Sunday, August 28, 2016

Announcing the 2017 Show!

When I stepped into the Empress Theatre in July 2011, I had no idea what to expect from the 36 kids who had signed up to be a part of the very first EYT experience.  I knew almost none of them, and I was terrified that this crazy plan I had pitched to put on a whole show in just 16 rehearsals might just be crazy.  Fortunately for me, we had some very talented participants in that first show including Luke Johnson as Willy Wonka, a seasoned actor ready to mentor the rising generation, and Travis Hymas, a twelve year old with bright eyes and lots of potential.  The show, Willy Wonka, Jr. was perfect for this combination of experience and youth, and that year's workshop experiences provided the most fun I have ever personally had at EYT.

The momentum of such a successful first year propelled us to take on the challenge of Beauty and the Beast, Jr., a project of such epic proportions that I still look back in wonder on the fact that we fit the costumes through the entrances, let alone pulled of a show jam packed full of production number after production number.  Alice in Wonderland, Jr. grew us to our highest enrollment numbers to date and eventually after successfully running a program with 72 children on stage, the Empress show selection committee decided to allow EYT to take on a full-length production.

Under the energetic direction of Chalese Craig, EYT pulled off its first ever full-length musical, The Wiz.  Wanting to help the youth in the program to continue to grow, we then took on the lesser known Li'l Abner, featuring over two hours of lightning-speed lyrics, tight harmonies, and over 40 named characters.  I am so proud of the resulting production, and I couldn't have asked to work with a more efficient production staff.

Having done all of that, it was difficult to decide where the program should head next.  However, one idea kept running through the production staff dialogue through this year's rehearsal practice.  "We have no time to have fun!"  Jackie Casdorph, our music director and my mom, reminded me that I used to tell stories of the games I would play with the EYT kids.  The calmer moments I had to sit and discuss important things with them.  The bonds that were formed.  The dreams that were shared.

Pushing the EYT kids to produce bigger and better shows each year, I almost lost sight of that incredible first year.  Can we put on a full-length musical in three weeks?  Yes, we can!  But at what cost?

I am excited to announce that EYT will be returning to a junior show for the 2017 season, working together to perform Honk, Jr., a musical retelling of the tale of the ugly duckling.  While in my heart I know this is the best decision for the program, I worry about kids who may think we are taking a step back.  I assure you, we are not!  Hold tight as more components to the program will be announced, including details about a preshow performing group that will allow more opportunities for half-day soloists and a better training ground for singing harmonies and learning solid dance foundations.

I was humbled last night at the Empress Gala to look around me and see so many of the wonderful EYT family.  From graduates to those currently serving on the council to half-day kids and newcomers, I was surrounded by the sort of talent and kindness that keeps me coming back year after year.  I felt a bit overwhelmed by the incredible opportunity I have been given to be a part of your lives.  Now I feel solemn as I realize that the last of the full-day kids from Year 1 will now be entering their last year of EYT.  I feel excited to offer an opportunity to pass the torch from that first generation of EYT to those of you who will become the leaders.  The next Alex Tharp.  The next Travis Hymas.  The next Perry S. Whitehair.  The next Chris Richardson.  The next Zachary Linnett.  And my eyes are tearing up as I realize that I am lucky enough to get to be a part of that.

I know it is only August, but plan ahead now!  Workshops begin July 10, 2017.  I can't wait to see which of you will be joining me in this next phase of the journey.

Andrea K. Fife
EYT Producer

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Full Day Dressing Room Guidelines

These guidelines are not intended to a comprehensive list of acceptable or unacceptable dressing room behaviors.  Please use common sense and principles of respect when making decisions regarding appropriate dressing room use.


  • Without the specific permission of the backstage manager, you should NEVER enter any dressing room other than the one to which you have been assigned.
  • Each student has been assigned a specific area of the dressing room.  Personal items and costume items should be confined to this area.  Your individual area should be cleaned before you leave the theater after each rehearsal and performance.  
  • You must check out with the backstage manager before leaving at the end of the night.


