5 Steps in Choosing the Right Season

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Our 2018 Season will be announced this spring! People often ask how do we choose our season. It's certainly a tricky and interesting process. Here are the five steps that help us in deciding.

1. The Campers
The first step is asking the current and veteran campers what shows THEY want to do. Throughout the year we will post on facebook asking for suggestions and invite campers to post or email us their ideas. We LOVE getting this kind of feedback.  It lets us know what the campers are thinking and often they will suggest shows that weren't on our list. We want to make sure that each season we have a handful of shows that the campers can get really excited about and shows that they really want to be in. We pride ourselves on doing a wide range of shows! We love producing ones that are the most popular (Legally Blonde, Into the Woods). And we also love introducing lesser known shows (The Chrysalids, Big Mary) to our Community. Got an idea for our show?? Email showideas@actingmanitou.com and let us know!

2. The Directors
Once we secure the directors for summer, the next step is to ask them what show do THEY want to direct! Often times our directors will have a list of 2-3 shows that they would like to do. Sometimes our directors ask us for suggestions. When choosing a show we tell the director to think about a few criteria. First - make sure it will be fun for the campers and fun for the director. Next we have to make sure that there are many exciting roles and no roles that are simply "chorus". Every character in the ensemble will have something to do, a moment to shine -that's important to us. We love discussing show ideas with directors and every so often we will say , "We've got this great show that we think would be perfect for camp - who wants to direct it?" Or "No one chose a Shakespeare play yet, who wants to do some Shakespeare this summer?" We love when directors come to us and say, "I have an idea to do THIS show." When a director is passionate about their vision and have a really strong desire, it usually results in a fantastic experience for the campers.

3. The Designers
After a few show thoughts have been discussed, it's important to check in with our designers. We want to make sure the season seems doable for them. Remember that the designers are designing for the entire summer of shows! That is a lot of costumes, and props, and set pieces! It is important for us to hear what the designers think is or is not manageable. Luckily for us, we have an excellent design team and they generally are on board with whatever shows we decide. Choreography also comes into play. The summer we did A Chorus Line we knew that the other show that session needed to be a little bit lighter on dance. The designers, choreographer, and director also have a lot of input on location of show. Some directors LOVE the theater, others prefer being outside in the Amphitheater. And sometimes we don't know until we get to camp where a show will take place. We love discovering new locations to do shows. Metamorphoses was our first show in the pool. Love's Labour's Lost was our first gazebo show. Hair was our first outdoor musical. Where can we produce next??

4. Balance
Tim and Steve spend a lot of time thinking about how the season will balance out. We like to include two musicals each session, a Shakespeare play, and then we try to balance out the comedies with the dramas. We try to avoid doing too many 'dark' shows or 'campy' shows per season. We think about serving the needs of all types of campers. If we have a camper who loves singing and dancing, is there a show for him this season? If there's a camper who loves comedy but doesn't sing, is there something for her this season? We do our best to balance it out so that if you are seeing all of the show, you're seeing a complete season that compliments and balances itself.

5. Rights
The last and arguably most important step is securing the performing rights. We are always surprised to hear about schools or camps that put on shows without first obtaining the necessary and legal rights. Companies such as MTI, Tams Witmark, and Samuel French are wonderful organizations who work with us during the year to help with the rights. Often times if a show is on Broadway or if a touring company is going to be near camp, then the rights will not be available. We knew we wanted to do Chicago for a while but the rights were restricted . As soon as we got permission this year, we jumped at the chance to get those rights!

The 2018 Summer Season is currently being discussed. Tell us your thoughts and stay tuned for more information. It's going to be a KILLER season for our 16th summer!

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