Actors Point JR Stages ‘Children of Eden’ Musical This Summer

photo-2HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn.  Actors Point Theatre Company is currently enrolling students for its third annual four-week musical theater “kids” camp (children and students aged 5 through college seniors) that culminates in a production of of John Caird and Stephen Schwartz‘s Children of Eden.

Camp rehearsals begin May 27 and will be held Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through June 19. Registration is available online by clicking here or by calling (615) 431-9620.

Children of Eden tells the story of the book of Genesis from the Bible – from Creation to the great Flood. Well known characters include the Father (God), Adam, Eve, the Serpent, Cain, Abel, Noah and his family. The book is by Caird, best known for directing many acclaimed productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, with music and lyrics by Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin and Wicked) based on a concept from Charles Lisanby.

This summer program gives young people an opportunity to work with local industry professionals and produce the full-length show. Actors Point Theatre Company JR productions function as a springboard for young performers to pursue careers in the performing arts. Rehearsal is very rigorous; students are taught to “make it work,” learning to adjust to real world situations that participating in live theater present; last minute changes in choreography and music, taking responsibility for costuming and makeup and learning how to work well with others under the pressure of a deadline – to name a few, according to organizers.

“The themes of forgiveness, grace, and second chances are so powerful in Children of Eden. The first time I listened to the music, I wept”, says Natalie Klein, the production’s director and choreographer.

Cats CastHaley Stapleton, an intern for Actors Point the past two years, played the role of Mrs. Potts in the camp’s 2012 production of Beauty and the Beast Jr. and Jellylorum in the 2013 production of Cats. “A few of the positive benefits I have received as an intern is the opportunity to watch children succeed,” she says, “to lead by example and to grow as a performer in a very fun environment! I love being an intern and the chance to encourage kids while helping them discover the joy of theater!”

GregWilsonActors Point Theatre Company JR’s camp is enjoying tremendous growth in popularity and participation. “The first summer we had 12 kids register and had to bring in some help to be able to pull off Beauty and the Beast. Last year we saw 1600+ patrons for our six performances of Cats and a camper enrollment of 30 plus seven interns. This year we are tracking to enroll at least 50 students”, says Producing Artistic Director Greg Wilson.

Wilson has been a Hendersonville resident for 15 years and is the Founding Artistic Director of Actors Point Theatre Company. He has been acting and directing professionally and semi-professionally for over 30 years. Wilson has been seen locally in many theatrical productions as well as in TV commercials and has appeared in 7 feature films to date. In addition he is the Producing Director of The Tennessee Shakespeare Festival and also a founding board member of Carpe Artista – an organization whose mission is to develop local arts communities through the nurturing of young creatives to reach their full potential in character, calling, craft and community. Wilson is also a respected acting teacher and acting coach in the greater Nashville area coaching many area actors for commercial, television and theatre roles. In fall of 2012, he was named an Artist in Residence for Martin Methodist University Dramatic Arts Department. Recently Wilson accepted a board position with the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce.

NatalieKleinKlein is a native of southern California. She graduated from Cumberland University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and minor in Dance.  In 2007, she moved back to Southern California, where she was accepted into the performance and education organization The Young Americans.  She has performed and educated children all over the country and all over the world.  Her experience includes five, three-month tours, two national tours and three international tours covering Japan, Russia, Siberia, Spain, Italy, Gibraltar, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, England, and Scotland. One of her highlights has been to work side by side with Broadway stars such as Hugh Panaro, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Kevin Odekirk in an abridged performance of Les Miserables. Klein manages the dance and vocal studies department at Hartsville Dance Studio, and is an instructor at CenterStage Performing Arts Academy in Gallatin. She is also choreographer for several theatre and educational across middle Tennessee as well as a performer, both in live theatre and in film. Klein will graduate from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. with a Master of Arts in Theatre in August. Children of Eden is her thesis, focusing on documentation, preparation and pre-production of the production.

EllenLawrenceEllen Lawrence, Children of Eden‘s Music Director and Assistant Director, is a native of Kentucky. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a BM in Vocal Music Education. Lawrence taught choir and theatre at Glasgow High School and has worked as an educator for the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. She currently works as a music instructor and director with Xclaim! Performance Academy in Bowling Green, Ky. She also teaches private voice and piano lessons through her home-based studio (www.heartsongvoice.webs.com). Lawrence has music directed productions with Kentucky Repertory Theatre, Glasgow Summer Theatre and Actors Point. She has also performed with Street Theatre Company and Actors Bridge Ensemble and ACT 1 in Nashville and is currently a company member with Kentucky Stages in Bowling Green, Ky.

The guest teaching staff will also include other regionally based professionals including Emily Landham, JJ Rodgers and Emmy winner Lane Davies to name a few.

Production Run Includes Ashley’s Place Fundraiser

A wonderful opportunity included in this year’s production is a June 21 fundraiser for Ashley’s Place – The Sumner County Child Advocacy Center: A safe place for children of sexual abuse to receive help with dealing with what has happened to them.  It is a place where the child’s family can get help with dealing with what has happened to their child.  “We wanted to teach our campers to understand that one of the secrets to a life is in giving and giving back. If the students will understand that they can use their gifts and talents to impact the lives of others in a positive way, we have succeeded in a huge way. The applause and ‘pat’s on the back’ will have even a stronger meaning,” says Wilson.

Information on Ashley’s Place is available at www.ashleysplace.net.

Children of Eden will run June 20, 21 (Ashley’s Place Fundraiser), 27, and 28 at 7 p.m., June 20 and 27 at 10 a.m. and June 29 at 3 p.m. on the campus of God Why Church (100 God Why Ct.). Reserved seating is available; purchase tickets ($12-$18 except for fundraising performance which is $20; reserved seating and group rates are available) online at the Actors Point website or by calling (615) 431-9620.

*Logo, photo from 2013 Cats production and headshots of Greg Wilson, Natalie Klein and Ellen Lawrence courtesy Actors Point Theatre Company.

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