Twenty years ago founder and artistic director Lani Brockman opened a small studio on the Eastside with one theater program for teens. Today Studio East, along with their professional touring musical troupe, StoryBook Theater, is one of the largest children’s theater training programs in the Seattle area. Studio East introduces children ages 3 to 19 to the joys of the performing arts and is committed to the idea that children can build confidence, along with leadership and teamwork skills through learning the discipline, dedication, and responsibility required by the art and craft of theater.
Former students from the 1990s like Sara Dunsky (now a public defender in Washington D.C. ), Gina Luff (now a psychologist), Patye Nguyen (now an ASL Interpreter) and David Bander (now a teacher at Lake Washington High School ) are all enthusiastic about how their Studio East experience helped shape who they are today. They overcame shyness, gained confidence, and mastered public speaking. Gina Luff explains, “I never wanted to be an actor. That’s not what it was about. I just felt comfortable and confident at Studio East. I felt like I belonged.”
The next generation of Studio East success stories will begin auditioning for the 20th anniversary season shows in September. Details for those shows are as follows:
I Never Saw Another Butterfly – October 5-13, 2012. Tickets on sale in September.
Over 15,000 Jewish children passed through the Terezin concentration camp during WW2, and only about a hundred were still alive when Terezin was liberated. Raja lived through it all, teaching the children when there was nothing to teach with, helping to give them hope when there was little reason for hope. This play is her story. It is history as much as any play can be history, showing the best and the worst of which the human heart is capable.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – October 19-28, 2012. Tickets on sale in September
The characters of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Sally, Patty and Woodstock come to life in this delightful musical full of witty and charming cartoon-like moments. Based on the loveable Peanuts gang, created by Charles Schulz, these kids, dog, and bird have been household names for more than half a century.
‘Twas the Night… – November 24 – Dec. 16, 2012. Tickets on sale NOW
Spend a hilarious, tuneful Christmas Eve with the Big Family and assorted visitors as they await the coming of Santa Now in its 12th year, this Studio East tradition always has a surprise in store, with new characters, songs and scenes each year. ‘Twas the Night involves a rotating cast of more than 40 talented young performers and adults and is recommended for the whole family.
Into the Woods – February 1-17, 2013
When a Baker and his Wife learn they’ve been cursed with childlessness by the Witch next door, they embark on a quest for the special objects required to break the spells swindling, lying to and stealing from Cinderella, Little Red, Rapunzel and Jack (the one who climbed the beanstalk). Everyone’s wish is granted at the end of Act One, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later, with disastrous results. What begins as a lively, irreverent fantasy in the style of The Princess Bride becomes a moving lesson about community responsibility and the stories we tell our children.
Sweeney Todd – March 15-24, 2013
In this rare musical thriller, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler weave a chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding masterpiece of murderous barber-ism and culinary crime. It’s the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. His thirst for blood soon expands to include his unfortunate customers, and the resourceful proprietress of the pie shop downstairs soon has the people of London lining up in droves for her mysterious new meat pie recipe.
In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a long feud between the Montague and Capulet families disrupts the city of Verona and causes tragic results for Romeo and Juliet. Revenge, love, and a secret marriage force the young star-crossed lovers to grow up quickly — and fate leads to tragedy for both families. Contrast and conflict are running themes throughout Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet — one of the Bard’s most popular romantic tragedies.
The Magic Mrs. Piggle Wiggle – May 31 – June 23, 2013
Visit a world where imagination rules! Can you scuba dive in your bedroom? Roast marshmallows over a chandelier? You can when Mrs. Piggle Wiggle discovers the most exciting possibilities in life’s most humdrum things. Children love her because she’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Parents love her because she can cure kids of any bad habit! Based on the much-loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories by Betty MacDonald.