Meet Our Teachers
Sierra School of Performing Arts is proud to contract with some of the finest performing arts teaching artists in Northern Nevada and Northeastern California. If you have any questions about our teachers, please email info (at) sierraschoolofperformingarts.org.
Janet Lazarus is the founding artistic director of SSPA, and has been directing their musical productions since 2005. She is a graduate of the MFA program in acting at UCLA and has appeared in over 30 productions in such places as New York, Los Angeles, Rome (Italy) and most recently Northern Nevada. She has been directing and teaching theater in Hawaii, Reno and Tahoe schools and arts organizations for over 25 years, including Hawaii School for Girls, Lake Tahoe Community College, Arts for the Schools, UNR, Bishop Manogue and Sage Ridge School.
Jennifer Rae is an Equity actor who loves improv. She enjoys teaching all aspects of theatre, acting, and improv. She graduated from Gonzaga University. Jennifer Rae was bit by the acting bug at the age of 10 and has been involved in theatre, improv, and film for more than 30 years. She looks forward to teaching for and working with Sierra School of Performing Arts.
Adam Cates grew up in Reno before launching a 20-year career in New York City as a director, choreographer, author, educator, performer & filmmaker. His Broadway & national tour credits include Anastasia, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Anything Goes with Sutton Foster & Joel Gray, Doctor Dolittle with Tommy Tune, and The Wizard of Oz, as well as concerts, operas, and television specials at Lincoln Center. He has taught and/or created works for theater, corporations, and television across almost every state in the US, as well as Canada, Spain, Argentina, the Caribbean, and for cruise ships. He is currently on the faculty of Pace University. Adam is the author of The Business of Show (Amazon), co-author of The World According to Snoopy (Concord Theatricals), a member of SDC, The Dramatists Guild, AGMA, and AEA, and is represented by McDonald/Selznick Associates. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and a BA in Theatre from University of Utah. @adamcnyc, adamcates.com
JoAnna Hayes Wagner started her professional acting career in 1981, when she was cast as a dwarf at Disneyland. Going to college at Cal State Fullerton during the day and performing at the park at night was fantastic training for this young girl. She was then cast on a National tour for Sesame Street Live and thus began a 30 year career with VEE Corporation. With VEE, JoAnna danced, moved into management, assisted highly respected choreographers and was able to build shows in Australia, Japan, England and Germany. She spent 10 years choreographing, directing and designing shows for the Beaches properties in Jamaica and Turks and Caico properties. One of the biggest highlights of her career was co-directing and choreographing Everyone Makes Music, better known as Elmo Makes Music, which is still touring after 19 years.
After moving to Reno, JoAnna danced at Lake Tahoe's Horizon and Harrah's. JoAnna now teaches jazz and musical theater at three local studios, including Sierra School of Performing Arts.
Mandy Flocchini has been dancing since she was seven years old. She grew up in Reno and graduated from the University of Nevada in the spring of 2011 with a BS in chemistry. At UNR, she performed in and choreographed numerous dance concerts. Mandy was a member of bellē contemporary dance co. and was privileged to perform with the company at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2012. She has taught dance classes and choreographed SSPA’s summer musicals since 2013. Her SSPA choreography credits include: Bye Bye Birdie, Fiddler on the Roof, Cinderella, Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde, and Guys and Dolls. When she is not dancing, Mandy teaches middle school science.
Gary Lynn Floyd is an award-winning actor, singer, songwriter originally from Houston, TX. He won the Dallas Theater Critics Award for his roles in Crimes of the Heart, Pumpboys & Dinettes and Next To Normal. Gary is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded 10 CDs of original music. He won the 2012 Hollywood Music In Media award for his song, Unbound, and also recently won a EmPower Music Posi Award for his song, Love Always Finds A Way. Gary is currently the artist in residence at Center for Spiritual Living in Reno. Find out more about Gary at www.garylynnfloyd.com.