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July 11, 2013
Sometimes things just work. They shouldn't work, there are obstacles that should bring everything crashing to a halt, but for some reason it doesn't but instead it comes together beautifully. I'm starting to believe CASTSummer is one of those things that just works. Looking back on these last six weeks, it seems amazing just how far we have come. Tonight, we have our first opening of the weekend, and I am left shaking my head wondering how we managed to put three shows together in 29 rehearsals. The only conclusion I have come to is this: the combination our experienced and talented staff and these extraordinary kids creates something quite special. No matter what challenges we face here at CAST, my staff always comes together and makes it work - and how could they not for these kids! The desire these young people have to make these performances a success is what motivates all of us through the home stretch. The staff has worked incredibly hard this summer, and I thank them for that. However, it is your kids who will make this weekend work. It is amazing what we can do here. Telling them how to do a dance or build a set or say a line only goes so far; they have to do it. In fact you will see this weekend that they do it quite well. The talent we have in this theatre company is incredible, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.
July 5, 2013
Out of all the weeks of CASTSummer, I look forward to this one the least. It is hard to lose a day because of the 4th of July holiday, and with the shows only a week away every minute is important to the actors. The crew, on the other hand, usually has a lot of watching to do this week; the sets are nearing completion and the shows are doing very slow work thrus so it is hard to see how it will all turn out. This, year things proved to be very different, and as a result, my hair isn't any grayer today than it was on Monday. The cast of Beauty and the Beast jumped straight into full-time rehearsal mode and the show is one song away from being completed! Crew has been working very hard on some last minute props and we built some tables to house these huge costumes. The casts of the two studio shows have not been slacking either, both of their shows have been blocked and both casts have been working through them both in the newly decked out gym and in the commons. As a special treat two members of Babes with Blades, an all-female stage combat theatre company, put on a special performance for us this morning and lead the crew in a workshop. This was a successful first week of tech if I have ever seen one. Let's keep our fingers crossed for one more smooth week.
GET YOUR TICKETS! There is limited seating in the Arena theatre, there are only about 100 seats per show for 1001 Arabian Nights and The Secret World of Og. These shows will sell out, we do not want to have to turn you away. Beauty and the Beast is in a large venue, but this may be the most popular show we have ever done - and it is good enough to see twice.
See you next weekend!
June 27, 2013
We have been spending the week getting ready for tech week. Next week actors will be working on their shows the whole day and crew members will be spending more and more time with the show they were assigned to. That means we have even more work ahead of us.
We've taken on a lot this year. We could (and some people do) spend the entire summer on costumes alone. For Beauty and the Beast we have been looking all over the Chicago-area for theatre company's that can lend us all sorts of odd costumes. Believe it or not, you can not rent 40 silverware costumes for people who are under 5 feet. Those costumes we cannot find we have to make -and 22 Arabic-inspired outfits or a team of dancing napkins is no small feat. But our costumer, Mariana, is doing a beautiful job.
This weekend the gym will turn into our arena theatre. Every year, Reed Rigging donates most of the necessary equipment to make this transformation happen. Today, this years shipment of what would normally be nearly twenty-thousand dollars in rentals was delivered at a fraction of that cost. Thank you, Michael Reed and everyone at Reed Rigging! We would not be able to do all that we do at CAST without Michael's generous support every year.
In the next two weeks we will be working very hard. While we are thankful that this summer is not nearly as hot as last year, the temperature is getting up there. We are encouraging all campers to bring a bottle of water to keep them hydrated in hard rehearsals. Also please make sure that everybody eats a good breakfast every morning.
Remember that were will be no camp next Thursday to observe the 4th of July holiday.
June 27, 2013
If you missed the Crew video that was featured on Parents Day last week, you can view it here.
June 21, 2013
Another Parents Day has come and gone, and let me just say, that was one of the most successful Parents Days we have had at CAST in a long time. The kids worked so hard, and I think we can all agree it really showed. I have never seen so many sauntering "divas" and suave "divos" dance to Michael Jackson with such a finesse that only the King of Pop himself could surpass. It was the first time we decided to use sets for Parents Day. Each cast had their best performance to date. The crew video was a huge hit, and I think everyone learned a lot from their presentation. Everyone should be very proud!
