Phoenix Performing Arts was founded to provide accessible performing arts opportunities for Northeast Ohio youth. We aim to create an encouraging, inclusive arts community focused on the FUNdamentals of performing arts.

Phoenix Performing Arts is a non-profit corporation and shall be operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of the Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the corresponding section of any Future tax code. 

We are supported in part by




Amber Coughlin


Amber Coughlin is a Pittsburgh, PA native dancer and choreographer currently residing in Akron, Ohio. Her training includes intensives at Millenium Dance Complex Pittsburgh, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre’s Alloy Studios (formally Pittsburgh Dance Alloy Pittsburgh), and Point Park University. All supplementing her work at her home studio – Miss Holly’s Dance Studio.

Amber started performing in her school musicals from 6th grade on where she developed the passion she has for theatre today. Along with performing, Amber also began choreographing for musicals while still in High School. She was awarded the 1st Place Award for Choreography in the 2013 Gene Kelly Awards held in Pittsburgh, PA – for her work on ‘All Shook Up’ performed by Penn Hills HS. After graduating, she attended The University of Akron to train as a Dance Major and focus on her ballet (under Pauline Reilly-Howe) and modern technique (under Tom Smith – who trained under Martha Graham). Since that time, she has continued to dance and choreograph in the Akron/Cleveland area with companies such as Division Dance Company, Cleveland Dance Project, JAM Dance Academy, and of course – Phoenix Performing Arts.

Kara Ross

VOCAL INSTRUCTION/Musical director

Kara Ross is a 2014 graduate from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where she
studied classical music and majored in Vocal Performance. Right after graduation, Kara moved
to the Akron/Cleveland area and joined the Opera scene, performing twice at Playhouse Square
and getting plugged into the Trillium Schools of Music as a private vocal instructor. Since then,
she has performed with local bands, professional choirs and taught general music at private
schools. Kara has always had a special love for Broadway and her favorite shows are Wicked,
Dear Evan Hansen, and Godspell.

Christine Stewart

VOCAL Director - fall muscial

Christine joined Phoenix as a Musical Vocal Director for our 21-22 season. 

Christine Stewart has been teaching music for the Cuyahoga Falls City School District since 2001. Prior to teaching in Cuyahoga Falls, she was the vocal music director in Aurora City Schools. Christine graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelor of Music, Magna cum Laude, and Masters of Music. While at the University of Akron, she majored in voice and minored in piano.

In addition to her teaching experience, Christine has an extensive performing resume which includes several local opera productions, the award-winning production of Ragtime the Musical at Weathervane Playhouse, and The Nutcracker with the Ballet Theatre of Ohio. She currently sings in the professional chamber choir, Singers Companye, and has sung throughout Europe and The United States. She also enjoys playing the piano for the Cuyahoga Falls High School spring musicals. Christine was also the Music Director for the Dynamics Community Theater production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Most recently, she was invited to sit on the board of directors for the non-profit arts education program, Art Sparks.

Gwen Baier


Christine joined Phoenix as a Musical Vocal Director in 2020. 

Gwen earned her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance at Marywood University in May 2015, under the instruction of Ellen Rutkowski and Dr. Rick Hoffenberg. Gwen recently received her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance at Shenandoah University. She studied with Dr. Aimè Sposato, Robert Thieme, and Natalie Conte. During her time at Shenandoah, Gwen performed in several productions including Die Zauberflöte, The Telephone and The Merry Widow. She also sang a solo for a Pulitzer Prize Concert featuring John Corgliano’s Fern Hill where the composer himself attended the concert! Gwen also performed in masterclasses with Michael Katz, Bradley Moore and Sofia Selowsky. Gwen maintains vocal instruction under the direction of Natalie Conte while teaching her own students. Several of Gwen’s students go and perform in and outside of school. As she continues to teach, Gwen hopes to give students at Phoenix a chance to expand their musical expression through healthy vocal technique and a positive, fun learning environment. 

Board of Directors

Michelle Neuhauser

  • President of the Board

Diana Teixeira

  • Board Member

Katie Marchant

  • Treasurer

Julie Luoma

  • Volunteer Coordinator

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