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Students set sights on Broadway

Students from Camelot Theatre Conservatory's Junior Company have created a musical that touches on their personal acting experiences and favorite Broadway numbers.

"Broadway Bound" is the debut performance of the Junior Company, a performance group of nearly 20 advanced students, ages 12 to 17. The students are those who participated in the Camelot Conservatory last summer and went on to audition for the company so they could continue their theatrical studies throughout the year.

Each of the youths is serious about acting and wants to pursue theater as a career — maybe even on Broadway, says Livia Genise, Camelot's artistic director.

"They're all (full of) possibility," she says.

Performances are set for 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 5-7, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent.

"Broadway Bound" spans decades of award-winning Broadway musicals and features nearly 20 songs handpicked by the students, including "One" from "A Chorus Line," "Anything Can Happen if You Let It" from "Mary Poppins," "Show Off" from "The Drowsy Chaperone," "Lullaby of Broadway" from "42nd Street" and "You Can't Stop the Beat" from "Hairspray."

Between musical numbers, the students have scripted narratives in which they express their aspirations about becoming professional performers and voice their struggles with feeling vulnerable, addressing insecurities and honing their skills.

"They're fessing up to what they've been dealing with, and that's what makes it so inspiring," Genise says.

The first act is set up like a rehearsal with the youths dressed casually, working out the production. The second act is more like the actual performance but with different songs, of course, Genise says.

Students perform both solo and in groups, and the choreography includes lots of tapping and jazzy, musical-theater dance.

"These aren't American Idol-type kids," Genise says. "This is about kids learning their craft and (getting) a sense of teamwork and collaboration."

Longtime choreographer and actress Rebecca K. Campbell directs, musical direction is by pianist Aaron Blenkush and choreography is by Campbell and Sarah Gore.

Tickets cost $12, $7 for students, and are available at the theater's box office and www.camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250.

Camelot Conservatory's students perform last year in 'Thoroughly Modern Millie.' - Photo by Steve Sutfin