Parents Day is just the half way point of CASTSummer. We still have so much to do! Dances need to be choreographed and perfected. Lines need to be memorized. Crew assignments need to be given. Sets need to be constructed. Costumes need to be tried on. The gym needs to be air conditioned. Shows need to come to life. We are only just getting started! What you saw today is only a fraction of what these kids can do. If everyone keeps working with the passion and the drive they have now, you will be floored once everything comes together.
Enjoy your well deserved weekend,
Dancing at Parents Day
June 19, 2013
Here is part two of Jimmy's video series!
CS2013 Part Two.avi
June 14, 2013
With Parents Day only a week away, we are working very hard every single moment. It is so much fun to walk through Julian and see all of the different rehearsals and crew jobs being done. You can hear the cast of Beauty and the Beast rehearsing their songs all the way down the hall. Most days I find myself humming one of the songs on my way home. 1001 Arabian Nights is getting used to their moving beds, which are being used differently in each scene. It has been great to see the actors in The Secret World of Og play a different character every time I stick my head into rehearsal.
The crew kids have also been working hard this week. I'm not sure I have ever seen the furniture room so organized or so much scenery already painted. They are really looking forward to showing you and the actors the progress they have made on all the sets next week.
We will be spending most of next week preparing for Parents Day. From what I have seen this week, you're going to be in for a great show.
Enjoy the weekend!
Can't wait to see you next week,
June 14, 2013
One opportunity CAST kids get is the experience of working with professionals. All of the adults working backstage have experience working on crew in professional theatre. Our directors have directed shows downtown in Chicago, likewise our choreographers have choreographed professional productions. It is a great opportunity for the kids to learn how certain aspects of theatre come together from people who really work in the business.
We are also fortunate enough to have professional actors working with us this year. Since our first show over 25 years ago, we have frequently had adults playing most of the older or parental figures in the shows. This summer is no exception: LeKeya Shearill will be performing in 1001 Arabian Nights, and Ty Perry and KT McCammond, a well-known Chicago cabaret singer and actress, will be performing in Beauty and the Beast. Having young performers work with professional actors allows for endless opportunities to observe how to conduct oneself in rehearsal, from the first read through all the way through opening night. Our directors instruct the young performers and the professionals in exactly the same manner, which demonstrates the proper way to take and interpret direction. We at CAST feel that the inclusion of professionals in all aspects of theatrical production provides young performers a solid base on which to build their own professionalism.
June 14, 2013
Check out a video from the first two weeks of CAST, courtesy of Jimmy.
June 12, 2013
The schedule for Parents Day has been released. On Friday, June 21, join us in the morning and see what your kids and their friends have been working on. There has been a change to the schedule that was sent home in the pre-camp newsletter, the presentations for 1001 Arabian Nights and The Secret World of Og have swapped times. We ask that you stay for the entire morning, the kids have been working very hard, and it shows!
In the afternoon on June 21, after Parents Day, campers will participate in fun activities and games. If you chose to take your camper home early please let us know in the CAST lab at 708-524-7848 or send your child to CAST with a note.
Can't wait to see you there!
June 7, 2013
It seems crazy that the first week of CASTSummer is already over. All of the participants have been working very hard. Monday and Tuesday are some of the busiest days of the entire camp. During these two days, actors perfected and performed their monologues, participants got familiar with the theatre spaces and learned about the safety rules, and staff was introduced. On Wednesday, the crew was assigned their counselors, cast lists were announced, and everyone participated in classes. Now, everything is in full swing. Rehearsals are well underway and the crew has been busy learning about various aspects of backstage work and accomplishing numerous tasks. In short, it has been exciting week.
In the coming weeks, as the campers, directors and staff become more invested in their respective shows, we are confident this hard work will continue. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but there is no doubt in anyone's mind that it will get done! We have the largest crew we have ever had, and the musical is involving more actors then ever as well. With the talent and passion we have this summer, it is inevitable that CASTSummer will put on another three amazing shows!
Although camp has only just started, Parents Day is just around the corner. On Friday, June 21, you are encouraged to accompany your kid to camp. The actors will present a selection from the show they are working on, and the crew will present what they have built so far.
If you have any questions about our newsletter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Other questions or concerns can be directed to the CAST Lab: email@example.com or (708) 524-7848.
Have a great weekend!
Check out some pictures of the first few days of camp.
Actors getting ready for auditions.
An actor gets feedback on her monologue.
Friday is Ice Cream Day!
Ice Cream can be purchased after camp on Fridays for $1!