  • Suggested underclothing for the dressing room includes biker/compression shorts for both boys and girls and a tank top/camisole/leotard for girls.  
  • Underclothing should not be visible when you are in costume.  Consider strap color and placement when choosing which items to wear under your costume.
  • Conversations in the dressing room need to show respect and consideration for others in the room.  Avoid gossip, profanity, innuendo, or language which in any way degrades or devalues others.
  • Conversations that must happen backstage should take place in the dressing rooms, since the doors close and prevent the noise from reaching the audience.  However, please keep dressing room conversation as quiet as possible.  
  • Be considerate of your use of music in dressing room, whether you are playing music or singing it yourself.  Ask those in your area if they mind the noise.  Make these types of decisions together as a dressing room.
  • Please shower within 24 hours of each performance and wear appropriate amounts of deodorant or antiperspirant.  
  • Avoid use of colognes, perfumes, and oils as others may be sensitive to strong aromas.
  • In general, costumes should be returned immediately to their hangers and hung on the provided clothing rod.  In the event of a fast change, you may lay your costume on the back of a chair until you are able to hang it up.  Do not ever crumple your costume or put your costume on the floor.
  • Unless you have specific health-related dietary need, there is no need to eat during the show.  Food will not be permitted in the dressing rooms, nor is it permissible to eat once you are in costume.
  • Water is the only allowed drink in the dressing rooms and must be in a container with a lid.  
  • Any dressing room concerns should be reported immediately to the backstage manager. 

Half Day Hair and Makeup

Beginning on Wednesday, all students need to arrive at the theater in complete hair and makeup.  

  • All half day girls should wear their hair in a version of two pigtails or two braids.  
  • Either part or all of the hair should be held up in the hair style.  
  • Any hair not pulled up should be worn curled.  
  • Bangs past the eyebrow must be pinned back.
  • Makeup should not be heavy, simply enough to compensate for the washed-out effect that happens under stage lights.
  • Pink blush
  • Eye liner and mascara
  • Naturally colored lip gloss (no bright or dark colors)
  • Pastel eyeshadow (optional)
  • Half day boys should have an intentionally tousled look.
  • Hillbilly Boys group needs to do a side part with slicked hair for the "Scientist" scene.  Practice this at home so your child can do it on his own backstage.

  • Makeup should not be heavy, simply enough to compensate for the washed-out effect that happens under stage lights.
  • Brownish blush
  • Eye liner and mascara
  • Chapstick

Monday, July 18, 2016

Base Costume Drop Off

We have nearly reached the base costume drop off date (Wednesday).  Please follow these procedures:

  1. Label each item of the base costume with your first name.  We have no duplicate names (when spelled out) in this cast, so you don't need a last name.  Please write directly on the fabric or sew in a tab.  Tape will eventually peel off, leaving confusion.
  2. Place each item in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag.  Label the bag clearly with your name.
  3. DO NOT TURN IN YOUR SHOES!  We don't need to put patches on them, and you need to rehearse in them.
  4. Bring your bag to rehearsal on Wednesday morning.  Our costume team will add patches, then reissue the costume to you.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Friday Workshop Requirements

Our awesome hair and makeup workshops on Friday require a bit of audience participation.  Please see below for which items your student should bring.  Students who do not arrive prepared with the items will only get to watch the demonstrations and will not be able to participate.

Guys- theater make up
Students should have their own since germs are spread extremely easily through make up. If you don't already have the items handy the dollar store, grocery store or Walgreens all carry make up. Students will use these items for the actual show, not just the workshops.

  • blush
  • mascara
  • chapstick
  • eye liner (fair hair and skin should bring brown eyeliner; dark hair and skin should bring black or black/brown). 

Gals- hair supplies 
Even if your student has short hair they will still learn curling skills. If your student is wearing a wig in the show please bring it if you need styling tips. Not all students will wear curls for the show; this is a techniques workshop.

  • brush
  • comb
  • curling iron that is less than an inch in diameter (smaller curling irons work better for curls)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Announcing the ALL NEW Promo Pack

Are you looking for a creative way to get the word out to friends, family, and neighbors about the upcoming show?

Do you plan to see Li'l Abner more than once and know you'll end up spending more in concessions than you did on your ticket?

Are you dying to see the show and just can't wait until opening night?

Does your child love nothing more than to see his or her own face and name in print?

If any of these apply to you or your family, check out our all new PROMO PACK!

