Do you have a kid with talent? CenterStage Academy is now accepting applicants to its 2015-16 class.
The class, which trains children how to perform in a musical production then finishes with a show has become very popular and should fill up quickly, said Frank Goodloe III, a co-director of the program. He and Jordan Price rehearse with the children and teach the kids the show, as well as singing, dancing and acting.
This year CenterStage Academy will perform in Shrek, Jr. for the 9-17 year-olds, and Winnie the Pooh Kids for the 4-7 year-olds. Both classes run October-March. There are 40 spots available for each group.
“We teach the kids to work as a team,” Goodloe said. “We teach them how to dance and how to put dance steps to a song, how to use a microphone. We teach them everything you would need to know to be in a stage production.”
There were 36 children in the program last year.
“It was great,” Goodloe said. “The kids got into it and enjoyed what they did.”
The biggest challenge is getting kids to let go and use their imaginations, he said. “They would say, ‘People don’t live on a speck (from Horton Hears a Who)!’ So you have to get them to think: If you lived on a speck, how would you talk? How would you use sound?”
Kristen Heckel’s daughter Audrey Heckel, 8, has been in the CenterStage Academy junior productions for two years she will return for a third year this fall. In Seussical, she played a Bird Girl.
“She absolutely loves it,” Heckel said of her daughter. “I don’t think we could find a better program. Frank and Jordan are so great with them.”
Audrey has always wanted to be in theater productions, Kristen Heckel said. “She’s just one of those kids who enjoys writing, singing, reading and dancing.” CenterStage Academy stands out among other youth theater programs, she said.
“There are other places that will get your child on stage, but here they teach so much more about the craft of acting, and there’s so much behind it. “It gives her so much self-confidence and discipline. That’s hard to find in youth programs.”
Maya Gray, 8, is already ready to sign up this year, said her mother, Amy Gray. “She was actually sad when it was over,” Gray said. “We loved it. We thought it was such a great experience for her, and she always had a smile on her face when we picked her up from practice.”
The previous year, the Grays took Maya to see The Little Mermaid, which CenterStage Academy performed. Maya told her parents, “I want to do that!” and she kept bringing it up over and over, so they couldn’t say no. Gray said she believes that Maya’s younger sister Lucy will want to join, too.
“I would encourage any parent who has a child interested in theater to definitely get involved with this program,” Gray said. “Any kid who is geared toward performance would love it.”
Registration information can be found at www.CenterStageJCC.org/academy