Theatre Palisades Youth

Mission

To provide a safe space within which community youth will:

  • Be inspired
  • Develop talents in all aspects of theater arts
  • Support each other as they grow their confidence
  • Accept themselves for who they are and, by extension, others for who they are
  • Celebrate the essential power of live theater to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them
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  • It is rare to have a local theater company conduct itself with the kind of professionalism that Lara Ganz and her colleagues do with TPY.  My daughter Scarlett was in a number of productions and she was exposed to what the “real deal” looks and feels like.  She loved it then and carries those great memories with her today.  Thank you, Lara…

    The Bocaccio family
  • Theatre Palisades is a home away from home for whomever steps inside. You feel an automatic rush of joy, love, and light when you walk into Theatre Palisades and I can't wait to go back after Covid!

    Kat Waterbury (TPY actor)
  • 1) TPY was a huge amount of fun for both my daughter and myself.   2) TPY has given my daughter many happy memories and a loving community.   3) the TPY experience was tremendous for my daughter. She learned that hard work, discipline and fun can magically come together to make something amazing!   4) Lara’s passion and enthusiasm for youth theater is unrivaled and infectious!

    Emma Klein (parent)
  • Not only is TPY an incredible theater experience but it is an entire community. Our entire family enjoyed the years that our daughter participated in TPY and have gained great friends! It truly sums it up when you hear so many of the actors say TPY is my happy place!

    Susan Jackman (parent)
  • What I love about Theatre Palisades Youth is the tight-knit community. Because it's a local theater, when you are performing there is so much support because you know everyone around you. Your TPY friends and castmates become like a family forever.

    Sage Denham (TPY actor)
  • TPY typifies what community theatre is all about.  Friendships that children build with one another, parent volunteering and partnerships with community businesses contribute to a more connected community within the Palisades overall.  Our children grow in a robust performing arts program close to home in the safety of joy and friendship and with the guidance of a talented, experienced and caring staff.  The Pacific Palisades is blessed to have this program.

    Lara Schrader (parent)

TP Youth is the youth theater production group at the Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades. There are two productions a year — one that begins rehearsing in January and performs in late February/early March, and one that rehearses the entire month of July and performs at the end of July – early August. The shows are performed in our 125-seat community theater, before paying audiences. This is a real theater experience, with an experienced director and production staff.

Once a TP Youth show is selected, auditions are announced here on our website and in the Palisadian-Post newspaper. Auditions for the winter show are usually in November, and auditions for the summer show are usually in April.

The general range for our productions is 3rd through 9th grade. We try our best to find a place for any motivated, age-appropriate child, whether it is on the stage or behind the scenes. We even have some of our alums who return as mentors (dance or acting coaches, stage managers, or lighting or sound techs, for example) to our younger performers.

Many parents ask why we don’t regularly cast children younger than 3rd grade. Because of the demands of rehearsals and the performance schedule, we find this is the youngest we can accommodate successfully. The director for each show will determine what age actors are appropriate to audition for that particular show, and the age range will be included in announcements about auditions.

We feel the audition process is a good first step for any young performer to accomplish. Our goal is to see if your child is ready to perform on stage, and if so, to place him or her in a role in which s/he will have the most success. In no case is an audition used to humiliate or bring down a child. Auditions are done in the most respectful and gentle manner, and all applicants are fully considered. We welcome theater beginners and those without formal training. They are our next generation of theatergoers!

Please note that the audition is a selection process, and on some shows not everyone who auditions will be able to be cast. The director agonizes over these selections; they are not made lightly.

In general, auditions are held over two days. When you arrive, we ask parents to sign their child in and fill out a short application. Children are auditioned in the order they arrive. Parents are not allowed in the theater during auditions, so please don’t ask! When your child is called in, the director will no doubt ask your child his/her name, what grade, etc. to help your child feel at ease and get a sense of their personality. The director will then ask the child to sing a song from a Broadway or Disney musical of their choosing, a capella (unaccompanied) or with their own accompaniment, whichever is preferred. Children will also be asked to read a scene and to perform choreography. If your child is interested in becoming involved but is anxious to sing and dance at an audition, please don’t let this keep them from participating. We will work with you and your child.

We see auditions as an opportunity for us to get to know you and for you to get to know us!

