Who we are and what we do

The Jewel Box Children’s Theater Company is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2016 by Anna Kate Mohler and Andy Zacharias. The company was founded to provide a holistic theater education for students ages 3-17 as well as provide work opportunities for teaching artists. We believe that the arts are for EVERYONE and are the key to healthier and happier communities.

Meet Our Team

Anna Kate Mohler, Artistic Director

Anna children's theater instructor

Anna Kate loves theater! Acting, singing and dancing has been her life since the age of six when her mother signed her up for a musical theater class to help combat her shyness.  She attended the Orange County High School of the Arts and went on to  hone her skills in New York City.  Eventually AK made her way back to Southern California where she continued to perform in theater and work as a voice over actress. In 2013 she was awarded Best Actress by O.C. Weekly for her portrayal of Mary Bland in STAGES Theater’s production of the musical Eating Raoul.

Anna Kate╩╝s work in the theater has taken her full circle; as a teaching artist she enjoys nothing more than passing on the wonderful tradition of theater to future generations.  AK’s eclectic theater background has helped her create a unique teaching style that encourages teamwork, individuality and creative freedom.  She has taught acting and musical theater workshops for The California Educational Theater Association, The Long Beach Playhouse, Elevation Studios, The California State Thespian Festival and has also taught Speech Acting at The Laguna College of Art and Design.

Andy Zacharias, Music Director, Managing Director

Andy children's theater instructor

Andy is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who has been teaching music in Long Beach since 1998.  Hailing from a musical family, he began playing piano at age 4 and began performing in Sacramento children’s theater at the age of 6.  Andy continued performing in High School musical theater productions, jazz band, orchestra, and countless garage bands, eventually earning a degree in performance and a masters in music composition and theory from CSU Long Beach.  His teaching activities include USC, Cypress College, Orange County High School of the Arts, Long Beach Playhouse Summer Youth Workshop, and LA and Orange County public school districts. Andy has worked as music director and sound designer for various local theaters including Long Beach Playhouse, STAGES Theater and The Maverick Theater. Andy has been featured as a guest artist with the Tulsa Philharmonic and New Mexico Symphony, and has had his original compositions featured on HBO and Showtime.

Kari Venaas, Instructor

Kari children's theater instructor

Kari is a Southern California Native, and has been performing since the age of Three! Kari has learned the coveted skills of creativity, confidence, team work and having fun through the arts! Kari’s true passion for Theatre arose at Newport Harbor High School, when she became a Member of Advanced Drama her Sophomore year. And she hasn’t stopped performing since! Kari continued on to become a Member of The Orange Coast College Theatre Repertory, where she gained a knowledge and appreciation for anything and everything related to Theatre Arts. During her time at OCC Rep, she performed in numerous shows, and also got experience in Directing, Stage Managing, Make-up Design, Costume Design, Set Design, and many more!! After College, She began performing at the Long Beach Playhouse (Where she met Anna Kate and Andy)! Kari has been a proud Member of the LBP family for many years! Maybe you have seen her in a show, or as your usher, or bartender! Kari also spent a year living in New York City, seeing as many Broadway shows as possible. Although she has returned to Southern California, NYC is still a big part of who she is. She now visits there at least once a year, to get a glimpse at the newest shows. Kari is over joyed to share her love of the arts with our next generations! She is happy to pass along the importance of kindness and not taking yourself too seriously!

Board of Directors

Catherine Learned
Patricia Maldonado-McMaster
Laura White
Joy Shannon