The SCT Impact – Stanley

Since 2004, SCT has provided performing arts education and opportunities to
Savannah’s youth.  Now in our 13th season, we are beginning to see the long-term results of growing up in an environment that aims to inspire, educate, and entertain; something we like to call the SCT Impact. This series will include words from SCT Alumni who feel that their time spent within our walls has had a positive, tangible influence on their lives, both on and off the stage.

stanley-simons-headshot   There is no one more fitting to launch this series than the amazing Stanley Simons.  Stanley first came to us under the impression that he was auditioning for a Shakespearian tragedy, only to find out that he had the wrong date and tried out for another show instead.  Too polite to leave in the middle of something, Stanley stayed, and found himself fitted for a bright pink pig-suit, complete with curly tail. (We’ve scoured the world for pictures, but he seems to have done a great job of destroying all evidence of this first amazing costume.) Over the years, Stanley became an invaluable member of SCT, performing on stage countless times, and working constantly behind the scenes. Now a small business owner, Stanley agreed to share a bit of his story, in hopes that it will encourage others to make bold choices!

      “I remember walking into the doors of SCT. I was about to audition for Romeo and Juliet (excited and nervous).  I was wrong.  The audition was actually for Charlotte’s Web.  Nevertheless, I put on my big boy pants, auditioned, and got a part.  However, it wasn’t just another play for me.

     This play, unlike all the others, was at a community theatre.  It was a real show.  A show where you met a new director for the first time;  that director puts a book in your hand filled with beautiful words written by someone else;  that director wants you to make a bold choice at a particular time to explain why you decided to use those beautiful words; that director wants you to explain why your body had to move to a place underneath the lights where it was marked weeks ago.

     Eleven years later a bold choice continues to move me.  Past community theatre.  Past student films.  Past short films.  Past state lines to New York City.  Past the front doors at a performing arts conservatory.  Past the president of that conservatory as I reach for my degree.  Past the long lines to the next audition.  All a bold choice.  The greatest thing I learned at SCT is that choices can take you anywhere.  Bold choices will take you where you’re suppose to be.

stanely-simons-at-work

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5, 6, 7, 8!

We hope you’ve had a wonderful summer, full of music and dancing!  If you caught one or more of our 7 shows this summer, you’ll know that our 2015 Summer Camp Series was a huge success!  Thank you for supporting performing arts in our community, and for doing it with such style!

As Savannah Children’s Theatre continues to grow, we are expanding our Dance for Musical Theatre program.  This year, we will be adding another level of Aerial Silks, as well as welcoming a new teacher into the SCT Family!  Please meet Elizabeth Brookman!

elizabeth   Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth began her training with Ann Brodie at the Carolina Ballet.  She had further training at the Atlanta Ballet SchoolAmerican Ballet Theater, and Joffrey Ballet, then graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts and joined the Morgan/Scott Ballet Company in NYC.  Falling in love with the performing and traveling, she performed on luxury cruise ships for five years and was able to visit over one hundred countries.   Shows included the classical ballets Swan Lake, Aida, and Carmen, as well as musicals Cats, Cabaret, Chicago and Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Elizabeth moved to China in 2007 to join the Suzhou Ballet Theater.  After one year with the company she moved to Shanghai to perform and teach for Jazz Du Funk until 2015.  Elizabeth looks forward to calling Savannah her home and sharing her experiences to inspire future performers.
jennsilks

We are thrilled to be able to give SCT students the opportunity to learn from theatre artists from all walks of life.  Elizabeth has already choreographed for this year’s Dance Camp, The Colors of My Life, and our Summer Camp production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. She is warm, kind, incredibly talented, and definitely a little on the goofy side!  Our resident choreographer, Jenn Doubleday, will continue to grow and develop our Aerial Silks program, as well as providing choreography for all Junior Company, Kids on Stage, and Main Stage productions.