  • 10 sheets of personalized "Friends and Family" discount concession cards
  • Producer's Preview ticket
When you order a promo pack, you will get 10 sheets of "Friends and Family" discount concessions cards.  Use one every time you come to see Li'l Abner, or - even better - give them away to friends and family to use when they come to the show.  All the important information including performance dates and the theater address is right on the card.  You can even add the presales discount code (DOGPATCH) on the back and encourage your people to purchase early.  

Sample Promo Pack Sheet (10 sheets included per pack)

Sure, it is really fun for your kid to see his or her own face on the promotional materials, and yes, your friends and family get to save a bit of money on Red Vines and Mountain Dew, but what is really in it for you?

That's where the Producer's Preview invitation comes in.  Come be the Producer's personal guest and see the show before it is available to the public.  Rub elbows with the Executive and Artistic Directors at the theatre and have a chance to gush about how amazing the show is (because we all know it will be, right?) before the proverbial curtain even rises.

Promo Packs must be ordered by Friday, July 22nd in order to allow time for design and printing.  The order process takes two steps.  

1. Pay for a Promo Pack here.
2. Fill out the order info here.

I will send you a confirmation within approximately 48 hours of receiving your order.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Final Parade Information

To those who are participating in the parade:

  • Remember to wear your yellow EYT shirt (I have yours if you don't have it yet) and some sort of denim shorts or pants.  Remember shorts should be at least finger length.
  • Hats are allowed for half-day kids, but try to stick with red, white, or blue if possible.
  • I have three water bottles for each kid.  We will use only those water bottles on the trailer.  However, if you want to bring a water bottle to use before or after the parade, feel free to bring your own.
  • Sunscreen!  You don't want to be sunburned for your audition and headshot this week.  Bring your own, or I reserve the right to spray you with whatever I bring.
  • Please arrive at 10:30 at the LDS stake house located at 8400 West and 3100 South.  No one can park in this lot, so plan to just be dropped off.
  • Your parents should plan to pick you up at the theater.  Full day kids, I expect you to be responsible and have a plan for yourselves.  Half day kids, I need you to be picked up by a responsible adult or sibling at the theater.  We will likely be done around 1:30.
  • Our trailer is unit number 48, which means we are close to the middle of the parade.
Oh, and most importantly, THANK YOU!

(A trailer in the dark... I should've taken these pics earlier.)

Fundraising Car Wash

We have final approval from Walmart to hold this year's fundraising car wash in their parking lot, which means I am ready to announce how to sell the tickets!

First, I need to start with a REALLY IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: All tuition money is due by the time you leave your scheduled audition, whether you plan to sell car wash tickets or not.  This means you need to handle your car wash sales in one of two ways:

#1 Pre-sell

  • Sell all your car wash tickets before your audition.  
  • Bring all the cash and checks made out to OHPAA (Oquirrh Hills Performing Arts Alliance, if you were curious) to your audition.  
  • Be prepared to pay the remaining balance of your tuition with cash or check because I won't be able to process random amounts on a credit card.
#2 Post-sell
  • Pay your tuition using cash, check, or credit card
  • Keep all the cash and checks made out to your parents to reimburse them for the money they paid for EYT
Either way you handle the timing, the basic process is this:
  1. Download and print the carwash tickets here:  PRINT YOUR TICKETS TO SELL
  2. Sell the tickets for $7 each as stated on the ticket or for the promotional rate of $10 for two car washes.  
  3. Use the money to pay for tuition.  If you sell extra, use the money to purchase the required costume items!  Or you can always donate your extra sales in the silver box at the Empress.  Please be honest and do not use this fundraiser as a way to make personal money.
And if you aren't planning to sell car wash tickets, it would still be great to have you donate your time.  Check out the facebook event for details on that.

ONE FINAL DISCLOSURE: You only get to use the money that you personally collect.  The money for all car washes sold on site on July 9th will go directly into the program and will be used to cover program costs, NOT the tuition of individual students.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

EYT in the EMPYS

If you've been around EYT for a few years, it is hard to scroll through the Empy nominee list and not recognize many of the names.  For your ease and wonderment, I've compiled a list of all the nominees with ties to EYT.  I'm grateful for the many talented people who have participated both as students and as staff in the EYT program over the last 6 years!

The Empy's are awarded annually at the Empress Gala, and details, tickets, and the full nominations list are available now at the Empress website. But if you'd like to just peruse the amazing talent associated with EYT over the program's history, look no further than below.

