On …GIANT PEACH From The Creators

We LOVE this quote from Benj Pasek, who is half of the hit songwriting duo Pasek and Paul. They were interviewed on their approach to the development of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach a few years ago by Playbill’s Michael Gioia.

Check out the rest of the interview here. Pasek and Paul have gone on to become celebrated composers and lyricists for their work on A Christmas Story and Dogfight. This year alone, they’ve won an Oscar for Best Original Song, “City of Stars,” from the movie musical La La Land and six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score for Dear Evan Hansen.

We’re so excited to bring this quirky and complex tale written by Roald Dahl to magical life on our stage with James and the Giant Peach, Jr. Our Winter classes are definitely going to have a blast. Are you registered for a Winter Class yet? Make sure that you’re registered by this week! Winter registrants have exclusive access to our Spring New York City Trip to see Disney’s Frozen on Broadway as well as the best Black Friday deals available to our customers.

Quick Questions Part 2

To help you get to know some of the faces behind Drama Learning Center, we’ve been asking them a quick question… and we’re sharing teh answers with you! Do you have a question you want DLC teaching artists to answer? Drop your question in the comments and you might see answers in a future post!

This week, we asked: If you had to quit theatre but wanted to stay involved in the arts, which medium would you choose?

We could not have guessed that these were the answers we were going to get, but we thought they were fascinating! Check them out below.

  1. Mr. Seth Fallon: “While I never plan to ‘quit’ theatre, I would have to say that returning to a choral ensemble would be my next step. Whether it be in the form of a church choir or an established choral arts society, I would love to be able to return to my roots and get back to those Renaissance james.” Mr. Seth has served as a stage manager, director, assistant director, and house manager at DLC for years. A recent graduate of Stevenson University, he is currently working as a nurse, but stays active at DLC teaching workshops and hosting birthday parties. 
  2. Ms. Megan Henderson: “I would be a visual artist! Specifically painting. I grew up taking art classes, and worked with charcoal pastels, watercolor, and oil paint. I always loved to draw. I submitted for a few school art shows growing up and won a few awards. It’s something I’ve wanted to get back into for a while!” Ms. Megan is the HR Coordinator at Drama Learning Center and directs TYA Junior Company productions.
  3. Ms. Dana Fleischer: “I think I would try to be an events coordinator, specifically for weddings. The [stage manager] in me would need to be micromanaging something!” Ms. Dana is DLC’s Office Manager.
  4. Ms. Debbie Leonard: “I can’t imagine but I would like to write grants to raise money to bring musical theatre or music to areas where they have none, or where it is very limited. Maybe I could be a program coordinator.” Ms. Debbie is one of DLC’s longest-serving teaching artists. She teaches during the school year on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
  5. Ms. Angel McGrath: “There is no life without theatre. If I can’t be on the stage or directing people on the stage, I’d have to be singing somewhere– church, choir, street corner. I’d also consider going back to deejaying and helping to coordinate weddings.” Ms. Angel is an assistant director for our schoolyear production classes.
  6. Ms. Janine Sunday: “I would probably want to keep teaching a few voice students or do the occasional master class. Then, once a year on [Ms. Stephanie, owner and artistic director of DLC]’s birthday, I would sing ‘Meadowlark’… the whole song.” Ms. Janine is DLC’s Production Manager, as well as a gifted educator and performer. She keeps a private voice studio at Drama Learning Center as well. She does not actually know how to sing “Meadowlark,” but she keeps threatening to add it to her repertoire.
  7. Carrie Loughry: “If I had to quit theatre (but, why?), I would continue working in music education as I do now. I do love teaching, both theatre and music, so it would be an easy decision. However, working in theatre allows me a more varied creative outlet than teaching, so I would likely find some sort of crafting to keep creating art with my hands. I like many types of crafts, and my niece and I create new projects every summer!” Ms. Carrie has been teaching at Drama Learning Center for generations. She also serves as a production manager and designer for many of our productions throughout the year. 

And just like that, another installment of Quick Questions with DLC Teaching Artists has come to a close. Do you have a burning question you want our teaching artists to answer? Don’t forget to drop it in the comments, and you might see the answers in this space some time soon.

Fall Production Classes start in just a couple of short weeks. Some classes are already full. Make sure you register today to get in your choice of Broadway Babies, Beginning Acting, or Production Classes of Disney’s The Lion KingJr. 

Quick Questions Part 1

To help you get to know some of the faces behind Drama Learning Center, we’re going to ask them a quick question once a week and share the answers with you. Do you have a question you want DLC teaching artists to answer? Drop your question in the comments and you might see answers in a future post!

This week, we asked:  What is the first show you ever saw? What did you think about it?

Now, we know that it’s technically TWO questions, but we got some very interesting responses. Check them out!

