This June marks the 15th annual music theatre bootcamp produced and directed by Lee Colee’ Studios with the production of “42nd Street.” Auditions are currently in progress for talented kids 8-18 who want to work in a professional theatre environment as they sharpen their performance chops in preparation for a career in the industry.
Numerous camp alumni have gone on to professional careers in music, theatre, opera, film and education. Starting as young as eight or nine, these youngsters from Wimberley, San Marcos, Dripping Springs and Driftwood are now working all over the country as adult and teen professional performers.
Jake Ward (23) and his band The Coast Riders are rapidly making a name in the country and rock industry with a brand new album and 3 singles rising on the charts and available on I-Tunes. (“Hit The Road,” “Take My Hand,” and his most recent “Ignorant Bliss.”) Jake at 15 appeared in his first camp production of “West Side Story,” then took on leading roles in “Phantom of the Opera,” “Anything Goes,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The King and I” and as the headliner in “Rock the Juke Box at Smokey Joe’s,” last year. His band also played at the Black Diamond Cabaret last spring.
From Wimberley, Dylan Blunk (16) has appeared in numerous film and television projects, most recently in “Street Scenes,” along with fellow alum, 13 year old Dakota Fernandez of San Marcos. Dylan has appeared in major and featured roles in the camp productions of “The King and I,” “Rock the Juke Box at Smokey Joe’s,” and in the Black Diamond Cabaret Theatre’s recent “To Kill A Mockingbird.” He is currently appearing in Austin in “Measure for Measure.” Dakota started his camp appearances in “The Little Mermaid as Sebastian,” and was wildly popular in a supporting role in “Rock the Juke Box.” He will be appearing in “42nd Street,” along side of Dylan. Amanda Forsyth (23) is now a professional dancer in Orlando, Florida after appearing in “West Side Story,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Anything Goes,” then going on to choreograph the camp production of “The King and I.” She became the artistic director for the first season of the Black Diamond Dance Team which won three first place awards. Kelley Henry is graduating with a double major in Music Theatre and business from UT this spring. She had leading roles in the camp productions of “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Anything Goes.”
Also from Wimberley and starting to get notice is Genevieve Hodge (13) and her sister Isabelle Hodge (16). Together they sing as the group “Hduo” and have won Wimberley’s first Film Award as best director and best actress. Isabelle recently won the Austin Youth film award for her first short film. The sisters have appeared in leading roles in such camp productions of “Annie,” “West Side Story,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Anything Goes,” “The King and I,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Cinderella,” and “Rock the Juke Box.” Both are also members of the Black Diamond Competitive Dance team who won first place awards in the team’s first season of competition.
Calen Cabler, who presently teaches drama and coaches the competitive speech and debate teams at Wimberley High School attended the first bootcamp production of “Annie,” when she was 10 years old. She went on to play leading roles in “Guys and Dolls,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Sound of Music,” “Grease,” and was an original member of the vocal group, “The Little Divas.” She went on to play numerous roles in adult community theatre and is remembered for her stellar performance in Oklahoma City University’s production of “Wit.”
Miriam Hobbs (16) of Wimberley is now starting her professional career as a pop vocalist by fronting bands singing the standards of the Great American Songbook and classic 60’s soul, country and rock hits. She first appeared in camp as “Ariel” in “The Little Mermaid,” and as a soloist in “Let’s Rock the Jukebox.”
From Dripping Springs, Cassie Martin, just 13 is a serious actress with professional credits in film and theatre. Her first camp experiences began in “Annie,” and “Oliver,” then came leading roles in “Anything Goes,” “The King and I,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Cinderella.” She plans on appearing in “42nd Street” this June. Also from Dripping Springs, 22 year old Coy Branscum is now a senior at Millikin University in Chicago pursuing a music theatre degree. He has already appeared in numerous regional theatre productions and worked in Austin as an artistic director and instructor. Coy’s first camp production was as an ensemble member in “Fiddler on the Roof,” and going on to leading roles in “The Sound of Music,”
“The Music Man,” and “Oklahoma.” Kayla King (17) is now a professional ballerina in California. She appeared in “West Side Story,” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “7 Brides for 7 Brothers.”
Konnor Callendar (19) of San Marcos is making her name in musical theatre and opera as a music major at Oklahoma City University. Only a freshman, she is landing roles in opera productions that usually go to juniors and seniors. She was recently notified that she is selected to work in the 2015 Hawaii Performing Arts Festival in July and has been cast as Little Red in Sondheim’s production of “Into the Woods.” Konnor first came to camp in a production of “The Music Man.” She went on to other camp productions as Glenda the good witch in “The Wizard of Oz,” Christine in “Phantom of the Opera,” and Hope in “Anything Goes.”
Other camp alumni now in the professional ranks include Dylan Meek from Wimberley who is now a jazz pianist in New York, Sam Heaton from San Marcos, an upcoming bass baritone vocalist, Jeremiah Jordan also from San Marcos is an actor and dancer who now teaches.
Boot camp participants work in the intense environment of a professional theatre with industry professionals as their coaches. Under the direction of Lee Colee’ with staff coming from TV and film (Kathleen Griffith from Friday Night Lights and Rachel McGinnis of Austin Theatre and Suzanne Daniel of Busch Gardens) the kids are coached to a high level of personal excellence and ensemble responsibilities. Performances are sell outs and often standing room only.
Auditions for the music theatre bootcamp production of “42nd Street” are scheduled by appointment. Camp dates are June 8th through June 29th and includes 9 performances at the Price Center in San Marcos. The performances act as a fundraiser for the Price Center and a talent showcase for the performers. For more information go to the website: www.leecoleestudios.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and call 512-847-7934.