Broadway Bootcamp and Shrek Jr.

From the first day jitters to the astounding feeling of the audience's applause. These two week intensives are an amazing way for kids from the ages of 7-14 to learn leadership, time management, and group skills. Students learn about the importance of memorize blocking, lines, songs, and dances. Our first camp 'Broadway Boot Camp' focused on what you need to have prepared for any audition. By the end of this one week intensive each student will have two songs and two monologues memorized and blocked to be ready for any audition to come in the future. This camp gives each student one on one private lessons everyday to be prepared for our showcase at the end of the camp to boost the confidence of the students. Each time a student is given the opportunity to perform in front of crowd or audience the students confidence level boosts, the student is happy and confident!


Broadway Boot Camp, our one week audition workshop intensive, was filled with hard work, discipline, and fun. As choreographer I had 2-3 hours a day to teach 20-30 students a 6 minute dance routine and the basic and proper techniques of many styles of dance such as ballet, tap, and jazz. In Shrek The Musical Jr. we had 2 weeks Monday-Friday to put on a full production. The first day of camp involves of the meet and greet of camp staff and students along with auditions and first read thru of the show. Without a hesitant we jump straight into blocking, music, and dancing. By the time of the second week all of the dances were choreographed and it was time to start cleaning up the dance numbers to get show ready. When Wednesday rolled by it was our first day of tech rehearsal, we ran the whole show with lights, music, and sets. As it always is the first day of tech rehearsal was rough, but as we ran the show over and over again, each time the students heard a critiqued note it was not long before they started adapting and learning from their notes. By the time of our last run through the show was exactly were we wanted it to be. During the show we were all so proud of all the hard work each and every student had put into the show. Friends and family were amazed by the production. It was at the end of the production when I saw the joy on the faces of the students on stage that brought joy to my heart. I am looking forward to working this next camp and to be amazed with what the students will do next!

~ Lana'e Hernandez, Assistant to the Camp Director

Getting Used To Life In The Swamp

Week 1 of our Musical Theatre Summer Camp: Shrek the Musical Jr. is complete. This week, was not as hectic as last week because I was working more with the administration work, then with the actual show, which I am totally okay with. 

I'm still having to pick up the lunches from EVOS because we haven't reached our 20 lunch order goal yet, but that's okay. I don't mind driving to EVOS everyday; it's kind of like a nice little break for myself, where I can have peace and quiet for about 20 minutes. 

Monday, was audition day and it was a boring day for the kids, because it consisted of a lot of sitting around and waiting. The auditions lasted until lunch and then after lunch the creative team cast the show and then announced the cast list and we had a read thru. A couple of kids, were upset with the part they got because they thought it was a small role and they wanted a big role. The creative team, during the second break in the afternoon, sat down and talked about adding extra scenes like we have in the past, to give everybody, their moment to shine, but we came to the conclusion, that it's not only illegal, but it's not teaching the kids what true theatre is. If we add extra scenes now and cater to each child's want and needs, they are going to go out into the real world and think that when they get a ensemble role that they are going to right in extra scenes, but they're not. We want to make camp, like a real audition process, and rehearsal process, as much as possible. 

Tuesday - Friday consisted on working on the show nonstop, all day. We've learned that some kids at this camp, think it's going to be very leisurely and that they can come in everyday with a different excuse, as to why they can not participate and then choose not to participate and that just shows that they don't want to be here. 

The interns for this camp are a young batch. So it involves a lot of prompting and reminding, of what they have to do. All the way from telling them not to eat sugar cubes to telling them when to go to their different zones. All I can say about this week is, that it was interesting. We are still trying to get used to camp and working out the specific little details. I feel like next week, we will finally have everything worked out and it will be a smooth week.

