New to Forever After

My child is new to theater. What’s the best way for him/her to get involved?

There are several ways for kids to get involved.  For those new to theater, we suggest starting with a theater class or a summer drama camp. These classes and camps are designed to introduce basic theater concepts and skills, build confidence on stage, and spark creativity.  If your child is looking to just jump right in, he/she can audition for one of our mainstage shows.

Mainstage shows are large-scale musical productions featuring a full professional staff, 50 – 120 youth performers and elaborate sets. These shows are designed to introduce performers to a complicated, involved theater production in a friendly setting and accommodating learning environment. We offer mainstage shows for two age groups- elementary and middle school, and high school.

I have a preschooler. How can I begin preparing him/her for theater?

Interestingly enough we receive this question quite frequently.  There are numerous skills you can work on with your child at home.  One of the best ways to start is through stories.  Read a story with your child, then play – focusing on these skills:

  • Character Building: Have your child act like a prince/princess, the big bad wolf, a giant or whatever other characters there are in your story.  Encourage him to use different voices or walk in a funny way (i.e. the giant stomps around, a princess would float).
  • Imagination: Help your child create play things with his imagination.  Then encourage him to really see what he’s using and maintain the properties of the object while acting out an activity.  For instance, your child could pretend to be eating a plate of cookies or passing around a ball or a stick.  What size is the ball?  Is it always the same size?  Is it squishy or hard?  Is it heavy or light-weight?
  • Acting with the Whole Body: We use our face to show emotion, but we also use our shoulders, arms, hands, back, legs and feet.  Encourage your child to show happiness, sadness, anger and fear in his face and his body (clinched or relaxed hands, tight or loose muscles, etc.).
  • Projection: Little kids can really be loud.  Give your child a line to say (“Fee, Fie, Fo, Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman”), then ask him to say it as loud as possible without screaming.  You should be able to hear him easily from 40’ away.
  • Confidence: This is one area that comes with experience, but a confident kid will typically do very well on stage.  Encourage your child to play some theater games with other kids his own age, and then do a short (very, very short) performance for parents or friends.

My child is a great singer/dancer, but not an incredible actor. Is there a program that will help develop his/her acting skills?

The best program we have for acting skills is the Advanced Acting Workshop, or our 8-week acting classes for younger performers.

The Advanced Acting Summer camp, usually offered in August, is a two week intensive camp for kids 12-18 who already have theater experience. Participants learn advanced acting techniques and technical theater skills, and prepare a number of pieces for the final performance.

The theater classes are offered on Saturdays throughout the year for 3 age groups- 3 to 5, 6-9, and 10-14. Click here for more information.

Audition Process

What do we need to do to prepare for an audition?

Read through the entire audition packet.  The packet is filled with information on the production, expectations and the audition process itself.

Make sure you can commit to the production.  Review your schedule with the dress rehearsal and performance dates listed in the packet.  Sometimes kids audition, receive a part, participate in the entire process, then realize they’ll miss another important event due to a performance.  We do not permit kids to perform in select shows, and we have had kids cancel major plans to honor their commitment to the production.

Practice every script.  Unless your child is 6 years old, he could be asked to read for any part in any of the attached scripts.  Be familiar with every character and every scene.  Lines do not need to be memorized, but your child should be familiar enough that he can still act the part without looking solely at the script.

Practice the song.  It’s up to your child to pick which song she would like to sing for us during the audition.  She should practice, practice, practice.  We would like her to sing the song in a clean and clear voice (no Brittany Spears PLEASE), as loud as she can without screaming.

Build confidence and be comfortable.  Help your child feel good in his own skin.  We need to see him open and engaged in the audition.  Cheerfulness, enthusiasm and power go a long, long way.

What is the Audition Process?

  • Read through the audition packet (typically available a few weeks before the audition at www.ForeverAfterProductions.com).
  • Practice one of the included songs (your choice), and be familiar with all of the included scripts.  There is typically audition material specifically for kids age 6.
  • Pick ONE audition night
  • Enter the Village Theater at the Stage Door (located off Presidential Way) or the Forever After studio (located on Independence Dr. behind Coldstone Creamery).
  • Arrive between 5:30 – 8 pm and plan to stay for about 30 minutes.
  • Hand in your audition form, head shot and audition fee of $5.
  • You’ll be directed to the audition room.  Wait in a seat until you are called up on stage.  Parents should wait outside.
  • You will perform one of the scripts with a group of auditionees, and then sing the song you’ve selected from this packet.
  • Kids may be asked to return on a separate audition night for Call Backs.
  • The Cast List will be posted under “Cast and Crew”.

What do you look for in an audition?

