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In 2017, an amazing person said to Celena “I think you’re a director, do you want to direct a musical?” She did, and they were right. Although Celena began her career as a musician and opera singer, studying vocal performance at the University of Oklahoma and receiving a Master of Music in Opera Performance at Arizona State University, she realized that her heart had always been on the creative side of theater.

When I directed my first show, I realized that I had been directing--in my head--for nearly fifteen years. Every night before falling asleep, I had cast and staged whatever book I was reading. I realized that my love of the history of fashion was actually about how the clothes being worn can show a society and build a world. I realized that my childhood spent building intricate worlds through legos and video games, fascinated by the way a space and objects could interact with stories, was actually creating sets in which stories could be told. While I had initially been drawn to music, it didn’t take long after running my first rehearsal that what I really loved about music was the story telling.

Celena will never lose her love of music and singing, but her passion revolves around storytelling through theater. As a director or assistant director, whether working with children who aspire to careers in musical theater or adults performing experimental opera, or a costume or set designer, or a music director, Celena follows her passion and strives to create authentic and inclusive art.

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