Samantha F., BP Academy Blogger
In the deep heart of the Bronx a group of talented high school students are about to host auditions for Bronx Prep's first-ever middle school musical: "Aladdin." After school at 4 pm about 50 middle school students rush to room 201 to receive their audition sheets.
Warm-up Game before Auditions Get Started
The feeling in the room is intense. The 5th and 6th graders are pacing around with their scripts practicing. The Junior Leaders, a group of 10 high school students, sit in the back of the room with their clipboards. They are feeling nervous, too; it's their first time directing a musical.
Bronx Prep has been producing musical theater for five years, but this year marks an increased emphasis on student leadership. With the launch of the Bronx Prep Performing Arts Academy, juniors and seniors are mentoring younger students, coaching the speech team and directing/designing the first musical for middle school students our school has ever put on.
The 5th and 6th graders go up three by three to audition in front of the Junior Leaders for the role they want. They use the craziest faces they can make, the most expressive hand gestures they can think of and all the energy they can muster (and considering that they are nine and ten years old, that's a lot!)
"That was awesome!" says Sahirah, one of the Junior Directors.
Wrapping up their first auditions in a great mood, the lower middle school kids head home to get ready for the next day when the callbacks will be announced. The Junior Leaders stay with their clipboards waiting for the next group to come in, turning the spotlight on the 7th and 8th graders.
The auditions resume in room 201 and the actors are all pumped up and ready. The 7th and 8th graders start off learning "One Jump Ahead," a song that Aladdin and the cast sing when Aladdin is accused of stealing a loaf of bread. After learning the song, selected students go up group by group to face the music and audition for some of the singing parts. Students with different voices go up to sing, some loud, some soft, some altos, and some sopranos.
“I am the greatest genie of them all!” says Owen M., an especially energetic 7th grader as he and his fellow students put away the music and picked up a script.
Now the actors go up and act out parts they have been given by the Junior Leaders. Despite all their nerves, they’re still able to do their best, from the beginning all the way to the end of Day One of the auditions for"Aladdin."