  1. Ms. Sarah Pencheff: “The very first would have either been something that my mother was in, or one of the high school musicals that she choreographed. I would have been super young, like 3 or 4, so I don’t actually remember… but I’m sure I loved it. The first professional production I remember seeing was an opera of Hansel and Gretel when I was about 6. I liked it, but still ran around the house making fun of the overly dramatic singing stle for a few days afterward. “HAN-sooooollllll…..” Ms. Sarah just completed her second summer leading our Cosplay Creations camp.
  2. Ms. Debbie Leonard: “I saw Godspell at a local high school, and I was in awe.” Ms. Debbie teaches camp all summer long and Wednesday and Friday Production classes during the school year. She has taught at DLC for longer than any other teaching artist currently on our roster.
  3. Ms. Tess Owen:Les Misérables! First professional show when it was touring and at the Hippodrome a long, long time ago. I liked it, but was confused since I was very young.” Ms. Tess is an assistant music director with a specialty in music. She has worked alongside Ms. Debbie for production classes.
  4. Ms. Stephanie Williams: “Dinosaur Rock or Sesame Street Live! I still can remember some of the songs and recall acting them out with my toys at home. I suppose my parents should have known then that they were destined to have a theatre kid. At the very least, they should have known when they had to institute the family rule, ‘No Singing At the Dinner Table.'” Ms. Stephanie is the owner and artistic director of Drama Learning Center. She directs productions for TYA Professional Training Program’s Senior Company and is responsible for all of the programming done through DLC onsite and offsite.
  5. Ms. Melody Easton: “The first show I saw was Cinderella at the local high school, the one I eventually ended up attending. I was obsessed and I remember not even moving during the performance because I didn’t want to miss anything.” Ms. Melody previously served as DLC’s Office Manager and Director of Saturday Class. You can still find her around working on special projects and events from time to time.
  6. Ms. Addie Sutter: “When I was five, I saw my cousin Jen as Marian the Librarian in The Music Man. It was the best thing ever. I watched the movie a hundred times after that and learned all of the songs.” Ms. Addie taught at DLC for many years. She has more recently been seen performing onstage with Red Branch Theatre Company, notably as the title role in Dear Edwina.
  7. Ms. Megan Henderson: “I honestly don’t remember my first show, but the one that suck with me was Joseph… because my family loved it. I still remember watching the Donny Osmond version on VHS because my mom loved him so much.” Ms. Megan serves as the HR Coordinator at DLC. She also is a longtime teaching artist and directs TYA Professional Training Program’s Junior Company productions.

Well, there you have it– our first installment of Quick Questions with DLC Teaching Artists! Do you have a burning question you want our teaching artists to answer? Don’t forget to drop it in the comments, and you might see the answers in this space some time soon.

Meet the Guest Artist: Sarah Thompson

We’re excited to welcome Sarah Thompson as a Guest Artist in Residence this summer during our Theatre Tech camp in July!

Stage Manager Sarah Thompson is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where selected credits include ‘Tis PityThe Merchant of VeniceBluebeard’s Wife, Tiny, and Amy and the Orphans. Additional credits include Mary Jane (Yale Repertory Theatre); Styx SongsAnd Tell Sad Stories of the Death of QueensDutch Masters, Xander Xyst: Dragon, 1, Thunder Above, Deeps Below (Yale Cabaret);  Evita (Olney Theatre Center); The Comedy of ErrorsAs You Like ItThe Taming of the Shrew (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); and Mrs. Mannerly (Paper Lantern Theatre Company), among others. Sarah holds a BA in collaborative theatre and sociology. Sarah will also serve as Production Stage Manager for this Summer’s production of Lysistrata Jones at Red Branch Theatre Company

Please join us in welcoming Ms. Sarah as a visiting DLC Teaching Artist. Students in the Theatre Tech camp will learn about all aspects of backstage work including design and fabrication, stage management, and crew. Campers will be able to let their creativity shine as they help design and paint the sets for summer camp productions. They will also have the opportunity to be running crew for camp shows later in the summer. Theatre Tech camp runs July 17-29, and is open to students in grades 5-12. Registration is currently open until the session fills. Secure your spot today!

Register Today!

Teaching Artist Spotlight: Janine Sunday

We’re chugging along with our weekly series getting to know a little more about our Private Instruction faculty at DLC. This week, we learn a little more about Ms. Janine Sunday!

Q: Where are you from? How long have you been in the area?
A: I was born in Vietnam, adopted as an infant, and raised in New Jersey. Maryland has been my home for almost 20 years.

Q: Which areas of study do you teach? How long have you been teaching?
A: I have been teaching acting and voice for about 10 years.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about teaching private lessons?
A: When a student has a breakthrough, it’s exciting. I also love when a student comes back to me after an audition or a performance and tells me that things we have been working on paid off.

Q: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you in a private lesson?
A: I had a student that had been studying with me for a few months and was talking about how much she loved Sweeney Todd at Red Branch Theatre Company [the professional theatre in residence at DLC]. When I told her that I was Mrs. Lovett, she freaked out a little, and had to take a moment to recover. It was adorable and flattering.

Q: What do you do outside of teaching?
A: I’m a mom, and I still perform in the area. That keeps me pretty busy.

Q: What’s one fun fact that we should know about you?
A: Well… there are so many “fun facts” (are they REALLY fun?)… I always mention my obsession with vacuums (I love them). I stink at gardening, but I want to be good. I’m pretty crafty, and I dislike yellow mustard. I also always offer to sing “Meadowlark” even though I don’t actually know the words.

Ms. Janine hold studio hours on Monday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Learn musical theatre song interpretation from one of the area’s perennial favorite stage performers! Give us a call at (410) 849-6335 today to inquire about availability with her or any of our other highly-qualified private instructors in voice, acting, piano, audition, prep, on-screen acting, and more! Ms. Janine also teaches our adult musical theatre class during the year. Fill out the form below so that we can notify you when a new session opens up!

What are you interested in?