Theatre Palisades charges a nominal fee for each child to participate in our productions. This fee helps cover our production costs and may vary from show to show but will always be disclosed up front. Regardless, we do not want money to be a factor in deciding whether your child participates in our program. Please contact us for more information regarding scholarships.

This program owes its success to our parents, who generously volunteer their time and resources!  All families are required to volunteer a minimum number of hours in one or more areas of the production (e.g. costume assembly or alterations, locating props, stage dressing or painting or building, dress rehearsal supervision, cleaning and organizing, cast party, photography, publicity, work day, etc.).

Volunteering for our children’s program is an incredibly rewarding way to be of service. Theater connects people to each other, to emotions and to ideas. And that connection comes from and through the children on stage and the volunteers backstage.

For the winter show, rehearsals are usually several days a week after school, and all day on Saturdays, for the months of January and February. The time each actor is needed may vary depending on the role. The director determines the rehearsal schedule and relays the information to the cast. It is most likely that all actors will be needed for all Saturday rehearsals.

For the summer program, rehearsal is usually 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with some possible Saturday rehearsals. Tech week is usually from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Both shows usually run 8-9 performances spanning two weekends.

Because of the intensive nature of the winter and summer programs, participation requires a time commitment that is not casual. Participants will be asked to limit or avoid entirely any absences, and to postpone vacations until after the last performance. Once actors are cast, the entire production depends on their attendance, and missing actors bring rehearsals to a grinding halt.

Yes. As you can imagine, it is disruptive to the rehearsal process if one or more children aren’t there. This is not a drop-in workshop where an actor can choose to not attend one or more days a week if s/he simply doesn’t feel like it. We expect and need all actors to honor the commitment they made to themselves and their cast mates. Any potential conflicts must be disclosed on the actor’s application during auditions.

We have found that although the workshop is rigorous in this way, the children have plenty of fun as well as the amazing sense of accomplishment that comes from hard work, commitment and being a part of something bigger than themselves. Many of our actors report that they have made close friendships during their TP Youth experience, so that is another plus.

Past Workshop Productions

July/August 2021: “Aladdin Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
July/August 2020: “Getting to Know… The Sound of Music” directed by Lara Ganz (online production)
Feb/March 2020: “Frozen Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
July/August 2019: “The Little Mermaid Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
Feb./March 2019: “Guys and Dolls Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
July/August 2018: “Disney’s Peter Pan Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
March 2018: “Disney’s The Lion King Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
July/August 2017: “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
Feb./March 2017: “Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
July 2016: “Xanadu Jr.” directed by Lara Ganz
Feb./March 2016: “Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr.” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue & Lara Ganz
July/August 2015: “Bugsy Malone Jr.” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
March 2015: “Doo-Wop Wed Widing Hood” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July/August 2014: “Shrek The Musical” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
March 2014: “The Ever After – A Musical” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July/August 2013: “Willy Wonka Jr.” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
March 2013: “High School Musical Jr.” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July/August 2012: “Alice In Wonderland Jr.” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
March 2012: “Brats In Space” (West Coast Premiere) directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July/August 2011: “Little Women the Musical” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
March 2011: “Piggy Nation the Musical” (World Premiere) directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July/August 2010: “The Wind in the Willows” (World Premiere) directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
February 2010: “The Emperor’s New Clothes (The Musical)” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July/August 2009: “Annie Jr.” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
Feb./March 2009: “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July/August 2008: “Dainty Mabel and the Spiteful Child from Saskatoon” directed by Nancy Fracchiolla
Feb./March 2008: “How to Eat like a Child” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
July 2007: “The Wizard of Oz” directed by Dorothy Dillingham Blue
March 2007: “Bubba, the Cowboy Prince” (World Premiere) directed by Nancy Fracchiolla
July 2006: “42nd Street” directed by Nancy Fracchiolla
March 2006: “Once on this Island” directed by Hope Villanueva
2005: “Seussical, the Musical” directed by Hope Villanueva
2004: “Charlotte’s Web” directed by Diane Chesne
2003: “Medicine Tree” original production written by Gail Wirth and Barbara Bentree; directed by Barbara Bentree
2002: “Journey” original production written by Gail Wirth and Barbara Bentree; directed by Barbara Bentree
2001: “Oklahoma” directed by Barbara Bentree
2000: “Brigadoon” directed by Barbara Bentree
1999: “The Music Man” directed by Barbara Bentree

Theatre Palisades Youth