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Summer theater classes

TLT and Lakewood Playhouse's summer camps and shows have something for everyone

TLT’s summer classes in 2014 featured a production of Grease. Photo credit: Tacoma Little Theatre

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Summer is not known for its overabundance of plays being put up by local theaters. Generally, productions are being cast and assembled for the forthcoming season, leaving a bit of an entertainment gap in the hotter months. This doesn't mean, though, that your summer needs to be completely devoid of theater; in the South Sound, places like Tacoma Little Theatre and Lakewood Playhouse are doing their part in keeping theater alive for the summer with a series of camps, classes, and special performances.

Over at Tacoma Little Theatre, they've already produced one play made up of students, grades 1-12, with Peter Pan Jr., but there's still one more production coming up before the summer is over. Legally Blonde Jr., a more kid-friendly version of the well-received Legally Blonde musical, is gearing up for its three-day run from August 11-13. While it may be too late for you or the young people in your life to be cast in this particular production, it's not too late to catch performances from some up-and-coming actors.

Lakewood Playhouse, meanwhile, has several more opportunities to join summer classes that cover a healthy amount of creative ground, with spaces available for actors of all ages and experience. The only class that is restricted to adults is "Preparing the Actor III," a one-week affair that begins July 31, and is designed to strengthen the skills of actors in attendance. Other classes are focused more on the South Sound's younger actors, such as the "Musical Theatre Revue," which will teach kids grades 4-12 show tunes that will be staged together after the class finishes.

One of the more intriguing classes will involve kids grades 4-12 rehearsing and then performing a live 40s radio play - this includes live foley work, helping to reinforce the reality of a play that would take place largely in the audience's mind. That class runs from August 14-18, with performances on August 21 and 22.

Actors looking to participate in a class that would allow for the whole family to take part - or for any actors that enjoy the opportunity to perform with people outside their immediate circle - might direct their attention to a multi-generational production of Charlotte's Web. Performers of all ages (the website specifies ages 6-106, making me really long for a 100-year-old Templeton the Rat) are encouraged to sign up for the production, which is slated to get started August 7, with rehearsals running for three weeks before performances on August 25 and 26.

In addition to just keeping everyone apprised of local theater through the dog days of summer, these classes provide an even more important service. Frankly, for newcomers, it can be intimidating to get on stage, which makes classes like these an inviting way to dip one's toe into the waters of community theater. If you've ever had the fleeting notion of treading the boards, now might be the time to get your feet wet.

More information on classes can be found at lakewoodplayhouse.org and tacomalittletheatre.com.

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