Upstage Update: October
After my daughter attended summer camp with Upstage, I have a good idea of what to expect during the school year program. It’s interesting, too, to see the differences. The summer program is three weeks of daily intensive theatre instruction. The school year program meets once a week over several months.
The new school year brings a new classroom, new teacher, more homework and other after school activities. I’m really glad my kid took the summer program, because now she has a general idea of what to expect, making Upstage a place to see familiar faces, including staff and friends. I remember at the beginning of the summer camp program, my daughter told me she felt a little shy because she didn’t know anyone. By the end, she knew a bunch of people, greeting them by name, and hugging them when she runs into them at school. Some of my daughter’s friends who were classmates in kindergarten are no longer her classmates in first grade. Thankfully, she gets to see them at Upstage, and I get to see their moms, who I am friends with!
Director – Jason Currie
The musical is directed by Jason Currie. He is an amazing director and went to The Juilliard School on a full vocal performance scholarship. He has worked in the industry for a long time and can also be found performing on Main Street in Disneyland!
Before auditions, we received an e-mail with the songs for the kids to practice for the audition. There were three music files and one video file of the dance they’ve been practicing. My kid was a bit nervous about auditioning, so I wasn’t sure she would volunteer. My friend (another mom whose child is at Upstage) told me they ask the kids several times if they want to audition, and it’s a very relaxed process, mainly to put them at ease. That was a relief, because I know that my kid would probably audition if she wasn’t first.
Casting and circle read
I received special permission to observe a class session, and it happened to be the same day the kids received their roles! I watched part of the first circle read. Everyone sat on the floor and followed the script. Jason, the director, sat at the table with a laptop and played music during the cues. There were two (or was it three?) assistants helping the kids.
I am always amazed when I see excellent instructors. To have command of such a large group of young kids (this group being TK-2nd grade) is quite a skill, and this is where the professional experience of the Upstage staff shines.
She’s a Bird!
My kid got her role in the play. She’s a bird again (she was a bird in Madagascar), but this time, a vulture in The Jungle Book. I haven’t seen that movie in forever, and my kid hasn’t seen it yet, but thankfully she is excited about her role. There are two vultures, and although they have very few lines in the play, they do sing a song (one that has been added).
Blocking and Choreography
The next few weeks are filled with blocking, choreography, and learning new songs! Amanda Koppe, the production manager, keeps us in the loop with e-mails and files we need to help our kids stay on top of their task. I can’t believe we are only in the second month and they’ve done so much already! A benefit to taking the school-year class is more time to practice!
Stay tuned for next month’s update!
Upstage Theatre Schools
Disclaimer: Upstage Theatre Schools partnered with Westside Mommy for a series of monthly updates regarding the program. All opinions are honest and 100% my own. Information and images used and reposted with permission, provided by Upstage Theatre Schools.