Journey Community Theater


What is Journey Community Theater? (JCT)

Journey Community Theater provides the opportunity for all ages (8 and up) to get on stage together! This can be a fun way for youth and their families to do a show together, alumni to stay connected to the community, and to invite other adults in town into the Journey family. While the goal of these productions is the same as with all of our programs – to embody the values of community, quality, and integrity in all aspects of the process and the product – JCT opportunities support the mission in a number of ways that go beyond what our youth shows can achieve alone.

Examples of this include:

  • Opportunities for youth to grow their artistic and life skills, including collaboration with working adult actors and experiencing more competition and other “industry” elements while remaining in a community that cares for them as individuals. 
  • Opportunities for parents and kids to strengthen family relationships through performing and serving together.
  • Outreach opportunities to widen the “family” of participants, patrons, and supporters who will bless and be blessed by the Journey community.  

Here are the 2 main differences between how our youth and JCT shows work, and why. 

    1. Types of shows we consider for JCT: While an ideal JCT show would have casting opportunities for every age group, very few scripts are perfectly balanced across ages, genders, etc. It may be, for example, that one year a show might have ample roles for teens and up with only a few spots for younger actors, while the following year is heavier on youth roles, but may have only a few adult roles. This balancing of opportunities over time is considered when selecting shows year over year along with the many other factors and limitations. Please see “Show Selection Considerations” for more details on how we choose a season.

      Additionally, we may also take on certain shows in JCT where adult actors can fill roles that would feel less comfortable for our younger actors to portray. Still selected for stories of hope and redemption, these shows may explore more mature themes better suited for adult actors.

    2. Audition process: Please see the detailed audition process information below. There are a few differences between our youth shows and JCT shows. First, the auditions are “closed” versus “open”. This means that auditioners will perform solo in front of just the Artistic Team versus in front of a whole group. This method of auditioning is much more common in the theater world, is more familiar to our adult participants, and provides Journey youth with valuable experience they can take with them into future auditions, job interviews, etc.

      A theater resume is an added feature for JCT productions. This can be a helpful tool for the Artistic Team, and while we don’t require it for our youth shows, it is a good exercise for youth auditioning for JCT to learn to create.

      Though rare, invited auditions (where an Artistic Team might encourage specific people to come audition) are another aspect of JCT productions and also very common in the theater industry. Unlike the professional theater, however, Journey Theater roles are never “pre-cast”, even for JCT productions.
      Another difference is that in JCT productions, auditioners have the opportunity to state a specific role they are auditioning for. Common also in the wider industry, this allows more flexibility for working adults to prioritize their time, ensuring a rehearsal environment where all are excited to be involved.

    For details about our 2024 show, please visit this page.

Journey Community Theater Audition FAQs

Do I have to be enrolled in a class to audition?

Anyone in the community, ages 8 through adult, may audition for a Journey Community Theater show. During sessions when youth classes are offered, students ages 8-18 must be enrolled in a class to audition for that session’s show.

What do I bring to the audition?

  • A completed and signed Audition Form (there will be extra forms at auditions)
  • A current Theater Resume (see a sample here)
  • A current photo (4×6 is the preferred photo size)
  • An accompaniment track (instrumental only) for your song. Your song should be a portion of a song that is 16 bars/measures, or 30-45 seconds, and should not exceed 1 minute. The track needs to be a downloaded MP3 (no streaming). There will be NO live accompanist unless otherwise noted.
  • You will need to fill out the online audition forms before you arrive (Production Committee and Costume Information)

Can I do a practice audition?

We are not able to accommodate practice auditions for JCT because of time constraints.

Does everyone who auditions get a part?

Auditioning: Casting & Cuts

While Journey shows are designed to maximize participation, there are considerations that could cause a person to be “cut” from a show:

  1. Each of our venues can only safely accommodate a certain number of cast and crew.
  2.  Auditioner is unable to demonstrate a complete audition. This may include them needing to leave the stage, needing to start their audition over, or not showing preparedness.
  3.  Inability to comply with participant code of conduct (either in Journey classes or in the audition/callback experience).
  4. The demands of the show are such that scheduling conflicts & missed rehearsals will impede the progress & success of the show.
  5. For JCT shows, auditioners may choose to audition only for a specific role. If they are not selected for that particular role, they would not be cast in the show.

If you have questions about this policy, please direct your questions to:

Bethany Larson, Program Director

Journey Theater is an educational environment and we want our cast members to improve.  The Artistic Team is open to offering audition feedback, however, for the sake of fairness and growth in professionalism, we ask that you strictly adhere to the Guidelines for Audition Feedback.

What are the commitments for participating in a show?

An adult or responsible teen from each family with a person cast in the show is required to serve on a Committee. Descriptions of each committee can be found here.

