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Melody Lane announces student auditions

By Staff | Jun 25, 2020

Junior thespians looking to hone in and showcase their talents while being part of a community troupe of peers can have their opportunity to shine on a national stage thanks to a local performing arts school.

Melody Lane Performing Arts Center in Cape Coral is preparing for their most exciting time of the year, looking to cast students in their upcoming show; Matilda JR.

Auditions will be held for students grades 3-12 on Wednesday, July 8, from 5-7 p.m. at the center, located at 75 Mid Cape Terrace #1. Students must prepare 30-60 seconds of a musical theater song, as well as study a dance audition video on Melody Lane’s website to perform.

What makes this audition so special is this also happens to be the (condensed) show Melody Lane will take to the largest gathering of young performers in the world, the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta.

Melody Lane has participated in this international festival over the last two years, taking home several awards and recognitions.

“The Junior Theater Festival season is really exhilarating,” said Melody Lane Director, Dana Alvarez. “We spend about six months in full preparation for it, starting with auditions for our team. Once we compose the team of triple threat students, we start making fundraising and travel plans. Come fall, we cast our full production with students both on our team and not. We love being able to include dozens more students in the production process and not just reserve it for the JTF team only. Creating a show from the ground up is exciting. It is fulfilling to see children build their characters and immerse themselves in the story. Doing the production before competition allows our kids months of character and scene study. Then once at JTF, they are not just presenting a musical revue of fun songs — they are performing a condensed story of a show they have lived. Beyond that, the festival itself is a phenomenal experience.”

The climate of the festival is a special one, Alvarez said. Students from all over the country and the world gather to showcase their talents for an esteemed group of theater veterans, many with decades of experience in top productions around the globe. Alvarez said the one-of-a-kind atmosphere of the festival is a great learning venture and opportunity for students and teachers alike.

“It is a weekend full of performances, adjudication, workshops, concerts, and collaboration,” she said. “The students love being surrounded by like-minded people who all share the same passions, and will randomly break out into song and dance together. It is unlike any other youth theatre festival you will ever attend. It’s really a dream come true for musical theatre lovers, children and adults.”

Alvarez said the group is beyond excited to be putting on Matilda JR., which was debuted in the New Works Showcase at JTF this past January.

“Our students and families got to see a few selections presented (at JTF) and fell in love,” Alvarez said. “We eagerly awaited the release of the rights, which came within the month thankfully. The story of Matilda speaks to so many right now. Matilda is a girl whose mind and talents are unappreciated. She turns to the world of books and teaches kids that it is OK to be different, even from your family. The children in the story feel stifled and oppressed. Matilda teaches us that only you have the power to change what happens in your life and to navigate the journey that you will take. And even if you’re little, you can do a lot. That really resonates with our students.”

Melody Lane hopes to attract students of all ages, grades 3-12, to join their team. They have recently expanded to a new JTF age category to encourage older students to participate.

“To be on our Junior Theater Festival team, students need to be dedicated and passionate about musical theatre, and have experience in singing, dancing, and acting,” Alvarez said. “We will, of course, provide education in these areas, but it is a fast-paced process so our students will need to feel confident in their abilities to work hard at home as well.”

For Alvarez and her team, it’s all about seeing their students grow as performers, as well as individuals.

“For us at Melody Lane, it is not about winning awards or competition. There is not a first, second, and third place at JTF, it is about watching our students glow and thrive as they present their 15 minute show selection for esteemed adjudicators, get immediate feedback on their art, and seeing them burst in pride over their accomplishments,” she said, “It’s about celebrating musical theatre, cheering on others, and experiencing the power of the arts at such a high level.”

Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings from 5-8pm and some Fridays starting in September and the show will be in late November or early December. Rehearsals for the Junior Theater Festival team will be on Wednesdays as well, beginning in early December, at the close of the show. Students do not have to be in the full production to be on the team.

For more information, email melodylanetheatre@gmail.com and visit www.melodylanepac.com.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj