Monday, September 7, 2015

2016 Season Schedule and EYT Show!

Have you heard the exciting news?  Here it is - the 2016 Empress Season, including the announcement of the 2016 EYT show: Li'l Abner.  If you are like the kids who got to perform for the Gala, you have probably never heard of this fun show.  Check out the tabs above to start your research early, and get excited for what promises to be yet another amazing year at EYT!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Questions for Jan Davis

Tomorrow's workshop teacher would like to answer YOUR questions.  Submit them using the form below.  Submissions will only be accepted through 9 pm today.  Submit as many questions as you would like; there will be a drawing for a prize!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Wiz Cast List

Wow, the talent at auditions this year was unbelievable!  In addition to these listed rolls, there will still be many opportunities for soloists and featured dancers.  These will be earned during rehearsals.

(Most actors will participate as Ozians and Winkies in addition to the listed roles.)

Aunt Em: Brynne Hill
Uncle Henry: Nicholas Maxwell

Dorothy: Lindsay Woodward
Toto: Dodger Packer
Scarecrow: Travis Hymas
Tinman: Zachary Linnett
Lion: Ryan Bullock

Addaperle: Gracie Lopez
Evillene: Nnennaya Ukoh-Eke
Glinda: Reeve Sikalis
The Wiz: Hayden Hill

Gatekeeper: David Whatcott
Lord High Underling: Nicholas Maxwell
Soldier Messenger: Christian Hartman
Winged Monkeys: Trevor Tharp, Tristen Tharp

Yellow Brick Road:
Savannah Barker, Elnora Brunson, Jackki Ryann Ruiz

Golden Brick Road:
Ashley Archer, Kimberly Childs, Alex Tharp

Brynne Hill, Reeve Sikalis, Nnennaya Ukoh-Eke

Crow #1: Jaidyn York
Crow #2: Kara Gifford
Crow #3: Kandace Keddington
Crow #4: Maddison Flores
Crow #5: Trinity Nichols

Field Mouse #1: Spencer Patane
Field Mouse #2: Angel Flores
Field Mouse #3: Jacob Murphy
Field Mouse #4: Katelyn Alles
Field Mouse #5: Edlena Mitchell

Citizen #1: Edlena Mitchell
Citizen #2: Charly Searcy

Winkie #1: Mari Kingsley
Featured Tornado and Kalidah Dancer: Kira Holgerson


Munchkin Welcoming Committee (Speaking Lines, Munchkins, Ozians, Winkies):
Cassidy Dalton (#1), Kaleb Jones (#2), Kirby Rickett (#3), Alex Packer (#4), Blake Whatcott (#5), Sam Elliss (#6), Maddie Mills (#7), Sierra Young (#8), Kaelia Tuttle (#9), Caitlin Goodfellow (#10), Alissa Packer (#11), Sydnie Archer (#12), Madeleine Murphy (#13), Lincoln Tuttle (#14), Delainee Hill (#15)

Winkie Soloists:
Kaleb Jones, Cassidy Dalton, Kaelia Tuttle, Alissa Packer, Madeleine Murphy

Lollipop Guild (will appear as Munchkins, Ozians, Winkies, and Scenery)
Joseph Bair, Lily Parkinson, Hailey Harmon, Lucie Murphy, Hannah Elliss, David West, Sean McFarland, Easton Packer, Sydnee Alles, Chloe Tuero

The Lullaby League (will appear as Munchkins, Ozians, and Winkies)
Sydnee Hill, Michelle Elliss, Benson Packer, Kortnee Linnett, Kate Parkinson, Aaron Bair

Friday, July 17, 2015

3 Days Until EYT!

While Chalese and the production staff are busing ironing out the final details of the cast list (sorry to disappoint with this post), I wanted to check in with final details.  I am going to try to go in the order of what I think is most important.

FIRST: If your student has not yet completed his/her bio, the deadline is tomorrow.  Today is even better.  Visit ASAP to complete the bio.  Bios not received by Saturday at midnight will not appear in the program.

SECOND: We are taking headshots on Monday at the theater.  Please send your student looking photo-ready.  

