By Michael Gioia
01 Aug 2013
Two-and-a-half hours outside of New York City — the Mecca of professional theatre and stomping ground of legendary performers — children ages 7-17 are training to become the next generation of theatre professionals at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, the 43-year-old camp that ushers arts education to the forefront.
As hundreds of children from around the world shuffle onto the French Woods campus — a large campground comprised of five theatres, a circus pavilion equipped with trapezes and aerial silks, an indoor skate park and, of course, various rehearsal spaces and dance studios — the audition process begins.
"This is the highlight of the year for many people," added Roberto Morean, 18. "The night of casting, I just eat and eat because I'm so nervous. You walk in, and you sing for all the directors, and if you want to do a drama, you audition for a drama… Based on your audition, they give you callbacks, and you have different callbacks for about four hours. It's like 12 hours [after callbacks that the cast list is posted], but it's the longest time you'll ever wait!"
Once the cast list is posted, over a dozen shows go directly into rehearsal for a three-week session, in which students will rehearse for approximately two hours a day for less than three weeks to mount a full production — completely costumed, staged, choreographed and backed by a full orchestra.Continued...