All veterans of the entertainment industry, the instructors at Ovation School for the Performing Arts don't believe in just instilling acting, singing, or dancing skills into their students. Instead, they impart all three, turning students of all skill levels into triple threats of stage and screen. Designed for kids and teens aged 5–18, the nonprofit's twice-weekly sessions are divided into 45-minute blocks whose subjects include acting, singing, and dance styles such as hip-hop and tap. Ovation also hosts private lessons focused on voice, piano, and guitar.
The Tony Award–winning musical Evita, by esteemed writers Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, charts the rise of the world's first political celebrity, Argentine first lady Eva Perón. Peppered with familiar personages such as Che Guevara, nail- and toe-biting political maneuvers, and immaculate six-part harmonies, Evita reaches even the iciest heart with the fire of its emotional exuberance. Allow eager eardrums to savor the dulcet tones of the score, headlined by the famous “Don't Cry for Me Argentina.” In the intimate environs of the Lewis Family Playhouse, peepers can pick out every detail of the stage's goings-on, from artfully rendered emotion to the tragic parting of lovelorn curtains for the entirety of the play.
Little Shop of Horrors, Center Stage's latest production, revisits Alan Menken's famed dark comic musical about an insecure floral assistant forced to serve human lunches to a man-eating plant with a Juilliard-caliber singing voice. Bear witness to the expressive acting of Center Stage Theatre's best as actors bring to life the terrifyingly humorous story of love, desperation, and maniacal dentists. First-timers will discover the epic roots of the botanical horror-comedy genre, and longtime fans can return for a 20th viewing to rehear favorite notes of mind-sticking standards like "Skid Row (Downtown)."
Starting at age four, Michelle Larson dedicated herself to Irish dance, quickly ascending the ranks from regional to world championship-level dancing. But at 21, hungry for a change of pace, she focused her energy on interior design. It didn't take long, however, for the rhythmic patter of soft shoes to lure her back like a siren song, and in 1990 she founded the Painter Larson Academy of Irish Dance. Here, she trains children in Irish dance fundamentals, such as foot placement and timing, before teaching basic dances such as the light jig. Michelle's adult students learn these skills, too, as well as group dances that culminate in a traditional Irish dogpile.
For more than a quarter century, Robyn Melanson has developed a thorough knowledge of the dance community as a performer, instructor, choreographer, and coach. As the founder and director of Stage One Dance Studio, she and her staff of dance instructors teach clients the art of kinetic expression in styles as varied as jazz, ballet, and tap. The premises feature three studios, each equipped with raised hard-rock maple floors, where students ages 3-17 hone their skills.