“I believe Skylight can make a difference in our community by offering opportunities to artists of all ages,” said Skylight Music Theatre Artistic Director Ray Jivoff, who developed Skylight’s Enlighten program and has been involved in arts education for 40 years.
Last season Skylight Music Theatre’s holiday production of Annie showcased 18 local children who energized audiences with their enthusiasm and talent. Building upon that community engagement, Skylight’s 2018 holiday show, Hairspray, will feature 12-15 local youth in the teen ensemble.
To prepare young performers for Skylight’s professional stage, Skylight held free audition workshops for local teenagers at the Broadway Theatre Center and at Riverside and Regan High Schools.
The workshops gave teens insights into the audition process, making what can be an intimidating experience more inviting.
“We want these opportunities to be accessible for any student interested in performing on our stage,” said Skylight Education Manager, Margaret Bridges. “Access, for us, means not only actual access to the workshop, but preparation for what an audition looks like and what is expected.”
Nearly 120 teens attended the workshops, where they learned part of the song, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” which they could sing at the open auditions. Ryan Cappleman, Skylight’s Resident Education Music Director, also taught choreography for part of a dance from the show that would be used at the call-backs.
“We asked the schools that have partnered with us through our Enlighten education programs to help us spread the word. We were overwhelmed by their positive response and immediate interest,” said Bridges. Skylight’s Enlighten education program delivers music theatre classes and performances to over 12,000 K-12 students at approximately 70 schools each year.
Hairspray is just one way that Skylight is building more connections for teens to work with Skylight at its home in the Broadway Theatre Center.
“We want high school students to be able to interact with our programs in their classrooms, as
audience members in our theatre, in classes and workshops here at the Broadway Theatre Center, and as performers on our stage,” said Bridges.
This summer, Skylight is introducing a new Musical Theater Summer Workshop for high school students at the Broadway Theatre Center. The two-week intensive will offer rigorous and high-energy musical theatre training in dance, movement singing, monologue work, auditioning, musical theatre styles and vocal health, offering the same supportive, high-energy and professional environment for high school students that professional artists find when they work at Skylight Music Theatre.
Audiences have the opportunity to see what happens when local teens become part of the Skylight family at the High School Musical Theatre Summer Workshop Showcase on July 27 and at Hairspray running in the Cabot Theatre November 16 – December 23, 2018. Call (414) 291-7800 for more information.
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