Cast Announcement – How I Became a Pirate

Ahoy, thar, land-lubbers!  We suspect ye’ll be wantin’ ter meet the robust crew of our next Kids on Stage show, HOW I BECAME A PIRATE!  This fearsome group auditioned Tuesday last, and be gettin’ ready for a spectacular opening night just four weeks from now!

Jeremy Jacob: Truman Nash
Captain Braid Beard: Noah Edwards
Swill: Taylor Rigsbee
Seymour: James Wirick
Sharktooth: Dawson Cooper
Max: Kalie Swann
Scurvy Dog: Dylan Roberds
Pierre: Madalynn Learman
Pirate Crew: Brennan Bishop, Nathan Cochrane, Lauren Groover, Sophia Hashemi, Jordan McGarity, Reaghan Neal, Paris Prager, Braidyn Rigsbee

How I Became a Pirate Cast

Now, don’t let those nice faces trick you; they’re some o’ the fiercest pirates to ever sail the seven seas!  (Well, except fer that Jeremy Jacob fellow.)  We hope you’ll get yer boardin’ passes and join us for our voyage September 23 – October 2!

Advertisements

Family Life at SCT, by Gloria Rigsbee

     “Welcome to the Savannah Children’s Theatre!”  are words you hear at the start of each production.  Being welcomed into a place is very common, but being welcomed into a family is a rare occurrence.  When they are spoken at SCT, your entire family is being welcomed into the amazing world of theatre and the family that is housed within their walls.

Taylor with Corbin (Tarzan) and Brandon (Musical Director) at the cast party

Taylor with Corbin (Tarzan) and Brandon (Musical Director) at the cast party

     For us, the theatre bug bit our oldest daughter in April of last year and our family has loved every moment since!   If you take advantage of each moment leading up to opening night, you can really get the entire family involved and excited about the upcoming experience.  It can begin as simply as putting the soundtrack of the show into your CD player and by the time the curtain is up, everyone knows all the words and can sing along (in their head, of course) with the cast or at home in the shower!  In fact, here’s a video of what goes on at my house when we’re all rehearsing for a show!

     When a production is in the works, there is a role for everyone.  At SCT, the roles available go far beyond those of the actors that grace the stage.  There are so many magic makers the audience never sees!   There are always hands needed back stage, sewing costumes, building sets and in the prop room, because a show could not function without an amazing tech crew.  Once the show starts, there are still many ways to get more involved.  You can sell tickets in the box office, help usher guests into the theatre, hand out playbills and work the concession area.  My husband, Jason, is a regular behind the concession counter and has become a pro at making cotton candy!

Taylor and I after opening night of Disney's Tarzan

Taylor and I after opening night of Disney’s Tarzan

     I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the greatest opportunities offered by SCT:  Main Stage productions.  Auditioning for one of these shows gives you the chance to share the stage with your child.  You are also given an inside look at the amazing care and passion put forth by the staff.  My daughter convinced me to audition for Disney’s Tarzan this year, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  Having an opportunity to take part in a show with many talented actors and most importantly, share in the joy and excitement a show brings to my child was a real blessing.

     While I was aware of how connected my daughter felt to the staff at SCT and casts from the shows she has been in, being part of Tarzan reinforced the beauty of her extended family.   Getting involved at the SCT has provided exposure to so many people and great opportunities to learn from and about each other.  My daughter right away found a place where she belonged, but even more importantly, my family found an environment that brought  us closer together and connected us to so many more families, making SCT our second home.

     After watching a show opening night and watching my entire family be as excited as my little actress, I know without a doubt that SCT has done its job.  They certainly live their mission “to inspire, educate and entertain children and families through the experience of live theatre both on and off the stage.”  Without hesitation, the fulfillment of that mission has been seen in my family countless times this year alone.  Now that Tarzan is over, we have moved on to Shrek, which opens May 30th.  I am thrilled to once again share the stage with my daughter, and other truly talented adults and children.  My younger girls are counting the days until they are old enough to audition for a show!  Jason and I have loved that we have all become a part of such a wonderful family.

tarzanfamily

 

Once Upon a Mattress, by Maggie Lee Hart

     How fitting that The Savannah Children’s Theatre makes fairy tales come true, as we embark upon our Creative Dramatics II class production of Once Upon A Mattress, Jr!  Princess Winnefred’s main desire is to find her “Happily Ever After” and claim a prince who will love and accept her with all her perfect imperfections!  Along with a haughty Queen and a mute King, this musical was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Princess and the Pea.

     Co-Directors, Mr. Christopher Blair and I, agreed to begin this session a little differently because of one notoriously comedic, red headed woman.  She made her Broadway debut as Princess Winnefred in 1959 and, thankfully, archives of her performance can be found online.  She also reappeared as Queen Aggravain in the 2005 TV Movie.  Who is this woman?

carolburnett

1974 Broadway production of “Once Upon a Mattress.” Music by Mary Rogers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller & Marshall Barer.

