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Released May 11, 2005

MUSIC THEATER TRAINING TAKES THE STAGE DURING SUMMER

HATTIESBURG Two musical theater experiences await area youth this summer, courtesy of The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music.

“Both of these programs are going to be a wonderful and exciting experience for students who are interested in musical theater as a hobby or a possible career,” said Susan Ruggiero-Mezzadri, outreach and education coordinator for the Symphony Orchestra at Southern Miss. “It is a unique opportunity for school-age students to work with the superb Southern Miss faculty and guest faculty from both the School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance.”

The first session, the Musical Theatre Training Institute, will be held June 5-11 for ages 15-18. Day and overnight options are available. Tuition ranges from $450 (room and board) to $265 (tuition only).

Students will work with Dr. Maryann Kyle, assistant professor of music and director of Southern Opera and Music Theatre, and Southern Miss theater alumna Ginger Pool, as well as other faculty. Instruction includes acting training, voice lessons, dance and movement training, and personal coaching.

The Institute will conclude with a public performance by the participants presenting a scenes program/variety show to include solos, duets, trios and ensembles.

Geared for ages 9-15, the second session, Midsummer Musical Theatre Experience, will run July 18-30 in conjunction with the Southern Arena Theatre season. The day camp will run Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and organizers say “no experience is necessary.”

The experience will culminate in the production of Delia Ephron’s How to Eat Like a Child and Other Lessons in Not Being A Grown-Up. Camp directors are Robin Aronson, assistant professor of theater and Dr. Jennifer Shank, assistant professor of music education.

"This is a great opportunity for youth in the area to be able to perform as part of the Southern Arena Theatre season at Southern Miss,” Aronson said. “There will be five performances scheduled at the end of the two-week day camp. This musical is so much fun and will inspire both performers and audiences alike."

The musical attracts everyone who refuses to grow up or who wants to learn how to be young again. A step-by-step tutorial in song and skit in the fine art of being a kid, it is a wry, tuneful glimpse at the tricks and strategies of successful kidhood.

Similar to Session 1 in June, students will receive vocal coaching, composition classes, set and costume instruction, as well as movement, dance and acting training. The tuition is $300 per student and some need-based scholarships will be available.

"The Midsummer Musical Theatre Experience will be two weeks of creative learning that culminates in a full theatrical production complete with music, costumes and sets,” Shank explained. “All students are welcome regardless of previous experience, as it designed to afford the students a full artistic experience from beginning to end."

For more information or questions regarding Session I, contact Ruggiero-Mezzadri at (601) 266-4001 or e-mail at susan.ruggiero@mac.com.

For Session 2 information, contact Aronson at (601) 266-6442 or e-mail at robin.aronson@usm.edu or Shank at (601) 266-6944 or e-mail at jennifer.shank@usm.edu.

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July 20, 2005 4:00 PM