This is a special time of the season when the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre continues its 12-year tradition of hosting workshops to help high school students sharpen their stage performance skills.
The goal of the workships is “to give everyone an equal chance to develop skills and self-esteem while having fun in the process.”
For five days starting on Aug. 1, a group of 42 teens focused their energy on honing their stage skills at Chesapeake Academy in Arnold. This intensive week was followed by a six-hour rehearsal before two evening performances for family and friends on the Annapolis Summer Garden stage on Aug. 9 and 10.
This year's crop of performing arts workshop attendees hailed from Annapolis in the greatest number of 16, followed by five from Crofton, two from Davidsonville, and one each from Arnold, Riva, Stevensville, Edgewater, Deale, Chester, Centerville, Denton, Gambrills, Ellicott City, and from Springfield, VA.
Sharon Cimaglia, executive director and Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre vice president, grouped students during the workshops for a choreographic workout to the rhythms of “You Can't Stop the Beat” from .
Severna Park native Ron Giddings also instructed the group as the music director. This 30-year-old director, actor, dancer, singer and musician cheerfully welcomed the workshop participants and explained one Broadway scene to the students.
“So many Broadway shows are revisiting earlier rock eras, including 1950s rock 'n' roll,” he said.
Moving to the piano, Giddings then played 1950s music starting with a vigorous “Rock Around the Clock.” He followed with a smoking nostalgic Elvis medley of “Jailhouse Rock,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Hound Dog.” He completed the 1950s medley by leading the group in “Lollipop,” a tune heard in the theatre's Wonderettes show in July.
Enthusiasm was high from students and instructors to add up to a great time for everyone concentrating on perfecting the art of creating musical theater. Cimaglia mentioned the contributions she expected would be made by dance director Jennie Harrison Young; drama co-director/choreographer Amber Perkins; and coordinators Jen Grimes, a theatre camp graduate; Brian Shatt, a music education major at Towson; and Jimmy Mavrikes, a music major at Catholic University and a member of the theatre's award-winning Putnam Spelling Bee cast last season.
Cimaglia seemed equally enthusiastic about counselor-in-training Haley White, who was class valedictorian when she graduated this year from Broadneck High School.