Glen Carpenter - Man In Chair - The Drowsy Chaperone
EYT Connection: Director 2011

Skyler Bluemel - Mr. Body - Clue; The Musical
EYT Connection: Music Director 2011

Logan Gifford - Adam Pontipee - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
EYT Connection: Set Design 2013 and 2016

Ehlana Durfee - Janet Van De Graff - The Drowsy Chaperone
EYT Connection: Set Painter 2016

Melina Wrathall - JoJo - Seussical the Musical
EYT Connection: Cast Member 2012

Skyler Bluemel - Minstrel - Once Upon A Mattress
EYT Connection: Music Director 2011

Melina Wrathall - Alice - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
EYT Connection: Cast Member 2012

Andrea Fife - Trix - The Drowsy Chaperone
EYT Connection: Choreographer 2011, Director 2012-2013, Producer 2015-2016

Justina Spencer - Maid - Clue; The Musical
EYT Connection: Stage Manager 2015-2016

Jacob Murphy - Usher - Forever Plaid; Plaid Tidings
EYT Connection: Cast Member 2015

Jamie Victor - Forever Plaid; Plaid Tidings
EYT Connection: Vocal Coach 2012-2013, Workshop Coordinator 2015-2016

Skyler Bluemel - The Drowsy Chaperone, Forever Plaid; Plaid Tidings, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum
EYT Connection: Music Director 2011

Sammi Arsuffi - Clue; The Musical
EYT Connection: Cast Member 2011-2013

Shannalee Harrison - Forever Plaid; Plaid Tidings
EYT Connection: Workshop Instructor 2015-2016

Michelle Davis - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
EYT Connection: Music Director 2013

Travis Hymas - Seussical the Musical
EYT Connection: Cast Member 2011-2016, Youth Council, Assistant Director 2015

Justina Spencer - Once Upon A Mattress
EYT Connection: Stage Manager 2015-2016

Logan Gifford - The Drowsy Chaperone
EYT Connection: Set Design 2013 and 2016

Michelle Davis - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
EYT Connection: Music Director 2013

Monday, June 27, 2016

Half-Day Pride

I am frequently asked, "Is it possible for a half-day kid to get a role with lines or solos?"  

Here is the answer.
Is it possible?  Yes.
Is it likely?  Not particularly.

And here is the reason why:
It is purely logistical.  The schedule for EYT rehearsals generally focuses on large group numbers in the morning when half-day kids attend.  Scenes are blocked and run in the afternoons when we only have the full-day kids in attendance.  It has nothing to do with talent or ability!  Sometimes it is possible to assign solos or lines in a scene that only needs to be run in the morning to half-day kids, and that is completely up to the production staff when they do the casting.  

Don't let it get you down!  
Each half-day student will be cast in one of the four groups listed below.  No, I'm not going to announce just yet what each group gets to do or wear.  But I am announcing the group names, logos, and colors so you can get excited.  

There's more to look forward to!
Half-day students should also be looking forward to:
  • Awesome moments with Half-Day Ambassador Travis Hymas
  • Daily rehearsals and games with half-day leaders like Perry Whitehair and Kaelene Holgerson
  • A full-day mentor that can answer your questions and show you the ropes
Let's ban the "just" from Half-Day
I don't ever want to hear you say, "I'm just a half-day."  
Let's shout it proudly, "I'm a HALF-DAY!"

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What to Expect at Auditions

I often find that as I am speaking to EYT kids and parents, I realize that all the stuff floating around in my head isn't common knowledge!  So to those who might like to know what to expect at an EYT audition, here is my best guess of how things will go this year.  I reserve the right to be wrong.  :)

THE LOBBY (check in and check out)
The lobby will be both your first and last stop and will be your chance to interact with Stage Manager, Justina Spencer.  Try to arrive at least 10 minutes before your audition time to get the lobby stuff out of the way.

