The Experience: My Daughter's First Season at Wavestage

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Enjoy reading Wavestage Parent Tracy Smith's reflection on her daughter's first season as a Showbiz Academy student and Wavestage performer.

I first found out about Wavestage while at another production at Newmarket Theatre with my daughter Heather. We were looking to change theatre companies for several reasons and immediately contacted Sarah to find out more information about Wavestage. I was really impressed. I scheduled an audition time for Heather the following week. Sarah was very helpful in answering all my questions to help Heather prepare for her audition. When we went for the audition Heather was greeted by Sarah who was very warm and welcoming, immediately putting Heather at ease. Heather completed her audition and spent some time talking to Sarah casually about Wavestage and the productions for their 19th season.

When I picked Heather up she was so excited about the new opportunity. For days she eagerly awaited her contract proposal for her roles. She was thrilled to be cast in 3 productions: Hello Dolly, Fiddler on the Roof and A Little Princess. Sarah felt that with her previous theatre experience she would cast her in 2 lead roles and Heather was so happy to know about her roles so far in advance. We rented the movies for each of the productions and listened to the music on her iPod and in the car. I think my family and I knew the songs by heart too as we sang the songs wherever we drove.

Heather waited eagerly during the summer until her first Showbiz class in September. Before her first class we were provided with the member’s password to the website to keep track of all the rehearsals and important information and we were also included in the Facebook members only group. I found it so helpful to be able to have information available at my fingertips anytime. It really helped for scheduling other events or activities for the rest of our family to know the expectations and schedule, well in advance.

When Heather went to her first class she was so happy with the format and the people and the class itself. She has learned many new theatrical skills, not necessarily specific to any one show, and met some great friends too. Sarah teaches the classes with the help of older experienced Wavestage members. Heather looks forward to each and every class or rehearsal. At rehearsals, the entire cast is together. The rehearsal times seemed long at first glance but each rehearsal is broken down into scenes so that only the actors performing in a scene need to be there for it. Heather really liked this because there wasn’t a lot of standing around. She was always busy at rehearsal, either acting or singing or updating her script with notes for her parts. She has been given so much guidance from the teen or adult cast members. Everyone is so nice.

During the performances held at Newmarket Theatre I was so happy to volunteer as a backstage parent. The experience was much different from my past backstage experience. It was so organized and well run, down to smallest of details. Each cast member has their own individual costume(s), some rented, some borrowed - but no sharing with other casts! Each cast member is responsible to make sure their costume is clean and ready for dress rehearsals and showtimes. Heather was accustomed to sharing her costume with at least 2 or 3 other casts between her shows. I was able to volunteer for all 3 shows that Heather participated in and I looked forward to it each time. It was a great learning experience for both of us. Heather has been cast in 3 productions for Wavestage’s 20th season - Guys and Dolls, Aristocats Jr. and Peter Pan. She can’t wait to get started when classes and rehearsals begin again in September!

- Tracy Smith