- Griffin Spriggs, Assistant Camp Director

Preparing for Broadway

This past week, I have done many tasks, from picking up lunches from EVOS to directing the performance. Broadway Bootcamp began on Monday, June 13 at 9:00 a.m., 23 students walked in to St. Petersburg City Theatre, with the hopes of walking out on Friday evening, prepared to audition for anything their heart desired. 

Monday morning, consisted of taking the medical information, that was provided to us, by the parents, and inputting it into a template that was created for student lanyards. These lanyards would be worn by the students everyday, in case something happened and we didn't have time to look for their medical form. Once that was completed, I began cutting out the individual cards and placing them into the plastic sleeves, attached to the lanyards. 

This summer, St. Petersburg City Theatre partnered with EVOS to provide the kids, with healthy lunches everyday. In the past lunches consisted of Pizza, Macaroni and Cheese, and Chef Boyardee. While, these all seem like the perfect lunches for kids, they aren't the healthiest when you have to eat them everyday. With the EVOS lunch program, the kids could order what they wanted online and it was at the theatre, ready to go at 12:00 sharp. The lunches consisted of a box lunched which included hamburgers, corndogs, chicken strips, wraps, etc. with a water bottle, a fruit and a bag of chips. You could also order Soda, Water and a cookie, if you liked. If the lunch order was 20 meals or more EVOS would deliver to us. If they were not 20 orders or more, someone from the theatre had to go and pick it up. That person happened to be me. You can imagine with only 23 students, that we never got to that 20 lunch order goal, so every day around 11:20, I would get in my 2003 green Toyota Camry and drove to EVOS on 4th street to pick up the lunches.

The rest of the week, consisted of the students working on their monologues, songs, and dance, that was provided by the staff. The final showcase, at the end of the week was done a little differently than it was in the past. In the past, it used to be just a showcase, where the kids would get up, perform their song and their monologue and then sit back down. At the end of it all they would perform their dance, that they learned during the week. This year we decided, to make the final performance a musical. In the weeks prior to the beginning of camp; I wrote a script for the final showcase. It was entitled "The Next Broadway Star." It showed auditions, from the eyes of the people, behind the table. Below you can see the first draft of the front cover of the program, designed by Colleen Weidenfeller, a parent of one of our students. 

During the week, I was in charge of blocking the show, that I had written. I also, helped with the kids monologues. I typed up all of the resumes and helped create the final folder that they got. 

This week, my patience was tested. We had a student, who did not like to be told no. This child, who will not be named, got the wrong information, when it cam to what they were going to preform for the show. They thought that they were going to preform their song, monologue and scene, that I had written, as well as the scene that was part of the audition in the show. The song that this child picked out was inappropriate to preform at a children's show and when they were told that they could only preform the scene that was part of the audition, they through a tantrum, a full blown crying and screaming tantrum. This was not the first time, that this had happened. They were a problem from the begging. If they did not get what they wanted, they would begin to whine and cry. The Camp Director, Jessica Burchfield, and I spent a lot of time with this child, when they were having a fit. We had decided that we would let them preform their monologue because it was only 4 lines. The night of the show came and their scene came up, at the time where I asked them, if they had a monologue prepared, they realized that they forgot some lines earlier and in the heat of the moment walked off-stage. Once came the tantrum. Everybody could hear it and we just kept going. Eventually they stopped. When I asked about it later, the interns that were back there, said it was because they missed their lines and then they missed their lines, in the last scene because they were still having a tantrum. Because of this child, I realized that I have more patience, then I thought,

The performance went swimmingly and the parents all seemed to like it. The one's who have participated in the camp before, really liked this new twist on the final showcase.

~ Griffin Spriggs, Assistant Camp Director

St. Petersburg City Theatre

Summer Theatre Camps: The Stage as Classroom - The additional funding will provide for two new PCCA student teachers and further support the low cost or no cost theater summer camps that City Theater offers for their Broadway Boot Camp and three Musical Theater Camps. SPCT hires and encourages student talent from within their programs and provides a solid stage for developing artistic and administrative talent.