We hope you enjoyed our Summer Stock Austin productions of Carnival, The Addams Family and The Steadfast Tin Soldier as much as we did! From another amazing world premiere by Allen Robertson and Damon Brown; to the campy, kooky, creepy fun of a beloved TV family; and the largest scale and most technically involved production ever mounted in the Rollins Studio Theatre, Summer Stock Austin 2016 exceeded our expectations in so many ways.
This year, 73 talented high school and college students from Central Texas and across the nation came together to perform, design, build and assist with every aspect of mounting three successful theatrical productions. It is hard to convey in just a few words what this program means to those involved, so in order to give a clear picture of what Summer Stock means to its members, we’ll let the students tell you themselves.
Dear Summer Stock Austin Supporter,
Our names are Mariel Ardilla and Benjamin Roberts. This summer you’ve seen us as Morticia and Gomez Addams at the Long Center, and we want to personally thank you for coming to see us onstage in The Addams Family.
On July 5th, we were handed scripts and scores, and began the fast paced and energetic rehearsal process unique to Summer Stock Austin. We laughed. We cried. And in just two weeks, we learned our entire show, and we have had a blast sharing it with Austin audiences over the past month.
However, when you watched The Addams Family, there was a lot you didn’t see. At Summer Stock Austin, the company produces three shows in repertoire, and our work behind the scenes is as important as our work onstage. Between the two of us, we have learned to fundraise, operate stage lights, auctioneer, and rig curtains backstage during Carnival, another one of Summer Stock Austin’s productions. These skills are all brand new to us, and though this is our third year with Summer Stock Austin, each time we return we learn new lessons and gain new skills that we can carry forward into the professional world, and into life.
As young actors, we don’t always fit in with everyone else. The quirks we have – the urge to dance down the hallways, to talk in a funny voice, to burst out singing during class – those things may have gotten us picked on at school, but onstage at the Long Center we are able to embrace what makes us creepy or cooky, and perhaps that’s why the Addams Family is so special to us. The laughs and the tears that you shared as an audience member mean so much to us, and we want to thank you for letting us do what we love doing, and for being an integral part of this amazing arts community where we are proud to say we grew up.
We would so appreciate if you could further contribute to our program so that students like us can continue to thrive in Summer Stock Austin.
Mariel Ardilla and Benjamin Roberts
—cast of The Addams Family
Dear Summer Stock Austin Supporter,
This is Connor Barr and Lena Owens from this season’s production of The Steadfast Tin Soldier! This season was very special to us and we both benefited incredibly from our participation in Summer Stock Austin. It has been such an important program to our growth as performers, and as young adults. We know it is just as important to every other member in the company as well.
As college students we both got an incredible amount of experience from working on these productions. Being able to mentor and work with high school students was a great joy for both of us. In addition to performing onstage and backstage, we both got to lead day camps after Steadfast Tin Soldier shows! In these camps we were able to have a blast with younger kids and teach them a dance from the show. It is an incredible feeling being able to inspire a younger generation of theater performers to live out their dreams onstage.
All of this is possible each summer thanks to generous donations from people like you. Without them, Summer Stock wouldn’t be able to offer all of these wonderful opportunities, completely free, for students. If you are able to make a tax deductible donation to Summer Stock Austin, everyone in the entire company would appreciate it beyond words.
Thank you so much,
—cast of The Steadfast Tin Soldier
The excitement and energy felt throughout the 37 performances was palpable and invigorating. The reward for the young people is the applause and the enormous smiles on faces of the families and young children who attended the performances, but these experiences will serve each student well beyond the theatre.
Thank you all for your continued support of Summer Stock Austin and the Long Center. We couldn’t do this without you!