Relaunching of Osceola Arts Staff Interviews: Stephanie Day

By: Michelle Saldivar

Hello Patrons! I have a special surprise for you. Osceola Arts has a fantastic line-up of hard-working staff members. Yet, because of our artistic focus, you don’t always get to hear about them. As the Osceola Arts Marketing Assistant, I have had the pleasure of spending the last three months working diligently alongside them and I want you, our patrons, to get to know them as much as I have.

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Stephanie Day with her students.


This week, we are relaunching our Staff Interview series. Here, you will have the pleasure to read a collection of  interviews that I have conducted myself that detail our Osceola Arts staff and their duties here. Today, you will learn more about our Youth Theater Manager, Stephanie Day. She is a sweet, caring, bow enthusiast, who has a passion for the youth and helping them express their creativity.

Read below to get to know her a little better!

MS: How did you become involved with Osceola Arts?

SD: “When I was a kid, I went to camp here. So I have been here since I was probably nine or ten. I have been doing camps and student art shows. But I became heavily involved the summer before I started working here. I worked for another company and we rented out the space. So, I volunteered here for an entire summer and then kind of got a job.”

MS: You were definitely involved in the arts beforehand, so what artistic activities did you find yourself involved in?

SD: “The arts have always been a part of my life and my family’s life in some way or another. I was in a lot of plays growing up from the time I could talk. Anything creative really. I did many competitions growing up. I worked for another Children’s theater company before coming here and that was right out of high school. They saw me dance in a show and asked me the month I graduated if I would come and choreograph with them.”

MS: So you are a dancer?

SD: “Sort of. Not really [Laughs.] I did a lot. It is all about loving to direct. Loving to move people on the stage. I am not the strongest dancer but I know what I want to see, so that’s part of it.”

MS: Do you find that the process of bringing the ideas in your head onto the stage easy?

SD: “Sometimes it difficult. If you have a strong vision in your head, either being able to get the actors to do your vision, but you also sometimes have to think on your feet. If something is not working. At lot of times when you are choreographing, you are doing it by yourself, or directing or blocking by yourself, you are not seeing everybody doing it at once. Sometimes you have to rearrange things or simplify things once it’s getting on the stage. That has happened quite a few times before where you have to kind of humble yourself a little bit and say ‘Is this working? Let’s make it look good.’ Ultimately you want it to look good.”

MS: What is your position at Osceola Arts and what does it entail?

SD: “I am the Youth Theater Manager here. It entails a lot. Children’s theater is a huge part of Osceola Arts. So I manage that administratively and creatively. There are three age groups and one traveling troupe, so I deal with all the administrative for that and directing the shows. The youngest age group (4-7 years old) is doing something new, which is the student-directed show. I oversee them and train them to become directors because they are sixteen and directing their first show, which is really exciting. Not just doing that, I also develop the second grade field trip programs and different programs like that involving Youth Theater.”

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MS: What programs does the Children’s theater have?

SD: “We have the Minis (ages 4-7), Kids (ages 8-11), Juniors (ages 12-15). We are an educational theatre program, so the students in the 3 age groups don’t have to have prior experience. It is a class where they learn about theatre, how to dance, sing, act, and sometimes the technical aspect while putting on a full scale production. The first 30 students to enroll are automatically in the show. We then assess them in an audition-like atmosphere, and every child receives a part based on how their assessment goes.

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Centertainers at a Theatre Festival.

The traveling troupe, Centertainers, is a bit different. Those students have to be between the ages of 13 and 18 and they audition to be a part of the group. We take them to Florida Theatre Conference, travel around the area performing, write shows, and are advocates and ambassadors, if you will, of the children’s theatre.”

MS: Tell me a little more about one of the projects you are working on right now?

SD: “We are in the middle of a lot of different projects right now. The second grade field trip program is great. I did the fourth grade field trip program. Here when I first started and we did a take on Peter Pan. We wanted to integrate the arts into it.  It is an interactive approach to theater in a very short period of time.  The kids come in and we sit all together. We are going to be a part of a production that we wrote specifically for this program.  In this program, they get to tour the art galleries and then we get to do what people experience in over a period of months in one hour.

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We have had 2 successful shows, Dinostars and Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark, kids. They were successful in that they were sold out for almost every performance, and the students had fun and grew in their talents and confidence. Right now we are working on Music Man Jr with an INCREDIBLY talented group of kids. This season I have been blown away with the amount of growth these students have had. We have been able to help students work through fears, overcome obstacles, and discover talents that they didn’t even know they had.”

MS: So they come from their schools to here and you have a play or musical that they are going to act out and feel what that experience is like?

