Welcome to the Drama Club!
This is going to be a big year, so please take the time to read this letter as it will explain what to expect as we go about creating the world of Seussical.
We have set up a Seussical Remind group so you can stay fully informed. Be sure you and your child joins this Remind group so you will receive all the communications from us. The access code is: @7c2bhf8
Mrs. Peters (choreographer), Mr. Goldman (music director), Ms. Oliveri (asst. director), Mr. Owens (technical director) and I (director) are extremely excited to begin working with the Middle School students, teaching them not only how to perform their roles to the best of their abilities, but also about how to be a productive member of a theatrical team dedicated to producing high-quality performances. Each member of the creative team takes great pride in his/her work and has high expectations for the show; therefore, a high level of commitment will be expected from each and every member of the cast and crew of Seussical. It is only through hard work and dedication that the show will become the artistic success we dream it will be.
The following is important information broken down into categories:
AUDITIONS: All roles are open to all actors. We do not play favorites in the MS Drama Club nor do we "type cast." Anyone, regardless of race, size, shape, and gender (mostly), may earn any role. Finally, (and this is important) roles are not given, they are earned. While every actor who wishes to be a part of the show will be welcomed, actors wanting a lead role must audition for us. Short acting scenes are posted for select parts and excerpts of songs will be taught. Every actor auditioning will get the same opportunity to make the role come to life. We encourage our young actors to stretch beyond their comfort zones and through their nervousness to create a memorable impression at their audition. We see over 100 children, so we are looking for actors who stand out from the pack; therefore, preparation is key. We will be having a couple of workshops where we discuss the roles and teach the music for the auditions. These workshops are the first step in preparing an audition. The rest is done at home.
The creative team will match the actors to the parts we think they are best suited to play. Oftentimes, these roles are not the ones the actor auditioned for; however, that's what casting a show is about: finding the right actor for each particular part. If an actor is not cast in a lead role, he/she will automatically be a member of the ensemble. We post the cast list after school on a Friday. This allows kids who may feel disappointed the time to process these feelings so they can come to rehearsal the next week feeling up to it. Many times this is the first experience children have with dealing with this kind of disappointment, so please check in on them. Since the ancient Greeks invented theatre, the posting of the cast list has been a happy day for a few and a sad day for many. We never set out to hurt children's feelings, but, sadly, it is inevitable; there simply aren't enough roles for everyone (especially with cast sizes as large as ours). Regardless of his/her part, everyone will have a magical experience in the end.
After we cast the show, actors will have the opportunity to audition for our choreographers to be a member of our featured dance ensemble. There is limited space; therefore, dance auditions are necessary.
REHEARSALS: We begin rehearsals the week after auditions. For the most part, rehearsals will take place on Mondays and Thursdays. Lead roles and dancers will be called to rehearsal on other days as well.
Early on, rehearsals will be from 2:45-4:00, but beginning around Thanksgiving, rehearsals will extend from 2:45 - 5:00; therefore, please begin to have a pick-up plan in place. In January we add critical Saturday rehearsals from 9 AM - 3 PM. Please begin to clear your children's schedules accordingly. We strive to make rehearsals as productive as possible; therefore, we only call people to rehearsal when we need them. You must check the rehearsal calendar carefully to be sure to have your child present whenever he/she is called to rehearsal. The rehearsal schedule will be posted on our webpage at least a week- (perhaps more) in advance. It is crucial that you check the schedule religiously and get your child to rehearsal when called. Clearly, nothing can be learned if your child is not present.
CREW: Some kids prefer to work behind the scenes. Early on we will have a meeting to discuss the jobs for the Crew and to find out who is interested in being on the Crew. To make it fair, we select from the 7th graders first, then 6th, then 5th. In most years, the Crew jobs are almost exclusively performed by 7th graders, with a handful of 6th graders. It is highly unlikely that any 5th graders will become part of the Crew.
