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Dear KidsAlive! friends and families,

 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything about how we study, live, work and play.  We have been required to distance ourselves from many of the people and the activities that we love the most, and yet our need for opportunities to make meaningful connections is stronger than ever before.  At KidsAlive! we believe wholeheartedly that music theatre is a powerful medium to build strong young people who can think on their feet, look outside themselves, work enthusiastically toward a common goal, and lead others toward positive change.  We have seen this happen time and time again in every single production, and we know our families see it too.  Our students have been telling us that they are desperate to create and connect, in real time - in person, and not just on a screen.  Our creative team has been working for months trying to determine a way to meet this need in a manner that will keep our students and their families as safe as possible.  We feel strongly that we have discovered a new adventure will allow us to do just that!! 

 

Join KidsAlive! as we gear up for the JTF (Junior Theater Festival) Online Extravaganza.  We are looking for 20-25 young performers, ages 7 to 18 who LOVE musical theatre and are ready to connect, learn new skills, and create a unique and magical 10 minute rendition of Mary Poppins, Jr. to record and present electronically for adjudication at the festival in January. 

The iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival (JTF) has been a cornerstone of the KidsAlive! program from the very beginning.  We firmly believe in the iTheatrics method and their approach to musical theatre, and base much of our teaching methods and interactions with our students on ideas and techniques we have learned and continue to learn from the iTheatrics team.  

 

This production will be unlike anything KidsAlive! has ever put together.  We plan to dance and sing our way through the streets of OKC, masks and all, as we explore new and safer ways to create our beloved musical theatre during this challenging pandemic.  What could be more fun than having the opportunity to tap and dance to Step-in-Time on a rooftop downtown, or be able to Feed the Birds in a park or on the steps of a local church?  For safety, we will be sharing materials electronically and have some rehearsals via Zoom.  Our students will have a big responsibility to learn choreography and vocal material at home under the guidance of our creative team.  While we expect the bulk of our filming will take place outside in small groups or with the entire cast, some parts of the show may be recorded individually in your own homes, or together in larger indoor spaces.  All in-person gatherings will follow CDC recommended guidelines to enhance the safety of our students and their families.  


We are incredibly proud of our Creative Team and the opportunities for solid musical theatre instruction that will be available to our students throughout this experience.  Via a combination of virtual and in-person instruction, each performer will have the opportunity to strengthen performance skills in:

 

~ Acting, with Shawna Linck, Dalton and A’Mari Thomas 

~ Vocal Performance with Chad Haney and Kevin Smith

~ Dance (including Tap) with Gavin Guthrie, Ashley Untrauer and Shawna Linck

~ Videography and Technical Skills with Craig Huddleston

~ American Sign Language (ASL) with Jennie Higgins

PROJECT TIMELINE

 

  • October 15-29:  Complete online registration form to audition. Students will receive audition materials once they have completed their registration.

    • Prepare and submit audition videos by October 30.  PLEASE submit audition videos as soon as possible. Do not wait until the final date for submission.

    • Auditions will be held by video submission only.  Auditioners will receive electronic materials to prepare and submit at least 3 separate audition videos, including a vocal selection, a dance combination, and a movement combination demonstrating ASL (American sign language.) 

    • Auditioners must submit an availability calendar.  Please indicate times on each calendar day that student is available for online instruction as well as available times for in person rehearsal.  If you list in person availability, we will assume that they are also available online at that time, so no need to double up.

    • Students who tap dance will also receive a tap combination to prepare.

    • We will select 20-25 students that have a strong desire to participate and collaborate regardless of casting, are good movers and singers, and excel as members of an ensemble performance.  We welcome performers of all abilities, races, backgrounds and experience levels.  

    • Auditions will be a major factor in our casting decision but we will also take into consideration availability, as well as our previous experiences with students during past rehearsals and performances.

  • November 1:  Performance Team will be announced.  Individual roles will be determined as part of the rehearsal process.  

