Florida Repertory Theatre's Education Department is in the third season of its Conservatory Program. This program, designed for students with moderate to advanced-level experience is intended to transition young performers into the world of professional theatre. Students work with professional directors, choreographers, designers and musical directors to produce full musicals.
This season, the Conservatory program will be producing Legally Blonde, The Musical and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The first to go up will be Legally Blonde with performances on May 17th and 18th featuring students ages 13-21, followed by You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown performing May 24th and 25th with students up to age 15. Auditions for both shows will be February 2nd and 3rd at Florida Repertory Theatre in downtown Fort Myers.
The Conservatory program began in 2011 with productions of Sleeping Beauty and 13, The Musical, featuring 40 of Southwest Florida's most talented students, and continued last year with Willy Wonka and Pippin. "We wanted an opportunity for our most advanced students to be challenged," said Rachael Endrizzi, Florida Rep's Education Director, "and a program to teach them about professional expectations and policies that students don't get from classes, camps or community theatre. This program has been hugely successful and the productions have been marvelous." Students rehearse one to two days per week from February thru May to accommodate busy schedules.
In addition to performing, interested students have also been involved as stage managers, board operators and running crew. This year, Florida Rep plans to involve more students in the creative process of designing, building and running the show from a technical aspect while being led by Florida Rep's professional production team. "My hope is to give the students ownership and pride over something exceptional, as if they were professional artists," said Endrizzi.
Many of the Conservatory students have worked professionally throughout Southwest Florida. Since its beginning, 74 children and young adults have been a part of this program, and 21 of them have obtained jobs in professional theatre (many in several different shows) on stages including Florida Repertory Theatre, Barbara B. Mann, the Herb Strauss on Sanibel Island and the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. This season, several conservatory students can be seen in Broadway Palm's productions of Miracle on 34th Street and The Sound of Music as well as the Herb Strauss' production of Spamalot.
To audition, students must prepare a 2-minute cut of a song, as well as a monologue, and bring a current headshot and resume. Auditions are scheduled in 5 minute time slots and walk-ups will be seen as time allows. Those auditioning for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown must be between 5 and 15 years old, and performers auditioning for Legally Blonde must be between 13 and 21 years old. To schedule your audition, call Education Assistant, Taylor Hale at 239-332-4665 ext. 41. Visit www.FloridaRepEducation.org for more information.