Being involved in a production with the Acting Studio can be…well, a production. If you’re new to the process or to the Studio, the following questions & answers should help explain how things work. If you have a question you don’t see answered below, please feel free to contact us.
How do I pay production fees & tuition?
Prior to auditioning for any production, we ask parents to create an Acting Studio Productions account on our registration system. This is separate from the account that you have to register for technique classes. After you have created an ASP account, then you register for the production (the same way you’d register for a class) and complete registration by paying the $125 non-refundable audition fee. That fee is applied toward production tuition if your child is cast in the show. The remaining balance of the tuition then is charged to your ASP account according to the schedule outlined in the audition packet. There’s no need to pay by check or do any checkout procedure here online.
How do I pay for or sell program ads?
One of the requirements for participating in our productions is the sale of one 1/2-page program ad (a $75 value). You can choose to sell this ad to a business (maybe even your own business), or you can simply purchase it yourself to send well-wishes to your favorite cast member(s).
Anyone who is ready to purchase an ad can do so here on the Ads page. Simply check whether you’d like your ASP account to be charged for the amount, or you’d like to pay by credit card here on this site (a useful option if you’re selling directly to a business and you’d like them to pay). You can also upload your completed ad on the Ads page. There is information provided on the form about what type of file and what size of ad we will need.
Please note that your ASP account will be charged $75 by the date outlined in the audition packet if we don’t receive prior alternative payment attributed to your child, and even if we don’t receive any completed ad for your child. (When we don’t receive anything, we will create a standard well-wish ad on your child’s behalf.)
Why should I choose Acting Studio Productions?
We appreciate you asking that question. We know there are a lot of local theatre groups, and you need to know what sets us apart. Here are just a few of the reasons we’re different:
- We don’t just hire staff; we hire working professionals. Our owners, instructors and directors all work professionally in the theatre community, either in DFW or beyond.
- We put our productions on in a real working theatre. We’re proud to produce shows in a theatre that provides students with an experience that’s authentic. This isn’t a cafeteria stage, a black box, or a school auditorium. This is a full-fledged theatre that seats hundreds of people, with advanced equipment, lighting, and sound. We have a real set. We have a paid production staff. And we teach students how to navigate this world professionally.
- We hold our students to high standards. Our students are our family, so we ALWAYS practice kindness first. At the same time, we have high expectations, and we don’t believe in letting you ignore your potential. If you make a commitment, we hold you to it. If we see potential in you, we help you develop it. If you participate in a show, we treat you like a working member of our community.
- Just ask our students and their parents. We are humbled to hear them describe their experiences. We believe theatre should feel like home and should be a safe place, a place where you feel you belong—whatever your age, your talent, your role. We hear time and again that students in Acting Studio Productions have built lasting friendships. It’s not uncommon to walk into the Studio and have ten people shout hello to you before rehearsal. Students greet other parents with polite smiles and warm welcomes. We don’t do cliques, and we absolutely don’t do ego. As we say every day, we’re teaching life skills through stage skills. Our students don’t just learn acting, singing, and dancing; they learn to be compassionate, hard-working, determined, and confident.
How do I know if my child is ready to be in a show?
We have a few basic requirements, namely that they be at least 6 years old (sometimes we increase that age to 8, depending on the show), that they can read or take direction well, and that they are enrolled in at least one technique class at the Studio. When you put all these things together, you have a child who is old enough to handle the long hours of rehearsals, capable of understanding the lines/blocking/choreography that we provide, and invested enough in musical theatre to care about performing well.
If you’re unsure whether your child will be able to manage the time requirements, we encourage you to discuss the commitment together. A student must be willing and prepared to commit to a show and all that it entails. You cannot miss rehearsal simply because you “don’t feel like it” or you’re “tired.”
If you’re concerned about your child’s confidence level, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what seemingly introverted or shy kids can do when they’re on stage. Many naturally quiet children enjoy being involved in a production because they can transform into other people, people who are boisterous or silly or villainous, and that is a lot of fun! Theatre is a fantastic way of building confidence and self-esteem. We do our best to coax out your child’s full potential!
What can I expect at my audition?
First of all, don’t be nervous. An audition is your time to shine!
Auditions generally last about 5 minutes. You’ll wait outside the Studio until you’re called in to begin. The show directors and choreographer will be there to greet you, as well as our pianist. You’ll provide your headshot and/or resume to the directors, and then give your sheet music for your first song to the pianist, along with any special instructions about tempo or tone. The directors will let you know when to start. They may or may not request that you sing your second prepared cut.
