By June Schreiner, Ado Annie from Arena Stage's production of Oklahoma!
Two years ago, I found a tiny little advertisement for Arena Stage's summer Musical Theater Academy. I begged my parents to let me sign up right away.
As soon as I walked in the door, I knew it was gonna be an incredible experience because I was greeted with the most friendly and enthusiastic smiles from Parker Esse, George Fulgnati-Shakur, Anita Maynard-Losh, and Lynn McNutt (who made up the staff). Everyday, we learned a bunch of real broadway choreography, we sang beautiful and challenging songs, and we learned the crucial skills of acting. And at the end of the two short weeks, we had a showcase. In the audience, among our cheering friends and family, Artistic Director Molly Smith was there applauding. We all got to meet her and she was so immediately complimentary of all of our work. This is how Molly got to know me. And Parker and George (who became the Choreographer and Musical director of Oklahoma!) got to know me very well during the two week period of intimate classes.
This past April, Arena Stage asked me to audition for Oklahoma!. After rounds of auditions, Dan Pruksarnukul, the Casting Director, called me in mid-June and offered me the role of Ado Annie. I SCREAMED! Oklahoma! was an absolutely amazing experience and I learned about a hundred things a minute.
I think I owe a lot of my success to the Musical Theater Academy. It is such an incredible opportunity to be in high school and get to work with SUCH accomplished, talented, supportive, wonderful people. The Academy prepared me for my journey through Oklahoma!, and I think highschoolers who are passionate about theater should definitely sign up this summer!