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Once Upon a Time. . .

Much like most things in life, it all started with a small idea — the idea of getting students excited about writing and creating by bringing their stories to life. With this idea in mind, our founder, Rebecca Kernes, assembled a small group of artists and teachers that had a passion for cultivating imagination in children. In 2017, Ants in the Pants Productions was born as a fiscally sponsored 501c3 nonprofit organization focusing on children’s theatre through writing.

Celebrating the Power of Children’s Imagination

We work with students through games and creative writing exercises to put their original stories on paper. Then, our Ants Team adapts them into live pieces of theater. Professional performers showcase these pieces on stage, allowing students to truly see their work come to life in a profound way. We are driven to do our part in making the world a better place for children through creative writing and theater.
Our decision-making process is informed by comprehensive empirical studies and high-quality data evaluation, ensuring that everything we do is for the benefit of your children. We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of our pursuits.

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Us

Contact 

 

Team

Meet the 

Rebecca Kernes

Founder, President

Rebecca, a Chicago native, has studied theater and dance with companies in Chicago such as Gus Giordano’s Dance Center and Talent Forum, Second City, Steppen Wolf, and Remy Bumpo Theater. Recent Credits include Mikey in The Odd Couple Female version (LVLT), Desdemona in Othello (Shakespeare Institute), Rosalind in As You Like It (Shakespeare Institute), Juju in Juju Goes to Pahrump (LVLT), Phoebe in Eastern Standard (LVLT), Germaine in Picasso at Lapin Agile (Onyx Theatre), and Elaine in The Graduate (Onyx). She also performs With Alibi: The Show That’s Not a Show in downtown Las Vegas, and she was a company member of the Rainbow Kids touring show. Aside from theatre you can see Rebecca in films and television, and you have probably heard her voice as she provides voices for several radio and television ads across the country.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

I started Ants in the Pants to give children a different perspective on creating. I wanted to show them that writing can be more than a homework assignment, that it could be fun. Ants in the Pants Allows children the freedom to create and gain confidence in themselves, and it warms my heart seeing them be inspired by their own creativity!

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Mike DeSilva

Music Director

Originally from New Orleans, Mike has lived, worked, and performed in Las Vegas since he was eight years old. While attending Bishop Gorman High School, he studied voice, piano, guitar, bass, and other various instruments. After high school he attended the University of Southern California, where he continued playing music in various student bands while getting his B.A. in Philosophy. After college he returned to Las Vegas, we he performed his original music at the The Beat, Bunkhouse Saloon, and Money Plays. He currently plays and writes his own music, writes and teaches music for “Ants in the Pants presents: Something Awesome This Way Comes,” and is also a licensed real estate agent.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

I work with Ants because it allows me to give back to children while doing the thing I love: creating music and playing music. The fact that I get to help kids get excited about writing and creating is an amazing feeling, that I’m so glad I get to experience.

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Angie Pohlman

Director of Education

Angie is an educator, entertainer, and arts & crafts enthusiast. She has taught 8th grade English & Language Arts at J.D. Smith Middle School since 2012. She loves to make costumes, do crazy makeup, and get dressed up for different events around town. She also enjoys making and performing with puppets, and rocking the mic at karaoke nights.

 

Angie is from the small town of Versailles, Ohio, and earned her B.A. in Integrated Language Arts from Bowling Green State University. She moved to Las Vegas in search of entertainment and diversity—and found both. Angie is thrilled to share her passion for teaching and creative writing with the kids of Ants in the Pants.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

Ants in the Pants brings together all of my passions: teaching, performing, adapting, and creating costumes and puppets. We are providing a much-needed creative outlet for young people, and it feels great to be a part of that! With more and more schools leaving behind creative writing in favor of more academic writing, our program is more vital than ever.

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Big Berry White

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Born and raised in Southern California’s Inland Empire, Big BerryWhite received his B.A. in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in acting from California State University, San Bernardino. In 2009, Big Sexy relocated to Las Vegas and began making a name for himself in the entertainment industry. His shows include “The Lost Episodes,” “The Aussie Improv Comedy Explosion,” “Twisted Cork,” “Evil Dead The Musical,” and “Alibi: The Show.” He and his wife can be found on YouTube at Black People Escape, an escape room review channel. He is an avid fan of Karate Karaoke and occasionally hosts karaoke at local venues. He is currently the company manager for “Hamiltunes: An American Sing-A-Long” here in Las Vegas. Big joined Ants In The Pants in 2017. He enjoys teaching creative writing to Las Vegas youth with Ants In The Pants. It is a blast getting the chance to play so many different characters that spawn from the imagination of the amazing students. He enjoys being a poet, sketch, and playwright. He loves Prince, the Las Vegas Raiders, Marvel, and Harry Potter. Imagination is the key to unlock the door to possibilities.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

I work with Ants for several reasons. I believe that imagination is one of our strongest strengths and it is so prevalent in children. I enjoy nurturing that skill and helping them hone it into wonderful storytelling. I also enjoy performing their works and giving them the chance to see their imagination come to life.

