Our Team

HITS Theatre is fortunate to have a team of staff members with unique talents and training that truly help our students learn. HITS Theatre maintains a policy of nondiscrimination with employees and applicants for employment.  No aspect of employment will be influenced in any manner by race, religion, sex, age, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, veteran or military status or any other basis prohibited by law.

2022 Teaching Artists & Designers

JONATHAN CRAFT
Music Director

Pianist, conductor, and music director Jonathan Craft has been working professionally in musical theatre for well over a decade.  From 2019-2022 he served as the associate music director on the national tour of “Cats.”  Locally, he has music directed at TUTS, Stages Theatre, Queensbury Theatre, Lone Star Lyric Theatre, Sam Houston State University, the University of St. Thomas, and many other theatres and schools.  He has a wide range of experience working in educational theatre, having MD’d local productions with HITS, HSMT, Inspiration Stage, the Evelyn Rubinstein JCC, and Stages YAC program.  He is currently a staff pianist at both the Kinkaid School and SHSU.  www.jonathancraft.net

COURTNEY CHILTON
Director/ Choreographer

A performer, director, choreographer and teaching artist. Courtney has performed in theatre, opera, concert dance, and corporate entertainment with such companies as Theatre Under the Stars (16 different productions), Houston Grand Opera, and Casa Mañana. She believes in creating a playful and  imaginative rehearsal space where creativity, joy, and teamwork guide our storytelling. She’s delighted to be back at HITS for her 5th production.

ALRIC DAVIS
Director, Acting Instructor

Alric holds a B.F.A. from Howard University with a concentration in Musical Theatre and Playwriting. He is an adjunct instructor at Stages Repertory Theatre’s Young Actors Conservatory, Rhodes School, Roderick Paige Elementary and the Founding Artistic Director of The Sankofa Collective (formerly known as The Bayou Theatre Company), a local nonprofit theatre organization in Houston. As a freelance director/choreographer/teacher in Houston, some of his favorite directing credits are The Wiz, Miss Evers Boys, Victor/Victoria, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Lesson in Physics, Passing Strange, Marie Antoinette and Next to Normal for The Sankofa Collective.

BEN DELONY
Choreographer

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ben Delony spent summers at Ballet Austin, Harid Conservatory and Hubbard Street before matriculating through the ballet department at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Upon graduating with a performance bachelor’s degree, he had been featured in numerous works ranging from George Balanchine to Agnes DeMille, Twyla Tharp, Frederick Ashton and Joshua Bergasse. He spent multiple seasons with Ballet Memphis and Ballet Nouveau Colorado and later formed a strong relationship with Houston Grand Opera, where he was a regular visiting dancer for six consecutive years. Regional theater credits include the Arvada Center Theater, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Central City Opera and Boston Early Music Festival. He is a former member of the ballet chorus at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City as well as former faculty for Ballet Academy East, Rioult Dance Center and New York University. He is retired from the stage and is now a dance educator based in Houston, TX where he is on faculty at Kinder HSPVA, Houston Ballet, and Memorial Dance Center.

SOPHIE CLAYTON
Stage Manager

Sophie is a stage manager and HITS alum! She’s worked behind the scenes as an assistant director, choreographer, and intern on HITS shows like Into the Woods, Honk, Jr., Disney’s Descendants, and Broadway Sampler classes. Her favorite HITS credits include Legally Blonde (Margot) and Addams Family (Ancestor) at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Other credits include Oklahoma! (Ado Annie), Curtains! (Bambi), and Blithe Spirit (Elvira). Sophie attended St. John’s School and graduated from Rice University.

