This month, Servant Stage Company (SSC) will debut its first show featuring an all-teenage cast - an idea that artistic director Wally Calderon said came about partially due to the increasing popularity of the theater's youth summer camp. Attendance has steadily increased, rising from approximately 40 campers at the inaugural camp two years ago to more than 100 last summer. Calderon said that 160 students have already signed up for this summer. Numbers like that clearly indicate demand, but beyond that, Calderon noted that there is a tremendous amount of talent. "We recognized that we had a lot of performers who were beyond the fundamentals, which is primarily what the camps are for," said Calderon.
SSC executive director Johnathan Bauer echoed those sentiments. "We have seen such an increase in young talent at auditions over the last few years. In planning our 2018 season, we really wanted to do a show to feature these incredible teens," explained Bauer. "This is really a chance for them to shine and show what they can do. I think audiences will be blown away by their talent. Even though these students are still in high school or middle school, many of them already have extensive professional credits on their resume."
The all-youth cast will present "Jukebox Saturday Night" on Friday to Sunday, May 18 to 20, in the auditorium at The Junction Center, 1875 Junction Road, Manheim. Performances will begin at 7 p.m. on May 18 and Saturday, May 19, and at 3 p.m. on May 19 and 20. Tickets are required; however, all performances will be offered as pay-what-you-will. Interested individuals may reserve tickets in advance by visiting http://www.servantstagecompany.com or by calling 717-455-0255.
"It's music through the decades, so we begin with the 1950s and go through country and into disco and some of the Broadway hits. It's lively and exciting music and a very high-energy show," shared performer Erin Mary Lynch of Landisville. The cast members, who range from 12 to 18 years of age, are primarily from throughout Lancaster County, but several travel from as far away as New Jersey.
Cast member Brad Myer of Strasburg said that one of the show's rock 'n' roll medleys is his favorite song, while Isabel Subacz of Lancaster listed the finale as her favorite number for its upbeat nature.
Each of the students agreed that the intensity of learning a musical revue with one song after another in step with intricate dances has proved to be a fun challenge. "It's very high-energy. Wally says that it's like running on a treadmill while singing," commented Cassidy Martin of Leola.
"Jukebox Saturday Night" will also be touring to several local retirement communities during the month of May, in keeping with SSC's mission to make quality performances accessible to everyone in the community. "Servant Stage Company is really special because we bring the shows to people instead of them coming to us, and it's pay-what-you-will," remarked Lauren Witman of Lititz. "So a lot of people who wouldn't normally get to see a show like this get to see us perform. Seeing how happy they are makes it all worth it."
Additional cast members for "Jukebox Saturday Night" include Josh Ankabrandt, Kayla Bassoff, Olivia Brown, Bailley Caldwell, Brandon Cameron, Maddie Ciliento, Kolby Colmary, Alexa Day, Alex Detter, Carly Evans, Henry Greiner, Allie Hynoski, Kayleigh Jarkowsky, Colleen John, Mandee Kline, Areanna Kroll, Soren Lefever, Anne Mclvaine, Ella Murray, Addison Niven, Brady Norgaard, Dulce Shenk-Zeager, and Olivia Tran-Speros.
SSC is a nonprofit theater company that has been serving Lancaster County since 2011, bringing entertainment to more than 30,000 audience members each year.