About Us

Nicole Erwin, President and Executive Director

Nicole Erwin

Ms. Erwin founded Texas Light Opera in 2011 to provide a showcase for local and emerging talent through musical works. Most recently, With her business acumen and passion for the arts, she has a passion to create nurturing spaces for artists and exciting shows for San Antonio audiences.

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Nicole has lived in San Antonio since 1994. She has appeared on stage locally with the Overtime Theater, the Woodlawn Theater, The Playhouse, The Public Theater of San Antonio, the Cameo Theater and the Roxie Theater. She is very engaged in the San Antonio theater community, serving as a Board Director of Alamo Theatre Arts Council (ATAC) and the San Antonio Theatre Coalition (SATCO). Nicole was the Executive and Managing Director of San Antonio’s Overtime Theater for over a decade where she was able to further the theater’s mission to be a “theater for the people”, producing new and accessible works by local playwrights.

The Colorado native holds a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Denver Lamont School of Music. She studied Opera under former Metropolitan Opera performers and has studied locally with Dr. Diana Allen, Tim Birt, and Darrin Newhardt. She has performed with The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers, South Texas Lyric Opera, Lamont Opera Theater, Lamont Chorale, and Lamont Jazz Choir. She also holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. Notable performing credits include: Mother (Edgar Allen Poe’s Nevermore) – The Roxy Theater, Beauty & the Beast (The Wardrobe) – The Playhouse, Memphis (Clara) – The Woodlawn Theater, Children of Eden (Mama Noah) – PASA, Mary Poppins (Mrs. Corry) – The Woodlawn Theater, Gypsy (Electra) – The Playhouse, The Count of Monte Cristo (Mistress de Carnival) – PASA, White Christmas (Ensemble, Seamstress) – Cameo Theater, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Eloise) – Cameo Theater, La Boheme (Chorus) – Opera Colorado, and Hansel and Gretel (Sandman) – Lamont Opera.

Nicole is a repeat vocal talent contest winner and received the Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year award from the Entertainer-Indie Association. Her self-produced album, Lone Star Lonely was recorded in Nashville and had two single releases, Ain’t No Heartache and Tied to the Wheel of Runaway Heart – both were Top Album Cuts in the Gavin Magazine’s Country Chart. Nicole also enjoys acting in films, commercials and doing voice over work.

Corina Zars, Vice-President

Corina Zarz
Corina Zarz

Corina Zars is one of San Antonio’s leading theatrical lights. She has been performing on San Antonio stages from a very young age. She has been an impersonator, a director, a choreographer and a show creator. From choirs to dance troupes, musical theatre to theme parks, she loves it all and brings a new voice to each and every character or role with great enthusiasm. A voice major at Incarnate Word and University of Houston, she continues to work diligently on her versatility and ability to create different character voices and personalities for each role she is is offered. In 2015 directed “The Road to Madness” at Performing Arts of San Antonio (PASA) and played the lead role of Zelda.

Notable performing credits include: “Mrs. Potts” in Beauty and the Beast”, “Princess Puffer” in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and “Mazeppa/Miss Cratchitt in Gypsy-both at The Playhouse; “Miss Mona” in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, “”Magenta” in Rocky Horror, “Lucy” in Jekyll & Hyde, and “Bombalurina” in Cats-all at the Cameo Theatre; “Sandy” in Grease, “Bebe” in A Chorus Line, “Mary Jane” in Big River, and “Peron’s Mistress” in Evita-all at the Josephine Theatre. Directing/Choreography credits include: Godspell, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Big River, and Sin City Cabaret-all at the Cameo Theatre. She was also lead female singer, costumer, and choreographer for variety dance band, “The Oh So Good Band” for 10 years.

Joseph Urick, Managing Director

Joseph Urick

Mr. Urick is a seasoned actor whose credits include: OFF-BROADWAY: Taming of the Shrew, Cinderella, The is a seasoned actor. New York credits include Taming of the Shrew, Cinderella, and Tinderbox (Frog & Peach Theatre). In Austin, he performed in A Christmas Carol, Evita, Alice in Wonderland at the Zach Theatre. He performed Rooms: A Rock Romance at the Hippodrome Theatre in Florida. International touring productions include Romeo & Juliet and Oedipus Rex. in San Antonio, Into the Woods (ATAC Award), Taming of the Shrew, RACE, You’ve Ruined a Perfectly Good Mystery. He holds a MFA in Acting from the University of Florida..

