Twelve young performers from the Branson area experienced a journey of a life-time this past week as they successfully fulfilled a dream that began six months ago; an opportunity to participate in one of the Nation’s leading high school music education programs, Festival Disney in Orlando, Florida.

The students (from youngest to oldest) include; Hallie Groff (9), Jake Musser (13), Sydney Pride (13), Megan Rodgers (13), Jordan Kendrick (15), Noah Beyer (15), Moritz Mund (16), Jacob Deeter (16), Alex Knudsen (16), Carter Hendrickson (16), Dani Groff (18) and Brenna Kellem (18).

In August 2019, the Branson Regional Arts Council (BRAC) announced a new youth education program to provide vocal music, dance and theatre training for area students between the ages of 8 and 18. Open auditions were held at the Historic Owen Theatre, and from the dozens of youth who tried out, six boys and six girls were selected to form a musical show choir group called “Staccato”. This advanced choir combines a challenging musical repertoire with entertaining choreography to provide a unique, one of a kind, arts education experience for young students in the Branson area.

Kim Hale is the Vice President of BRAC and serves as the Educational Advisory Chair for the new arts program. Lloyd Alexander-Holt is the BRAC Education Director and Director of Vocal Studies, Kristen Dasto is the Director of Dance Studies, and Jacob Estes is the Director of Theatre Education.

Shortly after the show choir was formed, these talented directors announced an ambitious goal of sending Staccato to perform at the Festival Disney event. Since that time, the talented troupe of performers has been very busy rehearsing, fundraising, and performing at various area events including the Grand Opening of the new Mercy Branson Multi-Specialty Clinic, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, the DBBA’s Piccadilly Gala, as well as multiple performances at the Historic Owen Theatre and as a pre-show for the Hughes Brothers Theatre.

Their performance at Festival Disney was reviewed by nationally respected members of the National Music Adjudication Coalition including Dr. Gregory Fuller (Director of Choral Activities at The University of Southern Mississippi), Dr. Craig Zamer (Director of Choral Activities at Tennessee Tech University), and Dr. Kathleen Shannon (Conductor and Vocal Pedagogue with extensive credits) who also spent several minutes with the students and directors after the performance to offer her expertise and professional assessment and guidance for further improvement. Comments from these professionals were extremely enthusiastic and positive, providing a perfect conclusion to an exciting week of Disney Magic for these deserving students.

In addition to the directors named above, other integral members of the BRAC Education program team include: BRAC President Lisa Murphy, Vocal Instructor Perry Harper, Administrative Assistant Karie Dykeman, Fundraising Coordinator Viola Beyer, Executive Director Jim Barber, and additional Festival Disney trip chaperones Roz Slavick and Michelle Rodgers.

Area residents interested in seeing these talented young performers in person, are invited to attend a free community concert featuring Staccato on Thursday, May 16th at 7pm at the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown Branson. There is no charge for admission, but as seating is limited to 200, advance online reservations are available at BransonArts.org/may16 or by calling the Branson Regional Arts Council at 417-336-4255.

FREE TICKETS

Auditions for the 2019-2020 cast of Staccato will be held in July at the Historic Owen Theatre. Interested students are asked to watch the Branson Regional Arts Council Facebook page, or official website, BransonArts.org, for upcoming information.

#BransonArts #FestivalDisney

Forte Theatrical Productions and the Branson Regional Arts Council are excited to team up for the second musical of the 2019 Season at the Historic Owen Theatre, Into The Woods, with performances running April 4 – 15.  After a completely SOLD OUT run of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, theatre goers may wish to purchase their reserved seats for this next production soon, to insure a seat.

HISTORIC OWEN THEATRE TICKETS  GET SEASON PASS THEATRE TICKETS

“Forte brings a new level of theatrical entertainment to the Ozarks. They are a highly talented and dedicated troupe of professional actors and directors, and the Branson Regional Arts Council is honored to collaborate with them on a regular basis. Whether a full stage musical, Shakespeare in the Park, or a themed Cabaret show, a Forte production is guaranteed to entertain, educate, and inspire!” – Jim Barber, BRAC Executive Director

About Into The Woods – Rated PG13

The Brothers Grimm hit the stage with an epic fairytale about wishes, family and the choices we make.

James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone’s favorite storybook characters and bring them together for a timeless, yet relevant, piece… and a rare modern classic. The Tony Award-winning book and score are both enchanting and touching.

The story follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

The cast for Into The Woods include: Michael Salsbury (Narrator/Mysterious Man), Jacob Cummings (Baker), Karrah Fleshman (Baker’s Wife), Brielle Mae (Cinderella), Traven A. Harrington (Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf), Ryan Hippe (Jack), Mariah Garrett (Jack’s Mother), Cassandra Cummings (Little Red), Kristen Ables (Witch), Tiffany Bear (Rapunzel), Tobi Nordlund (Rapunzel’s Prince), Bethany Hansen (Stepmother), Audrey Roberts (Lucinda), Charis Boulden (Forinda), Jenny Day (Cinderella’s Mother/Granny), and Brian Huff (Steward).