If you have any schedule conflicts to discuss, the directors might ask you about those to clarify when you won’t be available for rehearsals. When the directors have all the info they need, they’ll excuse you. If they’d like to see you at callbacks, they’ll hand you a slip of paper with specific requests about when to arrive and what they’d like to see you do (vocal, reading, dancing, etc.). Should they want you to read or sing, you’ll likely be given some music or a side from a script to prepare before you return.
That’s it! When you leave, the next student will be brought in.
How should I choose which songs to prepare?
We ask you to prepare two contrasting 16-32 bar cuts for your audition. Try to select songs that highlight your vocal range and that are appropriate for your age and the role(s) in which you’re interested. For example, if we’re producing Aladdin, and you’re interested in playing the Genie, you probably don’t want to sing a ballad for us. You’ll want to show us how you can play a brash and humorous character.
If you’re working with a vocal instructor at the Studio, s/he should be able to provide some insight and help you build a solid audition repertoire over time.
There are a number of good sites online where you can download sheet music, such as MusicNotes. You can also find a variety of piano-only accompaniments with which to practice your songs on sites like YouTube or PianoTrax.
What should I wear?
For auditions, most students dress to impress. Girls typically wear dresses, skirts, or nice slacks; boys generally wear slacks and appropriate shirts.
For callbacks, you might be asked to dance or learn certain blocking or movements. Most students dress in dance-appropriate attire and bring their jazz, tap, ballet, and/or character shoes along as well.
When will the cast list come out?
We know everyone is anxious to see the cast list, but we have to ensure that everyone has had an opportunity to audition. Also, we don’t like to rush into any decisions, and assigning roles can be tricky when a show calls for very specific vocal ranges or dancing abilities. In general, you’ll see a cast list posted here online within 1-2 weeks of auditions—and definitely before the first rehearsal! Thanks for being patient!
Why do you "guest cast" some roles?
At times, for certain specific and challenging roles, we ask a “guest” actor within the DFW community to join our production. This is simply to ensure that our shows maintain the highest quality, and that all the students who have auditioned can be cast in the roles for which they are best suited.
Why are there two (or three) different casts?
We often double (or even triple) cast featured roles when we have a number of students participating in a production. We want to showcase your talent and give numerous kids the opportunity to shine. Each cast will have specific but equal performance times; for example, we usually give all casts an evening performance as well as a matinee. If a role is not listed with a double, that person will be in every performance.
What's it really like managing the rehearsal schedule?
We treat the students in our productions like young professionals, and that means we take rehearsals very seriously. We plan the schedule to make the most of everyone’s time, but we do expect you to attend a rehearsal to which you are called—and we do not accept conflicts if they were not listed on your audition form and approved by the directors. We understand that, depending on your role, rehearsals can take up a substantial amount of your time. Between classes and rehearsals, it’s not uncommon for some kids to be at the Studio for 7-12 hours per week. Students must learn to manage their homework, balance their other activities, plan transportation needs, and of course, learn their lines, blocking, and choreography.
Parents, you will likely find other students with whom you can schedule carpools, and that can make a world of difference. We have had some parents tell us that the experience of being in an Acting Studio Production has greatly improved their time management skills. Other parents have told us that high school theatre tech weeks were a breeze after managing our rigorous schedule. We appreciate that you entrust us with your talented children, and we do our best to teach them how the world of professional theatre works. They will come home to you tired but satisfied—and you’ll both be proud of all you have accomplished.
When will I know which rehearsals I need to attend?
We will update the rehearsal calendar with as much lead time as possible (1-2 weeks) with who is called and at what times. However, we can make last-minute changes if something needs extra work or there are other unforeseen circumstances (illness, weather, etc.). We’ll email the cast with any of these updates, but please check the calendar regularly, too.
What do I bring to rehearsals?
Most students bring a bag with their dance and character shoes to each rehearsal. You’ll be given a script at the beginning of a production, and you should always bring that and a PENCIL (not a pen) with which to write blocking notes. (We have to return our scripts to the licensing company after a production ends, and every written note will need to be fully erased or you will have to pay a fee.) Kids also use their phones to record video or audio as needed. You’ll probably also want a water bottle (no other drinks are allowed inside the Studios). Nut-free and non-messy snacks are acceptable as well.
What happens when a rehearsal extends through lunch or dinner?
We generally give the kids an hour for lunch or dinner, depending on the time. Students can bring meals from home, walk to Tom Thumb to buy something (must be 12+ to do this), or have parents bring them food. Students will always be supervised (by a parent or an instructor) during these meal breaks.
What if I have a conflict during a rehearsal?
