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Youth Theatre Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is Youth Theater open to?
CSJ Youth Theater is open to all Jackson County youth in third through eighth grades.
How much theatrical experience do you have to have to audition?
No experience is necessary! Our mission is to expose youths to and educate youths in theater.
How many shows do you do in a year?
We typically have a play in November and a musical in March. Auditions are usually in mid September for the play and early January for the musical.
Is there any cost?
There is no cost to participate in Youth Theater, however, first time participants will be required to purchase a makeup kit (around $18) that can be used in subsequent shows. We conduct a seminar in basic makeup techniques about a week before the show opens. There is usually a tee shirt produced for each show that is available for purchase (about $9) and DVDs of the show are also available (about $11) but these items are strictly optional. Joining Center Stage Jackson is not required but you are most welcome to do so!
How do I prepare for an audition?
No preparation is necessary. For plays, you will be asked to read from the script. For musicals, you will be asked to read from the script and sing a few bars from a well known song (for "The Secret Garden" it was "Jingle Bells"). The show will be cast based on these auditions.
You usually have two audition dates. Do I have to go to both?
No. You need attend only one audition.
What is the director looking for in auditions?
For plays, the director is looking for young people with who are loud enough to be heard at the back of the audience without yelling and who can read with some feeling and/or emotion. For musicals, the above applies as well as musical pitch, volume and phrasing. Of course, the director is also looking to fill specific roles and young people who "look the part" for a role will have an advantage.
When are rehearsals?
Plays usually rehearse two days per week from 4:30 until 6:00. Musicals will usually rehearse three days a week from 4:30 until 6:00. The director determines which days rehearsals will be held. During production week (the week directly before the show opens), rehearsals are held every day. Actors with larger roles will be scheduled for rehearsal on most days. Actors with smaller roles will typically have some days off early in the rehearsal process. As the production approaches, everyone will be required to attend every rehearsal.
What if I have a conflict with the rehearsal times? Can I still be in the show?
The director will usually work around minor conflicts and it is easier to do this earlier in the rehearsal schedule. The closer we get to the production dates, the more important it is to not miss rehearsals. If you have a concern, speak with the director at or shortly after auditions.
How do I find out when auditions are?
Check the CSJ website about a month before auditions for dates, times and locations. Auditions for the fall play are usually in mid-September. Auditions for the musical are typically in early January. Members of Center Stage Jackson receive an electronic newsletter prior to auditions that will list the audition information.
How do I find out if I got a part?
Cast lists are sent out via email by the end of the weekend following the last audition date. Most communication to the cast is via email.
What if I didn't get cast in a show?
We are typically limited in the number of youths we can cast in a play by the number of roles available. Usually, this means that some young people who audition will not be cast. Do not be discouraged by this. There are many reasons why good, young actors and actresses don't get cast. Try again and you will have a better chance of making the cut next time. Musicals typically have a chorus and we try to cast everyone who auditions. Don't be discouraged if you are "only" cast in the chorus. The chorus is an important part of any musical. Do a good job, "learn the ropes", impress the director and you will have an excellent chance at a speaking role next time!
Where are the shows performed?
Currently plays are performed at Jackson's First Presbyterian Church, 135 W. Michigan Avenue in Jackson. Musicals are performed at the Middle School at Parkside. Play rehearsals are usually at Jackson's First Presbyterian Church. Musicals are rehearsed at Jackson's First Presbyterian Church and at the Middle School at Parkside.
Do you offer any acting classes?
No. Our philosophy is to learn by doing. The best way to learn about theater is to be in a show!
How much do tickets cost?
Though we would love to perform for free, we do have to charge admission in order to cover the costs of putting on a show. Tickets for plays are $3 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Musical tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Parents of cast members can get a parent pass that will allow them to attend all performances for the cost of one ticket. See your director for details.
When are performances?
Plays are usually performed in late November. There are typically performances on Friday night at 7:00, Saturday night at 7:00 and a Sunday matinee at 2:00. Musicals are usually performed in late March with the same days and times as plays.
What if I get sick and have to miss a rehearsal?
If you are too sick to go to school, we typically don't want you at rehearsal. Contact the director or stage manger (it varies from show to show) as soon as you can if you must miss a rehearsal.
Can I videotape a Youth Theater performance?
The CSJ Youth Theater typically has allowed videotaping when the owner of the rights allows us to do so. Check with the director prior to attempting to videotape.
How do I get more information?
Contact the chairman of the Youth Theater Committee, Doug Meyers, at (517)-783-1468.