The production team for Into The Woods include: Tina Cool-Anderson (Producer), Justin Ables (Director), Nate Frank (Musical Director), Delyla Uebel (Accompanist), Mary Huff (Assistant Director), Cori Biggs (Choreographer), Brian Huff (Fight Choreographer), Jonathan Crum and Laura Cook (Costumes).

Chicago – the Musical Auditions

Auditions for the Branson Regional Arts Council’s production of CHICAGO…
Dates: Monday, March 4 and Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 6:00-9:00 p.m. (Callbacks Wednesday March 6 & Thursday March 7 from 6-9pm)
Place: Historic Owen Theatre, 205 S. Commercial St, Branson, MO
NOTE: These auditions are for ages 18+ only. CHICAGO is rated PG-13.

Into The Woods will be presented at the Historic Owen Theatre April 4-15.

Requirements:
*Bring audition form and one copy of your head shot and resume.
*We greatly prefer a LIVE audition, but will accept video/online submissions if absolutely necessary. Please email online submissions to
*Ages 18 and up ONLY. Prepare TWO contrasting songs, one up-tempo and one ballad, in the style of Kander & Ebb. Please, no POP songs.
*An accompanist will be provided. We greatly prefer that you utilize the accompanist, but we will allow the use of tracks if absolutely necessary.
*Please bring a clean copy of your music, in the correct key, clearly marked, and preferably in a binder.
*Lead sheets WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. If using a track, the music must be in digital format. No CD’s or tapes allowed.

DANCE CALL
*All auditioning MUST attend the dance call AND have a singing audition, unless otherwise specifically arranged.
*MEN and WOMEN MUST bring proper dance attire and appropriate dance shoes. Please wear clothing that fits close to the body and shows off your physique. NO BAGGY CLOTHES. Ladies must wear 2 inch character shoes, and character shoes OR dance sneakers are required for men. NO OPEN TOED SHOES.
*You will be given the opportunity to change after the vocal audition.
*The audition combination(s) will be taught in groups.

Please contact the director, Lloyd Alexander-Holt, with any questions regarding auditions.

About Chicago

John Kander and Fred Ebb’s hit musical Chicago was based on the play of the same name by Maurine Dallas Watkins. A reporter in Chicago in the 1920s, Watkins covered the popular trials of two female murderers– Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan– who both blamed their actions on the negative effects of drink and jazz. At the time, female murderesses were media darlings, and following the two “jazz babies’” acquittal in 1924, Watkins wrote a satirical play, turning Gaertner into Velma Kelly and Annan into Roxie Hart. The play was produced in 1926 on Broadway, directed by George Abbott.

Broadway’s longest-running American musical, Chicago is a dazzling and satirical look at fame, justice, and the media machine. Set in 1920s Chicago and based on real-life murders and trials, Chicago follows Roxie Hart, a wannabe vaudevillian star who murders her lover and is arrested, despite her attempts to convince her pushover husband, Amos, to lie for her. In the Cook County Jail, Roxie meets her hero, the famed double-murderess and nightclub performer Velma Kelly. When both acquire the same lawyer, the greedy and lustful superstar, Billy Flynn, tensions come to a head as they vie for the spotlight– though instead of onstage, they’re mugging for the flashbulb of the newspaper reporters. With catchy, sexy music and timeless lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and a funny, intelligent, and utterly engaging book by Kander and Bob Fosse, Chicago is a musical spectacular that is as addictive as gossip rags and as unforgettable as any trial of the century.

Open casting is available for the following roles:

  • Roxie Hart (Female – Lead – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Velma Kelly (Female – Lead – Alto)
  • Amos Hart (Male – Supporting – Baritone)
  • Billy Flynn (Male – Supporting – Baritone)
  • Mary Sunshine (Either Gender – Supporting – Countertenor)
  • Matron Mama Morton (Female – Supporting – Alto)
  • Fred Casely (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Sergeant Fogarty (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Martin Harrison (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Go-to-Hell Kitty (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Aaron (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Judge (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Harry (Male – Featured – Spoken)
  • Liz (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Annie (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • June (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Hunyak (Katalin Helinszki) (Female – Featured – Spoken)
  • Mona (Female – Featured – Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Ensemble (8-10) roles available

The BRAC’s production of CHICAGO is staged and musically directed by Lloyd Alexander-Holt, choreographed by Jordan Alexander-Holt, and produced by Kimberly Hale and Lisa Murphy. CHICAGO will be presented at the Historic Owen Theatre May 2-5.

Advanced Reserved Seat Tickets for all upcoming BRAC theatre productions, including Into The Woods and Chicago The Musical are on sale now at BransonArts.org/tix.