Remember, ALL KNOWN CONFLICTS should be noted on your audition form prior to your audition, and then discussed with your directors. We don’t accept last-minute conflicts. Obviously, if there’s an emergency or you are ill, you should let your directors know. But be aware that even these issues can result in a casting change if they have the potential to seriously impact the show.
We expect the cast to be committed and to put a high priority on their participation in this show, no matter what role they have.
Tech Week Questions
What is "tech week" anyway?
Tech week is when we rehearse the show in the theatre, with the full set, lighting, props, and other technical aspects of the show that haven’t been available during our earlier rehearsals. Tech week is extremely important, for quality as well as safety, and all tech week rehearsals are mandatory.
We usually begin tech week with a “cue-to-cue” rehearsal. This is our first opportunity to run the show’s technical components from one cue (lighting, set change, etc) to the next. It is vital that students listen and follow directions during this rehearsal, for the safety of everyone on the stage. We’ll be bringing in battens or moving heavy set pieces, and you don’t want to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We then start moving into dress rehearsals for each cast. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t get all the way through your dress rehearsal. Tech week is usually chaotic, but it always turns out in a wonderful show. We just ask that our students remain professional, respectful, and patient. You will learn a LOT about the process of putting on a production during tech week.
Why are tech rehearsals so long?
We understand that five hours a day is tricky, and getting there in traffic can take a while. We know you have homework, and some of you often have to leave school early just to make your call time. But we have a lot to do once we move into the theatre. We need the entire cast paying attention, even when you’re not on stage or your cast isn’t running the show. We have a lot of ground to cover, and those five hours will go very quickly. You’re going to be tired. But it’s our job to make sure you’re also well prepared.
Are there secrets to surviving tech week?
Many of the parents with kids in our productions have learned some tricks to manage tech week successfully. Some choose to set up carpools to help with the driving. Some pick their kids up from school early to give them time to get into costume. Most will feed their kids dinner in the car on the way to the theatre. Some (and we’re not encouraging this, but it’s been known to happen!) let their kids stay home from school to rest up before a performance.
We treat these kids like young professionals. This is hard work. We are continually amazed at the level of excellence and commitment they have. So while we know that tech week is a grind, it’s also exciting and exhilarating. Everything we’ve been working toward for months is about to come to fruition. Try to put the inconveniences aside and focus on the reward at the end of the long week: an amazing production, and some incredibly talented kids who grow to think of each other like family.
What are "comp" tickets, and how do I get mine?
Each student in a production gets two complimentary tickets to one performance during a show run. We will let you know when it’s time to let us know which show(s) you’d like to use your tickets for—either both tickets to one performance, or split between two performances. You’ll be able to submit your comp ticket request here on the website.
Please note: We can’t tell you exactly where your comp tickets will be (but they are generally up front and center), nor can we put your comp tickets next to other tickets that you purchase online. Our comp seats are held from general purchase in one block. If you plan to use your two comp tickets AND purchase tickets for other friends/family, you might not be able to sit everyone together. But there is not a bad seat in the house!
If my role is double cast, how do I know which performances I'll be in?
We’ll send an email and update the calendar with which cast (for example, Red Cast and Blue Cast) will be performing at which times. We will keep it as fair and equal as possible.
Where are performances held?
Grapevine/Frisco/Keller performances are held at the Medical Center of Lewisville (MCL) Grand Theater, located at 100 N. Charles St. in old downtown Lewisville. Parking is free and located all around the building.
Rockwall performances are held at the Majestic Theatre, located at 1925 Elm St. in downtown Dallas. Parking is available in lots and garages surrounding the theatre, typically in the range of $5.
Who's responsible for costumes?
Costumes are often a mix of elements. We have many pieces in storage that we can use for a variety of shows and characters. Sometimes we rent pieces from Rose Costumes. And sometimes we ask students to provide certain outfits or pieces from home (tights, socks, shoes, a certain color shirt or pants, etc.). We don’t expect parents to sew or purchase elaborate costumes.
What do I bring to the theatre for tech week/productions?
Students usually bring some kind of “kit” to keep backstage during dress rehearsals and performances. The “kit” can be anything ranging from a laundry basket to a makeup caboodle—whatever works for you, really. Here are a few staples to have on hand:
- Hair spray
- Bobby pins
- Wig caps
- Makeup (including mascara & lipstick)
- Cotton balls or Q-Tips
- Makeup wipes
- Antibacterial gel
- Extra tights or socks
- Safety pins
What is "working tech" about?
