New Partnership with Marquee Youth Stage Expands Local Theater Opportunities
For children and teens who seem born to be on stage, or for those who are simply seeking a fun, new activity, they should look no further than local theater to channel their energy and creativity.
And with a new partnership between the St. Charles Park District and Marquee Youth Stage in St. Charles, children of all ages now have more local options to explore the theater arts.
This partnership, which began over the summer, will continue this fall with workshops and full productions including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Elf” and “Pan!”
“The Park District is always striving to provide as many programs as possible to residents, and this partnership with Marquee Youth Stage allows us to expand our reach in regards to musical theater, voice lessons and acting,” said Steve Gard, Aquatics and Youth Programming Supervisor. “Marquee already has a wonderful following in St. Charles, and we are thrilled to work together.”
Founded in 2011 by St. Charles resident Connie Flores, the Marquee has produced more than 50 shows, many of which have included 100-plus ensemble casts, complete with pit performers.
Prior to the partnership, Marquee promoted solely through word of mouth, but now they are able to reach every household. “More participants is icing on the cake,” said Flores, adding more exposure can have a positive impact on sparking an interest in youth, who may not have tried theater otherwise.
“Sometimes kids don’t know what their interests are and they may not know about theater as a possible outlet,” said Flores, who also serves as the Marquee Artistic Director. “I love finding those kids and helping them discover what they love about the arts.”
There will be much to love as participants explore the various Marquee offerings this fall.
The lineup of musicals for ages 8 to 17 includes different genres to participate in, whether it’s slipping into character to help tell the story of Tevye the milkman in the Broadway classic “Fiddler on the Roof,” or helping bring to life the beloved, holiday movie “Elf” on stage.
Additionally, aspiring stars ages 4 to 11 will have the opportunity to recreate Neverland and the adventures of Peter Pan in the play “Pan!”
While auditions are part of the process, participants do not have to come with prepared material. Everything will be taught during the audition including learning a song, dance and monologue to be performed in front of their peers. Everyone who auditions will receive a part.
This approach, Flores said, appeals to mainstream youth and follows Marquee’s philosophy that no part is too small.
“What you do with your part and how you contribute to the story is what matters,” she said. “Even if you don’t have a speaking line, it’s how you’re connecting to other actors. Theater is as much visual as it is auditory.”
For children who may want to get their feet wet before breaking a leg on stage, Marquee also will offer two workshops this fall that will focus on acting, singing and dancing. Each workshop will include a showcase for family and friends during the last day of class.
The Broadway Kids Workshop for ages 5 to 8 will explore and perform the imaginative poems of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”
And children ages 8 to 12 will learn and act out various scenes from “The Greatest Showman” and “Shrek” in this Movie Magic Broadway Jr. Workshop.
Children may choose to attend a workshop before auditioning for a full production but it’s not required, Flores said. It depends on the individual, but the one constant is the impact theater has on its students. “Parent notice their child has gained confidence in a short time; they are working hard and enjoying the process of putting on a show.”
To register for theatre classes, visit www.stcparks.org. For more details, call Steve Gard at 630-513-4391.