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THEATER JOURNEY Elyse Simmons, a fifth grader at Rummel Creek Elementary, performs in Into The Woods, Jr. at the Junior Theater Festival in California. (Photo: Erica Waldorf)
I have always loved to act, sing, dance and be on stage. A year ago, I auditioned for my first show at Inspiration Stage, and now I’m about to perform in my ninth show. One of the shows included a trip to Sacramento, Calif., for the Junior Theater Festival. JTF brings together theater groups from all over the world to perform a 15-minute Broadway Junior show for adjudication by a panel of musical theater experts.
To get to this point took lots of rehearsals. For six months, we had rehearsals once a week for three hours. As our JTF weekend got closer, we had intensive rehearsals that would last six hours at a time. We worked hard, but I always have fun with my theater friends. Traveling to JTF was such an amazing experience. After months of hard work and finally showing our 15-minute cut of Into The Woods, Jr., we were excited to receive the Excellence in Music award!
Another opportunity that weekend was being asked to audition for a DVD choreography video. It was fun to represent my theater company and be a part of this experience. I found out later that day I was chosen for callbacks and got to perform the dance they taught us again for the judges. I will not find out until later if I was chosen, but, if so, I will travel to NYC to be a part of the DVD filming. No matter what, it was an opportunity to gain experience and learn so much.
The weekend was also filled with workshops and hearing Broadway and celebrity speakers. Thomas Schumacher, the president of Disney Theatrical Group who is behind the amazing Broadway shows The Lion King and Frozen, spoke and reminded us that, “Theater is a place where everything is possible!”
Theater has given me so much confidence in myself, helped me meet new friends and have opportunities like this one. I am so excited that I’ve found my passion for something that I love, and I am excited to see where this journey takes me next!
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