Bucks County Playhouse Announces Youth 'Saturday Arts Program', Sept-Nov 2012


Bucks County Playhouse (BCP) (Jed Bernstein, Producing Director) has launched The Saturday Arts Program (SAP), a training ground for passionate young performers. Classes will take place weekly from September 22nd – November 17th at the Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope Solebury High School, and the Solebury School.

This conservatory-style program is perfect for those middle and high school students who want to take their skills to the next level. They will be supported and mentored by top instructors, who will help each emerging artist gain the technique and artistry needed to give them an edge in their art form. Each discipline will focus on encouraging participants to become better performers, to be more comfortable with themselves, and develop a wide range of artistic interests. BCP "SAP" participants are sure to leave with new skills and a better understanding of their artistic area of choice, but most importantly with the confidence to continue their training.

In addition to our highly trained local instructors, "SAP" will invite guest artists in the various disciplines to visit during the 9 week run in order to enhance the overall experience for each student. The program will culminate in an on stage presentation for friends and family.

"The support of theater education is a critical part of the Bridge Street Foundation's philanthropic mission. We think that this Saturday Arts Program is a great step forward in that regard," said BSF President Tanya Cooper.

An orientation will be held on Saturday, September 8th at the Bucks County Playhouse where instructors will evaluate students in an effort to structure the classes so they are most beneficial to the group. The 90 minute classes costs $50.00 each week ($450 for each 9 week course). Discounts will apply for enrollment in multiple classes, and for enrollment of siblings. For full details and to enroll, visit bcptheater.org, call 609-460-4630 x 114 or email Brittany@bcptheater.org.

Available classes are as follows:

Course # 1: Musical Theater Dance
Grades: 6-8 (#1A)
Grades: 9-12 (# 1B)
Instructor: Rebecca Summers-Wilschutz (Ovation Award-winning choreographer)

Course Description: Put it all together: acting, singing and dancing as you learn to be a triple threat! Classes will study the choreography of such greats as Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Jerome Robbins and Jerry Mitchell, to name a few! Dancers will reproduce some of their award winning numbers incorporating the genres of tap, jazz and ballet to produce Tony award winning dance routines! This class is for beginners to seasoned dancers who want to perfect their musical theatre dance technique and performance.

Course #2: Musical Theater Voice
Grades: 6-8 (# 2A)
Grades: 9-12 (# 2B)
Instructor: Shawn Rowley Wright (Theater Director for The Solebury School,)

Course Description: This high energy class will break down the importance of the performance in singing for musical theater. Students of every level will benefit by working in groups, duets, trios and individually to bring out the "show" in their show tunes. Musical Theater Voice teaches fun and innovative ways to tell the story of the song and sound fantastic while you are doing it. We will be singing some Broadway favorites as well as some hidden gems that could serve the student well in an audition situation. Students will each perform at the final presentation to present what they have learned to friends and family!

Course #3: Acting
Grades: 6-8 ( # 3A)
Grades: 9-12 ( # 3B)
Instructor: Erika Lupo (CEO and Owner of Acting-A-Part® Theater Company)

Course Description: Class focuses on analyzing characters, scenes, monologues, and improvisational skills from Broadway shows old and new. The topics covered include bringing characterization to a scene, creating a back story, helping you shape the character you need to portray, vocal techniques, and mastering different styles. Both ensemble and solo performance work is fostered and encouraged, as well as audition techniques that will help students show off their very best. At the end of the class, students will utilize the skills they have mastered in a final performance of their class work for friends and family.

Course # 4: Playwriting
Instructor: John Augustine (Critically acclaimed Playwright: PeopleSpeak, TV's "Titus", "Encore! Encore!").
Grades: 9-12

Course Description: This course will explore the basics of writing for the stage, concentrating on the 10 minute play. Class will consist of writing exercises, encouraging the students to find the "play" in playwriting and explore and cultivate their individuality in expressing their own unique voice. Student work will be read aloud in class for facilitated discussion and presented to a wider audience at the final Saturday presentation.

Course #5A: Introduction to Stage Combat
Instructor: JaQuinley Kerr (Actor/Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors)
Grades: 6-8

Course Description: This stage combat class works to engage actors in movement, while teaching them the basics of unarmed stage combat. In class, focus will be put on safety, technique and characterization. The class will culminate in a presentation in which each actor, with a partner, will perform the techniques learned in class.