First, you are not expected to have any prior experience.  Many of the kids we cast are brand new to theater. We score each audition in eight areas.  An ideal audition would include:

  • Speaking Projection: Speak as loud as you can for the entire scene – without straining your voice.
  • Enthusiasm and Interest: Use your whole body (face, arms, hands, legs, feet, etc.).  We love to see kids do more than stand in one spot and recite lines.  Work with others onstage.  Move around, sit down, kneel, whatever makes sense with the character you’re portraying.
  • Character Intensity: Be in character!  Use a different voice, walk in a different way, react to the other people in the scene as you think your character would be most likely to do.  Be creative!
  • Respect and Direction: Treat other participants, volunteers, parents and the directors with respect.  Listen and follow directions.  Sit quietly until you’re called up onstage.
  • Vocal Quality: Use a clean and clear voice when you sing.  We are NOT looking for pop star singers.
  • Pitch: Sing in key.  Listen closely to the music, and follow the notes as precisely as you can.
  • Singing Projection: Sing as loud as you can for the entire song – without straining your voice.
  • Range: Sing in your range.  Pick the song that is easiest for you to sing.

May my child audition for something specific?

Yes and no.  We are always at the mercy of the clock, and our goal is to be fair to every participant.  When we have time we are happy to honor specific reading requests.  Kids should ask to read for a specific part when they are called up on stage for the script portion of the audition.

May my child audition more than once?

Yes, when there is time.  Kids who would like another read or sing-through may wait until the end of the session to audition again.  Kids may also audition on both nights.  Yes, you will need to pay the $5 fee the second night.

What if we can’t make either audition?

Kids who have performed in an FAP show within the past year may email us to notify of their interest.  An audition may need to be arranged at another time (if possible).  We would still need you to fill out and hand in an audition form.

Kids who have not performed in an FAP show within the past year or ever may email us with their previous experience and skills.  Special accommodations may be made in unique cases.  Generally special audition requests are not granted.

Call Backs

What do we need to do to prepare for a Call Back?

All Call Back materials are passed out the night of the audition.  Therefore, there isn’t any material for your child to review in advance.  Kids should plan to arrive promptly and be ready for anything.

Can we find out which part my child was called back for?

The director is exceedingly busy the day of the Call Back prepping materials and determining who will read in which scene.  Typically reading assignments are not available until the Call Back time.

May my child audition for something specific?

Yes and no.  We are always at the mercy of the clock, and our goal is to be fair to every participant.  When we have time we may honor specific reading requests.  Please inquire at Call Back check-in.

I’m disappointed my child didn’t read for a part they were hoping to receive. What can we do?

Help your child see the big picture.  There are numerous factors that play a part in determining the makeup of each cast.  Kids need not only be able to perform the part, but also compliment the other characters (Stage Chemistry 101, if you will).  We take physical features (height most commonly), vocal strength, character intensity and style, and pure directorial vision into consideration.  Though your child may be ideal for the role, she may not be ideal in this show with this cast and this artistic direction. Given these circumstances, and the time allotted for the Call Back itself, the directors have participants read only what is necessary.

Why didn’t my child receive a Call Back?

We use the Call Back process for three reasons:

  • To Review Kids a Second Time.  This is done when we don’t see enough from the first audition to make an educated decision about casting someone in the show.
  • To Assist in Making a Casting Decision for a Lead or Featured Role.  This is the most typical reason for a Call Back.  We have kids read for specific parts to help us make the best possible leads and features groups.
  • To Audition Kids Who Could Not Make the First Audition Round.  This is a very atypical reason, but it does happen from show to show.

If your child did not receive a Call Back, it does mean that they were not cast as a feature in the show.  A lot can happen between the Call Back and the final cast list posting.

Casting Process

What is the casting process?

Round 1- Casting consists of reviewing every applicant based on the eight criteria listed above (see “What do you look for in an audition?”) over the two-day period.  Scores are then used to help divide the applicants into “Chorus”, “Call Back”, and “Unsure”.

Round 2- Casting consists of reviewing each Call Back audition to filter participants into lead roles, featured roles and chorus roles.

The Director, Music Director, Choreographer, Asst. Director and other staff then spend 5 – 6 hours discussing the makeup of the “Lead Role”, “Featured Role”, “Chorus 1”, “Chorus 2”, “Chorus 3”, and “Unsure” piles. In the end, the cast list is finalized and posted.

Why wasn’t my child cast as a lead or feature?

There are a number of factors that we consider for each casting decision.  The most common reasons for not being cast as a lead are:

  • Low Vocal Projection (not singing or talking loud enough to be heard easily)
  • Weak Vocal Quality (not singing in key, not singing with a clean and clear voice)
  • Little Enthusiasm or Interest in the Scene (looking only at the script, giving little effort to the action)
  • Extreme Shyness on Stage
  • Numerous Schedule Conflicts or Conflicts on Important Rehearsal Dates

We do understand that an audition can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience, and that your child may not have performed up to their level of talent.  We hope then that they will take this rejection in stride, and audition for us again in the future.  Confidence on stage is key, and we have several other programs (open for everyone) that can help your child build up their comfort level.

