Updated: Jun 6
Arts at the Amphitheater Pilot Program to include full-scale production of The Wizard of Oz in Summer of 2021
ACT Louisville Productions (ALP) is a new performing arts production company formed by educator and entrepreneur Beth Craig Hall (Actors Center for Training and Dancers Center for Training) in partnership with arts administrative professional and entrepreneur Randy Blevins. The company will mount The Wizard of Oz at The Iroquois Amphitheater July 30 - August 2 as part of a pilot program, called ARTS at the AMPHITHEATER, to develop young talent and elevate the training options available for youth in the community.
Young performers will have two opportunities to work with industry professionals and perform before a live audience this summer. The first opportunity will be as part of the cast of The Wizard of Oz, rehearsing and performing on stage with professional artists. The second will be as a participant in week-long camps, offering a more intensive training program for young performers and culminating in a pre-show performance at the amphitheater.
As an educator, I’m so inspired by the potential of young performers in our community,” says Hall. “We are lucky to live in a city that provides opportunities to discover and experience and explore the arts. But what happens after you’ve discovered and explored? Is there a next level for our young talent? ALP is that next step. Through this program we will provide opportunities and access to training while setting the bar high. When you do that, amazing things can happen!
The Wizard of Oz, presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Tams-Witmark LLC., will happen at Iroquois Amphitheater on July 30 - August 2. Auditions will occur in May, with rehearsals beginning in June. Tickets for the production will go on sale May 8th at 10am. Summer camps will happen June 21-25, July 12-16, and July 26-30. Auditions for students entering Grade 3 through those entering College as of September 2021 will begin in May 2021. We will also hold auditions for professional adult actors for paid roles. Registration for our camps is now available by visiting actlouisville.com.
ALP is committed to providing opportunities to young talent who may not otherwise have access to this training. During the audition process, if ALP leadership sees outstanding talent that would benefit from additional training, that talent will be awarded scholarships on sight to the ALP summer camps. Up to 10 scholarships will be awarded for the 2021 season.
ACT Louisville Productions has been in development for the last five years. “We had hoped to launch this effort in 2020, but the pandemic forced the closure of all performance venues,” states Hall. “We were, however, able to successfully hold in-person camps last year adhering to strict protocols to keep our students safe.” ACT Louisville Productions will continue to adhere to all CDC guidelines during Summer Camps. The Iroquois Amphitheater will follow all safety protocols mandated by state and local government, including operating at 50% capacity.
“Musical theatre at Iroquois Amphitheater was a huge part of my summers when I was growing up and after college,” says Blevins. “I’ve worked in the Louisville arts community for 25 years now. Much of my work has come from a desire to build up the next generation of performers and theatregoers. To work on this project with Beth Hall, with whom I performed on stage as classmates at Centre College years ago, is a true honor. Our mission is to bring the arts to the community, as opposed to using the traditional methods of theatrical casting.”
ALP will hold auditions for The Wizard of Oz at multiple community centers throughout the Metro Louisville area. Following ALP’s pilot program this summer, the goal would be to program at these centers throughout the year.
“And who knows,” continues Blevins. “If this pilot program takes off, we could aspire to create and develop Broadway-bound new works. With all of the local arts support and talent in our community, why shouldn’t Louisville be a pre-Broadway destination like Chicago or Washington DC?”
“This is a first step,” adds Hall. “We want ACT Louisville Productions to become a springboard for passionate talent to make their theatrical dreams come true. To do this, we will take a different approach to our training and give youth access and opportunities to work with the best professionals in the business. So many young artists — both on stage and behind the scenes — want to build their resumés and gain the experience needed to have a career in the arts. Many of these talented people have to travel out of town to get this training. Wouldn’t it be great if Louisville became the destination of choice for training?”
Beyond the talent, beyond the audiences, ALP will look to the Louisville community to invest in this program. “Sponsorship opportunities are now available,” exclaims Blevins. “We would love to talk with the many generous organizations and individuals in our city to see how they might partner with us to realize this dream. People have been wondering for years when musical theatre would return to Iroquois Amphitheater. It’s right now. And we couldn’t be more excited, because there’s no place like home.”