New Britain Youth Theater, which begins its eighth season this month, has been named Best Children’s Theater by the editors of Connecticut Magazine. The accolade comes in the September 2017 “Best of Connecticut” issue of the magazine, and recognizes that what started as “an after-school program has blossomed into a professionally run community and educational theater.”
“We’re thrilled and honored by the recognition,” responded the theater’s Executive and Artistic Director, Darren Farrington. “We may not be the largest, oldest, or even most established youth theater in the state, but we’ve always strived to provide a professional, educational, and fun experience for our participants and audience. We very much appreciate being noticed for our work and, more importantly, for the work of our children and teens.”
The new season at New Britain Youth Theater (NBYT) begins with auditions this month for a December production of Annie Jr. Based on the comic strip that debuted in 1924 and the Broadway production from 1977, the musical tells the familiar story of the young orphan Annie who is brought from her orphanage to spend Christmas with New York billionaire Oliver Warbucks. (The “junior” version of the musical is slightly adapted for young actors and audience.) All children and teens, ages 6 through 18, from any town and with or without prior experience, are welcome to audition. There are roles for teen actors, roles for girls and boys, and many featured ensemble roles. Older children age 13 and up may also contact NBYT with interest in helping backstage.
Auditions for Annie Jr are on Monday and Wednesday, September 11 and 13, at Holmes Elementary School at 2150 Stanley Street in New Britain (off Hartford Road (Route 71)). Audition times both days begin at 6:00 p.m. Actors auditioning should prepare an upbeat musical theater or other song not from Annie and should bring sheet music if possible, or they will be given a song to sing. Girls interested specifically in the role of Annie may be asked to sing Tomorrow in addition to their audition song. Actors should also wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to learn a few dance steps. Rehearsals will also be on Monday and Wednesday evenings. The production will be performed at the same location on December 8, 9 and 10.
NBYT will also hold auditions in September for a Short Play Festival to be held in November. The Short Play Festival will consist of several original short comedies and dramas submitted by young NBYT participants and by amateur and established playwrights from around the country and the world. Nearly five hundred plays in total were submitted, and fewer than forty will be selected for production. Actors who are cast will rehearse and perform the plays as an ensemble piece, with performers assisting backstage for those plays in which they don’t appear onstage.
Auditions for the Short Play Festival will be held on Monday and Wednesday, September 18 and 20, at NBYT at the Berlin YMCA Program Center at 362 Main Street in Berlin. Auditions both days are at 6:00 p.m. Participation is open to 12 to 19 year-olds from any town, and a diverse cast is sought. Actors auditioning should prepare a 30-60 second monologue of any type. Rehearsals will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, and on some Thursdays as needed. The production will be performed on November 16, 17, 18 and 19 at the same location.
To schedule an audition for either Annie Jr or the Short Play Festival, call 860-515-8115 or email email@example.com. Those cast will be asked to pay a participation fee of $150, but partial financial waivers and payment scheduling are available.
Theater classes and homeschool enrichment programs also begin in September at NBYT. Beginning the week of September 18, afterschool classes will be held in breakdancing (Tuesdays), stage play for ages 5-8 (Wednesdays), and introductory acting for tweens and teens (Thursdays). On Saturday mornings beginning September 23, the theater will offer classes in stage play (ages 5-8), acting (ages 9-14), and sketch comedy and improv (ages 10-16). Each eight-week class term ends with a short performance open to family and friends. Programs for homeschoolers include a Tuesday morning performance program for ages 6 through 14, and Tuesday afternoon classes in music (ages 8-16) and improv (ages 8-16).