Devoted to presenting outstanding theater arts opportunities for local youth and adult performers, and performances for kids, families and audiences of all ages, the Merage JCC announces that JStage, its youth theater program, is under new directorship.
The Merage JCC’s youth theater program, JStage (10 to 17 year olds) and JStage Jr (6 to 9 year olds) teaches acting, stage and performance skills through creative, professional theater experiences. In a supportive, positive atmosphere, JStage professionals work with each child’s strengths to bolster exploration, skills and self-esteem. JStage hosts two seasons in the winter and summer, as well as a summer theatre camp production.
Lissa Supler Slay, joins JStage as the director with Mary P. DiCamillo as the musical director. “Lissa and Mary are an excellent team,” said Yael Brudner, the JCC’s cultural arts director. Both are highly experienced professionals, and they are passionate about working with kids, teaching, and passing on their extensive knowledge of theater.
“For 4 years, the JCC has provided exemplary theater opportunities for youth and under Lissa Slay and Mary DiCamillo’s artistic leadership, we are excited to take the program to the next level, building and showcasing the talents of our young performers,” said Brudner. “It’s always been about the whole experience, from auditions, to workshops, rehearsals and the performances. Under the new director leadership, our kids will continue to offer colorful characters and humorous plots. In addition, we are creating more in-depth opportunities for the kids to learn the singing, dancing and acting with a focus on team and character building, acquiring new abilities, and having new experiences.”
Slay earned a degree in theater direction and a master’s in education from CSUF. Recent credits include Seussical, SchoolHouse Rock Jr., Bridge to Terabithia, Oliver! and Wizard of Oz. She also received an ITL director nomination for Annie, and was an ITL Director winner for As You Like It. Previously, Slay toured three seasons with Missoula Children’s Theatre.
“I can’t think of a more exciting time to join JStage at the JCC,” said Slay. “I’m thrilled to be working with a company so strongly dedicated to youth and the arts, with a specific focus on building skills and self-esteem, related to the arts and otherwise. I intend to expand on that foundational confidence. Every kid will have a role – every kid will have something to be proud of.”
With DiCamillo, JStage adds a musical director to the leadership for the first time. The cast will be accompanied at rehearsals by live piano and will receive professional vocal coaching depending on the children’s vocal understanding, knowledge and abilities.
Located on the Samueli Jewish Campus in Irvine, the Merage JCC serves more than 2,850 member families, welcoming both Jews and non-Jews alike. Boasting an onsite preschool and day camp, fully-equipped theater and art studio, state-of-the-art fitness and aquatic center and the fourth largest JCC gymnasium in North America, the JCC is the hub of Orange County’s dynamic and fast-growing Jewish community offering programs, classes and events for all ages. For additional information, contact the JCC at (949) 435-3400, One Federation Way, Irvine CA 92063 or visit www.JCCOC.org. Special funding provided by the Doris H. & Milton J. Chasin Cultural Arts Endowment and the Merage JCC Cultural Arts Patron Circle supports JStage.
Lissa Supler Slay, Director B.A. Theatre Direction, M.S. Education, California State University, Fullerton. Select directorial credits include Seussical, SchoolHouse Rock Jr., Bridge to Terabithia, Oliver!, Wizard of Oz, Annie (ITL nominee, Direction), As You Like It (ITL winner, Direction), Alice in Wonderland, Music Man, Amahl & the Night Visitors and Honk! Jr. She previously toured three seasons with Missoula Children’s Theatre; she is currently an on-the-road trainer and KCACTF casting assistant as well as instructor for RC Theatre Arts Academy and VP of programs and development for Fine Arts Network Theatre Company. She is thrilled to join the JStage family and can’t wait to meet the JCC actors!
Mary P. DiCamillo, Musical Director Mary DiCamillo (BFA Music -University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, MS Special Education- Cal State Long Beach, EdD- Pepperdine University) has been teaching music and performing for the last 25 years. She is on faculty at Tarbut V’Torah Middle School where she works as a learning specialist during the school year. She loves children’s theater and has directed more than 50 youth musicals and theater productions. Favorite past shows include: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Bugsy Malone, Once on This Island, Anything Goes and Edges.
Shrek the Musical
JStage youth theater, for kids 10-17
Auditions: Sunday, September 22, 1-4 p.m.
Performances: January 18 and 19, 2014
Directed by Lissa Supler Slay and Mary P. DiCamillo
JStage Jr., youth theater for kids 6-9
Sunday, September 22, 2-5 p.m.
January 11 and 12, 2014
Directed by Erin Clark
Tickets available for purchase for Annie and Shrek the Musical in October for the January performances. Purchase tickets online at www.JCCOC.org. All performances will be held in the Myers Theater at the Merage JCC. The theater is 500-seat state-of-the-art theater.