THIRD: Our makeup workshop is on Wednesday.  Students need to bring their own makeup in order to fully participate.  Students who do not bring makeup will get to watch and learn from our great instructor, but they will not be able to practice the techniques.  Please review the makeup requirements listed at the bottom of the costume page (just scroll down).

FOURTH: I forgot to address complimentary tickets at the parent meeting on Wednesday.  Each show participant will receive 2 complimentary tickets to share with friends and family.  These will be sent by email as we get closer to the show.  These are issued by participant, not by the number of functions in the show (for example, a student who is both in the cast and on the youth council would still only receive 2 tickets).

FIFTH: I am very concerned about hydration.  Please send your student with a water bottle (labeled with their name would be amazing) each day.  There is no drinking fountain at the Empress.

SIXTH: Base costumes (the term we use for items we have asked you to provide from your closets) need to be approved during the first week of workshops (by July 23rd).  An easy way to do this is to take a picture of your student dressed in their chosen costume and email it to our costumer.  Detailed requirements are listed on the blog.

           Costume Approval: Margie Craig     
           Contact info included in parent email

SEVENTH: I am so impressed with the quick response for volunteer to help supervise and maintain the Empress facilities.  Now that we have the facilities list up and going, that brings us to 105 opportunities to volunteer and about 45 families to share the work. From now on, please DO NOT contact me regarding volunteering.  Please refer to our awesome Parent Volunteer Committee Chairs.

           Supervision Chairperson: Renea Flores   
           Contact info included in parent email
           Supervision Calendar Link: See parent email

           Facilities Chairperson: Myranda Holgerson 
Contact info included in parent email
           Facilities Calendar Link: See parent email

EIGHTH: Ah, rehearsal conflicts...  We have compiled everyone's conflicts into one living and breathing document editable only by the amazing Justina Spencer, our stage manager.  From now on, please remember that if your student need to miss a rehearsal, you do not simply need to TELL Justina.  In any case less than an emergency, you should communicate WITH Justina, as she may have some ideas of how to get your child to rehearsal or some input regarding which hours of the day would least impact the rehearsal process.  Please make every effort to have your student present at every rehearsal with the exception of those already approved on their audition form.  Please also keep in mind that if it is not written down, it never happened. :)  Chalese and Valerie will be referring to this conflict calendar daily in preparing rehearsals.  

           Rehearsal Conflict Contact Person: Justina Spencer     
           Contact info included in parent email           
           Conflict Calendar Link: Here
           ** This calendar currently only has the original conflicts (it does not include the updates from auditions).  
           Give Justina 24 hours to get all that on there!

NINTH: If you missed the parent meeting, the agenda is attached to the email you received.  

TENTH: Thank you so much for letting us share your children. And thank you even more for reading all TEN of these important points!  This is going to be an absolutely incredible year at EYT.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

7 Days Until EYT!

Whoa!  At this time next week, you'll be getting ready to attend day one of the incredible EYT 2015!  What can you do this week before it gets crazy?
  • Go through your closet and take an inventory of which of the items from the costume wish list you already own!  (Don't spend any money until casting is done and you know for sure which items you need.)
  • Check out the list of incredible workshop teachers and get super excited for the amazing opportunity you are about to have.  (Take note that our makeup workshop is on Day 3 and pay attention to the makeup requirements at the bottom of the costume page.)
  • Preview of full day girl makeup (not Dorothy or witches)
  • Rest up!  Your life is about to get crazy!
Everybody look around
'Cause there's a reason to rejoice you see
Everybody come out
And let's commence to singing joyfully
Everybody look up
And feel the hope that we've been waiting for

Everybody's glad
Because our silent fear and dread is gone
Freedom, you see, has got our hearts singing so joyfully
Just look about
You owe it to yourself to check it out
Can't you feel a brand new day?
Can't you feel a brand new day?
Can't you feel a brand new day?
Can't you feel a brand new day?

