I am not a stage mom. But, the other day I ended up in the middle of a discussion with a stage dad who, for many years, has designated a great deal of his time and resources to support his teenage son’s performing career. The cry of the stage parent: chauffeuring from one rehearsal to the next, scouting costumes, building sets, selling tickets and program ads, and, of course, sitting in the audience for the entire production run. Then, without a breath, off to the next one!
My experience working at The Glimmerglass Festival has given me a unique behind-the-scenes look at the excitement performances with children bring to the audience, fellow cast members and teams backstage. And, sometimes, it doesn’t stop when Glimmerglass’s curtain closes. After the 2012 season, one of the young performers from “Lost in the Stars” went on to sing the role of Young Simba in “The Lion King” on Broadway while the children cast in “The Music Man” had the opportunity to tour with the production to the Middle Eastern country of Oman.
We are truly lucky to live in a community with so many great organizations that offer children the opportunity to shine on the big stage. Orpheus Theatre in Oneonta is very active throughout the year with youths in the region. In addition to programming one musical each season that requires a children’s ensemble, the company hosts weekly theater troops for first- through sixth-graders on Thursdays and teens on Sundays. For two weeks each summer, Orpheus runs a summer camp for the same age groups, which culminates in a performance of a junior-version of a fully staged musical. Orpheus also conducts workshops for first- through sixth-graders during winter and spring breaks.
The Roxbury Arts Group in Delaware County offers a variety of platforms for children to explore the performing arts. For the past several summers, the company has hosted the Rock ‘n’ Pop Musical Camp — a two-week long adventure in Stamford with associate conductor of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys,” Debra Barsha. Campers ages 9 to 14 write a mini musical, for which they also create costumes and sets, concluding in a fully youth-developed performance.