SD: “It’s a one page script. The one we are doing now is called Morning at the Art Museum. It is kind of like Night at the Museum, where the pictures come to life. The kids do lights, sound, and costuming. I help with directing the show. They get to put on a production that is scaled down so that it can be done in an hour. But, it is still a full production. This project is done twice a week with 120 kids each day. Its meant to introduce the arts to the kids in a way that they would not normally get to experience it.”

MS: What is your favorite aspect of your job?

SD: “That’s a hard question because I have the best job ever. I am really lucky to be in a field that I love. My favorite aspect is being creative everyday. Being with the kids, from the four year old all they way up to the eighteen year old, being in that wide range of experience and seeing how they express themselves creatively, as well as how they challenge themselves. I especially love seeing the students light up on stage and their triumphs in rehearsal.”

MS: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

DSCN1327SD: “Seeing the kids really grow is the most rewarding. I know that every student that comes through here is going to be a Broadway star or rock star. Seeing any type of potential is so rewarding.

I have this framed letter in my office from a student that was so shy. She did not speak really. Her mom spoke to her a lot of the time. Her parents brought her here because they wanted her be confident in herself. I don’t think she spoke two words that first season, but she kept coming back. Her transformation is outstanding. She went from being a shy girl to one of the most talented girls I have ever seen. It’s really rewarding to see a student break through those walls. It just reminds me of why I do what I do every day.”

MS: What is your favorite memory since starting at Osceola Arts? 

SD: “There are so many. There is a personal memory that is my most favorite. Since I have been here for almost seven year, this is like my family. I just love it here. In December, I got propose to by my now fiance. He did it after a show, The Little Mermaid, and he included my entire family. It was not only my biological family but my theatre family too.  He did it on stage. I was just so happy that he included my students and that they were excited to be a part of it. That memory is amazing and I will remember it forever.”

Sadly, shortly after this interview was conducted, Stephanie made the announcement that she will be moving to Washington. Her theatre family will miss her dearly and wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Come Back every Wednesday to read more about our amazing staff here a Osceola Arts!

If you have a child and would like to enroll them in any of the activities you read about above, feel free to call us at 407-846-6257.
 
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, follow our Marketing Intern and Resident Blogger, Michelle Saldivar, on Twitter.

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Want to be a part of one of our shows? Auditions coming up. Cast of Legally Blonde tells all!

By: Michelle Saldivar

Hello actors!

I recently was able to chat with the very talented cast of our current, sold-out, Broadway series show, Legally Blonde the Musical, to learn more about their experience here at Osceola Arts.

Here is what they had to say:

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Takara Anderson (Elle Woods).

Takara Anderson (Elle Woods): “Playing Elle Woods has been rewarding in many ways.It has been a whirlwind experience. I have grown as an actor. It has been a joy to work with this cast. The cast has been nothing but positive and supportive of each other. Our director, Rusty Smith, has been amazing. Very encouraging and supportive in all ways. This is actually my first musical theater experience ever, so earning the lead role has been a joy and I love it.”

Lizzie Klem (Vivienne): “This experience has been pretty amazing. We have an amazing cast who have been great to work with. We have a lot of laughs backstage. This is my first show with Osceola Arts and they have been very welcoming to me. It has made the whole process really great.”

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Takara Anderson (Elle Woods), Jasha Vaughn (Serena), Tara Osborne (Margot), Lorena Abreu (Pilar), and Ensemble.

Courtney Buck (Elle Woods US/Ensemble): “I have had an incredible experience. This cast has been so ridiculously supportive. I have done musical theater my entire life and I have never had this feeling of community as I have had here. This show has such positivity behind it that it is infectious. I am super excited to be a part of it. Snaps, you guys!”

Jasha Vaughn (Serena): “I am so happy to be back at Osceola Arts. My experience has been amazing and I am excited to be a part of this talented cast.”

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Jasha Vaughn (Serena), Tara Osborne (Margot), and Lorena Abreu (Pilar).

Tara Osborne (Margot): “I am delighted to be returning to Osceola Arts’ stage. I have had a lot of fun playing Margot alongside this awesome cast.”

Lorena Abreu (Pilar): “I am so happy to be a part of this great cast. I have had a great time.”

JohnPaul Castrianni (Professor Callahan): “My experience has been very positive. For me, it’s been fun because I play a villainous character, so this is a role that was designed for me. It matches my personality. I look forward to the rest of the shows and hopefully to play this role again.”

Hopefully, hearing their experiences will inspire you to come and audition for one of our upcoming shows.