Friday, July 10, 2015

9 Days Until EYT!

Four years ago, I was cast in my very first production at the Empress Theatre.  I was in rehearsals learning the songs and dances as part of the ensemble for Oklahoma, and the choreographer and director kept stressing how important it was to perform "on the angles."  Having never performed on a thrust stage like the Empress (or even in the round), I felt like I couldn't quite grasp the concept of how to reach an audience on three sides.  I decided the best way for me to understand this would be to sit as a member of the audience before trying to take the stage as a performer.

Whether you have ever seen a show at the Empress or not, I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to go see the current show, 1776.  

As EYT producer:
  • I would love for you to sit in the seats and study the patterns in the blocking.  What are the actors doing to reach all three audiences?
  • I would love for you to listen to how the actors project their voices, filling the room with sound often even without a microphone.
  • I would love for you to consider how costumes, makeup, and hair affect each actor or actresses ability to portray his or her assigned character.
As a 5th grade teacher:
  • I would love for you to get to see history played out in these realistic characters.
  • I would love for you to understand the ideas of conviction and compromise and consider how to apply those in your lives and onstage.
As a member of the theatre community:
  • I would love for you to get to see this incredible cast do their thing.  
  • I would love for you to support other actors who love the Empress and who dedicate so much of their lives to making it a better place.
  • I would love for you to go see it because it is REALLY, REALLY good.  (I saw it on Monday.)
So if you are looking for something to do to get you ready for The Wiz, take your family to go see 1776.  

*Parental warning: the script includes time period language that is considered to be cursing today and a small amount of adult innuendo.  The original movie was rated PG.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Giving Back

You are about to participate in the best youth theatre workshop program in the valley.  At least, that's what I think.  This endeavor requires a host of volunteers: behind the scenes getting costumes ready, selling tickets and concessions at each show, supervising groups of... well... you guys.  There is an unbelievable amount of work to be done, and so much of it is done by volunteers.

Right now, there is a need for volunteers for the current show (1776), and the Executive Director of the theatre will be doing volunteer training this weekend.  Read what he sent me below:

If you ever wanted to get involved or learn a particular job now is your chance.

This weekend I will be at the theater for every show and will train anyone who is willing on whatever job they would like, all that I ask is concession and ushers come at 6:15 so I can spend a little time with you before I have to work with the person or persons who come to learn the Box Office.

Please also let me know that you are coming as 15 people on one night, while a nice problem to have is still a problem and we will need to spread out the love a little so we are not walking all over each other.

Please send this to anyone you think might be interested and have them reach out to me at:

Andrea and Chalese the EYT cast is welcome to volunteer, I know you have many eager teens and younger folks and as long as they are tall enough to see over the counter we can use them in concession and Box Office paired with an adult, if they are still vertically challenged then they can assist as an usher.

If the opportunity to give back (even before you receive all the awesome benefits of these volunteers) interests you, please contact Shaun at the email address above.  Please also remember as you volunteer to work your hardest to represent not only yourself and your family well, but also to show what incredible kids we have in EYT.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

13 Days Until EYT!

{And just over a week until auditions! Eek!}

 Today's biggest action item is to make sure you have PAID your registration fees.  Remember that if you have not yet paid, you are not technically registered.  The absolute last possible day to pay your tuition is at auditions.  However, keep in mind that your tuition pays for a lot of awesome stuff up front:

  • T-shirt
  • Rehearsal supplies
  • Workshop teachers
We can't rely on ticket sales to cover these costs.  This means that the faster you get your tuition paid, the more ready we can be for you very first day of rehearsal.  

I've tried to link to the payment page, and it just doesn't work well.  So instead, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the main Empress website (just click the big Empress box on the left of this blog).
  2. Click the "Click here to buy tickets online" icon.
  3. Look for the Empress Youth Theatre Workshop Registration (it's the second one down).
  4. Click "Buy Tickets".
  5. Pretend like your seat matters (make sure to choose correctly between half day and full day).
  6. Finish your purchase.
We look forward to having you as a member of the EYT program this year!