May I speak with someone about casting decisions?

We are more than happy to share our audition comments with you and your child.  Scores are shared upon request and specific notes may be given.  Please email your inquiries to the director or stage manager.  Please do not call Forever After Productions as scores and information do not go everywhere the we go.  Email allows for a more complete response.

My child didn’t get the part he wanted. Is there anything we can do?

Help your child see the big picture.  There are numerous factors that play a part in determining the makeup of each cast.  Kids need not only be able to perform the part, but also compliment the other characters (Stage Chemistry 101, if you will).  We take physical features (height most commonly), vocal strength, character intensity and style, and pure directorial vision into consideration.  Though your child may be ideal for the role, he may not be ideal in this show with this cast and this artistic direction.

My child has been a lead in other FAP shows. Why isn’t he in this one?

Having a lead in one or several shows does not guarantee lead parts for future shows.  Every show is met with new eyes and a clean casting slate.  We review the casting pool, and create the best possible cast we can with the applicants we have to choose from.

Why do you keep casting the same kids in lead roles? It isn’t fair to the other kids!

Our shows are designed to give participants an outstanding learning experience, as well as create a professional level production for everyone.  In order to create the best possible show, we need to put the right kids into the right roles.  Sometimes that means a kid may be a lead in more than one show.  Football teams don’t bench their quarterback because he played the last game, and we won’t bench a kid to present an illusion of fairness.

Kids looking to build on their acting skills might consider participating in one of our summer camps.  These camps offer more lines and lead acting opportunities for everyone in the camp.

All of my child’s friends are in one chorus and he/she is in another. Can he/she switch choruses?

It is possible.  Sometimes kids are put in a particular chorus because they compliment one chorus better than another (through featured dancing, singing, etc.).  Please feel free to inquire though.  We try to satisfy everyone as best we can.

My child has a new conflict. Can he still be in the show?

It depends on the conflict and what part your child has.  Feel free to let us know, and we’ll attempt to do what we can to accommodate.  If the conflict occurs during a dress rehearsal or performance, then unfortunately the answer is no.

Production Process

Why is there a participation fee? Doesn’t FAP earn revenue from ticket sales?

Collecting participation fees is one source of revenue for the production.  If we did not collect fees, tickets would need to be $18 – $22 each (with 12 – 16 performances).  Participation fees allow us to keep ticket prices low, while still affording to be at the state-of-the-art Village Theater, working with a professional directorial staff and building phenomenal sets.  This production company produces something highly uncommon for youth theater.  We’re proud of our reputation, and the “pay-to-play” method allows us to go above and beyond for our young participants.

 

May I watch rehearsals?

It depends on the rehearsal. For normal rehearsals either at the Forever After Studio or at Dance Beat, we ask parents don’t watch as there is already very little space and it may be distracting to the performers. If for some reason you need to watch a rehearsal please feel free to contact the stage manager or director. For tech week rehearsals on the stage, parents are usually welcome to attend to take pictures or videotape (if you have permission). Again please check with the stage manager.

May I take pictures?

Yes, please do, and please feel free to put them up on Shutterfly (for everyone’s benefit).

May I videotape performances?

It depends on the show. Some of our mainstage productions are copyrighted, and thus videotaping is illegal. However, we do buy the rights for many shows and then arrange to have it videotaped professionally and you may purchase a tape through that company. Please contact the stage manager.

How can I help with the show?

Check in with the volunteer coordinator about one month pre-show.  There should be a volunteer sign-up list floating around at that time.  We’ll need help backstage monitoring the kids, onstage moving sets, running concessions, etc.

We also frequently need assistance building the sets or painting them. Emails will be sent out periodically with the schedule, or you can contact the technical director.

I’d like to volunteer to host the cast party. What’s involved?

Oh, you are brave! Hosting the cast party is no small task.  First assume that there will be 50 – 150 people swarming through your home and backyard.  It’s loud, it’s messy, but hey, it’s a riot! Okay, that might not be the best word to use.  If you’re still interested, email the stage manager.

Ticket Sales

How can I purchase tickets for a show?

Tickets for the Village Theater are available:

BY PHONE: (734) 547-5156

IN PERSON: Forever After Productions Studio, 50429 Independence Street, Canton, MI  48188

ONLINE: On this website under the “Tickets” tab.

AT THE DOOR: One hour pre-show at the theater.

How can I arrange for my child’s class to attend a show at the Village Theater?

Call us at 734-547-5156.  We suggest you get in as early as possible as most shows have a wait list as early as two-weeks pre-show.  You must purchase at least 15 tickets.

Contact Us!

Phone: 734-547-5156
Email: info@foreverafternow.com
50429 Independence Street, Canton, MI 48188

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