All roles are on a volunteer basis. For musicals, please prepare 16 bars of a song and be prepared to learn a dance/movement combination. An accompanist will be provided. For plays, you will be asked to participate in a cold read from the script.

Check out the audition dates below.

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Audition Dates: May 31 & June 1 at 6pm
Show Dates: July 31-August 16

Don’t forget to come to and see Legally Blonde the Musical and our Stage Left Series Show, Agnes of God, on their FINAL WEEKENDS starting today.

VOTEALSO, We just received the honor of being nominated in the 2015 Macaroni Kid Kissimmee-St. Cloud Gold Daisy Awards for Best Art Classes/Lessons! If you think we’re worthy of a win, please vote for us by clicking here. By doing so, you will be entered to win a $25 Visa Gift Card to use at a local business.

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 407-846-6257.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, follow our Marketing Intern and Resident Blogger, Michelle Saldivar, on Twitter.

Osceola Arts’ Legally Blonde Supports Animal Shelter Adoption

By: Michelle Saldivar

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Buddy, as Bruiser, with Takara Anderson, as Elle Woods.

Starting May 8th, Legally Blonde the Musical is enrolling at Osceola Arts! With the premiere of this much anticipated Broadway show comes the debut of a very special actor, Buddy, an animal shelter adoptee. Buddy will be preforming as Bruiser, Elle Wood’s four-legged best friend.

Buddy is a two-year old Chihuahua blend that was found by Orange County Animal Services in January of this year. Since Easter weekend, Buddy has been training with SeaWorld domestic animal trainer, Shannon Dennison. With a passion for adopting shelter animals, Dennison has been rescuing and training animals for over 15 years. Through the help of Osceola Arts’ Animal Adoption Ambassador-turned-actor, Shannon hopes Buddy’s performance will inspire many to go out and adopt a shelter pet because she firmly believes they are wonderful animals and will greatly enrich the lives of the families who adopt them.

With the recent celebration of National “Adopt a Shelter Pet” Day (April 30th), Shannon’s one piece of advice for anyone interested in adopting a pet is “to research the animal’s breed to see if the animal’s needs can be fulfilled by your home and lifestyle. For example, some small dogs need more space than larger dogs, which is a misconceived notion. Please do research on breeds, even if the animal is a mixed breed”.

Now that you know more about animal shelter adoption, come see Buddy in his first leading role in Legally Blonde the Musical at Osceola Arts showing May 8th – May 24th. Friday and Saturday showings are at 7:30 PM and Sunday showings are at 2 PM. Osceola Arts will also have a special Thursday showing on May 14th at 7:30 PM. Tickets range from $15 – $22 and can be purchased at www.OsceolaArts.org or at Osceola Arts’ box office one hour before the show.

If you have questions, feel free to call Osceola Arts at 407-846-6257 or visit www.OsceolaArts.org.

Osceola Arts Staff Interview: Garrett Sanders

By: Michelle Saldivar

Hello Patrons! I have a special surprise for you. Osceola Arts has a fantastic line-up of hard-working staff members. Yet, because of our artistic focus, you don’t always get to hear about them. As the Osceola Arts Marketing Assistant, I have had the pleasure of spending the last three months working diligently alongside them and I want you, our patrons, to get to know them as much as I have. Starting this week, you will have the pleasure to read a collection of staff interviews that I have conducted myself that detail our Osceola Arts staff members and their duties here. Today, you will learn more about our Program Coordinator, Garrett Sanders. He is an energetic, up-beat young man, who joined the Osceola Arts staff last year. Read below to get to know him a little better!

MS: Hello Garrett! How did you become involved with Osceola Arts?

GS: “Well I did my first show here when I was seven years old. It was a small part. I walked on stage and said my lines and walked right off. As they say in the business, I was bit by the bug and I really was. I feel silly saying that. I really didn’t stop doing things here. I did summer camps when I was seven, all the way until I was in middle school. I was doing shows in middle school and high school. And then I went off to college to Florida State University and decided to get my degree in theatre. While I was in college, during the summers I would come back and I would be the Site Supervisor for the summer camps. So I worked organizing things and helping the teachers, making sure the campers were present and having a good time, but also in a safe environment. Then when Brandon Arrington came on board as the new Executive Director, he hired me full time after my last year at summer camp to be the Program Coordinator. And I have been doing that since August and it’s really been awesome. I have been able to work sort of all of the facets of Osceola Arts. I have been doing a lot of outreach programs, going to middle schools twice a week to bring arts after school to programs that don’t have drama clubs or theatre classes. So I’m enjoying that. I have also worked on the production side. I’ve helped get art shows ready, especially with the Art Festival.  So, I’ve been doing all sorts of things.  It’s really been awesome. I’ve been doing stuff here since I was little, so it’s been a long time.”

