Stargazer Collaborative Theatre

Interview with Caitlin Burd
Co-Founder of Stargazer Collaborative Theatre

Flagstaff, Arizona
September 14, 2023
By Lynn Timmons Edwards

My summer home in Flagstaff, Arizona has a growing cultural community and I recently interviewed Caitlin Burd, co-founder of Stargazer Collaborative Theatre. The new organization presented its first fundraiser, Women of Broadway, September 14-16, 2023 at The Coconino Center for the Arts (see review at

Caitlin Burd

Lynn Timmons Edwards When did you relocate to Flagstaff?

Caitlin Burd I arrived in October 2021 from Denver, having worked in regional theaters there. I jumped into a couple cabarets with the Flagstaff Music Theatre and performed the role of Sister Mary Amnesia in Nunsense with Theatrikos.

LTE How was Stargazer Collaborative born? What specifically made you want to start a new theater company?

DeLano Hays

CB I came to know two other women, DeLano Hays and Dani Knight Commanda (director of Nunsense), who shared a vision to contribute to growing Flagstaff as an arts hub creating a collective community voice that was more experimental, more diverse, and more collaborative than what existed. We were definitely motivated by the groundwork that has evolved into the annual Arts Festival, ArtX. (For more information about ArtX visit

Dani Knight Commanda

LTE How did you choose the name of this new venture?

CB Stargazer Collaborative Theatre reflects our desire to reach for the stars in our own work as well as form partnerships with other arts organizations. We plan to reach out to dance companies, other performing art companies,The Flagstaff Symphony, visual artists, even groups that might be on the fringe of our cultural landscape here in Flagstaff.  

LTE Are you a 501(c)(3)?

CB We are in the process of applying for 501(c)(3). Currently, our board is comprised of the three founders, Bryan Shea, Egle Rucci, and Mark Hanson. Our next step will be to create an artistic committee. 

LT Why start with a cabaret show? As founders do you all play to different strengths?

CB Definitely. DeLano and I are both performers, but she brings technical and design skills to the table, and my forte has always been marketing. Dani and DeLano are both amazing directors as well. As a woman-founded theater company, we felt an all-female cabaret gave us a viewpoint. In addition to myself, we invited four local singers to join The Woman of Broadway to let Flagstaff know that Stargazer Collaborative was here! All three of us sculpted the cabaret, and we built it around each performer singing their dream roles. For example, I have always wanted to do The Little Shop of Horrors.

LT So you are singing “Somewhere That’s Green?”

CB Yes! Alison and I both love Beetlejuice, so [we] are doing the duet “No Reason.” We are also dancers and the stage at the Coconino Center for the Arts allows room for choreography.

LT Tell me more about the cast.   

CB In addition to myself, we cast Jessie Luckey and Alison Johnson (both veterans of the recent company of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Theatrikos), Emily Jacoby (a Northern Arizona University Theatre major and Putnam County Spelling Bee alum), and Sarah Kelley (who was featured in The Last Five Years at Flagstaff Music Theatre and was a NAU Voice major). I actually met Sarah through Cycle Bar; she was teaching my spinning class.

LT Who are your musicians?

CB We have Scott Seaman on piano, June Connelley on drums, and Clay Allred on guitar.

LT Are you raising money to fund an upcoming season of shows?

CB Yes. Our first evening/final tech rehearsal is Industry Night—a pay-what-you-can for our local community. The weekend shows are only $20, and we are also recording the show and sending a link to patrons who prefer to purchase a discounted “virtual ticket.”  We have also had four fantastic donations for our raffle: one ticket for $5 or five for $20.

LT In what ways is Stargazer planning to “elevate” theater? Do you see yourselves as a music-theater version of Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, paying performers? Bringing in talent from out of town?

CB We hope to stipend the performers and production staff eventually. However, we want to focus on the talent in Northern Arizona. We do plan to bring some out-of-town artists in for workshops to bring a new perspective to Flagstaff, but we also recognize the amount of talent and expertise that the Northern Arizona arts community can bring to our workshops as well.

LT Do you plan to do most of your season at the Coconino Center for the Arts?

CB We plan on performing at Coconino Center for the Arts for our 2024 season along with a few additional venues around town. In addition to the cabaret, we plan to produce full-scale musicals and plays that reflect on contemporary issues and bring diversity to storytelling. Arts education is also part of our mission, and we hope to travel to schools in the surrounding areas with minimal access to art and theater, putting on productions and engaging the children in hands-on theatrical experiences. Our star is just being born!

For more information about Stargazer and their mission to advance the accessibility of performance and collaboration in Northern Arizona visit Stargazer Collaborative Theatre

Lynn Timmons Edwards

Lynn writes and performs themed cabaret shows based on the songs of the Great American Songbook throughout Arizona. She has had three short plays produced in the Theatre Artists Studio Festival of Summer Shorts and is working on a full length play, "Fairy," based on the life of Mary Russell Ferrell Colton, a founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to writing and singing, Lynn plays bridge and tennis and enjoys traveling with her husband and artistic companion, Bob. Born in Ohio, Lynn is a graduate of Denison University (BA), Arizona State University (MPA) and has lived in Arizona since 1977.