OYES: Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio

Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio

Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio

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Some of the people that make OYES.

If you would like to help out, read about our Volunteer opportunities…

Krista Kim

Co-Artistic Director


Krista has a B.A. in Music Education from James Madison University where she studied voice.  She spent her college years performing with the JMU Madisonians which only deepened her love of glitzy showchoir.  After moving to CA, she began teaching general music at Beverly Vista Elementary School in Beverly Hills.

While teaching in the public school system, she was fortunate enough to teach musical theatre at YADA (Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts) in West Hollywood, CA where she realized her true passion was putting on stage shows for children. Krista has served as the Arts and Enrichment Coordinator for The Friends of West Hollywood Elementary School where she directed/coordinated productions of Annie, Aladdin and Alice In Wonderland.

Krista has always found time to volunteer her time at the local schools, feeling like every child should have a fantastic holiday show!

Other directing credits include: High School MusicalSchool House Rock, Peter Pan, Chorus Line, Bugsy Malone, Little Shop of Horrors, and Fiddler on the Roof. In addition to teaching at Theater 150, Krista teaches a singing and dancing Glee class at Starlight Dance Academy.

Krista is the mom of 5th grader, Keaton, 3rd grader, Peyton, and kindergartner, Hudson.  Krista’s main mission is to give children a safe and fun environment to explore and be exposed to musical theatre. Her proudest moments are watching nervous auditioners turn into confident performers.

Rick Kuhlman

Co-Artistic Director

Director/Teaching Artist/Actor/Playwright

Richard has been a Los Angeles actor and director for the last 28 years. He has directed productions in Los Angeles, Greensboro, N.C., Salinas, California, Seattle, Chicago, Cincinnati and San Francisco, ranging from Tartuffe, The Importance of Being Earnest , Catch 22 and Of Mice and Men. His production of Inspecting Carol opened at Theatre150 in Ojai, December 2008 and returned in ’09. He also earned raves for his productions at Theatre 150 for Fuddy Meers and Fractured Fables. This Christmas he will be there again, directing The Emperor’s New Clothes, an original Old English Pantomime.

Among the many one person shows Richard has directed is the Ovation Award nominatedNon Vital Organs and the long running Cheerios in My Underwear, She’s History and Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead. His production of Regretrosexual won the LA Weekly Award for Best Two Person Play.  Richard has extensive experience working with both new playwrights and with classical texts.  He taught Improvisation at the Second City Training Center in L.A. and currently teaches at Columbia College Hollywood, in addition to the Trollwood Performing Arts Center in Fargo, N.D. and the Center Theatre in Dover/Foxcroft, Maine.

As an actor in Chicago, Richard performed at Second City while working steadily in commercials. Since moving to Los Angeles he has appeared in many films, such as John Cassavettes last film, Big Trouble, and Ron Howard’s Parenthood, and the Michael Keaton film, The Last Time. TV shows include Seinfeld, The A-Team, ER, Caroline in the City and Family Guy. He was a series regular as Tony the superintendent in Bonnie Hunt’s, The Building for CBS, as the Cheshire Cat on the Disney Channel’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the Father of the Fiance in FOX‘s My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance.  Last year he had a recurring role on the TNT series, Trust Me, and this past january he played Dr. V. in Robert Townsend’s film, The Discarded Boyz. This August he played Pres. Richard M. Nixon in the Berkshires, and at the Ojai Playwright’s Conference in Rick Cleveland’s new comedy, Rick and Dick.

As a playwright, Kuhlman’s play, The Seven Colored Flower, based on Far Eastern folk tales, won the Pacific Rim Prize for the Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu, Hawaii and has been produced in Salinas, California, and under it’s new title, Fractured Fables in Los Angeles and Ojai’s Theater 150 to great reviews. Richard has adapted two of Steinbeck’s novels to the stage; Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat. Working with his writing partner Deb Hiett on several projects, he co-wrote and directed a short mocumentary film on the life of President James Buchcanan, Our Bachelor PresidentSetting the Record Straight. Their short film, A Bit Of Counseling, won the Ojai Film Festival’s Honorable Mention and the Audience Award at the first LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival. That short also won the Audience Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival and at the Perth International Over The Fence Festival in Australia, where it was the only U.S. film In competition.

Frank Eller

Office Administrator

Frank is a 1990 graduate of Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he received his BA in Communications.  After several years as a writer and on-air personality in the broadcasting industry, he returned to the University of Missouri and completed his post-degree teaching certification in English and Speech
& Theater Studies.

Having his summers free while teaching high school English and Speech, he began volunteering for Insight Theatre, a summer-stock theatre company in St. Louis.  For the last two seasons Frank served as the Director of Patron Services with Insight until moving to Ojai in the fall of 2011. His duties included the assistant directorship of Insight’s educational outreach program which produced Musical of Musicals, The MusicalFree To Be You and MeYou’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown; and A Year With Frog And Toad.

Siree Franks

Center Director/Singer

Siree is the owner of a well known music center in Beverly 
Hills. She is the mother of 2 girls and has been teaching nationally recognized music program for the past 7 years. She discovered Mommy and Me music while taking classes with her 10-month-old daughter and fell in love with it.

Her love of music and her ability to connect with children has made teaching music a natural choice for Siree.

“I knew it would be a great job for me – but I never expected to love it as much as I do.  All of the families in my program are so wonderful – the parents, the grandparents, the nannies and especially all of their beautiful and musical children! Helping them grow and learn is my privilege and my pleasure!”

Siree will be escaping the city on Thursdays and bringing us her very own toddler music program.

On a personal note from Krista,

“Siree has been my best friend for 10 years ever since we met at a mommy and me music concert.  I was very inspired when she opened up her own Music Center and she has given me the courage to open OYES.  Her classes are energetic, fun, warm, inviting, and I know every mother in Ojai will feel blessed to be sitting in one of her classes!”

Kat Payseno


Kat is a new resident of Ojai, has been involved in children’s theatre for 22 years. Starting as a company member of Kidskits in Denver, Colorado, she continued her career as a Director of the Performing Arts Academy of Lakewood and Kidstage in Littleton, Colorado, Theatre 150, Oak Grove and Assitant directed at the Ojai Art Center.

She has run technical theatre workshops for the Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre, and recently completed a year on tour with Kaiser Permanente’ s theatre education program.

You might remember Kat as Lily St. Regis in “Annie,” or Minnie Fay in “Hello Dolly,” at the Ojai Art Center.  She holds her B.A. In Theatre from Metropolitain College of Denver, and has started the M.O. Town Acting Troupe. Kytriena believes that everything happens for a reason, and you are exactly where your supposed to be.

Gai Jones

Theatre educator/Director/Commercial Actress

Gai is the author of two Theatre Ed. textbooks.  She is a national workshop leader teaching Theatre youth and educators. She serves on the Educational Theatre Association board and is the founder of Sage to Stage, an acting workshop for active senior citizens.


She has been installed into the following Halls of Fame:  Outstanding Arts Educator for Orange County; CETA Outstanding Educator; CA State Thespians; EdTA Hall of Fame, CA; has been granted a Theatre In Our Schools Award with AATE; PTSA Service Award; she is a member of DAR, Zeta Phi Eta, AATE, EdTA.