Once the Crew has been selected, they don't really get to work until January as there is no show yet to work on.
Crew members will be expected to dress in plain black clothes (shirt and pants).
ATTENDANCE: Attendance is mandatory. We will be taking attendance at every rehearsal. If your child misses rehearsal, he or she will not know how to perform his/her part. We do not put performers on stage who do not know what they are doing. Therefore, if your child misses 2 rehearsals for any given musical number he/she will be removed from the number. If your child misses excessive rehearsals in general he/she will be removed from the cast. Putting on a show is a group effort. Everyone is expected to uphold his/her end; therefore, we will be adhering strictly to this attendance policy. If you know of an upcoming conflict between now and the show (Feb 1-3) please tell us immediately so we can make a plan.
OTHER CLUBS: We love kids who explore their interests! If your child wants to join another club or sport that meets on Drama Days, we will work with their club advisors/coaches to share the time!
RESPONSIBILITY: In addition to attending rehearsals, participating in the Drama Club requires a great deal of personal responsibility. As we always tell the actors: Play time isn't playtime until Opening Night. Until then it is hard work! At rehearsals we will teach everything your child will need to know. The expectation is that your child will practice what we have taught him/her at home between rehearsals. This is a musical; therefore, it is important to learn the lyrics to the songs, the dance steps and any lines he/she may have. The lyrics must be practiced and memorized. Actors who fake the lyrics (and aren't truly singing) will be removed from the number. The songs can all be found on-line and Mr. Goldman will require actors to record their parts as he teaches them. Practicing at home, then, is simple. The same goes for the choreography. If it becomes evident that a performer isn't practicing between rehearsals he/she will be cut from the number. With so many children in the cast and with so many songs/dances to teach, we simply do not have time to go back and reteach everything we've already taught. (Review, yes. Reteach, no).
It is expected that each member of the Drama Club will be a productive and respectful member of the team. The Drama Club is an inclusive environment where everyone is warmly welcomed. Inappropriate or disrespectful behavior will be addressed and may lead to dismissal. Remember: it is a privilege to be in the Drama Club, not a right.
COSTUMES: The Drama Club creates hundreds of costumes for each show (if you would like to be a part of the creative team, please let us know. The more the merrier!). We will ask for specific costumes to be purchased by cast members, however. These will not be expensive, but they will be expected. Please pick up exactly what we ask for (not something similar) and send it in on time (when we ask for it).
MONEY: We will be asking for money for several things including the following:
• Membership: Pays for the show t-shirt, pizza and salad lunch after the in-school performance and for incidentals. With membership comes the opportunity to purchase tickets to the show before they go on sale to the general public. Everyone is expected to join.
• Cast/Crew Party: A catered full-dinner party held between performances on Saturday (February 1).
• Drama Dinner: A fancy party held at the Westbury Manor with dinner and a DJ. Not mandatory, but the kids have a great time.
We have set up an on-line payment system so you may pay with your credit card on a secured site. This will make the organization of this SO MUCH simpler. With over 200 members of the cast and crew expected, handling checks and cash is an overwhelming task. Please take advantage of the on-line payment system.
Finally, I am aware that not every family has the means to support their child in the club. If you cannot pay all of the fees (or any) associated with the Drama Club, please write to me and we will take care of it. Money WILL NOT stand between your child and his/her enjoyment of the club.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Future communication will be on the Remind app, so be sure to join it! Please be sure to bookmark or favorite our webpage so that you and your child stay fully aware of all things Drama! Your children cannot be successful in the Drama Club without your support. They will need you to clear their schedules, be on top of their calendar, pick them up on time and make them practice at home. All your effort will be rewarded when you see your child shine as he/she performs his/her part (onstage or behind the scenes) in Seussical!
If you need to reach me, please email me at email@example.com.
Finally, be sure to keep checking this webpage for ALL the information you will need.
This is going to be an incredible experience!