AJ Wester -Director
Once Upon a Mattress
Merit School of Music (Bravelux Photography)
Into the Woods
St. Petersburg Opera
St. Petersburg Opera (Photo Steven Le)
After School Matters 2015
After School Matters 2014
Bay View Music Festival
Once on this Island
The Chicago High School for the Arts (Mark Ballogg, balloggphoto.com)
After School Matters
Ms. Wester works in Chicago as a stage director, teaching artist and singer- actor. Most recently Ms. Wester directed the second production of Merit School of Music's Summer Musical Theatre Program, Once Upon a Mattress. She also created the Musical Theatre Experience program for After School Matters (ASM). During her tenure at ASM she also directed the school version of Ragtime, Oklahoma and Urinetown the Musical. In recent years, she has led many productions for the St. Petersburg Opera including their 2013 production of Tosca, their 2010 season opener of A Little Night Music, La Traviata and the Fall 2009 Production of Into the Woods to rave reviews from both audiences and critics alike. Ms. Wester also has led productions at the Bay View Music Festival (The Magic Flute), Intimate Opera (La Traviata and Cosí fan Tutte) and Opera Company Brooklyn (Roméo et Juliette), The Savoyaires (Evanston, IL) (The Zoo, Eyes and No Eyes and Trial by Jury and Patience). Ms. Wester has been an Assistant Director for Chicago Opera Theater, Utah Opera, Indianapolis Opera and San Diego Opera.
Currently she serves as the Stage Director for the Opera Music Theater Ensemble which is part of the Vocal Partnership program with the Merit School of Music and Lyric Opera of Chicago for teenage singers in the Chicago-land area. She also serves on the Musical Theatre Voice Faculty of the ChiArts High School (Chicago High School for the Performing Arts) . Ms. Wester was the Stage Director/Vocal Coach for Chicago Opera Theater’s ‘Chicago Opera Theater for Teens' – a paid apprenticeship program sponsored by the City of Chicago with Chicago Opera Theater. She has been active in Music Theater education for teens as well being the Stage Director of the Summer Musical Theater Workshop with Light Opera Works for four seasons as well as leading the DePaul Community Music’s Music Theater Workshop for Teens. She also serves on the musical theatre voice faculty of the ChiArts High School (The Chicago High School for the Arts). Her students have won Classical Singers High School Classical and Musical Theatre awards as well as numerous NATS competitions both locally and state wide. In 2017, Ms. Wester won a Make a Wave award from 3arts for her work as a Teaching Artist.
As a classical singer, Ms. Wester was a Studio Artist with Utah Opera. She appeared as a featured soloist in the Welcome Yule Christmas concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dabeeb in the North American Premiere of Marriages between Zones 3, 4 and 5 by Phillip Glass as well as productions with Chicago Opera Theater, Court Theater, Porchlight Theater, DePaul Opera Theater, Intermezzo Opera in Hartford, CT, American Opera Group, Elgin Opera and multiple productions with Light Opera Works in Evanston, IL. Ms. Wester holds a B.M. from Roosevelt University and an M.M. from DePaul University.