JANESSA A. HARRIS
Lighting Designer

Janessa is from Houma, LA. She began her professional career as a lighting designer at McLeod Summer Playhouse in Carbondale, IL. She holds a Bachelor from Louisiana State University and a Master of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University in theatre. Rec Room Arts: Is God Is Stages: Song of Me, Sunrise Coven, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Stages Studio Sessions (SSS) with Raven Troupe, Button’s Sleeping Beauty, SSS with Teresa Zimmerman, and SSS with Anna Maria Morris HITS Theatre: Descendants the Musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Aida Main Street Theater: The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963 The Ensemble Theatre: Motown Christmas. Lighting Designer credits include Pinkalicious the Musical, Spring Awakening the Musical, Burn the Floor: Farewell ShowNorwegian Getaway Christmas Show, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Peter and the Starcatcher. #staylit | janessaaharris.com

KRISTIN KNIPP
Costume Designer

Kristin got her start as a costume designer by costuming shows that her children were in and then  began working professionally designing costumes for shows such as: Godspell, A Christmas Carol, Evita, Lend Me a Tenor, It’s a Wonderful Life (Stageworks), Footloose, Shrek The Musical, and Anything Goes (HITS Theatre), Unlock’d, Violet, Elf, and Side Show (Queensbury). Kristin has recently designed costumes for two world premiere productions, Breaking Out of Sunset Place (Queensbury) and For Tonight (Queensbury). She was also the costume mistress for Houston Repertoire Ballet. Kristin won the 2014 Broadway World Houston award for her costume design of Stageworks Theatre’s Les Miserables and the 2019 Houston Press Award for her costume design of Queensbury Theatre’s Elf and Side Show.

DR. KYLE KINDRED
Music Director

Dr. Kyle Kindred, Musical Instructor, has been pianist and music director for classes at HITS since 2009. He is also the Associate Professor of Music and Director of Composition Studies at Sam Houston State University. Also a composer, Dr. Kyle’s compositions have been performed across the United States, as well as internationally. Dr. Kyle was the second place recipient in the 2014 The American Prize competition in the professional band/wind ensemble division, and is a featured composer in the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series (Vol. 10). He holds degrees in composition from Wichita State University and The University of Texas at Austin.

KEITH LALONDE
Music Director

Keith LaLonde brings over fifteen years of experience as a pianist and choir director, Bachelors and Masters degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a contagious smile to HITS Theatre. This year marks Keith’s fifth summer with HITS! Currently, Keith serves as a private lesson accompanist for the musical theatre majors at Sam Houston State University. His favorite place to play is at St. Peter United, where he enjoys bringing a high energy blend of gospel, rock, and elevation style worship to a diverse congregation.  

DANA LEWIS
Choreographer

Dana Lewis has been teaching and choreographing at HITS since 2008. Dana was the Resident Choreographer for Stages St. Louis for 15 years, where she choreographed over 40 productions. She was on the dance faculty for Webster University where she taught jazz and musical theater styles. Additionally, Dana has taught numerous master classes around the country. Dana is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Dana attended Florida State University and has a degree in Dance.

CHARLES HARRISON
Music Director

Although new to HITS Theatre, Charles Harrison is certainly not a novice to the stage. He has served as musical director and vocal coach for productions of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Annie, The Sound of Music, Shrek, Peter Pan, Anything Can Happen in the Theatre, Moana, Elf and countless others. Charles has proven his musical mettle on all levels – middle school (The Presbyterian School), high school (Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts) and performing in and conducting adult ensembles (Cantare and The Phillip Hall Singers, respectively). He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Prairie View A&M University and master’s degree in choral conducting from The University of Houston. He is in great demand as a vocal coach, school and church choir clinician and lecturer. Charles is marking his silver anniversary as Director of Music of Jones Memorial United Methodist Church.

ALLISON SMITH
Stage Manager

Allison Smith is pleased to join the HITS Theatre team as a Stage Manager for the summer and fall sessions. She received her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Southern California where she studied performance, stage management and design. She worked all over Southern California for five years before returning home to Texas to continue her work in theatre. Some of her favorite credits include: Stage Management: Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare By The Sea – San Pedro, CA), Mother Courage and Her Children (Theatre@Boston Court – Pasadena, CA) Chess (Tribble School for the Performing Arts – Houston, TX), The 39 Steps (Queensbury Theatre – Houston, TX), The Orange Grove (Playwright’s Arena – Los Angeles, CA) Design: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Scenic & Lighting Design, Once On This Island – Scenic & Lighting Design, Cabaret – Scenic & Lighting Design, TSPA Spring 2021 Dance Concert – Lighting Design (Tribble School for the Performing Arts – Houston, TX).

YEAR-ROUND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING

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