Young students perform during one of last year’s NextGen Broadway productions. (City Springs Theatre Conservancy)

NextGen Broadway, a musical theater camp for the next generation of artists presented by the City Springs Theatre Conservatory, has begun first of its three summer sessions.

“Our NextGen Broadway theatre camps for elementary and middle school students are designed for students of all levels, whether this is their first time performing or for those with more experience who are ready for a larger role,” City Springs Theatre Conservatory Executive Director Natalie DeLancey said.

She said students learn what it means to work hard, learn fast, and have fun while doing so.

The Conservancy’s high school performance of “All Shook Up” allows for students to choose from two tracks, those who have auditioned and will be performing and those in the technical track who are currently working alongside the production team on all technical elements including carpentry, scenic painting, lighting, sound, and stage management.

Families and community members who watch the performances at the Byers Theatre from June 29-July 1 will get to see how these students have come together on all aspects of the show, DeLancey said. Students in the technical track have a unique opportunity to learn about other key elements that go into staging a production at an early age.

Middle and high school students that have at least one year of technical dance training will have a chance in July to take part in a one-week dance intensive led by Broadway and local professional dancers.  She said they will focus on the stylistic and choreographic choices of musical theatre jazz and tap, preparing them for a wide range of stage productions. The Conservatory’s one-week acting intensive will focus on many aspects of acting, ranging from performing arts to film and TV work. 

In addition to preparing students for musical theatre opportunities, the camps will enhance their confidence, public speaking and communication skills, and the work ethic that goes into memorizing their lines, blocking and choreography.

Many of the cast members in “All Shook Up” who will be attending colleges across the country to study musical theatre were among Pre-Pro senior students who were offered a total of more than $3.3 million in college scholarships, DeLancey said.

Students gain friendships through the programs. Many continue with the Conservatory by entering Pre-Pro programs or taking weekly classes during the school year. They develop a strong work ethic and sense of community and collaboration in working to put on the productions.

City Springs Theatre Conservatory’s education programs have received a 95% approval rating from parents and students, based on end-of-year surveys, she said.

Intermediate and advanced students in rising sixth to eighth grades will have camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 26-30. This summer, students will learn Dear Edwina JR. in one week. The camp will end with a final performance of Dear Edwina Jr., held in the Studio Theatre at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 30 in the Studio Theatre at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at 1 Galambos Way.

Beginner students in rising second to fifth grades will take to the stage next at the Performing Arts Center for camp from July 10-14. In this musical theatre camp, students will learn “Disney’s Aristocats KIDS” in one week, putting on a performance at 4 p.m. on July 14 in the Studio Theatre.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.