Course #5B: Advanced Stage Combat
Instructor: J. David Brimmer (Fight Master (SAFD))
Grades: 9-12

Course Description: This class will serve as a 12-hour introduction to unarmed stage combat techniques. Students will learn unarmed stage combat as practiced and performed in the professional theater. The class will focus on safety, technique, partnering, characterization, and physical acting in order to create the illusion of violence. At the end of the class, students will participate in a performance of a short scene utilizing fight choreography with a partner or partners, incorporating techniques learned during the class.

Course #6: Improvisation
Instructor: Bill McLaughlin (Instructor of Improvisational Performance at Bucks County Community College)
Grades: 9-12

Course Description: In this class, students will learn the basic improv concepts of agreement, assumption, listening. and risk- taking that make the performance of improvisational comedy possible. Students will learn the skills used for creating scenes, stories, and characters, as well as collaborative techniques, which they will be able to showcase to friends and family in a group performance at the final presentation.


John Augustine (Playwriting) plays have been produced in New York City at The Zipper, HERE, Naked Angels, All Season's Theatre Group, Expanded Arts, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Miranda Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and 59E59 Theaters. He is published in the short play anthologies Take Ten and The Best American Short Plays of 1993-94. His play PeopleSpeak is published in Shorter, Faster, Funnier. The New York Times wrote of this play, "PeopleSpeak (is) a witty and acerbic play that is the best of the Summer Shorts festival." Augustine's Confessions, his anthology of 20 short plays, is published by Playscripts. For television, Mr. Augustine wrote for the Fox TV show "Titus" and for "Encore! Encore!" with Nathan Lane and Joan Plowright. He has taught playwriting at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, The 42nd Street Collective, and Playwrights Horizons Theatre School. He is a Revson Fellow in Playwriting, and a member of The Writers Guild of America, The Dramatists Guild, SAG and AEA. He is also an actor, and a classical pianist. www.JohnAugustine.net.

J. David Brimmer (Stage Combat), Violence Specialist (Fight Master, SAFD), has choreographed some stuff (Broadway: Wit, Born Yesterday, A life in the Theatre, Speed the Plow, Come Back, Little Sheba, Spring Awakening, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, NY premieres: Blasted, The Whipping Man, Ages of the Moon, Medieval Play, The American Pilot, Blackbird, Bug, Killer Joe, as well as The Red Bull Theatre's productions of The Revenger's Tragedy and The Duchess of Malfi, and the Druid Theatre Company's The Cripple of Inishmaan, worked at some wonderful venues (NY Public Theater, Metropolitan Opera, Atlantic Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, TFANA, TBTB, Signature Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Hartford Center Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, The Guthrie), taught a few places (NYU/TSOA, RADA {Guest Instructor}, Strasberg Institute, Yale), and collaborated with some great folks: writers (David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Ethan Coen, Jez Butterworth, Kenneth Lonergan, Martin McDonough, Tracy Letts), directors (Joe Chaikin, JoAnne Akalaitis, Ethan McSweeney, Sarah Benson, Wilson Milam, Joe Mantello, Neil Pepe, Michael Mayer, Kathleen Turner, Lynne Meadow, Garry Hines, Ken Russell, Franco Zeffirelli), and performers (Cynthia Nixon, William H. Macy, Andre Braugher, Raul Esparza, Elizabeth Moss, F. Murray Abraham, Keith Carradine, Kathleen Chalfant, Stephen Rea, Kate Mulgrew, Reed Birney, Michael Shannon, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Johnston, Lily Rabe, Zoe Kazan, S. Epatha Merkerson, Nina Arianda, Jim Belushi, Kerry Condon, Alison Pill, Kate Burton, Jeff Daniels, and Sir Patrick Stewart).

JaQuinley Kerr (Stage Combat) is a stage and screen actress and an Advanced Actor/Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, holding certificates in all nine SAFD disciplines. She teaches beginning stage combat at Downtown Performing Arts Center and has taught acting and stage combat at various camps and programs in Bucks County and beyond as well as assisting Fight Master Ian Rose at Temple University and at the annual Philadelphia Stage Combat Workshop. She was Fight Director/Choreographer for Town & Country Players' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and is currently writing her own stage combat cabaret. Her resume can be seen via http://www.imdb.me/jaquinleykerr.

