Featuring catchy songs by 80s hitmakers The Go-Go’s and based on Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, “Head Over Heels” is adapted for high school-aged performers from the Broadway musical of the same name. Tickets are available here and cost $25 for general admission. Advised ages are 12 and up due to some mature themes.
“It’s a story about growth, love, hate, and finding yourself,” Schumacher said, who will be singing, dancing, and puppeteering as an ensemble member of the production.
Ann Joseph-Douglas, CTC’s director of education, said, “Through this incredible, fun 80s music, the play breaks down the patriarchal structure of how societies are really set up, and allows people to discover who they really are on the inside.
“And that comes with who you love and who you are, and accepting that in all its forms. A successful society doesn’t mean that we behave a certain way, dress a certain way, and love a certain way. And this is a way of exploring that,” she said.
The musical is the culmination of Theatre Arts Training’s Triple Threat Summer Intensive, an audition-based program for students in grades 8 to 12. Schumacher and her 26 fellow students have spent the past five weeks working with professional directors, choreographers, music directors, designers, and technicians while learning acting techniques.
“These are some of the most talented young artists that I’ve had the honor to work with,” Joseph-Douglas said. “It’s going to be a phenomenal show. These students get a professional experience since we treat these Triple threat shows like our regular season shows. I encourage people to come out to see the talent that you have in Eden Prairie and the greater metro area.”
‘An interesting and cool experience’ for Schumacher
Schumacher is already a stage veteran at the age of 15. She made her acting debut at age 9 in Eden Prairie Players‘ production of “The Trial of Goldilocks.” She has since acted in multiple productions for Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins and at EPHS and Central Middle School.
She has also just been cast in another upcoming Stages Theatre Company production, “Spookley the Square Pumpkin,” where she will play a pumpkin named “Hay” and understudy two other characters. This performance will be in October, and tickets are available here.
Schumacher auditioned for the Triple Threat Summer Intensive last February and was accepted in the spring. Since July 6, she has attended the program daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
She said she’s made great, like-minded friends at Triple Threat, which has students from eighth grade to graduating seniors from many different backgrounds. “Getting to know everyone’s personal experiences in the theater industry has been an interesting and cool experience for me,” she said.
In the morning, from 9 a.m. to noon, Twin Cities theatre professional Autumn Ness teaches stage training.
Schumacher said, “We’ve worked on acting with monologues, improvisation, how to keep your breath while you’re singing and dancing. We’re learning stage combat and learning how to fake fight with swords, working with an intimacy coordinator, and talking with a casting director about the audition and casting process.”
In the afternoons, the students have been working on “Head Over Heels” with their directors, stage managers, choreographer, and music director.
“We run scenes, learn dances, fight call, and lift call,” Schumacher said. “We talk about what we like and what we want to change. Our leaders listen to us, help us grow, and take the time to make sure we have the tools we need to make this show amazing.”
This week leading up to the performances is tech week, where the students see the set for the first time, and will get costumes and lighting to create the show.
“It’s really cool when you can see it all come together, and see all of the expressions and dynamics between characters,” Schumacher said, adding that she “can’t wait to see the audience’s reaction.”
Children’s Theater Company programs and classes
CTC has about nine summer programs running in any given week, each with 10 to 25 kids, depending on age (from 2 to 18) and skill level. Most are not audition-based.
CTC also offers classes throughout the year on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and all day Saturday, plus preschool classes on Wednesday mornings.
Joseph-Douglas said that young performers gain “unbelievable” confidence through CTC programming, as well as building empathy and learning important social-emotional skills.
“For some people it’s really difficult just to walk into a room, or walk into a restaurant and order something off of the menu,” she said. “To be able to find that confidence in this space that they can then carry with them is excellent.”
To learn more about CTC’s youth programming, visit its website.
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