     Why, the one and only, Carol Burnett, of course!  Her universal comedic timing still speaks to us, and spoke to the students as well.  By watching specific archived scenes and dance numbers, the students were able to understand the style of the production, along with the exaggerated emotion and physical mannerisms within each character.  The writing is witty with sharp remarks and quick comebacks. Physically, the show is very demanding, replete with dance numbers and physical comedy.  The Spanish Panic, which was the choice for our dance audition, is full of vigor and fun.  With a very upbeat tempo, the students have found joy in partner work, and the importance of breath support!

Our own Larken & Sir Harry!

Our own Larken & Sir Harry!

     While we have thoroughly enjoyed researching and exploring our characters, we have also found great benefit in utilizing SCT’s dance floor to observe our posture and dance formations.  The ability to view the full body while dancing is crucial in creating a look that lends towards the time period of this production.  The ladies are encouraged to extend their necks while walking in a smooth and proper manner, and the gentleman are encouraged to be “on-guard” with a strong stance showing their calf muscles and upper body strength.  This is a lot of fun for our girls-cast-as-boys to explore a more masculine demeanor within themselves.  Our boys are always outnumbered by our girls, but everyone seems to embrace this fact with enthusiasm and acceptance.

Don't be fooled! The young ladies you see on the right (stage left) are acting as Knights!

Don’t be fooled! The young ladies you see on the right (stage left) are acting as Knights!

     As is with all productions with SCT, it is imagination and creativity that brings these shows to life.  SCT productions build their success by all the volunteers, staff and encouraging parents who have given their children the opportunity to explore the art of theatre.  Thank you for all that you do in supporting our theatre.  This is a class show surely not to miss!

mattress3

     “Once Upon a Mattress, Jr.” opens Friday, May 9th at 7:00pm ,with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3:00pm. Click here for tickets! 

To Eat, or Not to Eat? by Carmel Grace Cowart

     To eat or not to eat? This is NEVER a question in my everyday life.  I love food!  However, if you are acting in a play in which you must eat while performing, this becomes a vitally important question.

     The stellar teen cast of our Junior Company comedy, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, are learning just how challenging it is to eat on stage and still deliver an earnest performance.  It is much harder than most people assume.  By tomorrow’s opening night (click here for tickets!), they will all have broken grandma’s rule about not speaking with your mouth full.

     In this particular show, set in nineteenth century England, there is an array of delicious snacks, including fresh cucumber sandwiches, tea cake, four varieties of english muffins, bread with butter, and of course, traditional english tea with milk and sugar; ALL of which is consumed onstage at one point or another.  (By the way, do you know how hard it is to find sugar cubes?!)

earnestfood2

Algy’s afternoon tea waiting on the prop table, ready to be devoured in Act I.

     There are two important factors for an actor to consider when developing how their character eats on stage.

1) Timing
Timing is everything.  In many plays with foodie scenes, like EARNEST, the writer includes humor and plot lines involving the food. This forces the actor to figure out how to, for example, devour an entire plate of cucumber sandwiches in less than five minutes so that the punch line is funny.  Do we succeed in EARNEST, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to come and see!

2) Amount
When an actor is deciding how to deliver lines while eating food in a scene, they must carefully consider how much to consume in each bite.  If they simply nibble away at the same muffin for twenty minutes, the scene may lose its’ intended humor andor the audience’s interest.  If they bite off more than they can chew, literally, then the audience may not understand the dialogue and lose part of the story.

All gone!

Intermission; all gone!

     Finding a unique balance of when and how much to eat, all the while feeding those details into the overarching theme of the play so that the audience enjoys the journey, is quite a challenge.  I must say though, it is a challenge that this cast has earnestly sought, and in my opinion, they have earnestly succeeded!

     I do hope that you will come see THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.  You don’t want to miss this hilarious show.  I promise you, it is quite deliciously entertaining!

earnest-most-recent

Fridays, March 21 & 28 — 7pm
Saturdays, March 22 & 29 — 3pm
Sunday, March 23 & 30 — 3pm

4 Things YOU Can Do to Help Your Child Succeed in Theatre, by Christopher Blair

     As a teacher at The Savannah Children’s Theatre, I often get asked by parents how they can help their child to be a better performer.  (Most of these questions are about how to improve their child’s abilities so they can get better roles, but that’s a blog post for another day!)   What I want to share today is how to help your children once they are already cast so that you can help them build good work habits.  It’s never too early to start making a good name for yourself! 

