This week on Behind the Scenes, education director Meghan Montaner speaks with two young stars from the first session of our teen Youth Summer Program. Read on for their thoughts on the rehearsal process, or listen to the entire interview to hear about their production of Guys and Dolls.
David participates in the summer program for the first time this summer, and Amanda returns after performing in last year’s Shrek. They both plan to study musical theatre in college.
David: I’ve felt such a strong sense of fondness between all the cast.
Amanda: I had an amazing time last year. I learned a lot. I just love how hard working everyone is.
Meghan: You come in the first day and have to audition right off the bat. You go home and we cast the show, and you come in the next day and hit the ground running.
David: We start off the day with warm ups together. And then everyone splits into groups and we all go do different classes. We’ll choreograph the dance numbers in the show, and then we’ll go to music and learn all the songs. We’ll go to acting and we’ll do some character work. On top of that you’re also just getting an education about the background of the show and of the craft itself. In our dance class, we were learning about Michael Kidd, the original choreographer of Guys and Dolls and who also has a really big influence on all the dance numbers you’ll see in this production. It’s been a full 360 learning experience.
Meghan: What has been your favorite part of the experience?
David: Just walking on to the Hanover stage. It’s a feeling I can’t really describe. It’s such an exhilarating rush of emotions.
Amanda: My favorite part has been the improv exercises that we do to get into character and learn more about the people we’re portraying on stage.
Meghan: We want to give kids a chance to experience their character outside of the show. What are the things that happen outside of what writers chose to put in front of an audience? It gives us a great opportunity for those ensemble members to create a voice for themselves and create interactions that aren’t just generic and one-note.
How has the Youth Summer Program or conservatory influenced you or your child?