Slide some oil to me
Let it trickle down my spine
If you don't have S.T.P.
Crisco will do just fine.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

18 Days Until EYT!

If you are big dork like me, you are already starting to think about the first day of rehearsal.  Maybe you've been there before.  Maybe this is your first year.  Either way, that first day is something pretty amazing.  Here are three suggestions to make day #1 a smashing success.
  • Consider your shoe choice carefully.  You will receive information with casting about what type of shoes your character will wear, and you will probably want to choose a similar shoe for rehearsals.  In general, any flexible-soled shoe is a good choice.  You can be fancy and go for a dance shoe, or you can keep it simple with a pair of comfy canvas shoes.  Smart dancers will avoid flip-flops and heavy athletic shoes.
  • Let's talk water!  There is NO drinking fountain at the Empress!  You are definitely going to want to bring a water bottle.  Trust me, the theater is going to get hot.  Not only that, but sometimes we like to turn the front lawn into an extra space for rehearsing.  Plan ahead to stay hydrated.
  • And what about supplies?  On the first day, you'll get a combination of script, score and/or lyrics folder depending on your character.  You'll also get a nifty EYT pencil.  I'd suggest choosing a small bag to transport your belongings to and from the theater so you are always prepared.  Other suggested items for your bag: snack(s), additional pencils... yeah, that's about it.
He's the Wiz,
He's the man,
He's the only one,
Who can give your wish right to ya.
He's the Wizard.
He'll send you back through time
By running magic through ya.
All of the super power's his.
Listen and I'll tell you where he is.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

19 Days Until EYT!

It's Wednesday, which means that for some of you, auditions are just 2 weeks away!  To prepare for EYT today, do these 3 things:
  • Double check the date/time of your audition.  All of this and more is available in the calendar tab.
  • Listen to at least three songs from the MUSICAL version (not the movie version) of the show.  Post your favorite song in the comments or on Facebook.
  • Select your audition song.  Re-read the suggestions here.

Though you are growing older now
And I'm watching you grow
I know I make you sad sometimes
And I see your feeling show
But one day
I'll look around
And you will be grown
You'll be out in the world
Such a pretty girl
You'll be on your own

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Parade Details

If you are planning to participate in the parade on Saturday, here's what you need to know.

  1. Bring a water bottle.  We will have water on the trailer for refills, but you will need to bring a container with you.
  2. You can wear any shorts/pants you choose, and we will bring your EYT shirt for you to wear.  You will have to change in the staging area, so prepare accordingly.
  3. 5th grade and up will dance most of the route.  Plan your shoes appropriately.
  4. Bring/wear sunscreen.  You can also wear a hat.  Our shirts will be green if that is something that matters to you.
  5. Plan to be DROPPED OFF at the parade staging area, which is the parking lot of the LDS church located at the intersection of 8400 West and 3100 South.  (Near Magna Elementary)  Just look for the EYT group; we shouldn't be too terribly difficult to find.
  6. We are going to have a TON of fun!  
For anyone who wants to brush up on the dance, here is a video followed by a cheat sheet for exactly how to Ease on Down!

Groove for 7 counts; GUITAR
Grove for 4 counts; shout 1, 2, 3, 4!

Guns; alternate guns; groove 4 counts
Guns; alternate guns; groove 4 counts
Step pause step step clap; alternate step pause step step clap
Guns; alternate guns; groove 4 counts

Grapevine front with a clap; grapevine back, pump arms
Grapevine front with a clap; grapevine back, pump arms
Step pause step step clap; alternate step pause step step clap
Grapevine front with a clap; groove 4 counts

Freestyle highlighting the right foot up; freestyle highlighting the left foot down
Freestyle highlighting a leg movement for 8 counts
Touch front left, step left, right leg out; touch front right, step right, left leg out
Touch front left, step left, right leg out; touch front right, step right, left leg out
Turn in a circle for 8 counts (headed forward)

Guns; alternate guns; groove 4 counts
Guns; alternate guns; groove 4 counts
Step pause step step clap; alternate step pause step step clap
8 counts to get into lines

Triple step R, triple step L, triple step R, triple step L
Big step R, L, R, L (2 counts each)
Snake 4 times (alternating directions and breaking apart line)
Get on the horse, grab the horn, ride the pony!