  • Double check the audition form
  • Verify your conflict dates
  • Verify that your tuition is paid in full (you cannot be cast without it)
  • Order extra t-shirts for cast or family ($15 cash or check)
THE GREENROOM (the organizational hub)
So much will be going on downstairs with a variety of stations to visit.  Here is a sample of what to expect downstairs.
  • Parent volunteer sign up sheets
  • Get your t-shirt 
  • Get a head shot taken for the program (so look pretty!)
  • Submit your bio at the bio station (feel free to pre-write your 50 word (half day) or 75 word (full day) bio beforehand, but it will need to be submitted through the official bio form.
  • Meet our costumer Ty and get measured or photographed or whatever Ty says 
UPSTAIRS (music central)
You and each of the other students in your audition group (check the calendar if you want to know who to expect) will perform your song for the music director Jackie in the upstairs area.  
  • The people in your audition group will be around your same age.
  • You must have either a minus track or sheet music.  NO ACAPELLA!
  • If you are scared about this part of auditions, try not to be.  :)  It will be so fun and friendly.
FRONT LAWN (the dance hall)
On the front lawn you and your audition group will meet Madison Carpentier, our dance captain.  She will teach you a sequence to perform later for JJ.
  • Absolutely no flip-flops or bare feet at auditions.  If you have already purchased your jazz shoes or bear claws, you may wish to wear those on the stage.  Plan to wear something that covers your sole and stays firmly on your feet while outside.
  • Consider the dance audition in selecting your audition attire.  Please dress in clothing that will cover you appropriately even when moving.
THE STAGE (meet the director)
You and your group will get to take the stage to perform both your monologue/poem and the dance sequence.  Turn on the charm, since this is the room with the director JJ and student director Dillon.  
  • Your poem or monologue should be completely memorized and delivered in a clear, loud voice.
  • Follow instructions regarding dancing carefully; for half-day kids especially, this is a big part of the audition.
Plan for about a half hour outside your audition time to accomplish all the extras.  I am looking forward to seeing each of you soon!

As always, feel free to contact me with questions.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Volunteer Opportunities

I cannot even believe how much the Empress Youth Theatre organization has grown.  Between the Youth Council, the Parent Volunteer Committee, and the Production Staff, there are nearly three dozen individuals working on small or large tasks to make this program succeed.  

I am really excited about a new tool we will be using this year to help coordinate all of the great opportunities available.  Things as simple as coordinating carpools, donating small items, posting pictures for costume approval... it can all be done on the bulletin board!  

Take a moment to check it out now!  Be sure to drag the board from side to side or up and down to see all the notes.  Or just click this link for a full page version


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

In the Style of the Show

What does it mean to prepare an audition piece in the style of the show?

Option 1: Stick with the show's Broadway era
Li'l Abner is from the era of classic Broadway musicals - those that were written and premiered between 1920 and 1959, a period that includes the “golden age of musical theatre.”  Broadway Musical Home has a great list of classic musicals.

Option 2: Go with the show's composer
The production staff can tell a lot from how you handle a song by the same composer as the show for which you are auditioning.  Li'l Abner has music written by Gene de Paul, and the Internet Broadway Database has a (short) list of other shows featuring his music.

Option 3: Research the setting of the show
Choosing another song from a similar time period or with a similar setting can add variety to your options.  However, you are less likely to find a convenient list.  Li'l Abner is set in a backwoods town in the 1950's.  An internet search for "musicals with a country feel" might bring up some possible song choices.

Option 4: Skip Broadway altogether
This is definitely a riskier choice, but sometimes you can find popular music that fits the feel of the show for which you are auditioning.  Do your research!  Make certain the song you choose fits for a specific reason; maybe it has a similar beat, tempo, or chord structure.

Hopefully this has helped!  If you have any additional questions about your audition selection, feel free to contact me.  I am happy to be a pre-audition resource.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Virtual Parade Rehearsal

If you were unable to attend today's parade rehearsal but would like to start practicing, I've included several tools for you including the lyrics (complete with my choreography notes), a practice vocal track, and a choreography video.  As the girls who attended today will attest, the actual difficulty level is not high; it is memorization that is gonna kill us!  So practice away.

