Musical Theater Camps & Classes

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello all,

    I have a 13 year old child who is passionate about all things musical theater. Last year she attended the Broadway artists alliance camp in NY and loved it. This year I am looking for camps that will help her develop her talents more. I have looked at Interlochen and Broadway dreams and we are still considering BAA. If you have any recommendations for a camp that is everything Broadway and can help her in her passion for musical theater, we would love to hear about it. 

    Thank you 

    Broadway mom 

    Performing Academy, formerly known as Lamorinda Theatre Academy, has a location in downtown Lafayette and another location in Pleasant Hill (known as Diablo Academy).  This is their old website but it still works   For developing you daughters' talents you might look more at the classes, but they also offer 3 week summer musicals for specific age groups that are really great, we have gone 2 summers in a row and plan to attend this year, different shows depending on age group.  They have working professional actors/dancers/directors working there but you can check out their website to see the teachers' experience.

  • I have a 6th grader who is interested in more musical theatre training. She is a strong singer and recently began private voice lessons. She has performed in 6 local musical theater productions (with increasing lead roles that required auditioning) but is aging out of that program.

    I am interested in reviews of the Advanced Performers program with the Bay Area Children's Theater and the Youth Musical Theater Program (but they only audition students in 7th grade and older). I'd appreciate any advice from parents with experience in supporting their child's musical theater interests. We are not a performing arts family. We also don't aspire our child to perform professionally but are happy to support her interests. 

    If you're willing to go to Alameda, check out Tomorrow Youth Rep. They offer audition-based classes for post elementary kids (and classes for elementary kids). Great group! They also do summer camps. Berkeley Playhouse is another good option.

    My daughter has been participating in ymtc for 4 years now and we all love it. The shows are really really well done, the training is excellent and the camaraderie is priceless.

    My daughter has had a good experience with Berkeley Playhouse, but they do seem to play favorites a bit in regard to casting.  But, the production value is high and friendly and supportive rapport among the kids.  

  • My 9th grader is looking for recommendations for musical theater summer programs (both to build acting/singing/dancing skills and to learn about the business of musical theater production). We'd love to hear about programs you/your child thought were worthwhile (or not). There are a number of notable but very expensive and highly selective programs (e.g., Interlochen, NYU Tisch, UM Pulse, etc.) and many others that we can't tell are really as good as they advertise (e.g., The Broadway Experience, Stage Door Manor, etc.). There are almost no comprehensive reviews online that we can find. She would love to go to NYC but is open to local programs and other cities too. Thanks for the advice!

    Hi Inquiring Mama,

    I can't speak to all the programs, but some of them (Including Tisch and MPulse) have age limits and will not consider kids until they are rising juniors at the earliest -- with preference to rising seniors. I believe Stagedoor Manor has programs for younger campers but those spots fill up fast, so you may be too late for this coming summer. I've heard good things about all of them. My high school senior daughter did a 3 week MT program at NYU Steinhardt last summer (the NYU school of music vs Tisch which is in the school of drama). Since it's a shorter program, it's somewhat more affordable -- although still hideously expensive. It had acting and dance in addition to voice and seminars about the biz. Her classmates were all rising seniors or older. She enjoyed it, but it confirmed her suspicion that going the BFA/conservatory route was not for her. 

    In 9th grade, I'd recommend staying closer to home. Young Actors Theater Camp offers a very popular sleep away camp. Berkeley Playhouse and Tomorrow Youth Rep offer good quality day camp summer MT production programs. My daughter did both when she was younger. Youth Musical Theater Company also does a summer production. It's very highly regarded, but my daughter hasn't done any productions with them. You should also check out the summer offerings at Berkeley Rep and ACT. 

    Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions & Advice

  Singing and dancing for a 5-year-old?

August 2010

My almost-5-year-old is getting in touch with his inner Michael Jackson and he wants to sing and dance onstage. We live in Oakland, near Lake Merritt. Is there any program that I can take him to where he can learn the performing arts? Preferably a weekly class; he was accepted into COVA but we chose not to go there. Stage mom, who me?

Kids Take The Stage in Alameda has programs for kids of all ages. My child has been taking their classes and camps for several years. Their classes are hosted by several Alameda schools, but they also have a weekly program to serve home-schoolers, or those who attend private schools and public schools that do not host a program. KTTS theater programs are stable, and their directors are creative and fun. It's a terrific way for kids to experience all aspects of putting on a musical production. My child has made great and lasting friendships through this experience. I believe KTTS has just started a new group for 3-5 year old children. Check out their website for more information: Stage Mom

Pop singing/performance for 7-y-o like Glee?

June 2010

I have a 7-year-old son who absolutely loves watching and imitating the singing and dancing performances on 'Glee,' especially the pop songs. Does anyone know of a program that offers pop singing and performance for boys? So far I have only been able to find a class for girls.

Danceversity has fantastic week long dance sessions (Camps) at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. Boys and girls they are very theatrical and interactive. They run all August long. DanceVersity Programs Danceversity World Dance Camp offers girls and boys (ages 7-16) a ... Sharyl

Berkeley Playhouse ( has wonderful co-ed classes that teach musical theater singing and dancing. There may be mostly or all girls who attend, but they have a great male teacher, Dane, who has taught all of my daughter's classes there.

