Jo and Cassie, the dreamers who founded Stomp and Shout,  met teaching an early childhood music program in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn, NYC. They enjoyed drinking tea, making each other laugh, and inventing new ways to engage the families in their classes. They used to dream about writing their own songs, stories and using their classes to inspire imaginations and expand the minds of both kids and grownups alike!  Unbeknownst to each other, they began experimenting with some of these ideas on their own in 2013. Then on a beautiful day in 2015, the stars aligned to unite the two again and Stomp and Shout was born.


 Cassie Slater
Owner, Director, Imagination Instigator & Superhero to Small Children

Originally from Sioux City, Iowa, Cassie was lucky to be born into a theatre family. She cut her teeth (literally, she attended her first rehearsal at 3 weeks) at her parent's theater, Lamb Arts Regional Theatre, and credits her first role on their stage as "Stumpy" the tree stump in the kids show, Wiley and The Hairy Man, as the spark that ignited her passion for performing....she made one heck of a tree stump.  

After receiving her BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University, she began her performing career in Chicago where she was a recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award. She's been a featured vocalist at Birdland, Joe's Pub, Merkin Concert Hall, Lincoln Center, Don't Tell Mama, and Ars Nova.  In 2009, she won the New York Music Theater Festival's Next Broadway Sensation Competition. After a five year stint in NYC, she's thrilled to once again be a resident of sweet home, Chicago.

Cassie started assistant teaching at the age of 16 under the guidance of her mother, Diana Guhin Wooley (a truly inspiring teacher & mentor). Those early teaching experiences showed her the tremendous power that music, theatre, and art can have on the development of young minds. Following her mother's lead, she soon realized that with an invested teacher who cares and believes in each student that power grows exponentially!! She likes to think that some of her mother's magical teaching moments are with her today. In Chicago she's taught for Second City and Apple Tree Theatre (Eileen Boevers Performing Arts). In New York: Stage Coach, Broadway Bound Kids, & Music For Manhattan/Music For Brooklyn. In 2013, she founded Stomp and Shout Chicago; a music and creative play program for kids and their grownups. In 2014, she gave birth to her daughter...which was the best thing to happen to her yet. 


Jo Lloyd
Owner, Director; Stomp and Shout Brooklyn,  Music Mastermind & Every Kid's Best Friend

A native of England, Jo Lloyd began writing songs on the piano at the age of five. She started her first band at fifteen; they played numerous London pubs and too many wedding receptions. In 1996 Jo formed Stretch Princess, an alternative band that was signed by the independent label Wind-Up Records after the label head saw the band perform at CMJ. Jo moved to New York in 1997 and recorded and toured internationally with her band for six years, singing lead vocals, songwriting and playing bass. The band released two albums and their songs were featured in numerous television shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, Jack and Jill as well several films. Following the break up of the band, Jo headed to Nashville to write songs before returning to New York to tour with Tracy Bonham and write with Luscious Jackson.  Jo stopped touring to focus on her two daughters but she returned to the music world when she was asked to be a director at a popular early childhood music program in New York City. In 2013, Jo founded Moxie Musik, a successful music program for preschoolers. 


Ella Pennington
Teacher, Master Uke Player & Horticulture Enthusiast

Ella is an actor and singer originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her mom has run a daycare out of the Pennington home for the past twenty-five years so she knows a thing or two about creative learning. She graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Theatre and a Music Theatre Certificate and since then has worked with Griffin Theatre, Fearless Theatre, the Chicago Music Theatre Festival and most recently, Theo Ubique in the Jeff Award-winning production of RENT. Last summer she appeared in The Sound's production of Seagulls as Nina and it has been one of her favorite roles to date. When not performing, Ella can be found drinking coffee, practicing her ukulele skills, and scouting out cool independent bookstores. 



Matt Holzfeind
Guitarist / Woody From Toy Story Impersonator

Matt is pleased as punch to be playing music for Stomp & Shout. He is a actor, singer and musician that works professionally in Chicago, and in many other spots in the region. In Chicago he has worked for a variety of theatre companies, including: Lookingglass, The Goodman, TimeLine, Writer's, Chicago Shakespeare, Theatre Wit, The House, and Chicago Children's Theatre, among others. He has been seen on-camera in a variety of independent films, and commercials. Matt also has taught with Emerald City Children's Theatre Company for many years, and worked extensively with A Crew of Patches, which brings full-length Shakespeare plays and workshops to Chicago-area High Schools. Let's rock it out.


Brandon Springman
Tap Dancing Guitar Man


Kathleen Gibson
Teacher/Pinterest Enthusiast

Kathleen is a teacher and performer in Chicago.  She got her degree in Vocal Performance from DePaul University and then decided to stick around this great city to give musical theatre a shot.  Favorite theatre's she's worked at include, TimeLine, Penninsula Players, and Theatre at the Center.  She's a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and performs around town with several improv groups including the improvised musical Baby Wants Candy (leave the kiddos at home for that one).  She also teaches private piano and voice lessons for your older sibblings (ages five and up).  


Ashley Lanyon
Teacher/Aspiring Ballerina Chef  

Ashley Lanyon just completed her rookie year as a resident of Chicago!  She met Cassie Slater at Peninsula Players in Fish Creek, WI; they both played silly nuns and experienced the bliss of the Door County wilderness.  Before moving to Chicago, Ashley lived and worked in New York City, went to school in Boston at The Boston Conservatory, and grew up in Lino Lakes, Minnesota.  As you can tell, traveling and enjoying different cities could be considered a hobby of hers.  If she isn't performing, Ashley spends her time working with children either in a classroom setting or as a choreographer for youth theater.  She loves to cook and eat delicious foods - a passion she shares with her parents.  Her favorite meal is any kind of hearty breakfast, but she prides herself on making a mean eggplant parmesan.  She can't wait to move and groove with everyone at Stomp and Shout!


Teacher/Small Dog Whisperer

Dara is a professional actor who lives in Oak Park with her husband and badly behaved little dog. A true Chicago gal, she grew up in Naperville and graduated from Northwestern University with a double degree in theatre and European history. She is an ensemble member with American Blues Theatre, a Jeff-nominated performer, and a proud member of Actors’ Equity who has worked at the Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Theatre at the Center, and the Asolo Repertory Theatre, to name a few. When not teaching or onstage, Dara loves to tinker in her garden, spend time with her niece and nephew, and watch old Jeopardy! episodes she refuses to delete from her DVR, much to her husband’s chagrin.