Students to participate in young adult cast musical productions during the summer



AScreen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.04.37 PMs the end of the school year approaches, many students look for activities to keep them busy in the summer. While many find summer jobs or vacation spots, junior Seth VanNatter has different plans. He said this summer he will play the character Carlos in “Legally Blonde” at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre.

According to Ron Morgan, director of “Legally Blonde,” this production is different than other Civic Theatre productions because it is only open to auditioners ages 13 to 18. He said this production is a part of their Young Artists Program (YAP), which offers classes and shows specifically for young adults in this age range.

VanNatter said, “I love the YAP program at (the Civic Theatre). The show itself is high-energy and a ton of fun.”

The trend of creating summer musical productions just for young adults is not isolated to just the Civic Theatre. Junior Joseph Bloom earned a role in a different summer production from Summer Stock Stage. He said the show is “Bonnie and Clyde” in which he plays three roles: Preacher #1, Joe and Detective Hamer.

However, unlike VanNatter, who has been in the Civic Theatre’s summer productions for the past two years, Bloom said this will be his first summer production.

“I hadn’t even heard of any others,” Bloom said. “It’s a new experience for me.”

Bloom said he first heard about Summer Stock Stage musical productions when he was performing in DivaFest. He participated in a 10 minute show  directed by performing arts teacher Jim Peterson.

“One day after the show, a woman comes up to me and starts telling me all about Summer Stock Stage, just totally out of the blue. Auditions were the next weekend, but I went for it and I’m super glad I did,” Bloom said.

Summer Stock Stage and the Civic Theatre are not the only local theatres that have summer productions for teens. Footlite Musicals has its own Young Artists Production open to ages 13 to 18 in the summer, as do The Belfry and Mud Creek Players. However, VanNatter said that despite the many different productions occurring in a similar time frame, there isn’t a competitive nature among the different theatres.

“The programs I know of do their best to work in tandem in order to each have a successful production while providing the actors with the place that they will be most successful,” VanNatter said.

VanNatter said he personally has a strong allegiance to the Civic Theatre’s programs.

Bloom, on the other hand, said he is less aligned with any particular theatre since this is his first show. As for his role in Summer Stock Stage, he said he is extremely excited for what this summer will bring.

“I’m super excited to meet a bunch of people involved in community theater that don’t go to CHS,” Bloom said. “There were a ton of cool and talented people just at auditions. The experience will be amazing, firstly, because I haven’t been in a full-length musical since the eighth grade, but also because of the time frame.  We go from first rehearsal to first performance in three weeks, so putting on a show of this magnitude in such a tiny time frame is sure to be an educational experience.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.05.50 PMBloom said the time period for this production is shorter than typical shows because Summer Stock Stage performs two productions each summer, one in June and one in July.

“It’s nice because I have show choir camp in July, so I couldn’t make a commitment for the entire summer, but I still get to be involved and in the show, so Summer Stock (Stage)’s schedule is really good for me,” he said.

Although Bloom is not aligned to a specific theatre at the moment, he said he may continue to participate in productions at Summer Stock Stage due to the nature of its schedule. According to VanNatter, many students tend to align to a particular theatre every summer, but not all do so.

“I think it depends on the person. Some people find a program at a theatre they love and stick with that, but others go to whatever theatre has the show that sounds most interesting to them for that summer,” VanNatter said.

Morgan said the Civic Theatre only does one production each summer, similarly to most other summer theatre programs in the area. However, VanNatter said he does not mind committing his entire summer to the Civic Theatre and is excited for the upcoming show.

“I’m especially looking forward to the number, ‘Whipped Into,’ a mixture of choreography and jump roping,” VanNatter said.