Required Committee  Meetings – dates and times are listed on the show information page.

Cast and crew members are required to be at all rehearsals for which they are scheduled & every performance.   In the case of illness or emergency, notify the Show Coordinator.  Cast members may be removed from the scenes/songs they missed at those rehearsals, at the Director’s discretion.  Excessive absences may result in dismissal from the show.

All rehearsal conflicts must be listed on the Audition form. Unexcused absences may result in dismissal from the show.  Please see the rehearsal dates on the audition information page from the show links above.

Cast Members have approximately 50 hours of rehearsal time before move-in and dress rehearsal week. Some dance-heavy shows for example may have slightly more rehearsal time.

In order to offset costs to produce the show and keep the program affordable for all, Cast Members are required to pay a production fee of $100. (Some might compare this to similar fees for playing indoor soccer or another community activity). This production fee includes a show shirt and show sticker, and covers items such as costumes, rehearsal materials, etc. Actors will provide their own makeup, shoes, socks and undergarments.

What if I have scheduling conflicts?

Conflicts may affect casting. You will have an opportunity to indicate any scheduling conflicts on the Audition Form. All cast and crew members must be able to attend every dress rehearsal and all performances.

The Audition Process Overview

There are two parts to the Journey Community Theater audition process.  

First, there is the vocal audition where you perform individually for the Artistic Team. 

After your audition, you may be invited to Callbacks, which can take place over one or two days and consist of dance auditions, cold readings from the script, and singing from the score.  

After callbacks, the cast list will be posted, typically within 48 hours.

Who are the “Artistic Team”?

The Artistic Team, usually a Director, Music Director and Choreographer, will observe and evaluate each audition.  They have adjudication forms that they’re completing for each person.  They evaluate:

  •   Stage Presence – how a person presents themselves physically, and level of confidence onstage
  •   Diction & Projection – how clearly they speak and how strong of a performance they give
  •   Pitch & Range how well they sing in tune and demonstrate their voice.

They also have a place to write general comments about the performance and start making some decisions about who they would like to see at Callbacks.   They are friendly, help you get back on track if you forget the words and generally support your whole process.

Keys to a successful audition

  •  A big smile!
  •   Using a loud, clear voice, continuing with good projection all the way through.  And be sure to slate (Hello, my name is ___________________ and I will be performing _______________ (name of song) from __________________ (musical).
  •   Dressing nice – not in costume, but like you would for a presentation.  A clean and professional look goes a long way in making a good impression.
  •   Performance energy – move around with gestures and facial expressions that help tell the story.  Song shouldn’t be choreographed per se, but the Artistic Team is looking for “stage presence.”

What kind of song should I sing?

Those auditioning perform a portion of a song that is 16 bars/measures or about 30-45 seconds (not to exceed 1 minute) to a backing (karaoke) track of their choice.  That means that there should not be any “lead vocals”.  It should be instrumental only so that the student’s voice can really be showcased.

Journey produces mostly MUSICALS, so the song should be a musical theater selection from Broadway-style show/composer. 

Take your time when choosing and preparing an audition song.  It’s important to research the show and the various characters to choose a song that you understand. Select a piece that helps showcase your voice for the role(s) you are interested in.  For example, if you are most interested in playing the villain in the show, you should choose a song that captures that type of character.  If you are interested in the comedic role, an upbeat funny song is a perfect choice.  The Artistic Team may decide a different role is better for you, but it is wise to show intention towards a character.

It can be helpful to choose a song from a musical that is in the same style of the show you are auditioning for; or choose a song written by the same author(s) of the show you are auditioning for. 

If you are hesitant about singing, you might want to consider a “patter” song that will showcase enunciation and an ability to perform to music.    

To choose a song, you can listen to song samples on MTIshows.com or look up songs online. You’ll need to purchase a KARAOKE or backing track to perform. The Artistic Team really needs to hear YOUR voice, so you are not allowed to sing along with a lead vocalist.  Likewise, a cappella (without any accompaniment) auditions are not allowed.

Get your phone ready for auditions

  • Take the phone out of its case – sometimes the headphone cable cannot plug in with the case on.
  • Turn the volume ALL THE WAY UP
  • Turn off any screen time-outs or temporarily remove any passcode to get into the phone
  • Download the song onto the phone, DO NOT RELY ON STREAMING. The internet connection in the building is very spotty and unreliable.

Things to avoid

  • Do not sing a song from the show you are auditioning for.  This allows the Artistic Team to imagine you as a character in their production without distractions from specific choices you are making in the audition.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets
  • Don’t throw anything.
  • Try not to rock back and forth.
  • Generally, handing things to the directors or going up to the table isn’t a good idea.
  • Keep smiling and be confident, even if you think you didn’t do your best.
  • Stay within the limit of 16 bars (30 – 45 seconds).  You will be cut off if you exceed that limit.
  • If you have a lot of rehearsal conflicts, casting options may be significantly limited or impossible.
  • Focus on phrasing and dynamics. These will make your song stand out.
  • Choose a song that showcases your strengths.

