Hutton’s Hamlet Performing Arts Center in Oakdale will celebrate a milestone this summer with its 20th season of youth theater workshops, featuring five exciting and high-paced productions in only 10 weeks under director Annette Hutton.
Participants ages 7 through 20, from throughout Stanislaus County and beyond, can now register first come/first serve for the plays with casts of 25 to 35. Five Hamlet productions (and as many as seven in years past) allow 125 to 150 kids to participate in the program. Everyone who registers up to the capacity of the play gets a role; many actors sign up for more than one play. Registrations are currently being accepted and the workshops are filling fast. Call 209-848-1216 for more information.
The season kicks off on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 with three performances of The Snow White Musicapalooza!, a comic musical retelling of the fairytale classic in which the actual audience become a live studio audience for a talk show. Pride and Prejudice, a comic adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, follows with performances on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23. Then Rockin’ Robin Hood, a fresh yet traditional musical version, is performed on Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7. The Hound of the Baskervilles adds a twist to the traditional Sherlock Holmes plot in which the nieces of Holmes and Dr. Watson solve a murder while their uncles are on vacation, and is slated for performances on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21. The season wraps up with the musical Lucky Lucky Hudson, in which a teenage writer of a detective novel gets trapped in his own story, and is performed on Friday, Aug. 3 and Saturday, Aug. 4.
Annette Hutton is a strong advocate of the Hamlet process which does not use auditions.
“I’ve had many success stories over 20 years, kids brand new to theater that would not have fared well in an audition,” according to Hutton. “The first morning we meet, some are too shy to tell me their names, too scared to get out of their seats. Different story two weeks later when the play goes on; they’ve got their lines and characters down and they’re raring to go. And some of those kids that were so shy that first morning stay with me for years and become my most dependable veterans.”
Hutton has worked extensively in theater in Stockton, Lodi, Columbia, and Groveland in the capacities of director and musical director for community theaters and children’s theater.
Each workshop runs 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday for two weeks, finishing with three performances. The fee per workshop is $200. All Friday performances begin at 7 p.m. and the two Saturday performances for each play begin at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Hamlet Performing Arts Center is at 132 W. G St., the chapel at the northeast corner of Church Avenue and West G Street, in Oakdale.
Tickets to the performances are $10 for adults and $5 for ages 12 and under, and can be purchased at Hutton’s Hamlet Music Store, 149 Church Ave., Oakdale.