Interviews with the Directory and Cast Members

 

Interviews witih the Director and Cast Members:

We interviewed Julie Flaskamp and a few kids in the show about this very special event at Armatage. Julie Flaskamp is an Armatage parent who is co-directing the "Kids on Broadway" production with Staci Owens, a 4/5 teacher at Armatage. Sophie Crowley (4th grade), Max Tuzinski-Dashe (5th grade), Jacob Gueldner (3rd grade) and Nick Flaskamp (3rd grade) are in the show, all participating in the "Kids on Broadway" show for the first time this year. Jacob is playing the role of Aladdin, Nick is playing the role of Timon from The Lion King, and Sophie and Max both have roles from Rent (JoAnn and Mark).

Q: How do children get to be in the show? 
Julie: We aim to be as inclusive as possible, although it is necessary to cap the participation to 80 kids. We have each child audition for the show, and then we take great pains assigning kids to the roles, often taking into consideration the other kids in the same scene. It’s a bit like assembling a very large puzzle. Additionally, every child that wants a solo gets a solo written for them. We are also excited about having alumni from Anthony come and sing as well. They have been rehearsing at Anthony but join our Armatage students for the last 20 minutes of rehearsals. This is the first year we’ve tried this, so we’re excited to see how it goes.

Q: What was this year's audition like? Were you nervous? Was this the first audition you've ever done? 
Jacob: I really liked the song (“My Country ‘Tis of Thee”) they picked for the audition. While we sung, they evaluated us. We also had to do an improvisation. For the improv portion, I was a celebrity chef, Tyler was Ms. Kirby, and Nick was a bossy person. Ms. Kirby asked for a healthy breakfast and I said “What do you want for your healthy breakfast?” She said “Healthy mind and healthy body.” I called out “Anybody have any idea how to make a healthy mind and a healthy body breakfast?” 
Nick: I was really nervous before I tried out but after I started singing I wasn't so nervous so I tried out for a solo. 
Sophie: No this is not my first audition so I wasn't nervous because I auditioned for Mrs. Webster for solos in the spring musical. 
Max: Yeah, I was a little nervous. But it wasn’t my first audition because I’ve auditioned for Mrs. Webster for the spring musical.

Q: What are the musicals in the show? 
Julie: We have songs from Rent, The Lion King, Aladdin, South Pacific, Wizard of Oz, Sound of Music, Grease, and Annie Get Your Gun. Plus two numbers involving the entire cast for opening and closing the show. Wait and be surprised!

Q: What is your favorite song from the show? 
Jacob: “You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me,” from Aladdin because it’s funny and peppy. 
Nick: My favorite song is “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King because that is the song that I have a solo in. And it’s a good song.Sophie: My favorite song from the show is the song “Rent” from the musical with the same name. I have two solos during that song and it is a really emotional song and I like to show my expressions on my face. 
Max: My favorite song is “No Day But Today” from Rent because Mark, the character I play, has a strong part during that song.

Q: What does it take to pull off a show like this? 
Julie: Volunteers! Staci and I started working on these scripts last April over spring break and have not really stopped working since then. A talented sewer, Libby Brill, ensures that every child has a costume. Each scene has a scene parent who works with the kids twice a week after school. At the actual shows, in additional to the 80 kids we have up on stage, we will have a pianist, guitarist (Tom Hedrick) and harmonist (Tom Flaskamp), as well as three to five kids who are in charge of the lighting and sound. This adds up to 636 volunteer hours spent just during rehearsals alone. By the end, each child will have spent 53 hours in rehearsal and practice, not including any practice done at home. We have also been working with a professional photographer Mike Levad, who produced the pictures of the kids in the show that are posted just inside the entrance of the school and are for sale. He will also be taking pictures of the event. A videographer from Astound Video on Diamond Lake Road, will be taping the shows and providing DVDs for sale afterwards.

Q: Are parents encouraged to go to only the evening shows? 
Julie: Parents and families are welcome to come to any of the shows. Morning shows might be a good time to bring preschoolers, and there is usually more room in the morning shows. However, in the morning, Armatage students get preference for front-row seating and will be seated first. Sometimes the night shows can get quite full.

Q: Are you still looking for volunteers? 
Julie: Yes! We need help for the show. Refreshment tables, flower and candy concession table, DVD table, we will need people back stage and in the hallways. The jobs themselves are quite easy, and most of them you can do and still be able to see the show. Especially if you have a child in the show and need to bring your child early anyway, you can get a seat and help out the school.

Q: How would you describe Kids on Broadway? 
Julie: It’s a stunning show done on a shoe-string budget. It wouldn’t be what it is without the volunteers who donate their time and efforts pull a show like this together, and with so many kids! Last year Staci and I were handed an exceptional and well-organized program that Julie Railsback developed and directed the past 10 years. As kids move up and out of Armatage, the ones who participated in Kids on Broadway seem to have developed a great and lasting love for the theatre.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in the shows? 
Nick: I am looking forward to having my family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins come to see me in a show because I have been waiting since kindergarten to be in Kids on Broadway. 
Sophie: I just want to see if we are successful or if we have a lot of flaws. We've all worked really hard and it doesn’t even matter if we have flaws because we will all try our best! I hope we have a lot of fun. 
Max: I am looking forward to everyone singing in their 70’s clothes for the all-cast number. It will look so cool!

If you have questions about Kids on Broadway, please reach out to Julie Flaskamp at flash2fire@aol.com.