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Short Play Festival Actors Sought; Tall Actors Welcome Too

September 11, 2017

SPF 2017UPDATE: The NBYT Short Play Festival is being postponed to later this season. New audition dates will be announced when scheduled.

 

NBYT will hold auditions for its first Short Play Festival on Monday and Wednesday, September 18 and 20, at NBYT at the Berlin YMCA Program Center at 362 Main Street in Berlin. Auditions both days are at 6:00 p.m.

Rehearsals will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, and on some Thursdays as needed. The production will be performed on November 16 through 19 at the same location.

The Short Play Festival will consist of several original short comedies and dramas submitted by young NBYT participants and by new and established playwrights from around the country and the world. Nearly five hundred plays in total were submitted, and fewer than forty will be selected for production. Actors who are cast will rehearse and perform the plays as an ensemble piece, with performers assisting backstage for those plays in which they don’t appear onstage.

Participation is open to 12 to 19 year-olds from any town, and a diverse cast is sought. Actors auditioning should prepare a 30-60 second monologue of any type. To schedule an audition, call (860) 515-8115 or email auditions@nbyt.org. Pre-scheduled auditions are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Those cast will be asked to pay a participation fee of $150, but partial financial waivers and payment scheduling are available.

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NBYT Staff Profile: Jason Post

September 8, 2017

This is the third in NBYT’s series of staff profiles. Jason Post is NBYT’s newest teaching artist and will be teaching breakdancing this fall. Classes in acting, sketch comedy, and breakdancing begin the week of September 18.

Jason Post

Jason was born in California and raised in New Britain. He started dancing his sophomore year in high school as a substitute to sports—in which his father and older brothers all seemed to be strongly involved. Jason took a different path, focusing his athletic talents towards street dancing, particularly bboying. Jason has studied and performed modern dance and ballet at Central Connecticut State University. He has also performed in many pieces such as “No Shade” and “Heart Beat” at the University. Jason choreographed dances for “Break Dancing Shakespeare” in the summers between 2006 and 2012 at Hartford Stage. Even though his dancing has revolved around bboying for the fifteen years of his dance career, for the past six and half years, he has studied and developed a strong passion for house dancing and has been sharing that passion with others as well.

Five Questions for Jason

How did you first get involved in dance? 

I was first introduced to breakdancing when I was in 8th grade. My older brother was learning at the time and he taught me just a few steps. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school that I took it more seriously and actually trained for the dance. It was then that I had learned more difficult moves such as windmills and flips that motivated me to push myself even more. Breaking introduced me to various dance styles after that, leaving me with a strong passion for street dance styles such as house dancing and Hip Hop today.

What is your favorite show that you’ve choreographed?

I enjoyed just about all the shows that I choreographed, but one show that comes to mind that I particularly enjoyed would have to be The Comedy of Errors during my time at Hartford Stage doing Break Dancing Shakespeare. With the show being a comedy, it provided me with a challenge to put comedy into my choreography. It was something different and it added a different dynamic to the show.

 

If you could trade places for a day with a character from any play, who would you choose?

Don Pedro from Much Ado About Nothing.

If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be?

Neapolitan

What advice do you have for kids who are interested in breakdancing?

With breaking being a very challenging dance, having a strong foundation and a good grasp of the basic movements, learning the dance becomes a much more fulfilling experience.

JUST ADDED: Clowning Workshop with The Freedom Theatre

September 2, 2017

NBYT hosts actors Saber and Alaa from The Freedom Theater in Jenin, Palestine, and clowns with Red Noses Palestine who will visit NBYT for a one-time-only workshop in physical comedy and clowning. They invite performers young and old to come clown around!

Freedom Theatre bannerParticipants ages 8 and up will connect with their bodies and voices to learn some physical comedy skills in this 90-minute workshop. By the workshop’s end, each actor will have created a clown and will take home their own red nose! At the end of the workshop, parents are welcome to join the group for photos and to ask questions of Saber and Alaa about their work, training, and experience as actors and clowns.

The Freedom Theatre is a community-based theater and cultural center located in the Jenin Refugee Camp. Established in 2006 and working specifically with youth, the theatre’s goal is to develop a vibrant and creative artistic community that empowers children and young adults to express themselves freely and equally through art. NBYT Teaching Artist Nicki LaPorte has worked with the group for the past two summers.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, September 9, at 10:00 a.m. at NBYT’s studio theater at the Berlin YMCA Program Center at 362 Main Street in Berlin. The cost is $25 per participant. Pre-registration may be made by emailing classes@nbyt.org or by calling 860-515-8115. Payment may be made at the workshop or in advance by phone.

Roles in ANNIE JR

August 29, 2017

Annie auditionsAuditions for Annie Jr are open to anyone age 6 to 18, and we need all of you to bring the orphanage, Daddy Warbucks’ mansion, and the streets of New York City to life!

