We are pleased to tell you... 



posted May 19, 2015, 2:27 PM by Jonathan Dunski

PLAY Conservatory offers a variety of summer theater programs for kids and youth, and now for ADULTS, too!

The Wiz of the West is an original musical project by the renowned Missoula Children’s Theatre, who will be sending us two directors to work in residence with our students, on stage at the Jim Morley Theater at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque’s west side, the week of July 13.

In addition, Saturday workshops offer a variety of topics, from acting to dancing, stagecraft to slam poetry.  There are even workshops that students can take alongside adults… so parents and grandparents can get in on the fun.  Workshops are held on Saturday afternoons at the Horn Family YMCA in Albuquerque, June 6 through August 29.

Register online for these programs at:

Deadline for registration is May 31.

Teen Actors Needed for Industrial Video

posted Apr 24, 2015, 8:29 AM by Jonathan Dunski   [ updated May 19, 2015, 2:18 PM ]

K-12 Video Project

  • children ages 12 to 16
  • actors will be paid
  • shooting on June 20 and/or June 30
  • short scripted segments, for an industrial film
  • The situations in the videos involve kids learning about how medical imaging and radiation therapy work and considering it as a profession.
American Society of Radiologic Technologists is developing four videos about the radiologic science profession for the K-12 audience. Each video will have a child narrator, probably in the range of 12 to 16 years old, and each video will be two to three minutes long. The topics of the four videos are:
  • Introduction to radiography.
  • Introduction to radiation therapy.
  • Overview of medical imaging specialties.
  • “Talk to a Technologist” (kids will ask R.T.s why they chose the profession, what they studied in school, what the best part of their job is, and so on).
To be filmed on location at CNM and UNM. Storyboards and scripts are being developed, and filming will take place this summer.
If you’re interested in acting in these videos, please contact Greg Crutcher at

UETF Funding for Summer Stock

posted Apr 22, 2015, 10:55 AM by Jonathan Dunski

PLAY Conservatory's summer stock programs will be funded in part by the
Urban Enhancement Trust Fund for the FY 16-17 UETF funding cycle.  An award of $8,000 will be used to support audience development, which will allow PLAY Conservatory to give away even more complimentary tickets to the community. 

Up with People performs Feb. 27, 28

posted Feb 25, 2015, 9:50 AM by Jonathan Dunski   [ updated Feb 25, 2015, 9:52 AM ]

PLAY alumnus Tristan MacLean returns to Albuquerque this weekend, after six months of touring with Up with People. Catch him and the rest of the dynamic cast in a live show on February 27 and 28 at NDI's Hiland Theater. Join the entire PLAY family as we celebrate Tristan's accomplishments and his new friends from around the world!


Tristan is spending a year traveling the world with Up with People, using his voice in performance and his heart and hands in community service. After his first six months, Tristan shared these thoughts about his Up with People experience: "There were so many things that I was able to see and experience that I will never forget. From the amazing and colorful sunsets in Havana, Cuba to the hospitality in Laconia, New Hampshire; it was all an experience I will not soon forget. Enriching and enlightening. My eyes have been opened to the positivity in the world and the beautiful people across the globe. I also gained many new friends from the program but most importantly families from all around the world who welcome me back."


"I love coming home and look forward to sharing our enchanted state with UWP, and likewise sharing UWP with New Mexico," says Tristan.


Up with People's brand new show The Journey will be performed at the Hiland Theater on Feb. 27 at 7:00pm and on Feb. 28 at 3:00pm & 7:30pm. Proceeds benefit Saranam


CLICK HERE to buy tickets online.

Meet the Producer

posted Feb 13, 2015, 1:00 PM by Jonathan Dunski   [ updated Feb 13, 2015, 1:01 PM ]

Jonathan is making myself available to talk personally with parents and students for a couple of "town hall" meetings.  

Enjoy two opportunities to ask questions and visit in person with him on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 11:30 am and on Monday, Mar. 2, at 7:00 pm, at Active Solutions Inc., 5100 Indian School Rd NE.  

Please sign up (click here), if you plan to come.