Erika Lupo (Acting) is the CEO, and Owner of Acting-A-Part® Theater Company (AAP), which was founded in 2002. Erika launched her successful company after completing 15 years as a certifiEd English teacher in Ramsey and Maplewood, School Districts of New Jersey. While teaching, she developed and established the Middle School Theater Program in both NJ School Districts. Her efforts earned her a nomination for the prestigious NJ "Best Practice" Teaching Award in 2001. Her Acting-A-Part® program can best be summarized by the registered slogan of her company: "Bridging the Gap from School Play to Broadway." Whether the purpose of a student is to turn professional, or simply the enjoyment of stage or filmacting, the exposure to an Acting-A-Part experience will bring out his or her theatrical skills, and self confidence. Erika has directed and produced numerous Theater Productions: Bye Bye Birdie, Sound of Music, Footloose, Guys and Dolls, Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof, The Wizard of Oz, Our Town, Annie, High School Musical, Grease, Lion King, Peter Pan, Little Shop of Horrors and Beauty and the Beast to name a few. Acting-A-Part has evolved into a creative force in New Jersey and has grown to include "Original AAP Short Films". Erika has her own film crew and film editors. Her first student-produced Film Festival at the Sussex County Technical School was a big hit in 2012, well received by a large crowd of acting enthusiasts. One of the AAP student films, "Very Different Times," was featured at the 2011 Garden State Film Festival. AAP hosts Acting Birthday Parties and produces Interactive Mystery Dinner events designed for restaurants and private parties, called "Mystery-A-Part." Erika chairs the Sparta New Jersey Film Commission designed to establish her region as a premier film location for Movies and Television. She can be found on the International Movie Data Base (IMDB). www.actingapart.com

Bill McLaughlin (Improvisation) studied in Chicago under the tutelage of Del Close, the famed director of Second City, and performed in Del's Farewell Salute to Chicago. He is a co-founder of The Chicago City Limits, New York City's longest-running comedy revue. In 1983 he became a main company performer and workshop director with New York's The First Amendment Improv Company, a group whose alumni include Bruce Willis, Kathy Kinney, and Bill's former student, John Leguizamo. He co-directed and performed with Folk City's resident comedy ensemble, Ultraprov, and was also a regular performer at the Sunday Night Jam which featured guest performers such as Steve Buscemi, and Robin Williams. In 1984 Bill toured Europe with The Mostfor Russian Constructivist Theatre Company, performing the works of Chekov, Forregger and Meyerhold. In 1988 he performed at the Edinburgh International Festival with The First Amendent. They are credited with introducing improv comedy to the UK. In televison and radio he worked as a writer/performer for WYNY Television's "Made in New York" with host Matt Lauer, wrote and performed as the comedy sports historian for ESPN "Extreme Sports", performed live improv for BBC Radio, wrote and performed numerous characters for Nickelodeon, HBO and A&E. As an instructor Bill taught and directed at the Manhattan Comedy School and directed the MCS shows at Caroline's on Broadway. After moving to Bucks County; he became the Instructor of Improvisational Performance at Bucks County Community College, 2004-present, receiving an outstanding Part-Time Faculty Award in 2009. In 2011 his students won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship at the National College Improv Tournament. Bill directs, writes and performs nationally and internationally for corporate events and team building programs through his company, McLaughlin Creative.

Shawn Rowley Wright (Musical Theatre Voice) has been a musical theater director and teacher for over twenty years. Currently she is Theater Director for The Solebury School in New Hope Pennsylvania. Prior to this Shawn was the Theater Director for Central Bucks West High School as well as directing musical Theater Productions in several other middle and elementary schools. Shawn has worked with children each summer as well, running the Theater Department of Southampton Summer Day Camp for thirteen years. She created student summer programs for the Central Bucks School District as well as Town and Country Players and is devoted to helping students find all the "play" in the play. Shawn studied Fine Arts, Drama and Musical Theater at Rider University.

Rebecca Summers-Wilschutz (Musical Theatre Dance) teaches dance, drama and musical theatre at Solebury School. A former professional dancer in West Virginia and Germany, she holds two degrees from Davis and Elkins College and Hiram College in theatre education. She is the former Artistic Director of a community theatre in Ohio where she spent 16 years before stepping in the education field. As a choreographer, she is currently working on a TV show in development for Nickelodeon and has won numerous Ovations awards for her work with high schools in Ohio. Rebecca also has worked as a director and a producer on many shows including Chicago, Cabaret, Once on This Island, Song of Survival, West Side Story and A Streetcar Named Desire to name a few.


Related Articles

Philadelphia THEATER Stories | Shows  Like BWW Philadelphia  Follow BWW Philadelphia

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...