Roles to be cast are listed below (thanks to MTI, the show’s licencing agency). More details about the show and music are on the MTI website too. Roles are listed in approximate order of appearance in the show.

ANNIE is a tough, streetwise urchin who is nevertheless vulnerable when she thinks she might lose what has become most important to her: a newfound “family” who loves her. She has to be motherly in scene one, independent in scene two, overwhelmed in scenes four and five, needy in scene seven, and hopeful for the future in scenes ten and eleven. Although she is at times aggressive or crafty, the audience should never doubt Annie is a friendly and caring child; she will go to any extent to gain the love of a family to which she can belong. The actor who plays Annie must be strong vocally and musically. She also needs a good understanding of subtext so she can act appropriately during the various scenes between Warbucks and Grace, and Miss Hannigan and Grace. Physically, Annie must look young enough to play a small girl next to the actors playing the adult roles.

The Orphans—MOLLY, TESSIE, JULY, DUFFY, KATE and PEPPER—are gritty, neglected, and vulnerable, yet basically honest and lovable. The actors portraying them must be able to have mischievous fun with each other. Each actorshould be able to create and shape her own character. Children auditioning for these roles need to have vocal strength and be visually expressive. All of their blocking and movements must appear motivated and strong.

MISS HANNIGAN is definitely a “has-been.” Her distaste for her job and the children that are part of it should be obvious in every line she speaks, every song she sings and every move she makes. The actor who plays her must have an excellent sense of comic timing. The acrid delivery of her lines and the torch-like rendition of her songs must distinguish her from the other characters in the show.

GRACE FARRELL is mature, calm, cool, and “together.” She is classy and businesslike when dealing with Miss Hannigan and Warbucks, yet maternal toward Annie. The actor playing Grace can set herself apart from the other characters simply by the sophisticated way she walks. Grace should seem ready with an answer for just about anything. Each dramatic situation should seem to come “under control” the moment she glides into a scene.

ROOSTER and LILY are quite the team—”team” being the operative word, as the characters play off each other constantly. Rooster is flashy and self-assured. His “moves” should be as smooth as a gambler’s, as should be the message he sells in “Easy Street.” Lily is always distracted, although she manages to pick up on any conversation involving money. She never acts as the leader, always bringing up the rear while tripping over her own feet (for it’s difficult to walk and check your makeup in a compact at the same time). “Easy Street” is the most challenging number in the show, in terms of vocal range.

WARBUCKS may be the most challenging role for a young actor. He must appear middle-aged, self-assured and confident. At first awkwardly affectionate toward Annie, he soon finds himself completely charmed by her. He begins his transformation when he views “N.Y.C.” through Annie’s eyes and falls in love with the city again…and with her. The actor who plays Warbucks will need to be extremely focused throughout the show. His posture, walk and speech patterns are very important.

DRAKE, MRS. GREER, MRS. PUGH, CECILLE and ANNETTE—servants in the Warbucks mansion—should have their presence, posture, and speech suggest the most professional of domestic help from the moment these characters enter the acting area. Their heads are always held high and they rarely show their emotions.

Important supporting roles with lines include BUNDLES McCLOSKEY (the laundry man), the APPLE SELLER, the DOGCATCHER, LT. WARD (a policeman), the STAR TO BE, BERT HEALY (the radio personality), PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, and his assistant LOUIS HOWE.

Additional ENSEMBLE will include ORPHANS (both boys and girls), SERVANTS, NEW YORKERS, RADIO STATION STAFF, and additional ASSISTANTS to the President.

Auditions are on September 11 and 13. NBYT is also looking for teenagers to help backstage and as spotlight operators. Email auditions@nbyt.org or call 860-515-8115 with interest.

Auditions announced for ANNIE JR

August 21, 2017

Annie auditionsLeapin’ lizards! New Britain Youth Theater begins its eighth season with auditions for the blockbuster musical Annie Jr. Based on the comic strip that debuted in 1924 and the Broadway production from 1977, the musical tells the familiar story of the young orphan Annie who is brought from her orphanage to spend Christmas with New York billionaire Oliver Warbucks. (The “junior” version of the musical is slightly adapted for young actors and audience.) The production will be directed by Darren Farrington, musical directed by Angela Klimaytis, and choreographed by Chelsea Derby.

All children and teens, ages 6 through 18, from any town and with or without prior experience, are welcome to audition. There are roles for older actors, roles for girls and boys, and many featured ensemble roles. Older children age 13 and up may also contact NBYT with interest in helping backstage.

