Theater company preps for online summer classes and virtual award ceremony
VANCOUVER — With many businesses slowly reopening across Washington, there are still some organizations having to be extra creative with how they stay operating. Journey Theater in Vancouver is one such organization.
Summer theater classes will follow in the vein of spring in using a virtual format, but their larger summer community production has been canceled. To balance out the bad news, however, good news came in the form of nine nominations for Portland Area Musical Theater Awards (PAMTA).
“We figure people probably don’t want to be on Zoom as much,” said Founder and Program Director Bethany Larson, laughing. “So the length of the workshops are all different, in that they’re two, three or four weeks. One of them meets three mornings a week for three weeks. Some of them meet once a week for four weeks. There’s just a huge variety of class times and number of hours in class.”
Typically, Journey would host dozens of classes in each of it’s locations in Vancouver and Portland and each class would last an average of 12 weeks. With less time and less options for engagement, Journey is using a smaller curriculum.
The cost of classes has also been adjusted, with tuition ranging from $100 to $240. Families that are new to Journey can receive a $25 discount upon signing up.
For children ages 8 to 13, there is an opportunity to participate in the workshop Willy Wonka Kids, where they will learn how to pick an audition song or the basics of tap dance. Class options for students 14 to 18 include Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Stream, Video Shorts and Acting Through Emotions.
“We are really hoping to have some element of in-person something in the fall,” Larson said. “It will obviously look a lot different if we’re restricted on the number of kids we can have or and or how close together they can be.”
Journey officials are currently brainstorming alternatives for the fall including small plays instead of large musicals, or even filming performances. The Journey warehouse in Vancouver is currently being cleaned out, and could be used as a kind of soundstage in the fall if the company decides to record some performances.
On the side of better news, the PAMTA awards are given out by a panel of 15 anonymous people who attend musical theater productions in the Portland-Metro area. The annual ceremony is typically at Portland’s Center for Performing Arts, but due to social distancing will be streamed on YouTube this Sunday.
“They don’t have undue influence on each other because they don’t even know who each other are on the committee. I was pretty impressed when I saw that,” Larson said. “It’s great for any company to have nominations because it helps get the word out about what we’re doing. It also helps to validate our work and show the excellence that we’re working towards.”
Journey has been nominated for nine awards as follows:
- For outstanding Young Performer, Male: Jarod Beideck, Donkey in Shrek, Titus Forstrom as Les in Newsies, Clayton Lukens as Jack in Newsies, Skylar Derthick as Crutchy in Newsies
- For outstanding Young Performer, Female: Rebecca Barnes as Dragon in Shrek.
- For outstanding Choreography: Chelsea Nicole Lapp, Newsies
- For outstanding Ensemble: Newsies
- For outstanding Director: Caleb Thurston, Newsies
- For outstanding Production: Newsies
Some Journey Theater alumni also were nominated for PAMTAs with other organizations this year, and the full list of nominees and awards can be found on the PAMTA website.