1)  Make sure your child always brings his or her script and a pencil to EVERY rehearsal

     You can’t study geography without a map.  You can’t build a house without a hammer.  You can’t rehearse a play without a script!  The script is the textbook, the raw material, and the pencil is the tool.  They allow your child to record their blocking, choreography and character notes in one place.   It’s not like homework; it doesn’t get turned in and graded.  The scribbles and notes only need to make sense to the child writing them.  This practice is a great way for a child to make the production personal to them, recording their unique journey through the play.  This will solidify what they are learning and help them get off-book at a much faster pace.

2) Be a line buddy

     I have never been good at sitting down alone with a script and memorizing lines.  Acting is usually an interactive process with me.  I need someone else there to read the other character’s lines so it becomes a true conversation rather than just a series of words and sentences.  Having a person there to be “on book,” to complete the conversation or to correct errors, will help young actors get “off book” more quickly.  It is nearly impossible to truly act if you are trying to remember the line.  Offer to help.  Enlist a family member or babysitter.  I have a line buddy who helps me with every single production.  He is an invaluable asset.

3) Encourage healthy eating and sleeping habits

     An actor’s body is his or her instrument, and it has to be cared for and fueled properly.  There is no energy drink on the planet that will ever take the place of a good night’s sleep!  This is one that I struggle with as an actor.  It’s so much easier to throw back a cup of Starbucks than it is to get a solid 8 hours of sleep, especially during tech week!  Fast food is fast and convenient, but 9 times out of 10, it’s just a bag of empty calories that burns away quickly leaving us less energized and focused than when we started.  We all need good rest and fuel to make our bodies, voices,  and brains work properly.  Encourage your children to rest during tech weeks and performance weekends, and encourage them to eat healthy, fresh foods that will provide them with the clean energy they need to get through a show.

4) Encourage them to trust their director

     The director is trying to put on the best show they can!  Doubting the director’s choices, especially early in the rehearsal process, can make things stressful for everyone involved.  The director must consider all aspects of the production in each scene (the story, the cast, the budget, the space, the multitude of personalities involved), and while their vision may not be clear at the outset, it will eventually be brought to light.  At SCT, we encourage young performers to share ideas and visions with their teachers, but we need the students to trust that we will make decisions based on the best interest of the show as a whole.  Your trust is vital to our success!

     So there you have it; 4 easy things that parents can do to help kids stay on top of their theatre game.  Begin planting these little seeds of wisdom now and watch your young actors grow into empowered performers!  Just like any other after-school activity, theatre is a discipline.  The harder you work and the more your prepare, the better your outcome will be!  We want all of our students to turn in successful performances, so sharpen your pencils, and let’s get ready to rehearse!

Opening Night!!!, by Laura Keena

  TARZAN.
This show.
_________THIS show.
     As improbable as it may seem, it’s not very often that you get to work on a show with which you are entirely unfamiliar.  This has been one of those experiences!  I can honestly say, working and rehearsing this show has been a challenge and a delight.  I cannot say enough how inspired and privileged I feel to be a part of this stellar group.  All aspects of the performance are firing on all cylinders: set, costumes, choreography, direction.
     Since we came back from the winter break we have been in Tarzan overdrive.  Adding elements of the set such as aerial silks, bungees, and rope walls to name a few.  The cast is totally rising to the challenge!!  I will specifically say that we have quite a few younger cast members among us, and they are kicking butt on that rope wall…trust me…it’s harder than it looks!!!
     On a more serious note, I didn’t know how touching this show could be.  I didn’t know how beautiful and universal the message of Tarzan’s story could be. I  didn’t know that songs from the show would make me laugh, smile, or tear up, rehearsal after rehearsal.  The message of this show is a timeless one: Family.  I encourage everyone to not only come to the show, but to invite a friend or a loved one to experience it with you.  It’s going to be one that will keep you thinking for a while.
     I thought about posting some pictures with this post, but I have to say, I don’t want to ruin the surprise!  Come see this show!!  (Insert whacky ape-man yell here.)

Light Cues & Costumes & Props, OH MY! by Carmel Cowart

     Our Creative Dramatics 1 (2nd-5th grade) class production of Tiny Thumbelina opens tomorrow! The cast and crew have been knee-deep in Tech Week; putting all the finishing touches on costumes, set changes, lighting, props, hair and makeup. I am so very proud of each of these young performers! Their resilience and adaptability to change is quite impressive.

     For those that may not know, the CD1 class, directed by myself and Lauren Baxter, rehearses in SCT’s upstairs Green Room for eleven weeks of class. It is not until Monday of Tech Week (four days before their show opens!) that they step foot onto the stage where they actually perform the show. As their director, I aim to introduce only one new element of their show at each tech rehearsal, so as not to overwhelm them. On Monday, we run the show for the first time on the stage using props. Tuesday, we add in light cues. Wednesday, we start using mics. And Thursday, we do a final dress rehearsal with all those elements in full costume. Let me tell you, these kids take all those curve balls and knock ’em out of the park, er… the theatre! What I really love is that this cast has adapted to all of that change with the biggest smiles on their faces.

