Edgerton Center to Host Summer Theatre Workshop

News Story: May 1, 2009

Young Performers, Ages 8-14, Enrolled in SUMMER MUSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOPS Will Be Cast in Childrens' Roles in Mainstage Production of OLIVER!

The Summer Musical Theatre Workshops at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, announce that all young performers, ages 8-14 years old, enrolled in the workshops will be cast in the children’s roles in the mainstage production of Oliver!, the musical by Lionel Bart, based on Charles Dickens’ novel, “Oliver Twist.” Oliver! will be staged at the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts following both sessions of the Workshops on Friday, August 7 and Saturday, August 8 at 7pm and Sunday, August 9 at 3pm.  The workshop is Co-Produced by Connecticut Family Theatre and the Edgerton Center of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

All children’s roles in Oliver! will be cast ONLY from the participants in the Edgerton Center’s Summer Theatre Musical Workshop. Specific children’s roles will be cast from those youngsters enrolled in the camps. The Oliver! cast will also feature professional lead actors in the roles of Bill Sykes and Fagin plus adults from throughout Fairfield County and students from Sacred Heart University. Connecticut Family Theatre and the Edgerton Center at Sacred Heart University will co-produce this classic musical.

The Summer Musical Theatre Workshops are designed to encourage the development of musical theatre performance skills (solo & ensemble acting, singing, movement)in young performers ages 8-14, culminating in a free live performance at the end of each session. The workshops offer an incredible opportunity for youngsters to hone their skills among peers with the same passion for the performing arts.

  • Session I of the Summer Musical Theatre Workshops runs July 6-18 from 9am-3pm weekdays.
  • Session II of the Summer Musical Theatre Workshops runs July 20-31 from 9am-3pm weekdays.

General registration is $500 per youngster per session; $900 for both sessions and $450 for sibling registration. Enrollment for each session is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.  To download workshop applications as well as forms for release & indemnity and health examination go www.EdgertonCenter.org and click on Summer Musical Theatre Workshops.

Each Workshop session will feature artists from the Broadway/Off-Broadway communities including animal trainer Bill Berloni, director/choreographer Randy Skinner and casting director Stephanie Klapper plus an additional surprise guest to be announced.

Bill Berloni and his handlers have provided animals of all species and sizes, found in shelters, humane societies and/or rescue leagues, for Broadway (Annie, Legally Blonde), Off-Broadway, national tours and regional theatres as well as special events, the New York City Ballet, motion pictures, television and commercials. Through a combination of persistence, patience and trial-and-error, Berloni developed revolutionary humane training techniques of teaching both actors and animals to work together to create successful performances. When their careers are over, the animals return to Berloni’s Connecticut farm sanctuary.

Randy Skinner is an award-winning director/choreographer whose work has encompassed Broadway, regional and national productions. He most recently choreographed the Broadway holiday hit White Christmas. In addition, he also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography for the 2001 revival of 42nd Street (as well as nominations for the Outer Critics, Drama Desk and Astaire Awards).

As a casting director, Stephanie Klapper’s work has been viewed on Broadway in productions of the Tony nominated Bells Are Ringing and It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues as well as Off-Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Dinner With Friends. Other recent projects include Southern Comforts (directed by Judith Ivey); A.R. Gurney's Indian Blood; Charles Grodin's The Right Kind Of People and Terrence McNally's Dedication Or The Stuff Of Dreams.

The musical Oliver! is a timeless favorite chock-full of such memorable hits as “Food, Glorious Food,” “Where Is Love,” “Consider Yourself,” “I’d Do Anything,” “Oom-Pah-Pah,” and “As Long As He Needs Me,” among others. Since its first production in 1960, Oliver! has been staged numerous times around the world, and is currently playing at the Royal Drury Lane Theatre in London.

The musicalopens in a dreary London workhouse in 1850, when Oliver, a young orphan, makes the mistake of asking Mr. Bumble “for more, please” at mealtime. Before he knows it, Oliver is whisked off, sold to an undertaker, escapes, and quickly finds himself in the unsavory, yet colorful company of Fagin, the Artful Dodger, and the Thieves’ Kitchen of Pickpockets. Oliver endeavors to pick a pocket or two on his own, only to be apprehended by the authorities. Having been taken in by the kindly Mr. Brownlow, Oliver hopes he may have, at last, found a home. However, sinister Bill Sykes and Nancy, his tough, yet tender-hearted sweetheart, recapture Oliver, and the situation becomes rather grim. After a number of twists and turns, Oliver is finally reunited with those he loves in this Dickens of a story.

Oliver! will be directed by Jerry Goehring, with choreography by Correy West and musical direction by Leo P. Carusone.

Auditions for ADULTS ONLY will be Sunday, May 31 from 2-6pm at the Edgerton Center. This will be an open call for Equity and non-Equity actors. Equity Guest Artist contracts (approval pending) will be used.

All children’s roles are cast ONLY from the participants in the Edgerton Center’s Summer Theatre Musical Workshop camp.

For more information regarding auditions, the show and the summer camp, please visit www.EdgertonCenter.org or contact Richard Pheneger, press representative for the Summer Musical Theatre Workshops, at 203-375-7072.

The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts, on the campus of Sacred Heart University, is located at 5151 Park Avenue in Fairfield, Connecticut just minutes from exit 47 of the Merritt Parkway.

Reserved tickets for Oliver! are $20 for adults, $15 for senior citizens & students and $12 for children under 12.

Tickets may be purchased By Phone at the Edgerton Center Box Office at 203.371.7908, in person at the box office located in the lobby of the Edgerton Center or online at www.EdgertonCenter.org. Box Office Hours areMondays through Fridays from 12noon-4pm. The Box Office will be open 2 hours prior to each performance.

The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts is totally wheelchair accessible. Please let the box office know of any special needs when ordering tickets.

Sacred Heart University’s Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts (ECPA) is an intimate 776-seat theatre located in beautiful Fairfield, CT. ECPA is dedicated to creating and presenting high quality programming for families, students and the community that will entertain, educate and challenge. ECPA strives to extend and supplement the intellectual life of the classroom for students from Pre-K through college, thus creating opportunities for community and university interaction, while reflecting the ethnic, faith and cultural diversity of the region.