A little bit about Little Stars Productions and a little bit about me!
We help Little Stars Shine!
We help little stars shine! Every little star needs a stage and Little Stars Productions provides just that! We inspire, motivate, and direct children into discovering their own places in the performing and visual arts. With programs designed to put a spotlight on each student, no matter his or her innate talent or skill level, you can watch your budding actor, artist, or entrepreneur shine as skill and imagination begin to blossom! How do we accomplish this? By offering unique and diverse educational programs that ignite the imagination and foster true creativity and confidence!
Take a peek into one of the Drama Academy’s weekly classes during the school year. You will see children learning acting techniques and refining improvisational skills and just plain having fun! This all leads up to the big moment when the Fall and Spring semesters end and rehearsals for “the play” begin. The drama classes offer unmatched performance opportunities for children through professional custom-script writing and songwriting in order to tailor scripts and songs to the experience and skill levels of each child. Finally, the moment arrives! Little stars put on their costumes, gather their props, get into character, and get ready for their moment in the spotlight. The large chattering audience goes quiet as the lights go up and each child experiences the thrill of performing on stage!
Summertime means camp time! Hike your way into discovering more about STEAM, Entrepreneurship, Art, and Drama with Little Stars Productions’ mini-camps to full-week camps. We respect children’s ideas and appreciate the desire to explore science and find their path toward artistic choices and business acumen. We never want to constrain a child’s enthusiasm for his or her own ideas. In fact, we showcase their efforts in take-home experiments in STEAM Camps, pitch challenges for Entrepreneurship Camps, art shows for Art Camps, and performances in fully-produced plays at the end of Drama Camps. Exploring their passions, making mistakes, learning from doing, and having fun builds skills and stretches a child’s imagination. Our mission: educate, entertain, enlighten, engage, and empower little stars!
My debut public performance came at the age of three on top of one of the dining tables at a local Wendy’s, where I tap danced my heart out after one of my first dance classes to thunderous applause. My parents determined right then and there that I would definitely need a legitimate performance outlet in the future. I grew up in a small town with a small community theater that dedicated each summer to a children’s workshop, which only took a limited number of children. Every year, my parents would wake up at the crack of dawn and stand in line in the heat for hours with other parents to make sure that I would be able to get into the program. That got me in the door, but then I had to audition for a role. Craving the spotlight, I had no problem with that! There’s the time I brought down the house with my version of “On Top of Spaghetti,” or hit a home run with “Take me out to the Ballgame.” Those auditions went exceptionally well with tremendous applause from the 150 or so parents who were observing the auditions. However, the limited number of parts in most children’s plays and musicals didn’t leave many parts to go around, often leaving the majority of children without much to do. I spent some time as a lonely stalagmite in Aladdin’s cave learning this lesson.
I worked my way up the totem pole in the world of children’s theater over seven years from a stalagmite with no lines and very little to do, to a peasant’s mother with two lines and some action and finally progressed to some meaty comedic roles toward the end of my time there. There’s nothing inherently wrong with working your way up in a program like that, but I do feel it wastes precious time in the development of a young actor, particularly in an audition-based program. Nevertheless, I made it through to high school and settled into one of the lead roles in a high school play. Success! I received good feedback and even positive reviews from the local newspaper. Even more determined to continue pursuing the arts as a career in some way, I was also one of the founding members of my high school’s broadcasting team. Believe me, being recognized outside of school in a restaurant as the anchor of “Cable SHS,” fed my desire for fame and fortune which propelled me on the path to studying Drama and Communications at the University of New Orleans.
Shortly before graduating, I was asked to do an Independent Study for Drama in college and that’s when I developed a year-long curriculum to teach beginning acting skills to four girls who were eight to nine years old. At the end of the year, it was my job to find a play for the girls to perform. Discovering that it was almost impossible to find a play that would fit the gender specifications, be appropriate for the age group, AND specifically challenge each child at the skill level attained during the year, I discovered an important lesson. Playwrights don’t write for actors, particularly children! Don’t get me wrong–there are thousands of children’s plays; however, the plots are limited and usually only feature a small number of characters in lead roles while the rest are relegated to the ensemble. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that; however, it sorely neglects nurturing hidden talents that will shine if only given the opportunity.
Back to my first class of little girls; I couldn’t find a suitable play. I had to create a play about a sleepover with hidden treasure in a grandfather clock. Was it the best story? Probably not. Was it an amazing performance with the most talented children having the most stage time? Definitely not. Was it an opportunity for all the girls to build confidence, grow as young actors, gain experience, and be a true part of the process? Absolutely! And here is where my passion for helping little stars shine began!
Forward to today, I’m the owner/director of Little Stars Productions, which provides engaging arts education programs for school-aged children. The drama aspect of our program starts with learning about acting techniques, building collaboration skills, becoming comfortable with improvisation, and providing a stress-free audition process. In addition, it offers unmatched performance opportunities for children through professional custom-script writing and songwriting in order to tailor scripts and songs to the experience and skill levels of each child. We also offer a number of specialty summer camps in Art, STEAM, and Entrepreneurship along with Drama which allow children to explore their passions, make mistakes, learn from doing, build skills, and stretch their imaginations. We showcase their efforts in take-home experiments in STEAM Camps, pitch challenges for Entrepreneurship Camps, art shows for Art Camps, and in fully-produced plays at the end of Drama Camps.
Will they all become Disney stars, Nobel Prize or National Medal of Arts winners, or perhaps even appear on Shark Tank? Probably not, but they will experience the thrill of successfully attempting something that they didn’t know they could do–and that’s what I call a win-win!
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