  • November 1 - December 14:  Online and In-Person Rehearsals, Recording, Filming, Editing

    • This project has a  fast turn around, and unlike a traditional rehearsal schedule of specific days and times of the week, the online component will allow us to individualize times based on our students availability.  School schedules for our students are varied due to the covid situation, and we will be utilizing any available time periods throughout weekdays and weekends.  Each performer must turn in an availability schedule with their audition materials, which we will use to schedule group activities and one on one instruction.  In addition, each student can expect to work daily on their own to learn materials or meet via Zoom or another online platform with fellow students or instructors.  Turnaround times to learn and record new material will be quick, a matter of days, not weeks, so students should be prepared for the challenge of a fast moving project.

  • December 15:  Submit recorded 10 minute Mary Poppins, Jr. to JTF

  • January 15-17: THE JTF ONLINE EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!

    • A weekend of musical theatre madness and mayhem!  The online extravaganza will include all our favorite JTF activities with musical theatre groups from around the world, including adjudicated pod performances, workshops for students, directors and tech students,  Pathways, Direct from Broadway, a dance party, exclusive concerts, tech olympics and awards ceremony!  Plus, special appearances and performances by Broadway’s best. Good news! Because it’s online everyone can attend!

At this point in time, we are hoping and planning to be able to gather in person in January for all or part of the online extravaganza.  Times for specific activities will be announced in advance.  We will be monitoring the covid situation carefully prior to those dates and make the decision at that time that is safest for our students and their family members.  All registered students will receive links to the online festival weekend regardless.

TUITION COST:   $300   

  • Tuition must be received in full by Friday, November 6

  • Limited need-based scholarships are available

  • Tuition includes $150 registration fee per person due to iTheatrics plus a KA Mary Poppins T-shirt, Jacket and mask required for filming, personal and group instruction and facility use

 

We realize the concept of this whole project is very different than any other activity we have presented before.  These are definitely uncharted waters for all of us, and we expect you to have lots of questions!  Please feel free to call, text or email Shawna for more information: shawna@kidsaliveokc.org or (405) 413-8254.

We expect many challenges in this adventure, and together, we feel we are up to the task.

Thank you for continuing your trust and support of KidsAlive!

Meet Your Creative Team

Shawna Linck

Director

Choreographer / Acting Instructor

Shawna Linck is an award winning performer, director and certified yoga instructor who has spearheaded youth theatre programs in Piedmont, Yukon and OKC. The founder of KidsAlive!, Shawna has successfully coached hundreds of performing children and adults in the metro area, and directed and/or choreographed over 90 productions in the last 20 years. Favorite youth productions include:  Mulan,  Mary Poppins,  Aristocats,  Annie, Beauty and the Beast,, Little Mermaid,  Seussical, Pinocchio and her own version of Three Little Pigs. Shawna was awarded the Broadway Jr Spirit Award and named a Freddie G Fellow at the 2017 Junior Theatre Festival.

Chad Haney

Music Director / Technology

Chad Haney has served as the KidsAlive! resident music director from the beginning. He has also worked as the Director of Outreach for the organization overseeing all fundraising, public relations and technology. His music directing credits include Seussical, Jr., James and the Giant Peach, Jr. Newsies, and all of the KA! Junior Theater Festival performances.  In 2020 Chad was named a Freddie G. Fellow recognizing excellence in musical theatre education. Outside of KidsAlive! Chad serves as the music director at New Covenant Christian Church in NW Oklahoma city and professionally he is the Director of External Relations for the Friends of OETA.

Dalton Thomas

Acting Instructor

Dalton has been a part of the OKC theatre community since his senior year of high school and is honored to be a part of Kids Alive! He has performed multiple roles at various theatres in the area including Jewel Box, Poteet, Carpenter Square, and The Pollard. In 2015, Dalton won a best actor Gem Award for his portrayal of Charlie Gordon in Flowers for Algernon, and served as a board member for Jewel Box Theatre from 2015 to 2018. In 2019 Dalton first joined KidsAlive! on stage in Newsies and in 2020 served as assistant director for our Junior Theater Festival experience. Off-stage, Dalton plays his most important roles of full-time daddy to his son, Elias, and husband to his wife, A’Mari.