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Cassandra Krupp

Prop Master

Born and bred on the East Coast, Cassandra spent the majority of her early years immersed in the community theater world. Although she preferred to be onstage, her talents seemed to flourish more behind the scenes. While growing up with the grassroots youth company ‘Kids Coop Theater’ in New Hampshire, she got her first taste of directing and choreographing when she was 16, working with children between the ages of 8 and 13 in a production of ‘Annie Jr.’ The production bug never left her after that. While completing her undergrad at the University of Loyola Chicago, Krupp took a break from the limelight and focused her efforts on an advertising and public relations degree, while (accidentally) double minoring in theater and French. Before moving to Las Vegas in 2015, Krupp made use of her Ad/PR degree working on political campaigns, in a Chicago-based advertising agency and even doing social media for an animal shelter. However, her heart was still with the performing arts and, after moving to Sin City, she spent her first year working on the original musical production of ‘Dublin Rising,’ which is now being work shopped in NYC.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

I work with Ants in the Pants for a few reasons: I love working with children. there’s really nothing quite like working with creative kids! I’ve always loved creative writing. I really love working with kids who are like I was and helping them manifest their creativity. I wanted to find another artistic outlet here in Las Vegas and Ants in the Pants is so different from everything else I do. Creating children’s stories into performance pieces is such a breath of fresh air from directing Shakespeare (my other job) and I love that I get to be youthful with it all! Creating props is pretty much a no brainer for me and as a very arts and craftsy person, it’s a dream job. Some of the things these kids come up with are so insane that I don’t always know how to create what they want right away, but when I figure it out, I’m always excited by the outcome. Favorite props I’ve made are: flower protest signs (with the sayings “Do Not Pick It”, “Flower Power” and “No, no, let it grow!” baby chick hats (yellow knit beanies with googly eyes and tufts of fluff and sparkly orange visors as the ‘beaks’) and a cardboard TIE Fighter).

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Renisha O’Donnell

Director of Human Resources

Renisha O’Donnell, originally from New Jersey, has dedicated the last decade to education-focused non-profit organizations within the Las Vegas community. She earned her BA in Sociology from Rowan University, and then her Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling from Wilmington University. She has been involved with music her whole life and continues to share her passion for singing as well as community theatre with the Las Vegas Valley. She previously sang with Lady Luck Showtime Chorus, a Las Vegas chapter of Sweet Adelines International and enjoys helping make children’s creative stories come to life as a cast member of Ants in the Pants Productions. She is dedicated to equity in education and giving a voice to children and families through both her advocacy with nonprofit organizations and the Arts.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

I work with Ants in the Pants because it allows creativity to be expressed so uniquely for the students and the performers.  Giving children a voice and the ability to express themselves is so beautiful.  Creativity and expression is a huge part of helping to build confidence in children and I believe that the impact of a program like this is will have long term, positive effects on the children involved.  The bonus for me is, adapting stories and performing is so fun! I love being silly and seeing the children laugh! 

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Gilda Graham

Director of Marketing & PR

Gilda, born and raised in southern California, graduated from the California State University of Northridge with a degree in Screenwriting and Film Production. Her joy in her career comes from collaborating with others on creative development and storytelling. Her very determined, positive, and creative mindset led her toward paths working with fortune 500 companies, restaurant management, mindset coaching, and non-profits. She has spent the past seven years in Las Vegas working with film festivals and children's charities raising funds to help advocate for art and children's education.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

I have understood the importance of children’s education. As a teenager, I became dedicated to the idea that one day I wanted to help change the world by educating our children appropriately. Ants in the Pants Productions is the organization I’ve been dreaming of throughout my life. We teach kids not only writing, but overall our education through creativity gives them confidence, guidance, self-respect and pride. I love watching these kids thrive and heal. That is the best gift.

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Napsugar Hegedus

Director of Entertainment

Napsugar received her B.F.A. from the University of Utah in 2016. Credits include Alex (The Willing Take the Bait; International Spice, Nanjing PRC), Chorus (Electra Garrigó, The Right Brain Project), Laertes (Hamlet; Flying Bobcat Laboratory). In Las Vegas, she has been seen as Woman C in A Public Fit Theatre’s staged reading of “Three Tall Women” and as Rosalind in Bard At The Bar’s production of “As You Like It.” She has directed and produced “The Vagina Monologues” in 2015/2016 in Salt Lake City and in Nanjing PRC in 2018 and most recently “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Bard at the Bar during the summer of 2020. Since working with Ants in the Pants, she has been working directly with students, assisting in developing curriculum, and adapting and performing original stories.

Why do you work with Ants in the Pants?

I work for Ants in the Pants because I believe in the magic of storytelling. Providing an opportunity for children to witness their imaginations come to life really is an unexplainable kind of joy.

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Thinking about

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Donating?

This is what your donations can do!

$150 helps pay for training of our teachers and actors

$250 get supplies and props for a show

$500 helps us update our equipment

$700 helps put on a show 

But any amount is greatly appreciated

and makes a difference.

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