How do Callbacks work?

After Auditions, the Artistic Team deliberates to determine who they would like to see at Callbacks.   The invitation list is posted on the Show Callboard along with instructions for participation.

If you are NOT called back, it simply means that the Artistic Team got all the information they needed during Auditions.  It does not necessarily mean that you will not be cast.

Typically Callbacks consist of a Dance Audition where the Choreographer teaches a group number to those in attendance.  After it’s been taught, he/she will put students in small groups and they’ll dance the selection together for the artistic team to evaluate.

Another group of auditioners will be asked to Cold Reading and Singing Callbacks.  The Artistic Team then works together to gather the information they need for casting as they watch people perform works from the show, receive direction, and demonstrate their character choices. Because this is a short amount of time for an Artistic Team to match so many actors with so many roles, not everyone will be able to read everything they are hoping to. Artistic Teams are looking for engagement with every opportunity given.

Tips for a successful Callback

General Callback Tips

  • Strong creative choices are essential.
  • The Artistic Team is there to help you do your best- so feel free to ask questions and clarify directions.
  • Give your best at every role you are called back for – not just the one you “want”. Every opportunity is important.
  • Be flexible with your role expectations.
  • The number of times you read or sing is really no indication of casting thoughts. Sometimes directors need to see some people more than others.
  • Don’t give up! The day is long, don’t let yourself get discouraged by how you feel you are performing or how others are doing.
  • Try! Do your best! Have fun with the material.
  • You are auditioning from the moment you walk into callbacks. Be respectful, helpful, courteous. This goes a long way.
  • Often the Artistic Team will give you a description of the song, character or scene. Listen- this is essential information for you.
  • Have fun with the material and the characters.
  • Be yourself! If you are called back for a role, there is something in your personality or performance that is in common with the character. So be natural.

Dance Callback Tips

  • This is not the time to talk with friends- pay attention.
  • Even if you can’t do a move perfectly- just try it!
  • Help each other out.
  • If you are asked to “free dance” you can use choreography that you learned in the past.
  • Do your best- be confident.
  • Facial expressions are important. Remember to smile.

Voice Callback Tips

  • If possible, listen to the music ahead of time.
  • Don’t worry if you mess up- try your best and keep going.
  • Even if you don’t think you can sing something- go ahead and try.
  • Focus on breathing and articulation.
  • Don’t get deflated if you crack on a note or miss something. One note is not going to make or break you.
  • Try to show character and acting with the song you are singing.
  • Ground the song in the scene – you don’t need to sing to the directors.
  • Try to think about the words you are singing and connect to the emotion of the song.
  • Relax and remember the fundamentals.
  • Be confident.

Cold Read (reading from the show’s script) Callback Tips

  • Strong, creative choices are essential.
  • As soon as you are given a script, start reading over the scenes with the character for which you are called back. Find what the most important part of the scene is. What does your character want out of the scene?
  • Physicality, vocal inflection, facial expressions and non verbals are important parts of your callback.
  • Make the interpretation of the role your own. You don’t need to do it the same way as the person in front of you did it.
  • Don’t worry about stage directions or how you think a scene should be blocked. But add movement and follow the natural movements of the scene.
  • Relate to the person you are doing a scene with.
  • Follow along in your script with your thumb. This will help you keep your place.
  • Utilize every opportunity presented. For example, if you are asked to read in a scene a different part – go for it! You never know when the directors will see something that gives them an idea for casting.
  • Let the natural emotions and reactions of the scene unfold.
  • Feel free to ask questions.
  • If you are called at the beginning – it is ok to take a moment to skim the scene.
  • Try to look up from your script. Read your next line as the other person is finishing their line.
  • Don’t play to the Artistic team. Play the scene.
  • If you are doing a scene with a partner that is struggling – don’t get frustrated. Help them by delivering a strong performance yourself.
  • Take risks. The bigger the better.
  • If the role requires an accent, take your best stab at doing it.
  • Be engaged in the scene the whole time- not just when you are saying a line.

What if I want to be in a show, and can't make it to the audition?

Occasionally people need to submit a video audition. Video submissions must be received by email by the posted deadline.  All required paperwork must also be attached to the email submission.  The Artistic Team will then watch the video during their deliberations and evaluate the auditioner in the same manner in which they did the other auditioners.

Past Shows:

2011: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


2012: Footloose


2013: The Music Man


2014: Shrek


2015: Mary Poppins


2016: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


2018: Beauty and the Beast


2019: Newsies


2022: The Little Mermaid


2023: Matilda the Musical

2024: The Music Man