Of course, dance is faaaaaar from the only thing SCT has to offer!  This year we have Creative Dramatics for PreK – 1st graders, Creative Dramatics I (The Emperor’s New Clothes) for 2nd-5th graders, Creative Dramatics II (Great Expectations the Musical) for middle schoolers, and Junior Company (A Servant of Two Masters) for high school students!

   To register for classes, click HERE! 

   Come on.  You know you want to.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about classes or scheduling, please feel free to write to us.  We hope to see all of you soon!

Coming Home, by Laura Keena

     I am so glad to be home!

     I am also glad to say that working here at Savannah Children’s Theatre is one of the reasons why.  I loved growing up here in this enchanting place and, like so many of us, my life was forever changed after auditioning for a Kelie Miley production (Peter Pan, to be specific).  After that summer in **cough cough** it was all over!  The theatre bug had seriously bitten me, and I was forever to be a lost boy.  A theatre kid to the bitter end!

     In high school I knew that I wanted to leave Savannah (isn’t that what everyone wants in high school?), and I did.  I went to college in Washington DC, home to a surprisingly vibrant and thriving theatre community.  I studied in London and New York.  I worked in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, anywhere that would allow me to do what I loved!  For a long time Savannah was behind me.  Not forgotten, but not in focus.

     I think of our recent graduates, some of whom are now in their first year away from home, and I remember that bittersweet time in my own life.  Simultaneously loving being away from home, meeting new people and learning so many new things, but also being surprised by how deeply I missed my home.  I’d go about my days, happy to be out on my own, until a sudden craving for my dad’s homemade spaghetti sauce (affectionately known in my house as “the nectar of the gods”) would hit me in the gut.  I was a strong, independent, career-oriented woman…until I came down with the sniffles.  Nothing says “you’re an adult now” quite like buying your own Kleenex and cold medicine.  Eventually, you find your way and you build your home wherever you are, and a while after I left, Savannah stopped feeling like my absolute home.  Until this year.

     Since I moved back in January, I have had the honor and pleasure of working alongside my best friend, my first director, and countless former cast mates.  Like everyone else who works at Savannah Children’s Theatre, I think it best to say that I wear many hats.  Since starting to work here I have been challenged and inspired daily, and it’s only been nine months!  One day Assistant Music Directing 42nd Street, the next Stage Managing Charlotte’s Web, another day rehearsing Jane in our upcoming production of Tarzan, and starting today, Directing And Then There Were None for our burgeoning Teen Theatre class.  I am so glad to be home, doing what I love with the people I love, and being a part of this wonderful arts community!

     So for those of you recently gone, or for those of you preparing to go, know in advance that it’s going to be hard.  And know in advance that it does get easier.  And know that, sometimes, you can go home again. 

New Member of the Family, by Lauren Baxter

 

 

     In September of 2010, after living in Savannah for a little over a year, I heard about auditions for Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at SCT. I walked into the doors for the first time the night of auditions, unsure of what to expect. I ended up being cast as the Queen and after that I was hooked!

 

Queenposing with young subjects...er...patrons!

Queenposing with young subjects…er…patrons!
January, 2010

      After Cinderella, I was in four more Main Stage shows; Honk!, The Music Man, Seussical, and A Year with Frog and Toad. As I learned more about the children’s theatre and how it worked, I realized that performing in shows was not going to be enough for me. I desired to teach children and share with them my love for theatre.

                                        

Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical, January 2012

Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical, January 2012

      A year ago I started working for SCT in the Let’s Put on a Play! field trip program. I enjoyed it very much, but unfortunately my other job limited my availability to do field trips. This past March, I was asked if I would be interested in being the Assistant Director of Creative Dramatics 1. Luckily everything worked out and I began working with Carmel Cowart and the kids in CD1 on the musical The Velveteen Rabbit. Now we are currently working on Tiny Thumbelina which opens November 15th on the SCT Main Stage! 

