Spring is in bloom at The Academy and this week we’d like to turn the spotlight to our Academy Youth Theatre (AYT).
This week, 29 local students from Lynchburg and surrounding areas will spend their Spring Break rehearsing Junie B. Jones, Jr. The Musical to be performed this Friday and Saturday. Angie Kraje, a youth theater director since 2008 and an actress herself (as well as an elementary school SFA facilitator), will be directing.
Also working on this production is choreographer Ariel Kraje, and her assistant, an AYT highschooler, Keenan Friberg; Christa Bowens from Timber Studios as Music Director; Lauren Gabler as Stage Manager, along with AYT highschooler Kiley Mullins; Elias Quintero on props; and costumer Lindsay Patton, who has been working with AYT for 8 years!
Junie B. Jones, Jr. The Musical, written by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, is a delightful adaptation of four of Barbara Park’s best-selling books, created specifically for Broadway Junior performers. The story follows Junie B. on her first day of first grade, where many changes are in store.
For these young actors, first grade is far from a distant memory. This camp’s participants range from 8 to 14 years old, and they’ll be rehearsing from 9:30 – 3:30 each day this week preparing for this weekend’s performances. Thirteen of these students, including the lead actress playing Junie B., are joining the Academy Youth Theatre for the first time!
After auditions (March 28), one parent of a first-time AYT actress shared the following: “This was my daughter’s first time doing any sort of audition and she came home smiling, excited, and happy. Thank you for creating such a warm and welcoming environment. See you in a few weeks!”
Director Angie Kraje was overjoyed to see two things during auditions, especially with so many new students: children had already been working on choreography they learned unprompted, and bonds form between the younger students and the older students.
Education Manager Kelli Johnson expressed how difficult it was casting the show: “We had so many talented students we could go so many different ways with our casting, which is such a great problem to have!”
Truly the talent, commitment, and passion for Junie B. Jones that these local students have cannot go unnoticed. With rehearsals already underway (and sounding fantastic), you surely won’t want to miss this weekends performances. Bring your family, grab some popcorn, and sit back and enjoy the show on our Historic Academy Theatre stage!
Have students interested in theater? It’s not too late to enroll them in one of this summer’s Academy Youth Theatre camps. However, many camps have already sold out, so don’t wait too long! More details about the performances for each of these camps will be announced soon, so save the dates to come out and support these young local performers!
Upcoming Youth Theatre Camps with Availability:
Who: High Schoolers, rising 9th grade to 12th!
Auditions: May 21, 2:00 - 6:00.
Rehearsals: Monday - Friday, June 12 - 30 from 9:00 - 4:00.
Performances: Friday, June 30 & Saturday, July 1 at 7pm; Sunday July 2 at 2pm.
Where: Historic Academy Theatre
What: Tarzan The Stage Musical, directed by Brooke Spencer
Stage Combat Camp
Who: Children ages 11 - 15
When: Monday - Friday, July 17 - 21, 9:30 - 12:00
Where: Lippard Room
What: Instructor Ethan Roberts will teach students the the basics in the mechanics of conflict and acting it truthfully, Stage Combat Safety, and necessary skills using characterization and finding the acting baseline.
Story-MAKERS Theatre Camp
Who: Children ages 10 - 18
Camp: Monday - Friday, July 24 - Aug 4, 9:00 - 12:00
Performance: Friday, Aug 4, time TBD
Where: Warehouse Theatre
What: Instructors Teresa Harris & Dee Brown will provide students with the opportunity to write, perform, and produce their own 10-minute theatrical pieces.
Missoula’s Children Theatre: King Arthur’s Quest
Who: Children ages 6 - 18
Camp: Monday - Friday, Aug 7 - 11, 9am - 3pm
Performances: Saturday, August 12, time TBD
Where: Warehouse Theatre
What: Missoula Children's Theatre will direct a performance of King Author's Quest and provide additional workshops throughout the week.