Grapevine front with a clap; grapevine back, pump arms
Grapevine front with a clap; grapevine back, pump arms
Step pause step step clap; alternate step pause step step clap
Grapevine front with a clap

Groove for 7 counts; GUITAR

Freestyle to the end of the song!

20 Days Until EYT!

Three things to do today to make sure you are ready for EYT:
  • Join the Facebook group if you aren't a member already.  Search for EYT (Empress Youth Theatre) and request to be added.
  • Attend parade rehearsal from 10 am to noon (5th grade and up) or talk to your parents about riding on the trailer on Satuday (2nd-4th graders).  
  • Read the character list for "The Wiz."  Post in the comments or on Facebook about which character you'd most enjoy playing and why.
Believe in yourself, right from the start
You'll have brains, you'll have a heart
You'll have courage to last your whole life through
If you believe in yourself as I believe in you.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Be Prepared!

Being prepared for auditions is one of the most important things you can do.

Step 1: Make sure you know the show.

If you are familiar with the songs and characters, you are much more likely to do well in auditions.

Step 2: Choose a GREAT song.

  • Stay away from overly popular selections (pun intended).  I would highly suggest avoiding songs from currently trendy musicals such as Frozen, Wicked, and Into the Woods.
  • Consider doing something outside musical theater.  This particular musical features "Motown" style music.  A quick Google search will get you all sorts of lists like this one.
  • Choose a song that you sound good singing (not just one that you like).
Step 3: Practice like CRAZY!
  • Get your minus track taken care of now.  You can find minus tracks on iTunes, YouTube, or by bringing your sheet music and cell phone to Andrea's house.  But get your minus track taken care of so you can practice the way you plan to perform.
  • Memorize your song early.  You should be able to confidently perform without any words in front of you.
  • Sing you song for ANYONE who will listen.  Get those nerves out now!
Step 4: Consider your appearance.  
  • Dress in a way that highlights your strengths.  
  • It's totally okay to give a nod in your outfit to the part you are hoping to get.  (But please don't come fully dressed as Dorothy!)
  • Choose an outfit that will also allow you to comfortably dance.
Step 5: Don't worry!
  • Auditioning for EYT is a breeze.  Our production staff is super friendly and used to working with other students just like you.  There's no need to be overly nervous or scared.  Auditioning at EYT is fun!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Announcing the 2015 Summer Show: THE WIZ

Registration is happening now for this summer's EYT of epic proportions.  

Workshop dates:
Weekdays (*and one Saturday)
July 20th through August 7th

Performance dates:
Friday, Saturday, and Monday Nights
August 7th through August 29th

Full Day Registration (jr. high and high school students) costs $100 for all three weeks of rehearsals and workshops.

Half Day Registration (elementary students) costs $75 for all three weeks of rehearsals and workshops.

Click the tabs above for more information and to register for this incredible opportunity!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Magna 4th of July Parade

If you are planning on participating in EYT this year, one of the best ways to get excited (and prepared) is to participate in the Magna 4th of July Parade.  Some benefits include:

  • A chance to start the EYT party early with one rehearsal each week, beginning the week of June 15th (details TBA)
  • Opportunities to impress the director before auditions even happen
  • A head start on music from The Wiz
  • Did I mention hanging out with other EYT kids?  
In order to receive information about the parade rehearsals, please complete the online EYT registration.  While your registration is not complete until you have paid the tuition, you should still complete the form NOW even if you can't pay yet.  Let us know that you want to be a part of EYT!

Friday, May 29, 2015

EYT Workshop Series

It happens all the time, and it happened again just yesterday.  People frequently ask me, "Why does it cost money to be in EYT?"  While there are actually several reasons, one of the primary things EYT tuition funds is the workshop instructors.

At its core, the EYT workshop series is designed to give students access to a variety of talented instructors with whom they would not be likely to have an opportunity to interact in any other setting.  We look for instructors who are experts in their field and who either have a degree in the area they are teaching or have been able to earn a successful primary or secondary income doing what they love.

As EYT students participate in daily workshops and learn these skills, they become more capable actors and actresses, ready to take on the challenges associated with learning an entire musical in just three short weeks.

Check the WORKSHOP SERIES tab frequently to see which talented instructors have joined our team!