AUDITION for Camelot (Nat'l Tour)

posted Feb 12, 2015, 2:52 PM by Jonathan Dunski   [ updated Feb 13, 2015, 9:14 AM ]

Popejoy Presents La Vida Llena Broadway in New Mexico, in conjunction with Phoenix Entertainment, is searching for up to three young male actors to portray the role of “Tom of Warwick” in the National Tour of Camelot at Popejoy Hall on March 19 – 22, 2015

SEEKING: TOM OF WARWICK: Tom is a young boy destined to be a Knight.  He wants to fight for what is right and gives Arthur hope for the future.

REQUIREMENTS: Ideally, Tom should be in good physical shape, appear to be between the ages of 8 and 13 and under 5’ tall. Tom is an acting role with no singing required. Actor should be able to memorize approximately 10-15 lines and take simple stage direction quickly. Actor must be able to attend rehearsal and wardrobe fittings on March 19, 2015. Actor will need a chaperone over 18 years of age to accompany him at all times.

WHAT TO SUBMIT: Actor must submit a headshot and 50 word bio. 

WHAT TO PREPARE: Actor must prepare to read the “Tom of Warwick/King Arthur” scene, end of Act 2 (download below). The scene should be memorized for the audition. 

This production is an honest, grounded production in style. The actor needs to be present and energetic but please do not push the acting and dialogue. We are looking for boys with a natural, honest presence who speak as if they are having an honest conversation.

Complete an audition form (download below).


DATE:             FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2015

TIME:             4:00 TO 6:00PM

LOCATION:     Food Court, Coronado Center, 6600 Menaul NE, Albuquerque 

An appointment may be won via lottery in the contest offered by 2KASA:

Otherwise, this is an open call.  Arrive early to ensure your audition will be seen.  

The audition committee will screen all those auditioning by having the boys read the scenes with an actor reading Arthur. These auditions will end at 6:00pm, whether or not all prospects have been called. Those auditioning may not get to read the entire scene. Being cut off prior to the end of the scene does not indicate whether a boy will or will not be chosen as a finalist.

The audition committee will select finalists to be submitted to Camelot. Those selected will read their scenes again to be video recorded for submission. Those recordings will be the scenes used by Camelot to make their final choices. Those auditioning must be able to stay long enough to have their second reading recorded to be considered for the role. Video recordings will begin at 6:30pm.

Anthony Quinn Scholarship for Students

posted Nov 20, 2014, 1:57 PM by Jonathan Dunski

Anthony Quinn Foundation Accepting Applications for 2015 Arts Scholarship Program


The Anthony Quinn Foundation is accepting applications for its 2015 Scholarship Program, an annual program that aims to perpetuate the legendary actor/artist’s vision for an art-conscious society.

Through the program, the foundation supports high school students’ extracurricular study of the visual arts and design, performing arts, media arts, and literary arts. Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $3,000.

Scholarships may be used for a recognized pre-college, summer, or afterschool arts education program, but may not be used for either secondary school or college tuition.

To be eligible, applicants must be young adults in high school who demonstrate exceptional talent, dedication, and a strong commitment to personal artistic growth, and who will benefit from financial support.

Visit the Anthony Quinn Foundation website for complete program guidelines, a promotional video, information about previous scholarship recipients, and application instructions.

Click here for complete RFP information:

PLAY actors in community production

posted Oct 22, 2014, 10:01 AM by PLAY Conservatory   [ updated Oct 22, 2014, 10:02 AM ]

PLAY Conservatory is excited to announce that several PLAY actors (Sarah Seaton, Riley Martin, Annie Elliott, and Kelsey Martin) will be in the Adobe Theater's production of "The Member of the Wedding," opening Friday, October 25th. 
Check out the preview article in the ABQ Journal.

What does a producer do, anyway?

posted Oct 19, 2014, 9:10 PM by Jonathan Dunski   [ updated Nov 5, 2014, 1:15 PM ]

juggling hats
I began acting at age 19.  Soon after I wanted to try my hand at directing. At 23 I directed my first play, Moliere’s The Miser, at a school in Hungary.  Later, as a high school drama director and recently as a director of an independent non-profit youth theater company, I was faced with the challenge of producing. Having worn all three hats (actor, director, producer), I say with sincerity that a producer works the hardest, and gets the least acknowledgement for what he does. 