2016 Parade Remix

The country's in the very best of hands, WAVE UP
The best of hands, the best of hands. CIRCLE SWITCH TO POW WOW / RPT OTHER WAY

The Treasury says the national debt is climbing to the sky CROSS HIP UP / RPT; AROUND UP
And government expenditures have never been so high. SAME
It makes a feller get a gleam of pride within his eye, WAVE CROSS LOW, MIDDLE, HIGH 2X
to see how our economy expands, CROSS HIGH, MIDDLE, LOW 2X
The country's in the very best of hands. WAVE UP 4X , CIRCLE SWITCH, BUMP BACKS

Us voters are connected to the nominee, L'S
The nominee's connected to the treasury. ZOMBIE, T
When they ain't connected to the treasury, LOW L'S
They sits around on their thigh bones. SWOOP AT THIGHS

Them bones, them bones gonna rise again, OAR SLOWLY 2X
Gonna exercise a franchise again, OAR SLOWLY 2X
Gonna tax us up to our eyes again, OAR SLOWLY 2X, FAST 4X
If we gets them off of their thigh bones. SWOOP AT THIGHS

The country's in the very best of hands, SAME AS BEGINNING
the best of hands, the best of hands.

Them GOP's and Democrats each hates the other one. LUAU RIGHT 4X, OUT IN
They's always criticizing how the country should be run. LUAU LEFT 4X, OUT IN
But neither tells the public what the other's gone and done. V UP, V DOWN, V UP, V DOWN
As long as no one knows where no one stands, AIRPLANE IN, ALTERNATE
The country's in the very best of hands. SAME AS BEFORE

They sits around in this place they got, BREAK WRISTS
This big congressional parking lot. PRECISION ELBOWS
Just sits around on their you know what. BIG ELBOWS
Up there they call them their thigh bones. SWOOP AT THIGHS

Them bones them bones gonna rise again, CROSSES RISING
So dignified and so wise again, KEEP RISING
While the budget doubles in size again KEEP RISING, DOWN UP, DOWN UP
When they gits up offen their thigh bones.SWOOP AT THIGHS

Friday, June 17, 2016

Footwear and Hairstyles of the Nowhere Near Rich or Famous

I just got back from the first meeting of the incredible minds behind this year's production. While I am very excited about pretty much everything, here are the first two items you need to know in preparation for you (or your kid) making the transition to an upstanding citizen of Dogpatch, USA.

Because Dogpatch, USA is a backwoods sort of a town, we are going to be going for a barefoot look.  However, we are not going for actual bare feet.  Please begin your search now for one of the following types of footwear.  ALL half-day students (yes, the boys too) will need one of the following types of shoes.  Nearly all full-day students (especially girls) will need this type of shoe.  Full day boys might want to wait until after casting to make a purchase.
  • "Bear claws": This refers to a type of dance shoe that covers the sole of the foot while leaving most of the top of the foot bare. currently offers a pair for $12.95-$14.95 depending on size.  
  • Tan jazz shoes: If you are concerned about safety and want the full foot covered, tan jazz shoes are also an acceptable option.  Unless you already own a pair, this option will actually cost more with prices beginning around $25.  However, you are probably more likely to be able to borrow a pair of jazz shoes.
Summer can be a fun time to experiment with hair!  However, some of the hairstyles of 2016 just aren't going to work in Dogpatch, USA.  Feel free to keep your crazy colors through July 22nd.  As of July 25th, we will expect to see naturally occurring hair colors only (no, you don't have to have your own natural color) and symmetrical cuts only.  For those of you with beautifully "normal" hair, what we see at auditions will be what we expect you to keep through the final performance.  ANY changes to your hair (length, style, color) need to be approved before you make the change.  If your preferred hairstyle is a little too edgy for Dogpatch, and you just don't want to give it up, please be prepared to provide your own wig.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Parade Rehearsals Announced!

The Magna 4th of July Parade is a great opportunity for us to start to advertise for our production of Li'l Abner.  Not only that, but it is a fun way to get a head start on all the fun that is EYT.  For planning purposes, keep in mind that this parade does not begin until noon on the 4th.  The time commitment will be from approximately 10:00 am to around 2:00 p.m.

There are two levels of participation.  Be sure you know which one applies to you!

In order to participate in the parade, please plan to attend TWO of the four scheduled full-day parade rehearsals.  All rehearsals will be held from 10 am to 11:30 am (trying to beat the full heat of the day).  Choose from June 20th, June 22nd, June 27th, or June 29th.  Rehearsals will be held at the Empress Theatre.  Please wear shoes you can walk and dance in.  NO FLIP FLOPS!!!

In order to participate in the parade, please plan to attend ONE of the two scheduled half-day rehearsals.  Both rehearsals will be held from 10 am to 11:30 am upstairs at the Empress Theatre.  Choose from Wednesday, June 22nd or Wednesday, June 29th.  Half day students will ride on the parade trailer and will just learn the song, not the choreography.  

