That 80's Show showcases young performers

Kids with some big "Glee" dreams took part in a two week summer program through the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Kids with some big "Glee" dreams took part in a two week summer program through the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. It's a competitive, audition-based theatre training program providing professional experience for kids ages 10-23 in musical theater. The summer musical theatre program, or SMTI, is just like the hit FOX television show "Glee" with their "That 80's Show," bringing to life the heart and soul of the program for the rest of the community.

In "That 80's Show," audiences hear all their favorite 80's songs together on stage while seeing some of their favorite dance moves, hair styles, and pop-culture references from the decade. With the hit FOX television show "Glee" igniting the enthusiasm of young performers, the program gives kids a chance to act out their Broadway musical dreams.

Stacy Hawking is 17-years-old and has also trained with The Radio City Rockettes in their summer program in New York for the past three years. "My favorite musical would have to be "Cats." It's from the 80's, and was the first musical I ever saw. I love all the dancing and singing from that musical, and that's what turned me on to theater."

But the program isn't just for fun. The talented young performers say it's a chance for them to get professional coaching and directing. Jack Dowden hopes to be able to make it big one day. "This is all about preparing you to go into that environment. It's about learning to go into that work. We're getting the skills now to be able to do that later in life."

Marina Redlich is 11-years-old and plays a character in “That 80's Show” called The Valley Girl. "This is a chance to be on stage. I've learned so much from this program throughout the years about how to express myself on stage."

Performances run through Saturday November 5th at the Wildwood Park for the Arts. Tickets are $15-$25 for adults and $10 for students.

SMTI was founded in 2005 and has expanded to represent more than 26 schools across Central Arkansas. This season 61 students are involved.
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