     Throughout each rehearsal, I have had the amazing privilege of witnessing their love of performing grow as they learn, and then watching them put what they learn into ACTION. I am filled with sheer excitement for them as opening night of Tiny Thumbelina approaches! There is so much more that I wish I could share with you, our readers, about these wonderful students and this show. However, since they are the brawn, beauty, and brains of this production, I thought it only appropriate to let them share a little with you. Here are a few of their thoughts about Tech Week, opening night, and being a theatre kid.


Q:
What’s your favorite part of tech week?

A: “Putting the whole show together on the stage.” – Megan Cullen

      “Costumes!” – Abbey Kate Daugherty

      “Props, because I get a sword in this play.” – Aidan Hayes

      “Opening night, of course!” – Isabella Webster

Q: What do you like about theatre?

A: “Being on the stage in the spotlight.” – Maggie Rabitsch

      “The adrenaline from performing and getting to play challenging roles.” – Noah Eastman

      “It’s fun!” – Amelie Steffen

      “Horrible things never happen here, only good things always. And it helps prepare you for college.” – Terrence Bush

Q: What’s your favorite line from Tiny Thumbelina?

A: “I like the mud.” – Maggie Rabitsch

     “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” – Abbey Kate Daugherty

     “I hate the word FROG!” – Terrence Bush

     “You can’t be ugly when you’re rich.” – Jolie-Anne Brosseau

Q: What’s your favorite play you’ve seen?

A: My Fair Lady” – Ansley McKee

      “Huckleberry Finn” – Aidan Hayes

      “Charlotte’s Web” – Megan Cullen

      “All of the SCT plays, because they’re SO GOOD!” – Noah Eastman

Q: What’s your dream role?

A: “Donkey in Shrek” – Abbey Kate Daugherty

      “Blue Fairy in Pinnochio” – Megan Cullen

      “Sheriff in Robin Hood” – Terrence Bush

      “Pinnochio” – Noah Eastman

Q: Would you like for everyone you know to come see your show this weekend?

A: An emphatic “YES!” from the entire Tiny Thumbelina cast!

20131114_161952

     So come join us at SCT for Tiny Thumbelina,  a tale of love, adventure, and finding home.

Friday, November 15th at 7:00pm.

Saturday, November 16th at 3:00pm

Sunday, November 17th at 3:00pm

Click HERE for tickets!

SMILE! by Maggie Lee Hart

     “A Rollicking Band of Pirates, We” have leaped through the stage doors of SCT and have been skipping to the tunes of this operatic comedy for the last twelve weeks.  These “rollicking” actors consist of middle school students enrolled in our Creative Dramatics II Class, who are now entering Tech Week for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Jr!, directed by Mr. Chris Blair and myself.  Mr. Mike and Mrs. April Prow will be our Lighting and Sound Design team, assistance in Set Design by Mr. Eric Mitchell, and assistance with Costuming by the lovely Bonnie Juengert and Renee McMahon.

     So what is tech week?  Tech Week is the last week of rehearsals when all elements of a production come together and the magic of finalizing the show begins.  By the time these technical rehearsals begin, the cast of a production should feel comfortable and secure with the flow and orchestration of their show.  This is an important element, because much of the focus from the Director will be geared towards the technical elements of the production instead of the actors.  It is at this time that we rely on these young actors for patience and concentration.  Mr. Chris, with his ability to move larger set pieces, will be backstage with the students to make sure all is running calmly and quietly, while I will be up at the lighting board behind the sparkly glittered sign that says “SMILE”!  I love this sign because it is a friendly reminder that what we are doing on that stage is a play, and to take it literally, it is just playing!  What fun it is to be able to portray a pirate with a peg leg, or a silly and flexible police officer, or even a maiden who has a fear of water, yet lives on the ocean’s coast.

smile

     One of the highlights I thoroughly enjoy within this week is the time and focus an actor gives towards the choreography and blocking of each moment.  The students are given this opportunity during the long hours of rehearsal to really center in on those 4 W’s; the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHY of their character.  This week leading up to the opening performance holds some of the most exciting moments for the cast.  I look forward to seeing smiling faces on stage, and proud and supportive friends and family of every student on SCT’s stage.  The hard work towards their growth as young performing artists is most definitely something to applaud.  Let’s all and give a “Hurrah” for this coming weekend of performances: November 8th at 7:30pm and November 9th and 10th at 3:00pm! Click here for tickets!