Artistic Staff


Charlie Leonard, Executive & Artistic DirectorCharlie Leonard

Charlie Leonard founded Blue Water Theatre Company in August of 2007, following four years of teaching and directing in the Wayzata school district. He is a 1996 graduate of Wayzata High School and 2000 graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Leonard has directed nearly fifty productions since 2003 for Blue Water Theatre Company, Plymouth Middle School, Wayzata West Middle School, Hopkins North Junior High School, and the Wayzata Summer Youth Theatre. Shows include, Into the WoodsYou’re a Good Man Charlie BrownThe Music ManBabes in ArmsJoseph the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,The Boy FriendThe Sound of MusicFiddler on the RoofAnnieOklahoma!A Midsummer Night’s DreamHow to Succeed in Business Without Really TryingPirates of PenzanceA Grand Night for Singing, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Beauty and the Beast, Oliver!, Carousel, Annie Get Your GunCurtainsShe Loves MeBye Bye Birdie42nd StreetCinderellaSweeney ToddFunny GirlAnything GoesThe Wizard of OzLes MiserablesA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,Guys and DollsThe Secret Garden, High School Musical, Once Upon a Mattress, State Fair, The Mousetrap, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Aladdin, Jekyll & Hyde, Alice in Wonderland and The Drowsy Chaperone. Mr. Leonard was recently honored by Luther College as the recipient of the 2015 Luther College Young Alumni Award for his work in founding and directing Blue Water Theatre Company.



Barb Brauch, Choreographer

Barb Brauch graduated with her education degree from the College of St Catherine in St Paul, MN, received her Master’s degree from St Cloud State University, and later received another Bachelors’ degree from Augsburg College, Minneapolis. Barb retired from teaching at Wayzata West Middle School having spent her entire thirty four year career in that building. She received dance training for three years with The Minnesota Dance Theatre.  The ten years Barb spent dancing and teaching at the Dance Shoppe came in handy when she and Charlie joined forces to create musicals.  She was one of the original board members of Blue Water Theatre Company where she was board chair for five years.  Her musical theatre choreography credits include:  No, No Nanette, The Music Man, How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Into the WoodsYou’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,  Babes in ArmsJoseph the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatPirates of Penzance, Beauty and the Beast,Annie Get Your Gun,  Bye, Bye Birdie, 42nd Street, Funny Girl, Anything Goes, Guys and Dolls, Fiddler On the Roof, Once Upon a Mattress, State Fair, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Big Fish. Barb is also the director/teaching and choreographer of a tap dance entertainment group called, “The Satin Dolls,” who perform weekly around the Twin Cities metro area.  This group is also, “The Senior Dancers,” for the Minnesota Lynx and Timberwolves basketball teams. When she’s not dancing or preparing choreography, she enjoys reading, theatre, and doing anything with her grandchildren!  She thanks her husband of thirty-six years for understanding that she’s “Gotta Dance!”


chris-larsonChris Larson, Music Director

Chris Larson is in his tenth year as vocal music director at Wayzata Central Middle School. He received his Bachelors Degree in Vocal Music Education from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI and his Masters Degree in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

Chris has performed as a member of the Grand Rapids Opera, Cornerstone University Chorale and Chamber Choirs, The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists, and the VocalEssence chorus, as well as in musical theatre. Recently he was the featured tenor soloist in the Mozart Requiem, performed by the St. Thomas Festival Choir.  He currently serves as co-chair of the ACDA-MN All-State Boys Honors Choir. In Wayzata, he has served as director of the CMS spring musical, and music director for the summer youth theatre program, the Blue Water Theatre Company. In his spare time, he enjoys biking, running, playing guitar and keyboard with Bethany Larson and the Bees Knees, and hanging out with his wife Vanessa, son Simon, and his dog Penny.


kirsten-thayerKirsten Hoiseth Thayer, Music Director

Kirsten Hoiseth Thayer made her debut with Virginia Opera in 2008 as Inez and the Leonora cover in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, and was also the cover in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca. In April of 2007,  she performed her first Tosca with Opera in the Heights, where she was lauded as Donna Leonora in La Forza del Destino in 2004 and Marguerite in Faust in 2003.

In 2007, she  finished her residency with the Boston University Opera Institute. As a Resident Artist in that program, Mrs.Thayer performed her first Mimì as part of the Opera Institute’s Boston Masterworks Series of La Bohème as well as the roles of Lady with a Cake Box in A Postcard from Morocco, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Natalia in Hoiby’s A Month in the Country.  She was also highlighted in the Opera Institute’s Fall Fringe Festival where she performed the title role in Suor Angelica, Anita in La Navarraise, and False Angèle in Weill’s The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken. Mrs. Thayer was the recipient of the 2007 Opera Institute award for Distinguished Artists and a finalist at the 2003 Southwest Regional Met Opera Auditions, where she was honored with an Encouragement Award. You can email Mrs. Thayer at