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Tibbits Young Audiences Announces Auditions for “The Nifty Fifties”

Tibbits Young Audiences will move forward with its spring musical, “The Nifty Fifties” to be presented April 23-25 and will hold auditions for the show at 5 pm February 8 and 9 at Tibbits Opera House.

After being forced to cancel last year’s production of “The Secret Garden” the week before opening, the TYA team is excited to get the students back on stage. “The Nifty Fifties” by Tim Kelly with music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur is a funny, top-tapping tribute to the 1950s. It tells the story of Gracie Stanley, who has gotten herself into hot water by promising to deliver her distant cousin, rock star Ziggy Springer, for the high school dance.  When Ziggy is unavailable she and her friends decide to fake his appearance. The story takes some turns and features memorable characters include a singing soda jerk, a snooty rival, a “totally square” building owner, a paranoid brother, a beatnik gang and its “bad dude” leader.

Auditions are open to any student in sixth through eighth grades. Students should bring a current, non-returnable photo, their completed audition form, and be accompanied by a parent or guardian; no additional guests will be allowed.  Students must project through their mask for the audition. They will be asked to introduce themselves from stage, read parts from the script, sing a familiar children’s song, and follow some simple choreography.

Audition forms and the part of the script the auditionees will be reading will be available online at Tibbits.org. Rehearsals will begin Feb 15, 2021 and will be held Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-6:30; not all roles meet all days. Rehearsals will be in small groups to allow for social distancing and masks will be required. The show will be presented April 23 and 24 at 7 pm and April 25 at 2 pm at Tibbits.

“The Nifty Fifties” will be directed by Julia Littley and produced by Tirsha Odisher with musical direction by Jayne Lillis. This production is generously sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Coldwater. Students involved will learn characterization, blocking, costuming, makeup and all aspects of a stage production. Due to current restrictions, several adaptations have been made including reducing the size of the cast to 25 students in order to maintain social distancing.  While the TYA program usually casts 50 students from grades 4-8, because of the limited cast size this production will be limited to older students in sixth through eighth grades.

According to Littley, “We are giving this opportunity to the older students since we are limited to half of what we normally cast. It was a difficult decision and we understand it might be disappointing to our younger students, but rest assured we will open this opportunity back up to those in grades 4-5 as soon as we are able, hopefully by the fall production.”

Tibbits Young Audiences offers programs both for and by area youth to develop their interest in the arts. Two shows yearly, a non-musical in the fall and a musical in the spring, provide students an enjoyable introduction to the world of theatre. By putting on a show, they learn teamwork, discipline, theatre skills, self confidence and an appreciation for the arts.

Auditions will be held at Tibbits Opera House, 14 South Hanchett Street, Coldwater, Mich. Students need only attend one time. Masks are required inside the theatre. For more information call 517.278.6029 or visit Tibbits.org.