Auditions are on Monday and Wednesday, September 11 and 13, at Holmes Elementary School at 2150 Stanley Street in New Britain (off Hartford Road (Route 71) near West Farms Mall)). Audition times both days begin at 6:00 p.m. Actors auditioning should prepare an upbeat musical theater or other song not from Annie and should bring sheet music if possible, or they will be given a song to sing. Girls interested specifically in the role of Annie may be asked to sing Tomorrow in addition to their audition song. Actors should also wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to learn a few dance steps. Rehearsals will also be on Monday and Wednesday evenings. The production will be performed at the same location on December 8, 9 and 10.

To schedule an audition, call 860-515-8115 or email auditions@nbyt.org. Because a large turnout is expected, preference will be given to actors who schedule audition times. Those cast will be asked to pay a participation fee of $150, but partial financial waivers and payment scheduling are available.

New Britain Youth Theater also offers drama classes and homeschool enrichment programs. More information about all programs is also available on the theater’s website at www.nbyt.org or by calling 860-515-8115 or emailing info@nbyt.org.

New Classes for Fall 2017

August 7, 2017

Stage Performance

We’re excited about new classes and schedules for the new season at NBYT! Read about them here or online at the Classes and Homeschool pages of the NBYT website—where you can also find registration forms to download and mail.

NEW WEEKDAY CLASSES

Break Dancing, Ages 10 – 18
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Break Dancing (aka bboying/bgirling or breaking) is a street dance that falls under the umbrella of Hip-Hop culture. Students will learn the foundations of breaking and will be encouraged to develop creative moves of their own. Many of the challenging moves will help students develop a sense of self-control in movement with their bodies, as well as a good sense of self-discipline for their minds.

Stage Play: Middle Eastern Tales, Ages 5 – 8
Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
A new weekday section of our popular introductory class for young actors! See the full class description below.

Stage Performance Skills: Intro to Acting for Tweens and Teens, Ages 11 – 18
Thursdays, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
An introductory class for “older” actors to learn the basics of stage presence and performance. The fall section will focus on individual monologues, and will culminate in a Share Day performance for family and friends.

SATURDAY CLASSES

Stage Play: Middle Eastern Tales, Ages 5 – 8
Saturdays, 9:30 – 10:30 AM
From Arabian Nights to modern takes on Aladdin, and from Egypt to western Asia, the Middle East has a rich history of folk tales, fairy tales, and fables. Drama games and scenes based on these tales will be used to teach the basics of theatrical story telling, character development, voice, and movement. Older and returning students will be challenged to further develop roles and begin script analysis. The term ends with a Share Day performance” for family and friends.

Stage Performance Skills: Scene Study, Ages 9 – 14
Saturdays, 10:40 – 11:40 AM
Every great performance starts with a story, and students in this class will analyze dramatic (and comedic) scripts to improve their performances by finding beats, objectives, and their characters’ motivation in a script. Prior acting experience is recommended but not required. The term ends with a Share Day performance for family and friends.

Sketch Writing and Performance, ages 10 – 16
Saturdays, 11:50 am – 12:50 PM
Through improvisation, brainstorming, and collaboration, students will write and perform short, scripted (and not necessarily comedic!) scenes. In the first weeks, through collective discussion, themes will be established and explored. Scripts will then be written, revised, and rehearsed, all culminating in a Share Day of material built by students from the ground up.

HOMESCHOOL CLASSES

Homeschool Repertory Players, Ages 6 – 14
Tuesdays, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Ten-week programs concluding with creative themed performances for family and friends. The theme this fall will be “Shaking Up Shakespeare,” and will include the Bard’s work rehearsed and performed in a variety of ways!

Music, Ages 8 – 16
Tuesdays, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
A general music class to learn about the musical elements of pitch, duration, tempo, dynamics, timbre, and form through a sequential, developmentally appropriate course of study.  Students will create, perform, and respond to music.

Improv, Ages 8 – 16
Tuesdays, 1:40 – 2:40 PM
An introductory improv class that teaches and reviews the basic of improvisational comedy including story building, environmental awareness, saying “yes,” and making and accepting dramatic offers. Experienced and new improv performers are all welcome!

PRIVATE LESSONS AND COACHING

NBYT also offers individual or small group lessons in voice, acting, and audition preparation. Contact the theater for rates and available schedules.

For schedules, rates, and more information about these and other NBYT performances and programs, visit our website at www.NBYT.org, email classes@nbyt.org, or call 860-515-8115.

 

 

The VIBRANT Lion King!

July 28, 2017

After less than four weeks in rehearsal, The Lion King Jr performed its first full dress rehearsal in costume and make-up and with full sets, lighting, and props. Visually, The Lion King Jr is one of the most beautiful and vibrant—in color, energy, and sound—that NBYT has produced.

 

The Lion King Jr will be performed at Holmes Elementary School, a community space located at 2150 Stanley Street in New Britain. Performances are Friday, July 28, at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, July 29, at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, July 30, at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $13 for adults and $11 for children, students, and seniors. Tickets may be purchased online through Universe Ticketing. Tickets will also be available to purchase at the door for all performances.