The Musical Experience
One of STEP VA’s most popular experiences is the spring musical! Wanna know a not-so-secret secret?
Our musicals began because of our participants!
Musical selection process
The musical selection process occurs the previous fall. The creative team (director, music director, and choreographer) meet with staff and participants to begin the search for the perfect STEP VA musical. Because our productions span a wide range of ages, we limit our search to “junior” or “high school” musical productions.
In late December/early January, we hold auditions for anyone who wishes to have a featured role or dance in the production. Our teaching staff lead workshops prior to the auditions so students become familiar with the process and what to expect. These workshops also help prepare them for the auditions themselves.
Rehearsals occur throughout the spring and take the place of our weekly class offerings. STEP VA staff carefully determine the rehearsal schedule based on the role --- if your participant has a featured role, they may be required to attend additional rehearsals; if your participant is in the ensemble, they will have a lighter rehearsal schedule.
Rehearsals are for the performers only; parents do not accompany their participant into the rehearsal space.
STEP VA takes attendance at the beginning of each rehearsal and we release students individually once we confirm their caregiver is on site and ready to receive them. Otherwise, students stay in the rehearsal space with STEP VA staff. This is for everyone’s safety because there are so many people involved with the musical.
Rehearsals typically involve small groups working on different aspects of the performance. Some will work with the music team to learn their songs; others will work with the director to learn their lines and blocking (stage action). Each rehearsal involves the entire creative team plus volunteers working with specific groups of performers. In planning these rehearsals, the creative team takes into account the sensory needs of the participants. Parts are adapted to ensure each participant succeeds.
We expect participants to attend all rehearsals to keep their place in the musical. We require advance notice of absences and will accept up to 2 excused absences for featured performers; up to 3 excused absences for the ensemble.
The rehearsal schedule is emailed to all performers weekly; it is also posted on the STEP VA Family Facebook group. We encourage you to join this group so you get the most up-to-date information about rehearsals and other STEP VA events.
Got a stage shy participant?
What if your participant doesn’t enjoy acting on stage? They can still be part of the STEP VA musical experience by enrolling in our tech crew classes. These classes run concurrently with rehearsals and introduce students to various non-stage aspects of musical theater. Past topics have included: stage makeup; set and prop design; sound; lighting; and photography/videography. Tech crew serve as stage crew for the performances.
Tech week is the week prior to performance and usually involves extra rehearsals to ensure the lighting and sound systems work for our performers. It is also the cast’s first opportunity to rehearse in the performance space. Tech week rehearsals are typically “all hands on deck” (meaning everyone including tech crew is required to attend). The night before our first performance is the dress rehearsal and attendance is mandatory for everyone.
What about the parents?
We rely on our parents and other family members to help us have a successful musical experience. Parent volunteers help with a broad range of tasks from planning the cast party to selling concessions to serving as ushers for the performances. At the start of the rehearsal process, parents will be invited to serve on a committee to help us make the musical a success.
Parent Connect will also run programs during the rehearsal process for parents who wish to learn more about disability resources in the area. All parents and caregivers are welcome to join us for these special events.