Summer's here -- and with it comes "Stars of Tomorrow" Musical Theater Camp.
So once again, kids can spend summer days play-acting.
Mermaids, princesses, pirates.
The musical theater camp is a stellar plan for local kids ages 6 to 16 to have fun learning the fundamentals of theater, exploring acting, singing, dancing, costumes, scenery, lighting, props and theater makeup.
Each weeklong day camp culminates in a show in which everyone participates.
In the musical Theater camp, each participant will have a speaking role in the full-scale, Broadway-style production because the belief is that every child is a star and deserves a chance in the spotlight, says Didi Pelev, camp founder and director.
"We give every child the opportunity for a part in the production -- they not only learn about theater, but they discover teamwork, build their self-confidence and have a lot of fun," said Didi, former head drama instructor at the University of Redlands and the Community School of Music and the Arts.
Camps meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are held at the University of Redlands or Heartland Players Theatre in Yucaipa.
Just for Teens camp is an acting session designed exclusively for teens, taking place from Monday through Friday at Heartland in Yucaipa, with a 6 p.m. performance on Friday, June 28.
Continuing the season at the University of Redlands is "The Little Mermaid," July 8 through 12; "Alice in Wonderland," July 15 through 19 (almost sold out); and "Cinderella," July 22 through 26, a favorite among the little ladies.
Rounding out our season are "The Wizard of Oz," July 29 through Aug. 2; and "Pirates of the Black Pearl," Aug. 5 through 9 back at Heartland in Yucaipa.
All camps (excluding teen camp which performs at 6 p.m.) will perform at 1 p.m. on their Friday, all tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door a half-hour before the show begins.
Didi's daughter Dimyana, 24, is a U of R theater grad and an assistant with the theater camp.
Didi is writing scripts, making sure all the kids have a role, directing and overseeing costumes, said Dimyana, who has worked with Stars of Tomorrow more than 15 years, choreographing since she was 12.
Tuition to participate in camp is $200 per child, which includes their 25-hour active participation, a camp T-shirt, daily arts and crafts, quality instruction from professionals in the field, and a guaranteed speaking role in the Broadway-style show complete with scenery and costumes.
Stars of Tomorrow children's theater is an energetic organization committed to improving the quality of life for young people by expanding their awareness of the arts. Since the theater camp's inception, they have helped thousands of kids.
Each camp session averages between eight and 12 counselors, according to Dimyana.
"I love working with the children," Dimyana told me. "They are uninhibited and willing to try anything. They are trusting, loving and honest."
Even if the youngsters don't go into entertainment or communications when they get older, they should have more confidence and self-esteem, she said.
Didi and Dimyana call themselves the Dynamic Duo because they both love working with kids.
Adds Didi, "Our teaching staff of directors, musicians, choreographers, playwrights and actors creates a nurturing and supportive environment."
For more information or to register, contact the Stars of Tomorrow office at 909-335-1082.
Heartland Players Theater Camps are at 33994 Avenue E, Yucaipa; and University of Redlands camps are at 1200 E. Colton Ave., Redlands.
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