A'Mari Thomas

Acting Instructor

A’Mari Thomas is incredibly honored and proud to be a part of KidsAlive! A Texas native, she graduated with her degree in Theatre in 2012, and quickly moved to Oklahoma, meeting her husband, Dalton, while performing at Jewel Box Theatre. There, she also met and was absolutely inspired by Shawna. Once she learned about the mission and met the incredible performers of KidsAlive!, she knew she had to be a part of it. A’Mari cannot wait to see the cast of this production create and push their abilities to find creativity and beauty in adapting to our circumstances! 

Kevin Smith

Music Instructor

In 1996 Kevin was chosen by his mentor Thomas Carey to become music director of what was then known as Cimarron Circuit Opera Company. Since that time, he has had the opportunity to collaborate with hundreds of singers, several stage directors, and has racked up well over 1,000 performances of opera, operetta, children’s opera, Broadway and musical theatre shows, recitals, and special presentations. Kevin describes himself as “an incurable teacher” who strives to turn every situation into an opportunity for learning something new or reinforcing something already learned.

In addition to Cimarron Opera, Kevin is also music director and private voice instructor at Lyric Theatre’s Thelma Gaylord Academy in Oklahoma City (since 2004), music director and tour accompanist with Lyric’s Interactive show since its inception in 2007 and has music directed numerous shows at Sooner Theatre, Carpenter Square, Poteet Theatre, Jewelbox, and KidsAlive!, among others.

Ashley Untrauer

Choreographer / Dance Instructor

Ashley Untrauer was born and raised in Oklahoma. She has been Dancing since she was 9 years old. She obtained her degree in dance performance from the University of Central Oklahoma and after college realized her love for teaching and choreography. Ashley has been teaching and performing in the OKC metro area since 2012. She is passionate and driven and strives to give her students the best by continuing to find ways to expand her knowledge of dance and teaching techniques so that her students will have the tools necessary to be happy and successful in her and others dance classes. Ashley started teaching with KidsAlive! in 2019 and has worked on KA! productions of Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, and Frozen, Jr. 

Gavin Guthrie

Choreographer / Dance Instructor

Gavin Guthrie is an Oklahoma based Performer and Educator. Growing up in Oklahoma, he fell in love with Theatre after seeing the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera in first grade, prompting him to reenact it hundreds of times for his parents and wary neighbors. Gavin has performed in numerous shows with Regional Theatres across the country and earned a BM in Music Theatre at Oklahoma City University. Last fall, Gavin co-choreographed KidsAlive!’s production of Newsies, and is thrilled to return! In addition to working with KidsAlive!, Gavin has spent four summers as a resident Choreographer and Director for Stillwater Children’s Theatre, as well as other Oklahoma based community theatres. Both as an Actor and Educator, Gavin believes that Theatre is a magical art form with the ability to change, heal, and teach. 

Jennie Higgins

American Sign Language Instructor

Jennie Higgins grew up in the world of theater and understands how body language and facial expressions are vital to successfully communicating with an audience. Her theater background opened her interest in the world of communication and Jennie graduated with honors from The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) with Bachelor of Science degree in Deaf Education and Elementary Education. She then went on to get her Masters of Education from Lamar University in Deaf studies and Bilingual Education She currently teaches remotely for the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Albuquerque, NM and as a virtual teacher for John Rex middle school.  Jennie still loves being a part of the theatre world and enjoys getting to choreograph all of the KidsAlive! numbers involving American Sign Language. 

Craig Huddleston

Video and Tech Instructor

Craig Huddleston is a creative strategist and entrepreneur that currently serves as the President of the AVOS’ agency, a strategic creative firm located in Oklahoma City. Craig found the love of design at an early age with film and music. Starting his professional career in the music industry in his 20’s, he found his true passion for business organization and design to be more fulfilling daily after having a family. An adventurer at heart, you can find Craig and his family flying drones or taking photographs on road trips around Oklahoma on the weekends.

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