I look forward to getting an early start with the parade kids!

Andrea :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

General Registration Now Open!

Remember that registration will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis based on the timestamp at the time you submit your registration.  When an age/gender is full, the names will be placed on a wait list according to the same timestamp information.  Thank you for your interest in joining EYT!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Letter from JJ - Your 2016 Director

So, Andrea asked me to write something up for you to get to know me. I find it hard writing about
myself but I was determined to try. I started like a 3rd person YA story, but it didn’t feel right. Next I
started a 1st person story but it sounded conceited and unrealistic. I have settles instead to just write a autobiography.  I hope it accomplishes all that Andrea hoped it would.

I come from a heritage of performers. My grandmother was a performer in college and went on to be a vocal coach, which she still does today. She taught my mother and my aunt to sing at a very early age. They went on to be on Tv at the ages of 8 and 10, They traveled the world with the USO and my aunt still performers today with the Silva Sister around Utah.

I loved music and movement from the time I was old enough to stand. I grew up singing and dancing
with my family. I was 3 years old when I performer with my mother in front of hundreds of people. As a teen I performed in places like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farms, SeaWorld, The London Bridge, Branson, St Louis, Six flags.

I wasn’t much of a singer, I had to learn to sing and it took years for me to be able to hold my own
against my siblings. Dance and movement however came naturally to me. I loved it. I went to college at Southern Utah University. I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in dance, at the time they didn’t have one so I did a theater art major with a dance minor. I was the only freshmen on the modern dance company and I got to be involved in my first theater experience. I was hooked.

When I finished an LDS mission I got involved in Community Theater.  I learned all I could about theater and the art of bringing something magical to life. I had wonderful mentors who fanned my excitement about the craft.

I’m not going to go in to everything I’ve done- that would be pages of me rambling on about how each experience changed me. I will include my resume for you to see my body of work. Instead I’m going to tell you two experiences; how I came to know Andrea (who you know and respect) and they story of one of my favorite productions.

I was in my early 20’s when I got involved at the Draper Arts Council. There I meet the Casdorph family. They were an amazing talented family. I got to be in many productions with them. I remember thinking how Andrea was so suited to this art. Outside of the theater she became my friend. When I was asked to put together a productions team for the Dickens Christmas festival she was top on my list. She and I have worked so seamlessly together for so many years that it was an easy yes for me when she ask me to take on this adventure with her.

One of my most favorite productions was Fiddler on the Roof. On the first day we broke the cast up into families. My intention in doing this was that it would be easy to block that way as well as schedule rehearsals. What happened was that they became like families- caring for each other, helping each other, practicing together.  We became a close nit town like Anatevka-even though many of us did not live near one another.  Every night we were transported to Russia- and here is the part that if you taking nothing else from all my rambling take this. We were not actors and audience but equal participants in the experience of Fiddler on the Roof. I cried every night of the show when my families one by one left Anatevka. I learn from that experience and I was changed.

So, it’s a youth workshop but it is also a play. We will work hard and I will expect your best effort. We will learn and I will help you discover something new about yourself and your abilities. We will laugh and dance and sing and work hard and have sore muscles and possibly hurt other things and we will have homework, and did I mention we will work hard? But I promise you’ll grow and learn and have fun. I’m looking forward to this summer and meeting all of you. Now go do something and be great!

-- Jacqueline Vuki (JJ)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Priority Registration

Priority registration is now open.

2. Look for enrollment confirmation via email.
3. Choose a payment option ($15 registration fee + tuition later; or pay full tuition now).
4. Sit back and know you have signed up for the BEST way to spend your summer!

Friday, March 4, 2016

To Add to Your Radar

A few EYT related items to add to your radar:

1. The scholarship application is now officially live, and I am really excited to be able to offer SIX $50 scholarships and EIGHT $25 dollar scholarships.  I am so grateful to a generous donor for making that option available to us this year.  Check the applications tab for more info, but then feel free to message or text or email if you have any questions.

2. After meeting with the director this morning, I have added two more leadership applications.  One (ASSISTANT DIRECTOR) is for a young adult not planning to enroll this summer.  The other (DANCE CAPTAIN) is for a chance to be a leader within the cast.  Check out those details and apply soon; I need to get this well-oiled machine assembled!