     I am very thankful that I ended up working at SCT, and I am excited every week to go to class. Its amazing to see the kid’s smiling faces and how excited they get about learning their songs, dances and blocking! I love helping them discover new exciting things. I have seen shy children come out of their shells and become confident, accomplished performers. I am very thankful to be part of the children’s theatre family and have the opportunity to inspire, educate and enable children to entertain. I looked forward to the many stories I will have to share with you in the future. Every day is an adventure and I’m filled with joy to be a part of it! 

Now and Then, by Carmel Grace Cowart

_____Six years ago, I accepted Kelie Miley’s offer to be her Assistant Director for SCT’s Creative Dramatics I class production of Tiny Thumbelina. Little did I know that that experience was going to radically change my life, for good!

Grace Repella and Anna Schneider in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

Grace Repella and Anna Schneider in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

_____At the time, I was in college finishing my theatre degree and had plans to move across the country to pursue a career in performing arts ministry. However, God had a different plan for me. During that twelve-week class at SCT, I discovered my true passion was not performing (although it is still very near and dear to my heart), but directing children and enabling them to perform!

Julia Hameed, Emma Byrd, Emily Self, Emma Hoffman in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

Julia Hameed, Emma Byrd, Emily Self, Emma Hoffman in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

_____I distinctly remember the immense feeling of JOY I felt on opening night! The kids were simply beaming with pride and excitement, proud of what they’d done. I was also smiling, for I was so very proud of them. I couldn’t stop thinking, Wow! I can’t believe I got to do this. I had a part in helping these kids achieve something wonderful, and look at how much joy it’s brought them! This is where I’m meant to be!

Andy Paul, Kate Daly, Grayson Parsons in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

Andy Paul, Kate Daly, Grayson Parsons in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

_____Six years, dozens of class shows, hundreds of talented children, and much glitter later, I am still directing our CD1 class, and love every minute of it! Teaching classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays are the highlights of my week because every class I get to experience that same joy as the students creatively discover and use their many talents.

_____This year, you’ll be able to see several of the kids pictured above in our December production of Godspell. They began in CD1, graduated to CD2, and have now moved on to our highest level class, Junior Company. The talents they discovered in my class in 2008 continue to be cultivated by the rest of our amazing theatre team. It has been a privilege to watch them grow and to know that I have been a part of their artistic journeys.

_____I am especially excited about this year’s CD1 Fall show because we are revisiting the wonderful tale of Tiny Thumbelina. It’s a story of love, adventure, and discovering where you belong. I’m so thankful that for me, that place is Savannah Children’s Theatre.

 

Carmel & Morgan

Ms. Carmel & Morgan Jane Anderson, Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

Talk Like a Pirate Day, by Christopher Blair

     Ahoy! Avast! En garde! Today, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ye scalawags.

     When I first heard that Creative Dramatics II was doing Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance this year, I could barely contain my glee!  You see – many, many, many years ago I got to play Frederic in Pirates at Asbury Memorial Theatre.  It was a production of firsts – Asbury’s first show, my first lead and my first good review (thanks Jim Morekis!).

Me backstage at Asbury Memorial Theatre, dressed as Act I Frederic.

Me backstage at Asbury Memorial Theatre, dressed as Act I Frederic.

     I remember the thrill and frustration of learning all the topsy-turvy lyrics. It was like learning a foreign language. I also remember getting to live out swashbuckling daydreams in the form of stage combat and fencing.

Me with a sword!

Me with a sword! Ha-ha!

     But I digress. Learning that Miss Maggie and I would be directing this fantastic piece of theatre, I did get nostalgic. But more than that, I thought, “These kids are going to have a blast!”

     We’ve only just begun, but already we have some wonderful moments starting to form. The language, (that can be difficult for adults to wrap their brains around – let alone, middle schoolers), is starting to take hold. And the kids are starting to infuse their own goofy and fun humor into it. We can’t wait to work with the big pirate ship and swords!

     I am so proud of them and excited to show you all the hard work they have done.  I also look forward to the day when they can look over old photographs and reminisce fondly on their days as pirates.