For much of PLAY Conservatory’s seven seasons, I have served as both producer and director of our productions. When we started growing, to include 3 plays in one summer, the workload became enormous, and I realized that I simply could not direct everything in the season.  I continued to produce, while directing two or three plays per year (still a substantial feat).

On those projects where I served as producer only, I would be absent from the rehearsal room quite a bit.  The students and parents seemed perplexed. When I emerged, they asked: “Where have you been? We haven’t seen you.”

“I’ve been producing,” was my reply.

“Just what does a producer do?” asked more than one astute young person.  The answer I would give was a bit evasive: “You see what’s going on here?  Well… what you don’t see going on, that’s what I do.”

This year I’m on sabbatical from both directing and producing.  While it has been rejuvenating not to have a pending opening night on my shoulders, I have still been rather busy preparing for the next season.  One of my Board member tasks has been drafting job descriptions for the company, so that, when our 2015 season opens, everyone will know who is expected to do what.  So this idea of “producing” has been forefront in my mind.  And I cannot evade the question any longer.


Perhaps the easiest way to explain the producer’s job is to begin by describing what a director does.  A fairly comprehensive task list for the director is:

  • Approves all designs
  • Attends publicity events; talks about the play
  • Casts the play
  • Conducts production meetings (with Stage Manager)
  • Develops the play from page to stage
  • Evaluates recordings of the performances
  • Maintains morale and unity within the company
  • Reflects on how to improve the process and the product
  • Rehearses the cast and crew (with Stage Manager)
  • Writes audition announcement / character descriptions / what to prepare
  • Writes director’s notes for the playbill

In PLAY Conservatory, there are a few extra duties, since the director is also a teacher:

  • Coaches the performances of cast and crew
  • Mediates directly with student & parents when student behavior issues arise; as if “School Principal”
  • Models healthy habits of mind and body
  • Writes student behavior contracts; holds students accountable (with Stage Manager)

I’d bet if you polled most of our students (after their second or third play) they could come up with most of the tasks listed above.  Everybody knows when the director is in the room, and his/her work is easy to observe. He/she enjoys primary interactions with all students and creative staff. 

One can also define the director’s role by considering the basic questions at the core of his/her work.  The director asks:

How do I bring the playwright’s script to life?  How do I see it all playing out?  How will I utilize all the creative talent at my disposal to make this story tangible/meaningful for my audience?

How do I bring this play to my audience?


In contrast, the producer’s fundamental questions are different.  The producer asks:

What story would I like to tell?  What scripts are worthy of producing?  What would my audience enjoy seeing?

Aha!  I found the perfect script.  Now…

How the heck am I ever going to bring this to the stage? Where do I find the people and space and money to do it? 

How do I bring the audience to this play?

So the producer’s questions can precede the director’s.  Sometimes they ask these things simultaneously. Sometimes, as in the case of the high school Drama teacher, all these questions are being asked by the same person who is wearing both hats.

Now, let’s compare the tasks of the producer to those of the director.  Some of the tasks I have outlined for a PLAY Conservatory producer include:

  • Accommodates all of the practical, facilities, and financial needs of a project
  • Collects and files necessary forms (emergency contacts, liability waiver, media release, behavior contacts, etc.) from project students/parents
  • Develops the project’s budget
  • Ensures customer satisfaction on a production/project
  • Evaluates the project
  • Negotiates/writes contracts for artists/staff
  • Produces/delivers tangibles (headshot posters, DVDs, etc.) to clients
  • Recruits/supervises artists/staff
  • Reports project evaluation to the Board
  • Represents the Board regarding compliance with all contracts 
  • Reviews/reconciles the income/expense ledger
  • Schedules a project: rehearsals, production meetings, performances, talk backs, photo shoots, publicity events, reception, etc.
  • Secures rehearsal space and performance venue
  • Supervises start-to-finish every aspect of a project; assumes responsibility for all tasks getting accomplished safely, on time, and on budget
  • Writes curtain speeches
  • Writes weekly email news updates for parents & students

