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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.

NBYT Announces a “Golden” Season!

July 17, 2017

Season titlesNew Britain Youth Theater recently announced a new season—its eighth! From Daddy Warbucks’ gold fortunes to Peter Pan’s golden starstuff to Charlie Bucket’s golden ticket, it’s going to be a golden season at NBYT! We may even have a Solid Gold 80’s party before the season is out! We’ll also have young writers, young directors, princesses (one of them gold), knights, dragons, pirates, mermaids, more candy, and more orphans (in Neverland and New York) than you can shake a pixie stick at!

Here are the productions for the 2017-18 season!

Short Play Festival
November 2017 (auditions in September for ages 12 to 18)
A collection of original short comedies and dramas will include a few written by and directed by some of NBYT’s own young participants!

Annie Jr
December 2017 (auditions in September for ages 6 to 18)
Adapted from one of Broadway’s best-loved and most award-winning musicals, Annie Jr follows the young orphan and her friends in 1930s New York City on a life-changing adventure that ends with a Christmas surprise!

The Brothers Grimm The Gnome
April 2018 (auditions in January for ages 6-12)
The Brothers Grimm fairy tale, adapted by the writers of NBYT’s Unlocked and Penny and the Pirates, includes three princesses, three knights, three dragons, and a gnome who causes hilarious mischief for them all!

Peter and the Starcatcher
May 2018 (auditions in January for ages 12-18)
Based on the novel written as a prequel to Peter Pan, this play with music tells the thrilling adventures of a young orphan who becomes The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, and explores the origins of Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, and Neverland itself!

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Jr
July 2018 (registration to begin in March for ages 5-16)
This musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, includes songs from the 1971 film and a score of new songs as it follows poor young Charlie Bucket and four insufferable brats on their visit to Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory!

Later this month, NBYT will announce new classes and educational programs for the new season. We hope you’re as excited as we are for this golden season of fortunes found, starstuff spread, and magical dreams come true!

 

Romeo and Juliet

July 3, 2017

A few photos are posted here from the recent production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The production, set in 1967 in the Summer of Love, was performed on the grounds of the New Britain Museum of American Art, and one performance was held at the historic Berlin Congregational Church. The culture, counter-culture, politics, and music of 1967 all influenced the production.

Join NBYT for Teen Wednesdays in July

June 19, 2017

Teen Company logo (new)

On Wednesdays in July, NBYT invites teens (ages 13-19) to be part of four discussions/planning meetings/social gatherings that will help to guide planning for the 2017-18 NBYT season of production and classes and beyond. The gatherings will also become the basis for a new Teen Advisory Board that will be formed in the fall. Two teens will also be chosen to join the theater’s Board of Directors as full members.

Between 6 and 8 PM each week at the NBYT Studio Space at the Berlin YMCA, we’ll have a planned discussion, some theater games and activities, and pizza and drinks for a suggested contribution of $5. Teens are also welcome to bring their own drinks and snacks. Come any week or all four.

July 5: Choosing a Season

Popular versus obscure. New versus classic. Musical versus play. Find out how a theater’s season of productions is chosen. What factors are most important? And when can a theater take risks in choosing something not so well known—or completely unknown? Give your suggestions for future seasons too, and find out at the end of the night what shows NBYT will produce in its 2017-18 season.

July 12: Planning the Short Play Festival

In the fall, NBYT will produce its first annual (we hope!) Short Play Festival. The goal is that some of our own kid and teen participants will submit scripts, direct, stage manage, and help to produce a series of short plays. All interested directors and playwrights should attend. We’ll talk about how directors work and what they should consider, what stage managers do, and how writers should be involved in the process. Young playwrights are encouraged to bring some of their work to share. (The deadline for submitting scripts and signing up to direct is July 31.)

July 19: Budgeting for a Production

Like it or not, how much money a theater has is a big factor in what shows it can do and what programs it can offer. Join in a role-playing game to help balance a hypothetical theater’s budget (and we promise—that’s more fun than it sounds), learn how a theater can increase its revenue, and give some fundraising ideas of your own.

July 26: Actor Training and Education

Even the most experienced actors continue to work on their craft through classes, workshops, and coaching. Help us to plan what classes and workshops to offer for our older participants by telling us what skills you’re most interested in developing. Also find out what classes NBYT is offering in the fall, and help to shape the curriculums of those classes. (Winter and spring classes will be planned around your suggestions.) Tell us your favorite games and activities from any theater rehearsals or classes, and we’ll play a few of those too.

To participate, email darren@nbyt.org, call 860-515-8115, or just show up ready to share your ideas, maybe a learn a few things, and have fun.

NBYT Staff Profile: Nicki LaPorte

June 19, 2017

This is the second in NBYT’s series of staff profiles. Nicki LaPorte is co-director of—and a performer in—Romeo and Juliet, which plays this coming weekend.

Nicki LaPorte BWNicki is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a double major in Educational Theater and U.S. History. During the day she works with New Britain Public Schools in special education, and in the afternoon and evenings Nicki brings a love of the performing arts to children and teens in acting classes and shows. Nicki has been with NBYT since January 2011, where she has taught, directed, performed, stage managed, and designed and built costumes. She has also taught theater programs through East Hartford Public Schools, Hartford Performs, Performing Arts Programs, and the Gateway Project in Huntingdon, Massachusetts. During the summer of 2016, Nicki traveled to The Freedom Theater in the West Bank of Palestine to work with children living in the Jenin refugee camp. Nicki has been a company member with Elmwood Productions as a puppeteer since early 2016, has performed at New Britain’s Hole in the Wall Theater in The Impracticality of Modern-day Mastodons (mastodon puppeteer) and Rocky Horror Show (Transylvanian ensemble), has performed at The Ridgefield Playhouse and Fairfield Theater Company in Dr. Phineas’ Magical Emporium (Queen and Princess), and performed in several main stage and student directed shows during her time at CCSU.

Five Questions for Nicki

DSC_0548

Nicki speaking with actors in Romeo and Juliet, in which she performs as well as directs. Photo credit: Paula Murphy Meehan

How did you first get involved in theater?

I first got involved in theater in preschool. I was a loud and creative child so my parents had me audition for a preschool that focused on the arts. As I got older I did plays through community organizations in the summer and winter as well as in school. I haven’t stopped since.

What’s the best thing about working at NBYT?

The best part of working at NBYT is meeting and inspiring all the young actors. I burst with excitement watching them grow and learn and enjoy what we are doing in classes, after school, and in productions.

Do you have a favorite puppet?

My favorite puppet is any mastodon type: so, Snuffleupagus. He was so big and I loved watching him on TV as a kid. Then, as an adult at Hole in the Wall Theater I was so excited to be cast as the better half (the back half) of the giant mastodon in the world premier of The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons. That production got me other paying puppetry gigs, so that was really great.

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

I would be vegan pumpkin soft serve from Divine Treasures, for a few reasons. One, its orange, my favorite color. Two, it’s vegan like me. And three it’s only available in limited quantities. (It’s fun to be in high demand!) And I guess I would be soft serve because even though I pretend to be tough, I’m really soft and sensitive.

What advice do you have for kids interested in theater?

My advice for kids interested in theater is to find a great community-based theater and try it out. Take classes or join a production. If you don’t get a good part in your first production, don’t worry—it took me years until I realized my full potential and started to get major roles. But above all: have fun because theater is play!