Cordelia Zars is a writer, composer, and teacher, and author of Man Up: A Musical. She grew up in Laramie, Wyoming with her two brothers. She studied classical piano from the age of 5 with Alla Latchininsky, Mana Tokuno at the New England Conservatory, and George Lopez at Bowdoin College. In college she music-directed and acted in Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, playing the roles of Johanna and The Baker’s Wife. Her senior year she combined her majors (Hispanic Studies and Music) into a thesis on the history of musical appropriation in Christian Spain. Since moving to Colorado, Cordelia has acted and music-directed local theater productions, composed original scores for plays, and taught musical theater to children at the Actor’s Academy for the Performing Arts in Denver and Boulder.

She is also Editor and Producer for one of the nation’s favorite outdoors podcasts, The Dirtbag Diaries, and spends her free time mountain biking, trail running, and gallivanting in the hills.

As a musician, writer and activist, Cordelia channels her passion for igniting social change through art. She believes the seeds of sustaining change grow in emotion and empathy, in the raw ability to feel what someone else is feeling. As emotion is the currency of art, we—as painters, writers, and musicians—have a lot of work to do to bring this fractured world together. She is thrilled to be working with one of her best friends, Max Middleton, to direct her first original show.
Max Middleton is a director, an actor, an educator, a  storyteller, a musician, and the first fan of the musical Man Up. Max grew up in back corners of Maine, where he learned that truly great art can be found in the most unexpected places. He learned to sing next to stables, learned to mime in a barn, learned to act in a gymnasium, and learned to direct in an attic. He tried to learn piano in a basement and cello in a garden as well, but those only kind of stuck. Max is beyond proud to be a part of the Man Up project, and is so excited to be once again working with one of his very best friends, Cordelia Zars. To Max, theater (and art in general) is all about community and connections, and he can’t wait to see the group that gathers around this nucleus.

Gabby Vallée is an undergraduate at the University of Southern Maine studying business, and music.  Theater and music has always been an integral part of her life and she plans to use her business degree in tandem with her passions.  Gabby is transcribing the Man Up music and lyrics, as well as composing some additional instrumental parts. When not working on Man Up, Gabby can be found playing piano, painting, or taking long walks in the woods. She is beyond excited to be a part of the Man Up team, and to be supporting her great friends in bringing this amazing musical to life.

Ashley Ellen Frary is a passionate director, choreographer and performing artist currently working in both the Denver and Boulder areas. Since earning her degree in Theatre Arts & Acting at Millikin University, Ashley has worked on over 60 productions in the areas of direction, choreography, performance and design. She has a true love of physical theatre & visual story telling that was tailored by her studies abroad with the Globe and PunchDrunk theatre companies in London and PanTheatre in Paris. Additionally, Ashley has over 25 years of dance training in multiple disciplines. She has had the privilege of working in various capacities with many theatre companies and schools, including D’Alto Studio of Performing Arts, Ballet Indiana, University of Southern Indiana, Tales & Scales Inc, Vintage Theatre, Misassembly Productions and Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Ashley has also spent much of her time in arts education, and is currently working as Program Manager at Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids. When she’s not at the theatre, Ashley loves to keep busy with art & design projects, good books and gaming with friends. She is thrilled to be a part of the Man Up team!