Now that’s not all.  Sometimes a producer will have the luxury of working with a company’s resident “Operations Manager” (also called a Production Manager or Company Manager).  This person:

  • Directs communications
  • Maintains liability waiver files
  • Maintains stewardship of files of records, organizational bylaws, insurances, business transactions, etc.
  • Maintains stewardship of Front of House property
  • Maintains stewardship of Photo and Video Archive
  • Maintains stewardship of Props, Sets, and Costumes
  • Makes bank deposits
  • Manages bank, PayPal, and credit accounts
  • Manages purchasing of materials and equipment
  • Manages the income/expense ledger
  • Manages the paying of staff
  • Mediates directly with parents when payment issues arise; as if “Business Manager”
  • Publishes the season calendar
  • Receives and processes mail, email, and phone calls
  • Recruits/supervises staff
  • Secures storage, office, studio space
  • Supervises the Box Office and Front of House
  • Updates insurances (liability and directors/officers)
  • Writes contracts

If the company does not have such a staffer, then these tasks would fall back on the producer.  Furthermore, if a producer does not have a “Development Director” to oversee the fundraising, and a “Marketing Director” to be in charge of the advertising campaign to sell tickets, the producer may have to take on these tasks as well.

By now, you may be getting the idea that the producer’s job can be vast and harrowing.  Moreover, the tasks of the producer do not require first-hand interactions with students.  Surely you can see how directing and producing both at once would be an insane challenge.

Producing can be incredibly rewarding, too.  I recall the pride I felt on the opening nights of Wiley and the Hairy Man (directed by Ryan Morris) and Shrek the Musical (directed by Jessica Barkl), when at last the artists came in to communion with their audience.  Teaching artists had done great work:  Superb stories were being told; Young artists were blossoming before our eyes. Like a maître d' I had set the table for a fine dinner – a feast for the heart and mind – and all the cooks, servers, and guests were sated and happy. 

I would argue that our theatre community lacks producers.  While Albuquerque is rich in artistic talent -- meaning there are plenty of actors, designers, musicians, dancers, and directors to go around -- what we lack is a diverse, experienced, and resourceful corps of producers.  Those people who stick to wearing only the one hat, who don’t dabble as artists themselves, are rare.  Yet they are so essential to making theatre.

The professional theater world has such people.  I recently came across this article by Ken Davenport (Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer that has produced over a dozen Broadway shows, including Kinky Boots and Godspell), in which more than 100 Broadway producers talk about their jobs.  As you will see, there is no simple or singular answer to the question:

As we approach the new season, PLAY Conservatory’s primary challenge will be appointing not just one but a team of these “rare, paradoxical geniuses” -- producers ready, willing, and able to serve up our next great production. 

“Let’s play!”

--Jonathan Dunski

2015 Great Grant Giveaway

posted Oct 17, 2014, 8:49 AM by Jonathan Dunski   [ updated Oct 17, 2014, 6:43 PM ]

Action Requested October 15-19


The Albuquerque Community Foundation has invited the public to participate in selecting the non-profits that receive the grant money.  PLAY Conservatory is applying for a $5,000 award, and your action is requested!

If you are a Facebook user, here's how you can help...

Go to the Great Grant Giveaway Facebook page ( and find PLAY Conservatory's post, under "POSTS TO PAGE".

Here’s a direct link:


  1. LIKE PLAY's post.
  2. Make a COMMENT right under PLAY's post on the Great Grant Giveaway.  Tell the world about your PLAY experience.  One sentence will do.
  3. SHARE the post on your timeline.

Please do all 3.  It takes about 4 minutes to do so.  It must be done by SUNDAY at midnight to qualify.

Those who are not Facebook user nor web friendly, can still help…

Please call (505) 883-6240, or email the Foundation's office at They will post your statement for you.

In addition to much need funding, this grant is a significant opportunity to expose a portion of the public to PLAY that has not yet heard of us: to develop our audience.  That means more tickets sales down the road or more advertisers in our PLAYbill to offset production costs, etc.  We call it LEVERAGE.

Please get everyone of your family and friends who knows about PLAY Conservatory or who values youth theater to do this.

Let's PLAY!  Let's WIN!

Thank you!

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