Musical theatre is serious business!

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 1/15/20

There comes a time in every kid’s life when they dream about becoming a firefighter, an airplane pilot, a farmer, a teacher, or even the president of these United States, since it would appear …

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Musical theatre is serious business!

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There comes a time in every kid’s life when they dream about becoming a firefighter, an airplane pilot, a farmer, a teacher, or even the president of these United States, since it would appear that literally anyone can get that job. Before taking up residence in the oval office in 1981, President Ronald Reagan began his career on the silver screen (with a chimpanzee, no less) and action star Arnold Schwarzenegger did the same before being elected governor of California in 2003, but it’s unlikely that Arnold will be back. As for our current POTUS, he spent a lot of time entertaining the masses by firing people on national television, and is still doing so to this day. Becoming a world leader does not require knowing how to perform with a chimpanzee… but (IMHO) it clearly doesn’t hurt. 

I’m not sure that there are any presidential hopefuls signing up for upcoming workshops at the Performing Arts Academy at the Forestburgh Playhouse (FBP), but stranger things have happened, so who knows? Meanwhile the 2020 Spring Break Musical Theatre Intensive program is back and promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Designed for students ages 8 to 17, the workshop was created for young artists who love to sing, dance and perform. Throughout the week, students will receive in-depth, one-on-one instruction, focusing on acting, choreography and vocal technique, led by skilled professionals from the industry. It all culminates with an original production for family and friends to enjoy.

Having heard that the Performing Arts Academy was expanding, I called Executive Director Kate Wilson to discuss the 2020 season, and what she and Artistic Director Roque Berlanga have planned. “We are so excited for the opportunity to work with [FBP Producer] Franklin Trapp and the young artists of the Forestburgh Academy.” Wilson exclaimed.  “It is so empowering to see the ‘Miracle of the Forest’ thrive, both on the main stage and in arts education. Forestburgh has partnered with Actor’s Professional Theatre Conservatory (APTC) based out of New York City, to not only bring back the Spring Musical Theatre Intensive, but to introduce two new summer programs for young artists.” 

Berlanga’s impressive resume includes a stint as Resident Director at Stagedoor Manor, a professional theatre training camp in upstate New York, artistic director of the Allenberry Playhouse and is the founder and artistic director of the Actor’s Professional Theatre Conservatory (APTC) in NYC, where he has worked side by side with professional stage manager Kate Wilson for 10 years. Kate is “a proud member” of Actor’s Equity Association, and has toured the country with productions of “School of Rock” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It” in addition to three years as production stage manager at the FBP. Under the guidance of Belanger and Wilson, the expanded Arts Academy Summer Education Series is presenting a “Junior Stars of Tomorrow” week-long day camp  for ages 8 to 12 which will provide in-depth exposure to all facets of theatre, including costume and set design, one-on-one acting instruction, vocal technique and more. The Summer Series is also offering student ages 13 to 17 a program titled “Ensemble Experience”—which is “geared toward young artists with a strong passion for the performing arts” according to Wilson, who elaborated by explaining that “this program celebrates regional theatre paired with comprehensive master class programming geared to further develop young artists into well rounded performers.”

I learned that students will be working alongside theatre pros helping them “craft materials that they may use in future auditions and productions. Classes in hip hop, ballet and jazz will be taught alongside improv, actors’ yoga and stage combat, concluding with production of a full length musical on the main stage. “We are proud to bring teaching artists that are at the height of their career and at the top of the business here in New York City to work with our local young artists here in the Catskills and Upper Delaware River region,” Wilson enthused. “We truly believe that through the performing arts, we can enrich and enhance the lives of others one young artist at a time.” 

Reservations are being taken now. For more information about the 2020 Performing Arts Academy spring and summer workshops at the Forestburgh Playhouse, call 845/794-1194, visit www.fbplayhouse.org, like them on Facebook, or send email to forestburghstudio@gmail.com.

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