The show must go on: Ardmore Summer Youth Theatre auditions to take place via video

Drew Butler
The cast of the 2019 production of Frozen Jr. pose before their first performance. Every year the Brass Ring Center for the Performing Arts stages three musicals starring children of different age levels during their Summer Youth Theatre. While the annual event will be returning once again later this summer, the auditions will take place via video due to the current pandemic.

Later this summer, Carousel Productions will once again be producing three musicals as part of their Summer Youth Theatre Program at the Brass Ring Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s season will consist of the youngest performers in “WIlly Wonka Kids,” the older youth in “Moana Jr.,” and high school students in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

While all three musicals are currently slated to go on as scheduled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic there will be a few new policies and procedures put in place this year to protect the children’s health. Vicki Gelona, artistic director for Carousel Productions, said the changes will begin with auditions which will take place via video instead of in person.

“Typically, when we have an audition for one of the shows there are somewhere between 150 to 160 people that come into the building when you include all the parents and siblings,” Gelona said. “So we’re going to do everything via video because we don’t have such a massive footprint inside the building before we even start.”

Gelona said children interested in auditioning can find all the information about each show by visiting and clicking on Summer Youth Theater near the top right of the website. From there, students can click on the link for their age group and find an explanation about what they need to do for the audition

“It will have all the character types and the lines from the show that they will need to read with a partner or parent,” Gelona said. “The songs they have to sing for the audition will be up on our Brass Ring YouTube page, and they can play the songs from there and sing along.”

Additional precautions will be taken during rehearsals and performances to help prevent the spread of the virus. In the application packet, parents will be required to sign a document that will allow the requirement of masks during rehearsals. Gelona said the theater will be supplying reusable masks.

“We’ll take those up at the end of every day to wash them and make sure they’re clean when the kids come back the next day,” Gelona said. “There’s also a provision in the application that allows us to take their temperature before they come into the building.”

A designated parent or a student instructor will be taking temperatures with a no-touch thermometer before anyone is allowed into the building. Anyone with a temperature of 99.5 or higher will not be allowed inside.

Another difference this year is that parents, friends and siblings will not be able to come inside during rehearsals. At the end of the day student instructors will walk the children outside to their parents' vehicles.

“We just want to err on the side of caution with everything we do, and we want to do our best to ensure that everyone stays healthy and happy,” Gelona said.

Even the performances themselves will likely be a little unique because the audience sizes will be limited due to social distancing guidelines. To help make sure everyone who wants to see the performances gets the opportunity, Gelona said they are planning to stream the performances online.

She said masks will be incorporated into the costumes of the youngest group of performers.

“They’ll be wearing the masks in the show as well,” Gelona said. “It might sound a little different than it usually does, but an Oompa Loompa can wear a mask!”

Information packets for all three musicals will be posted to the Brass Ring’s website. Videos are due by 10 p.m. on Friday, May 22. Summer Youth Theatre is underwritten by private individuals, so it is free to those who participate. Those interested in performing in the ensemble and not auditioning for a role are only required to submit a signed application and do not have to send in a video.