About The OTP Young Company
In 1990, OTP volunteer Keli Macintosh was frustrated with the level of theatrical opportunities for children in the Grand Traverse region. Macintosh and Phil Murphy, along with Jim-Bob and Lucy Stephenson founded Traverse City Children’s Theatre (TCCT) in the fall of 1991. Classroom and rehearsal space was initially provided by NMC and the Stephensons managed the first class activities with a year-long program. Initially, TCCT hoped to form a separate non-profit organization of its own, but knowing that they would need operating support in the meantime, Macintosh and Murphy approached Old Town Playhouse for assistance. Looking to add an educational arm of its own, Old Town welcomed the opportunity to collaborate. A Board was formed and Keli Macintosh became the first official manager.
In 1997, Macintosh moved from the area; June Neal became TCCT’s first paid manager and added a regular schedule of classes, and fall, spring and summer MainStage productions. In the summer of 1999, the Missoula Children’s Theatre conducted a one-week intensive instructional program. This annual workshop continued until 2003 when the entire program became staffed locally. With demand exceeding all expectations, Luis Araquistain was hired in 2003 as a full-time director. Curriculum was expanded, as were out-reach program to area schools, creating broad opportunities, including classes for special needs students and multicultural programs.
Our current Educational Director of the Old Town Playhouse, Mychelle Hopkins, came to the Playhouse in 2008. Hopkins holds her Master’s Degree from the prestigious Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, England where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar. She has received critical acclaim as a director and actress both regionally and internationally. Her theatrical background is extensive with over thirty years of professional experience with The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan, the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, The Houston Shakespeare Festival, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Athens Theatre Center, among others.
In the summer of 2010, TCCT took one more major step in its evolution when it changed its name to Old Town Playhouse’s Young Company to better represent its composition of young people from age three to eighteen, and further cement its role as part of Old Town Playhouse.
About Mychelle Hopkins, OTP’s Education Director
Mychelle Hopkins holds her Master’s Degree from the prestigious Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, England where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar. She has received critical acclaim as a Director and Actress both regionally and internationally. Her theatrical background is extensive with over thirty years of professional experience.
Mychelle joined the resident company of The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan in 2005 after 15 years at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre where she began her tenure as its Youth Theatre Director and was promoted to serve as the organization’s Associate Director. Her theatrical affiliations includeThe Houston Shakespeare Festival, The Royal Shakespeare Company in England and The Athens Theatre Center in Greece. Serving as an Adjunct Professor in the Western Michigan University’s Theatre Department, Mychelle introduced thousands of students to the joy and challenge of Theatre. A native of Northern Michigan, she returns to Traverse City with her husband, Steve Smith, their son Macready and daughter Molly.
Young Company Governance
The Board of Trustees is the governing entity of the Old Town Playhouse and the OTP Young Company. Standing Committees include the Artistic Committee, the Producer’s Circle and the Young Company Advisory Committee.
Board of Trustees
Larry Avery – President
Craig Rosenberg – Vice President
Dennis Lauterbach – Treasurer
Loren Gardner- Secretary
Nancy Brick – Co-Chair, Producer’s Circle
Robert Hood – Co-Chair, Producer’s Circle
Phil Murphy – OTP Executive Director (Ex-Officio)
Brett Nichols – Chair
Young Company Advisory Committee
June Neal – President
Denni Don Hunting – Vice President
Peg Brace – Treasurer
Lucy Rogers – Student Representative
Robbie Shields – Student Representative
Mychelle Hopkins – Education Director (Ex-Officio)
Phil Murphy – OTP Executive Director (Ex-Officio)
Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs
The Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs is committed to supporting and furthering the arts in Michigan. The Old Town Playhouse and OTP Young Company performance seasons are funded, in part, by support from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.http://www.michiganadvantage.org/Arts/
Young Company Programs
The OTP Young Company produces two MainStage productions each year, one in December and another in June. Participants are 9 to 18 years of age with auditions and rehearsals starting approximately 3 months before performances.
Classes and Li’L Broadway program
During the year, the Young Company offers a selection of classes in acting and music and movement exploration, as well as Broadway-style singing, acting and dance. Classes are generally 4-8 weeks in length, one day per week and are offered in the fall, winter, late spring and during the summer. Some classes offer education and training for the youngest actors, while others serve as pre-requisites to audition for full -scale productions. Each year (usually in December) the Young Company presents a Broadway-style production, with an adaption of a Broadway production, shortened and adapted specifically for an all student cast. See our Lil’ Broadway section, below, for details about these classes and this program.
Summer Performing Arts Camp
Our four-week intensive schedule of classes (designed for kids 8 to 16 years of age) is designed to educate and stimulate that aspiring young actor in your family. Our program includes training in Acting, Dance, Singing, Improvisational Sports, Shakespeare and Shop (where students will learn the basics of Prop-Making, Set and Scene Design). Visiting artists augment training with one-day special workshops in such thing as Mime, Play writing and Clowning. At the end of the session, students get to perform on the MainStage in a musical revue-style production. Classes begin in late June and run Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM.
This program packs a lot in just one week! Designed for experienced students from 8 to 18 years of age. Groups of students work quickly to mount a play, including sets and costumes, and perform on the MainStage. Training/rehearsals are Monday through Friday, from approximately 9:30 am until 3:30 pm. This program is usually held in mid-August and tuition is taken upon audition and casting.
Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop
This program is designed for teen (young adult) students from 12 to 20 years of age. Advanced techniques are studied while students rehearse for a production to be mounted in our Stuidio Theatre @ The Depot. Auditions for this program are usually held in June, with performances held in mid-August and tuition is taken upon audition and casting.
The Lil’ Broadway Classes and Program
The Li’l Broadway program is made up of a series of special classes in acting, dance and singing that culminate in a major performance of an adapted Broadway hit play—these shows are just like the great Broadway hits, only slightly shortened for its student cast.
How does it work?
Throughout the spring, summer and fall, look for classes on our schedule marked with the Li’l Broadway logo. For students interested in auditioning for our Li’l Broadway shows (usually in performing in December), they must first have taken the Li’l Broadway classes in singing, acting and dance, which will be labeled as Li’l Broadway classes 1, 2 and 3. As an alternative, enrollment in the Young Company’s 4 -week Summer Performing Arts Camp fulfills all 3 requirements.
Do students have to take these particular classes to audition?
No. Similar classes taken at other institutions can be regarded as fulfillment of the requirement provided that the student can demonstrate that they have received the prerequisite training. Involvement in previous sessions of the Summer Performing Arts Camp will also be accepted.
Does taking the Li’l Broadway classes guarantee being in the Li’l Broadway productions?
No. These classes are likely to improve a student’s chances of joining the cast by covering scenes, dances and songs that will be used during the audition, but being cast in the play is NOT guaranteed.
When are the auditions for the December production?
Auditions will tend to be held at Old Town Playhouse in late September. Rehearsals begin early October and run Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00 to 6:00. Some Saturday rehearsals may be added. Students enrolled in Li’l Broadway classes during the fall can still audition.
There’s a tuition for each of the Li’l Broadway classes; do cast members of Li’l Broadway production also pay tuition?
Yes. The rehearsal process will include a continuation of the training received during the prerequisite classes. The tuition for cast members will be $150. As always, tuition assistance is available for families in need.
Can a student enroll in a Li’l Broadway class without wanting to audition for the December production?
Sure! Students who just want to take a class without being in the show are welcome.
I still have questions!
Call the Education Director at (231) 947-2210.