When students are in a double/triple cast production, they are usually asked to work tech on the shows in which they don’t perform on stage. This means they will have specific assigned jobs that are extremely important to the success of the show, so don’t take tech work lightly! They will be responsible for moving set pieces quickly during scene changes, assisting with props, helping with costumes or mic changes, or any number of other jobs backstage.
Trust us—tech assignments help our students understand the diversity of theatre work. What happens on stage is only a small portion of the production!
Can students leave right after a show?
That depends. First of all, we take safety very seriously. If a student is under the age of 12 (and sometimes even if they aren’t), we ask a responsible adult to sign that student out. Ms. Kellie or Ms. Erica generally communicate the sign-out procedure again before a show run so that everyone is clear on the process.
That being said, we have a few post-show requests sometimes. The students will be told whether they can greet guests in the lobby in costume, or whether they must change first. Whichever option it is, students must clean up their dressing rooms, hang up their costumes, and return all props to the prop table before they can leave.
At least one show during a run, we have our photographer take cast photos. When that happens, students will be held after a performance before they come to the lobby, usually for about 10 minutes.
Do parents go to every show?
That’s up to each parent. We have some parents who attend every performance no matter what role their child has. Other parents only attend one. There is no right or wrong way to see a show, and we know you are busy, too! We will say, however, that many parents do enjoy seeing multiple performances. If there are double casts, you can get an idea of what each cast is like. And you’ll have the opportunity to see how well the students manage consistency or improve during the run.
What is "strike" and why is it required?
Strike is when we break down the entire set and everything we have brought into the theatre for the show, and we move it ALL out. Everything. As you can imagine, it’s a bit of a task—but we have to do it, and we have to do it RIGHT after the final performance. Yes, even if that performance ends at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night.
The more people we have on hand to help, the faster it goes. We have detailed backstage instruction lists to guide the students with what is expected of them: returning costumes to the rack properly, erasing their script notes and turning scripts in, thoroughly cleaning their dressing rooms, gathering props, etc. We have parents bring drills to help dismantle the set, and we often ask parents with larger cars or trucks to help take things back to the Studio in the morning, or take laundry home to wash.
It sounds like a lot, but you’d be surprised how quickly we can manage it when everyone works together. In general, plan to remain at the theatre at least two hours after the final show ends. When we have many hands to help, it can go faster.
If you have a conflict during strike and it was noted on your audition form, you may be exempt—but make sure you have cleared that with the directors. We don’t dismiss ANY student after strike until we take a roll call, and no student may receive his/her show shirt until his/her script has been returned without any written notes in it. All students must be turned over to an adult before they are allowed to leave (with the exception of those who drive themselves).
Do you do cast parties?
Acting Studio Productions does not host cast parties. We do, however, provide an opportunity for parents to volunteer to coordinate a cast party on our volunteer sign-up sheet.
We don’t always have parties, though. After a lengthy show run, or a late-night strike, everyone is pretty darn tired. And with complex schedules, it’s not always easy to find a date or location that works for the entire cast, particularly when a show combines studios from different cities.
That being said, we would love you to volunteer! We have had cast parties at parks, homes, restaurants, you name it! The kids love getting together to celebrate their accomplishments, and parents love that final sigh of relief!
What volunteer positions do you need to fill?
None of our productions would be possible without the help of our parent volunteers, and we enthusiastically encourage any new parent to jump in and get involved! We’ve listed many of the important positions available on our Volunteer page. With just a few exceptions, no job requires special skills or experience. Just a good attitude!
What if I can't volunteer?
We understand. Parents are busy. Some of our volunteer jobs can be done at home on your own time, of course, in case that helps. We do encourage parents to get involved, though. We always need help, even if it’s just monitoring kids at lunchtime during rehearsals. Volunteering is a great way to learn how it all works and meet some very awesome, fun people.
Where do I sign up to volunteer?
We will open up an online sign-up sheet when a performance date nears, and you’ll be able to find a link on this site.
Who do I contact if there's an emergency or last-minute question?
Our Studio office phones are not always staffed, and we cannot always check email, so in the event of an issue that impacts a student’s ability to attend rehearsal or performance, or an adult’s ability to pick up a child on time, we want you to text or call one of your directors. At the start of a show, cast members and parents will be provided with emergency contact numbers. We ask that you do NOT use these numbers for anything except your critical rehearsal or performance questions. Of course, if there’s a REAL emergency, please call 911!
How will you communicate any unexpected schedule changes?
We are excited to now use the Remind text service to keep our Studio families connected in the event of any weather issues or sudden schedule impacts! Each Studio location has its own Remind class. If you haven’t received an email on how to join, please call your Studio office and request the number.