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 Executive Artistic Director for Musical Theatre Academy of Orange County. As Executive 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 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.

Board of Directors

  • Alyse Baron – President
  • Jeff Bethard – Vice President
  • Liz Curtis – Secretary
  • Barbara Kuntz – Marketing Director
  • Donna Mavros – Parliamentarian
  • Linda Plass – Treasurer & Finance Chair
  • Gantry Wilson – Board Member
  • Erin Mike – Board Member
  • Stephen Reifenstein – Board Member
  • Phil Lisle – Board Adviser

Margie King – Board Advisor, Founder

“Without a doubt, MTA has changed the lives of each of the young stars who have become a part of our family.”

Margie has been the guiding light behind MTA since its inception. The success of the company over its twenty-five year life span was founded on her vision, creativity, talent and joy in helping young performers find confidence and success through the vehicle of musical theater. She continues her legacy with MTA as a member of the Board of Directors and an enthusiastic fan of the young stars they teach.
Margie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music in vocal performance, with minors in theater and piano from the University of Denver. She has appeared in many opera and musical theater productions including 122 performances of “The Sound of Music,” leading roles with both Denver’s and Irvine’s Saddleback Civic Light Orchestras. She is also a frequent church soloist. Her early career was a one of the famous Continental Airlines “Sky Goddesses” where she developed a passion for working with people.

Shortly thereafter she became a certified instructor with the Yamaha Music Education Center where she created the Rainbow Singers children’s musical theater program. When the franchise was sold, she rallied the involved parents and formed MTA as founding Artistic and General Manager, Producer, and in the early years, costumer, choreographer, musical director, accompanist, set designer/builder, and general jack-of-all-trades. The group’s first production of “The Sound of Music” featured a cast of eight children, seven girls and a last minute recruit of a young boy to play the Captain Von Trapp role. Within two years they were teaching over 100 children in three separate age groups, each performing their own major productions, complete with costumes, sets, sound, and lights. One of the groups greatest recognitions was being selected as the chorus for the Broadway touring company of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for a three-week run at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Margie also serves as Assistant Director of Alumni Relations for Chapman University where she created and manages the prestigious Student Ambassadors Program. For Margie, there is no reward greater than watching a shy newcomer to MTA blossom under our training as they experience success in the spotlight, regardless of the size or importance of their role.