MS: You’ve told us about being a student here, so how was that transition from being a student to an employee?

GS: “It’s kind of weird.  But I really think I bring a unique perspective. Both Stephanie Day, the Youth Manager, and I went through programs and summer camps here.  So we were both students and now we are kind of here running it.  It’s so funny to me to see how much work goes into putting on one program, one class, one summer camp, one children’s theatre show.  So, I really enjoy it. It is different though. You still get to be creative, but you have to bring everyone to that point. For example, when you are an actor in a show, you have to worry about your part and your lines. But when you are the director or you are in charge of this program, you really have to focus on all the elements.  And I really, really, enjoy doing that and I am glad I have the opportunity to do it here where I started.”

MS: What is your favorite aspect of your job?

GS: “I really enjoy the people that I work with. We are a big, loving, dysfunctional family and it’s hilarious. I love coming to work every day and seeing them and getting stuff done to foster the arts in our community. But I also love the production side, such as building a show and stage management. For example, in my after school programs, [I enjoy coordinating] the logistic things we need to figure out. [Such as] how do I give the students the tools to succeed in creating a one-of-a-kind production? I really enjoy that.  Being creative with the production end of it.”

MS: So in your job, you create partnerships, coordinate shows and exhibits, what else do you do?

GS: “My primary focus are the after school outreach programs. I pick up any other programming needs, so I do an assortment of things. When someone comes in and wants to rent the space to do a performance arts piece, I show them what dates we have available, ask them what needs they may have for the event and I tell them if we can do it or not.  I like interacting with people who want to use this space as a sort of curator of art in the community.”

MS: What after school programs have you created in our community?

GS: “We have two programs currently running simultaneously.  One at Narcoossee Middle School and another Kissimmee Middle school. Both of those programs take place twice a week at these middle schools and we go out and we bring the arts to them. Part of our new mission here at Osceola Arts is to bring the energy of this building and take it out into the community. We are taking the Sunshine State Reading List and we are creating a show based off of it the book. So the students are reading the books, developing it, adapting it for the stage, writing their own scenes, making the costumes, sets, and props, and the preform it once for their friends at their middle school and then once here at Osceola Arts. It is a really neat opportunity that I am excited that we are able to bring to these schools that don’t have drama programs.”

MS: What book(s) are you working on?

GS: “Currently, both schools are working on Half Upon a Time by James Riley. It’s like a fractured fairy tale type of story. They have been hard at work reading through their assigned chapters and story boarding and writing with the rest of the class to make sure everyone is up to speed on what’s happening with the characters in the book. Since the students were on Spring Break last week, they will come back and have two more weeks to write the show and then audition, rehearse, and perform it! It’s a big undertaking, but I’m excited to challenge them and work with them to achieve their goal of a full production.”

MS: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

GS: “Being able to make a difference in the arts here in Osceola County. We work so hard at this and nobody really sees that and they shouldn’t. We try our best to bring a lot of programs and that’s really exciting.  I remember one day, I was three or four months into working here and I had been so swamp with work and I was stressed out. Then, one day I had to stay late for something and I walked through the parking lot and there were kids going in to children’s theatre. There were adults going in for their choir rehearsal. There were artists coming in for an art opening. Dancers coming in for a rehearsal for the show. The building just came to light.  There were so many people here enjoying themselves and that’s what I love.  And it was the best. From that moment on, I was like ‘from anything that I get stressed from, I just have to think about this’ because it is so worth it.”

Our Chief Operating Officer, Jeremiah Krivinchuk, and Program Coordinator, Garrett Sanders, in A Tuna Christmas.

Our Chief Operating Officer, Jeremiah Krivinchuk, (left) and Program Coordinator, Garrett Sanders, (right) in A Tuna Christmas.

MS: Yeah, I completely understand. Sometime being cooped up in the office, you don’t realize everything you do has a big impact and that one night you go to see that it was much more than paper work or phone calls. It is beneficial to other people.  Finally, what is your favorite memory since starting at Osceola Arts?  

GS: “Oh bother! Preforming in A Tuna Christmas.  I was really lucky to be able to perform with my boss, Jeremiah, in a two-man show with Stephanie Day as our costume designer and Brandon Arrington as our director. It was so much fun. The night of the Patron Gala we performed for our patrons and they really enjoyed it and we had a great time too. That has probably been my favorite memory.”

Check out the rest of our staff interviews here!