Jimmy Hippenstiel – Executive Artistic Director

Jimmy Hippenstiel – Artistic Director“When the students love what they are doing, it shows, and the MTA student does it better than anyone else! Their gift is an inspiration to all and that kind of inspiration needs a permanent place in our community.”

Jimmy currently serves as the resident Artistic Director for Musical Theatre Academy of Orange County. As Artistic Director, Jimmy’s responsibilities include producing, directing, and choreographing all the full-scale stage productions for both the younger and older kids enrolled at the Academy. Under his direction, the real mission of MTA is realized. The students not only learn the skills of singing, dancing, and acting, but they develop a mature focus and discipline that allows them to excel in all aspects of their adult life. Through the social interaction they have in developing lifelong friendships and performing in front of audiences, students gain the higher confidence levels and an ability to take on challenges without fear that are so important in reaching any goal they set for themselves.

Jimmy’s background has taken him around the world as an entertainer with a variety of well-known and respected organizations including Princess Cruises and the Walt Disney Company. He has performed at New York’s Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Las Vegas, the St Moritz Music Festival, and many of the top resort hotels in Hawaii. Jimmy was a member of the world-renowned Citrus Singers and the Young Americans. He has been a featured lead in productions of many successful plays including “Hello, Dolly,” “West Side Story,” and “A Chorus Line.” Jimmy recently made a return to the stage himself, performing in one of his dream bucket list shows, 3D Theatricals critically-acclaimed production of “Ragtime.” The experience managed to rejuvenate Jimmy’s true inner love for the theater, and reminded him how important it is to always fuel his student’s passion for what they love and to provide them a safe forum at MTA to hone their skills and make new friends.

Jimmy received his Associate of Arts degree in Music and Conducting from the esteemed Citrus College and then went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theater from Cal State, Fullerton. Since his joining the MTA family in 2001, Jimmy has become very passionate about his work as on a daily basis he has the privilege of inspiring the performer within each student with results both onstage and offstage that are always amazing to see.

Richard Abraham – Orchestral Music Director

 

Richard spends much of his time working with local youth in the performing arts sector of the community. As the Orchestral Musical Director, and an accomplished pianist, his present and past affiliations include: MTA – Musical Theatre Academy of Orange County (his ‘home’ company), Broadway on Tour, OCSA – Orange County High School of the Arts, KidSingers Performing Group, Valley High School, One More Productions, to name a few. Richard has composed two full length musicals of his own, and has the greatest hope that one of tomorrow’s stars will remember him when they make it to Broadway!

Kristina Reifenstein - Youth Director

 

Kristina has been dancing, performing and teaching for over 20 years. She has trained with the Newport Ballet Academy, Jimmy Defores, Orange County School of the Arts and The Young Americans. Currently, Kristina teaches and choreographs for many educational theatre programs throughout Orange County.

MTAOC is where she found her love for musical theatre. Being able to continue working with the Brite Stars at a place she’s always considered home is an honor. She can’t wait to work with all of these great kids!

Kristine Remigio Lineares - Vocal Music Director

 

Kristine Remigio Linares left home at the age of 19 years old when she received the call from New York that she was cast in the Broadway National Tour of Miss Saigon. She spent the next 4 1/2 years touring all over the United States with the show as the leading role of Kim. She then went on to the Broadway company of Miss Saigon where she also played the role of Kim. Kristine appeared in the regional West Coast premier of Miss Saigon at The Fullerton Civic Light Opera. In 2015, she won the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Kim with Fullerton Civic Light Opera. Additional regional theatre credits include, Yonah in Children of Eden, Mei-Li in Flower Drum Song, and Tuptim in The King and I. In 2002, Kristine was cast as Eponine on Broadway, but turned the role down to marry the love of her life! Kristine was the former Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Academy of Orange County, before she and her husband started a family. She was the music teacher and choral director for 9 years at St. Cecilia School and is currently a Reiki Practitioner and Crystal Alchemy Sound Therapist in Orange County.

Katherine Robinson – Private Voice Teacher

Having just driven cross country from NYC to make Orange County her new home, Katherine Robinson is delighted to be the one of the voice teachers on the MTAOC team! A performer, director, and private voice and piano teacher, she holds a BA in Music Theater Performance and comes to us with over 20 years of experience teaching and directing throughout the Northeast in private, group, and summer camp settings. As a performer, she has toured the country and the world with companies including Disney Cruise Lines, Sesame St. Live!, and American Family Theater. A comedic soprano with both coloratura and high belt training, Katherine is extremely dedicated to helping young singers find and hone all the colors of their natural sound, celebrating their unique voices and personalities, and helping them to truly take stage as all of their wonderful selves. Zany, warm, and endlessly supportive, Katherine strikes the perfect balance of training technique and polishing performance, and her extensive knowledge of music theater repertoire and the professional audition process make her a wonderful resource for picking optimal audition cuts. Don’t miss the chance to train with this amazing, fresh face in our theatrical family!