Jade Esteban Estrada, Board Director and Artistic Advisor

Jade Esteban Estrada

Jade is as an award winning singer, dancer, actor, and writer. The Estrella award-winning singer was born and raised in the Tejano music capital of the world, San Antonio, Texas. He studied dance (alongside Jennifer Lopez) with Slam, the lead dancer from Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour among other notable teachers of the era.

Estrada won a scholarship to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and later worked as choreographer. After working as a lead dancer for Charo, he signed to Total Envision Records in 1998 releasing the hit single, Reggae Twist, and toured extensively performing with top names in the Latin Music world. In September 2000, he opened the doors to his own label and released his long-awaited debut album Angel (Vicarious). He’s been seen in feature films, on Comedy Central’s The Graham Norton Effect, In the Life on PBS, Friday Night Lights and 30 Rock on NBC and has headlined concerts, theatres and comedy clubs around the world. Rebecca has performed in seven languages and in 33 countries to date and has shared the stage with Madonna, Margaret Cho, RuPaul, Jody Watley, and Jimmy Somerville and countless other fabulous stars. Estrada has been an intergral part of the recent international burleque revival and has toured the globe extensively to impressive reviews including a headlining appearances in Austria, Warsaw, Munich,and Edinburgh. Through his work in his artistic and political endeavors, Jade Esteban Estrada is fast becoming one of the world’s most ground-breaking personalities. Jade is as an award winning singer, dancer, actor, and writer. The Estrella award-winning singer was born and raised in the Tejano music capital of the world, San Antonio, Texas. He studied dance (alongside Jennifer Lopez) with Slam, the lead dancer from Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour among other notable teachers of the era.

Derek Berlin, Board Director

Mr. Berlin is a graduate of Trinity University’s Theater Arts Program. He received additional training at the actor’s Segue Studio in Los Angeles Calif. As a Tenured actor, his acting credits include two film pilots for HBO, commercials and theatrical appearances portraying such memorable characters as Ralph in Frozen, Mr. Webb in Our Town, Charles in Glaad To Know You and his award winning performance as Nosferatu in the title role, for which he was merited with the ATAC GLOBE for Lead Actor in a Musical.

Vincent Hardy, Board Member/Director in Residence

Vincent Hardy

Mr. Hardy is the Chair of the Department of Drama at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, TX.   He hols an M.F.A. from Cornell University and a B.F.A. from Northwestern University.

Stewart Thompson (MA, BA, CT, FVCM, FGMS, FMCM, FSCO, FIGOC, FCollT, ACIEA), Composer in Residence

Stewart Thompson
Stewart Thompson

Mr. Thompson is a composer, arranger, musical director, examiner, music publisher and musicologist. He began reading contemporary arts music at Manchester Metropolitan University before embarking on a multi-faceted career that has seen him travel across the world as a musician. From his beginnings in brass bands and church choir he has explored numerous areas of the musical landscape. Recognized as a specialist in lost English music of the early twentieth century, he received his MA from the Open University in 2018 and continues his work in this field as a researcher and music editor at London Music Press.  He is assistant professor of Sacred Music at Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi Christian University in Miami.

As Qualifications Director at Victoria College of Music and Drama in London. Mr. Thompson oversees the academic affairs of all areas and stays actively involved with the Brass, Pipe Organ and Musical Theatre departments. He also leads on external partnerships and assessment quality assurance. He has been connected to Texas Light Opera for several years as a member of the extended musical team providing musical arrangements and consultation.

A lover of musical theatre since his youth, Mr. Thompson has played in the pit, conducted numerous staged events and has always been interested in orchestration and backstage activities of the theatre. His orchestrations have been performed in the UK, United States and across the globe. He has particularly been associated with the work of Ber-nard J. Taylor but has provided both live and digital orchestrations for musical productions by several composers either in full or in part. He runs the Voce! School of Music with his wife Catherine, Musical Theatre Advisor and Examiner to Victoria College (where they met), and works to develop the next generation of musical theatre enthusiasts in their Doncaster home.