3. Because our 2016 director is brand new to EYT, we will need to hold a callback this year.  This will take place on Thursday, July 7th in the afternoon and will affect on the FULL DAY students.  While it is not absolutely required to attend the callback, chances of getting cast in a large role certainly improve with attendance.  So put that important date on your calendar now.

4. I am also starting to assemble a team of parents and other adults to help do all the work that it takes to have a successful EYT year.  Contact me in the Facebook group if you are interested in being involved!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Applications and Enrollment

First things first - the dates for priority and general registration!

The priority registration window will be from April 1st to April 15th.  This registration window is for returning EYT students or the siblings of current/former students.  Be prepared to pay either a $15 registration fee or the full $100 (full day) or $75 (half day) tuition at that time.

General registration will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23rd and will remain open until the 72 available registration spots have been filled.  I do not anticipate this window being very long this year, so make sure your friends and neighbors who are hoping to get in have this date and time in mind!  These new students should also be prepared to pay either a $15 registration fee or the full $100 (full day) or $75 (half day) tuition at that time.

In addition to all of that, I am very excited to announce two brand new application forms this year (and there are a few more to come)!


The Empress Youth Theatre program strives not only to provide education and opportunities for youth in theatre but also to provide opportunities for young adults to grow into leadership positions in their local communities.  The Empress Youth Theatre program is currently looking for four qualified young adults (ages 18 to 25) who want to give back to the youth theatre community while gaining this leadership experience.

"Half-Day Leaders" are responsible for a group of 10 elementary school children during the Empress Youth Theatre summer workshop experience (M-F July 11-29).  Half-Day Leaders spend 4 hours a day at the theater (8:30 am to 12:30 pm) providing the following for their summer workshop group:

1. Friendly guidance throughout the workshop experience
2. Choreography and vocal support, reviewing scenes and songs per the Director
3. Supervision during educational workshops, arrival, and dismissal

The position of "Half-Day Leader" is a volunteer position.  However, half-day leaders will receive a show t-shirt and two complimentary tickets to the production.


The Empress Youth Theatre program strives not only to provide education and opportunities for youth in theatre but also to provide opportunities for teenagers to grow into leadership positions in their local communities.  The Empress Youth Theatre program is currently looking for seven hard-working high school students who want to give back to the youth theatre community while gaining this leadership experience.

Youth Council members are responsible for aiding the EYT Program Staff, Production Staff, and Parent Volunteer Committee in accomplishing a variety of tasks leading up to the summer workshop series.  Youth Council members are expected to be enrolled in the summer program.

Council positions include:

1. President - works directly with with program coordinator (Andrea Fife)
    - organizational tasks regarding enrollment, auditions, workshop materials, etc

2. Production Assistant - works directly with the director (Jacqueline Vuki)
    - organizational and creative tasks regarding costume, set, and technical elements

3. Volunteer Liaison - works directly with the parent volunteer committee head (to be determined)
    - organizational tasks related to volunteer opportunities such as ushering and building cleaning

4. Educational Outreach - works directly with workshop coordinator (Jamie Victor)
    - public relations tasks related to greeting and hosting workshop instructors

5. Half-Day Ambassador - works directly with Half-Day Leaders (to be determined)
    - public relations tasks related to befriending and recognizing half-day EYT students

6. Publicity Chairperson - works directly with producer (Andrea Fife)
    - organizational and creative tasks related to social media updates and ticket sales

7. Social Coordinator - works directly with program coordinator (Andrea Fife)
    - organizational, creative, and public relations tasks related to organizing and hosting parties and events

All positions on the Youth Council are volunteer positions.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016 Workshop Dates

I know it is time to start planning your summers, and I can't believe I didn't publish this yet!  Mark your calendars now with the official EYT dates.

Also, check back frequently for details and updates.  A few things to come soon include:

  • Priority and general enrollment dates
  • Audition dates and times
  • EYT Youth Council applications
  • Scholarship information and applications
  • Production staff information
  • NEW "production crew" information
  • Parent Volunteer Committee meeting and information
  • Workshop instructors (so many great things coming!)
And, I am certain, plenty more exciting things!  Remember to sign up for updates via email to make sure you never miss out on an update.

Can't wait to get started!

Andrea K. Fife