums: from fiction short stories, theatre, to home video superhero adaptations in his living room. Through it all, he found that film had never really gone away, and that he didn’t just choose this life because he wanted to, but rather because he had to! David graduated from the University of Denver Magna Cum Laude with Phi Beta Kappa in June 2022, with a double major in Film Studies & Production, and English with a concentration in creative writing – which is a really longwinded and illustrious way of saying he loves screenwriting, directing, and just telling good stories that ask different questions.
David’s primary passion is in writing and directing. With experience ranging from commercial sets, concert and event videography and freelance, David offers a deep knowledge of foundational skillsets in film. He loves being apart of Reel Kids Troupe and especially loves spending time making art with the kids.