Hello and welcome to Jefferson Theatre Company (JTC)!
Theater plays an important role in helping students gain confidence, express creativity, learn teamwork, and build community. There are plenty of great reasons why it’s good for students to be involved in theater. For parents who are new to our program, or for parents who need a refresher, we’ve put together some notes to help explain how it all works.
About Our Shows
JTC performs four to five shows per year, ranging from musicals to holiday shows, from children’s shows to theatre classics, reaching audiences of as many as 2,000 who are family, students, friends of JTC, and members of the community.
Types of Shows
- Dramatic performances – Performances that rely on acting talent, sets, props, lighting and sound to tell the story (Examples: Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol).
- Musicals – Performances with the added elements of singing, orchestra/band and choreography. (Examples: Oklahoma, Beauty and the Beast).
- Children’s shows – Performances that are tailored to children. Additional show times are added for some 3,000+ students who are bused to Jefferson from elementary schools in the area. (Examples: Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid).
- One-act shows – Performances in one-act competitions have stringent requirements, including a cap on the number of actors and a time limit. These shows typically have an “edgier” theme. One-act plays are performed competitively with other high schools in the area (and winners potentially progress to state). See the Minnesota State High School League One-Act Play Festival website for more information. (Examples: The Girl in the Mirror, The Middle of Nowhere).
Show selection is discussed by the JTC Board, but final decisions are made by the directors.
- JTC Board – The JTC Board is the governing body of JTC. It consists of the directors, a consulting school liaison, the Jefferson musical director, and a small number of parents.
- JTC Captains – The JTC captains are student-leaders within JTC. These peer-voted, JTC Board-approved positions are usually junior or senior students. They are announced at the end of each school year and begin duties the following school year.
Prior to the start of every show, we conduct a Parent meeting to welcome parents to the production, present an overview of the show from the director, discuss volunteer needs, hand out current schedules and answer any questions. Sometimes there is also a “front of the house” meeting prior to the shows to review the main volunteer areas (tickets, concessions, star grams, ushering), talk about what’s expected, and answer questions.
Attendance and Expectations
Theater is a commitment! Help your student be honest and specific about other commitments. Encourage your student to communicate with the director if he/she has schedule changes, ongoing.
- Directors have complete discretion to drop someone from the show if attendance and commitment to the show are not what they deem adequate or necessary.
- Considerable effort is spent to establish a rehearsal schedule that minimizes wasted time; inevitably there will be times when students must stay (bring homework, etc.)
- Rehearsals two weeks before show are mandatory. Theater parents are welcome to attend rehearsals as a casual observer. Please sit in the back of the auditorium so that the director and students can continue to be productive in the rehearsal times.
- After our last performance (usually on Sunday), cast and crew are required to stay to help strike (tear down) the set as is required per the new lettering criteria. We appreciate parent help, too.
After Parties and Cast Parties
It’s not unusual for cast members to head over to an area restaurant after some of the performances to socialize and get something to eat. This is done informally among cast members. There’s also usually a cast party, which all cast members are invited to. This event is announced in email, on the JTC website and on Facebook and is hosted at someone’s home. There is a minimal cost to cast members to cover food and beverages.
Terms to Know
- Callback – Directors select certain students to return for a second audition.
- Call time/Cast Call – During performances, the “call time” is the time before the performance begins that students are expected to arrive at school for costumes, makeup, warm-ups (musical), etc. Typically this is 90 minutes to 2 hours prior to showtime (sometimes more if elaborate hair, makeup or costumes are involved). For example, if a show starts at 7 p.m., the call time might be 5 p.m.
- Full dress rehearsal – The dress rehearsal is a rehearsal in full costume and make-up, with tech lights/sound. Essentially, a dry run of the show.
- Program ads – To offset the cost of printing, JTC sells advertising that appears in the show program.
- Senior show – For most shows, we also do a “senior show” – a single performance for senior citizens. It is typically scheduled the day before our performances begin to the public and is considered the last dress rehearsal.
- “Shows” and “performances” – Shows refers to the entire series; performance is an individual performance. Another way: We just finished five performances of our show, A Christmas Carol.
- Star grams – Star grams are slips of paper sold during intermission for a minimal price that allow show patrons to congratulate or encourage someone in the cast for their performance.
- Flowers – Flower bouquets are often sold at the shows so you can purchase flowers to surprise that special cast member.
- Tech rehearsal – This rehearsal incorporates sound and lights into the practice.
- Well-wishes – These are paid ads that appear in the show program. These brief ads (three lines or less) support individual members of the cast. For example, parents or grandparents might create a “well-wish” to tell their son/grandson that he did a great job in the show.
- Wish list – JTC has an ongoing need for donations; check out our wish list.