HSP to showcase youth before featured play

“Lost in Yonkers” director Julie Macklin has a lot on her plate.

As a second-time director at the High Springs Playhouse (HSP) preparing for the opening weekend of “Lost in Yonkers,” Macklin is down to the last few rehearsals with the cast.

But that didn’t stop her from adding one more opportunity for performers to the upcoming production.

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Macklin took her daughter to perform in a district thespian showcase recently and it occurred to her that the local theater students only get to perform their monologues and scenes for judges maybe once or twice.

“There were so many kids there at the district thespian competition who worked so hard and do the pieces only twice,” Macklin said.

“So I decided to give them an opportunity to do them on our stage,” she said.

She came up with a plan that would put the spotlight on local youth actors by opening for the main production and claiming the spotlight for 3- to 5-minute-long performances.

She calls it the “Thespian Showcase” and this Friday it will debut by highlighting a different performance by a student actor before the curtain rises for each “Lost in Yonkers” production through March 13.

So far she has booked a student singing a song from “Cats,” a student performing a Shakespearean monologue and an American Sign Language production from “Children of a Lesser God.”

Macklin reached out to local high school drama teachers who are limited on how many students they can take to state competitions and she said they were excited to have another place for students to perform.

This Friday will be the launch of the youth pre-show performances.

Macklin said she first started volunteering 8 years ago for the High Springs Playhouse, then served on the board and as president in the past.

She decided to try directing after going to so many rehearsals that her daughter was in.

“I thought I had enough knowledge and a background in event planning and running a graphic design business,” she said about why she tried on the director’s role.

“It’s like planning a really big event.”

She’s hoping the new “Thespian Showcase” idea will be a success and that other local theaters will follow her lead by making space on their stages for up-and-coming youth actors.

Youth actors interested in becoming part of the showcase can reach Macklin at hsplayhouse@gmail.com 

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