Musical Theatre for 9-year-old son

April 2009

I am looking for a class or program in musical theatre for my 9 year old son. He loves to dance and sing (not on key but with much enthusiasm) and perform. He has been to drama camp but Ib1208>Young Drama Queen looking for Venue m looking for something on weekends (preferably Sunday) or after school. It doesn't have to be super-organized - a neighborhood group or informal production would be just fine. Thanksamundo. stage mom

Children's Fairyland in Oakland down by Lake Merritt runs a children's theater program: kids (ages 8-10 by Jan. 1) audition in January, and they choose a bit over 30 kids to assign to three different casts. The kids rehearse on weekends in the spring (every third weekend, both Sat/Sun, for each cast) then perform, again every third weekend, two performances each Sat/Sun, beginning June and running through October. Our daughter is in her third year, and loves it; each year they have one classic production (this year's is from Beatrix Potter), one native Americas production, and one from some other foreign culture. The new stage, opened last year, is stunning. More information here: Stage Dad

I highly recommend Contra Costa Civic Theatre's Musical Juniors program. Kids put on a full musical over a 10 week period. There is emphasis on all drama skills -- vocal work, character creation, dancing, ensemble work, etc. Nina Meehan the director is awesome. I've seen her work with the kids and her emphasis on supporting each other and teaching drama is wonderful. I volunteer at the theatre (it is a community theater) and while my 5 year old son isn't old enough to join in yet, we have seen many rehearsals and performances. My son is eager to join in once he turns 7. CCCT is in El Cerrito. You can find out more at Susan

Kids 'N Dance and Theater Arts !......They have a FABULOUS musical theater program for kids with age groups that start at 4 and end at 14. What I love about them is they work hard at giving all the kids a great experience. Scripts are customized for each cast and everyone is given a chance to be challenged and have fun. The quality of the productions is amazing considering the broad range of talent. We have done three shows already and our daughter loves it and has made a great community of friends. An added benefit that I wasn't expecting is that she is learning about responsibility and teamwork. She insists on practicing with the CD they give her everyday so that she is ready for class. Usually we are in the car and she happily sings at the top of her lungs wherever we go! They do musical theater in both of their studios (Laurel District - Oakland, and Lafayette) and also do productions at the Orinda Rec. Center. happy low-key stage mom

I would recommend Berkeley Playhouse for a kid with the acting bug. Their summer program is apparently full, but the fall music theatre session will begin registering in late July/early August. They staged Roald Dahl's ''The BFG,'' and ''Peter Pan'' will be running July 17 through August 23 at the Ashby Stage. They have a number of other classes... I took their most recent Adult Musical Theatre class, and had a great time... it was a perfect intro to musical theatre for the parent who's realized that the kids shouldn't be the only ones getting up on stage! They've also held one ''open-mic'' night for singing (both as a group and performances by students, etc... three of the performers from ''Once on This Island'' sang pieces from other shows) at the Julia Morgan and plan to hold those every 3-4 months. A fine organization. Ross ross

Adult acting class for cabaret & musical theater

Feb 2009

I'm an adult Cabaret style singer. I would love to find an acting class geared toward singers of Cabaret and musical theater. I posted this same question about a year ago and got a few leads but nothing concrete. Wondering if anyone out there knows about such a class!! Thanks

I know a woman who teaches an acting class for singers in Walnut Creek. Currently she teaches a class for kids/teens but she may teach an adult class as well, and she certainly is available for private coaching. Her name is Bharbara Sinclaire-Foxcroft and she teaches at California Theater Arts in Walnut Creek -- Tara

You should check out classes at ACT. They have a cabaret performance class starting at the end of March. (maybe not up your alley since you're already a cabaret singer) No classes running right now that are specifically ''acting for singers'', but I know I've seen it.

Try Berkeley Rep too:

Both of these places are in the middle of their winter class sessions, but will have new offerings in a couple months. Good luck! Jessica

hi, you might check out bobby weinapple's acting for singers class. i don't have personal experience with this particular class, but have worked with bobby before and can highly recommend him as an acting teacher, though classes are not cheap! his website is:

Musical theater opportunites for a teenager

Oct 2007

Hi, I'm looking for information to help guide my 16 year old daughter towards her college career, as well as information for musical theater oppoturnities in the east bay. Her love and skills are in musical theater. Only recently has she started thinking about her future and college direction. Our local theater has an amazing program, but nothing for teenagers in spring. She will be talking to the program's director, but I'd like further information. I know that there is valuable information out there, but I don't know if it's hype or real. I wish I had been a better stage mom for her. Advise, wisdom, warnings? Looking for help

Hello, I wanted to respond to your question about great musical theater in the area. Your timing couldn\x92t be more perfect! I am a parent of a teenager who loves to sing and act. I have lots of information about all the options in our area. I am total impressed with the professionalism of the one he is currently involved with the Youth Musical Theater Company . This weekend will be the opening of their next production, Man of La Mancha, which will be performed at the Longfellow Middle School Auditorium on October 26-28 and November 2-3. You might have seen the article about YMTC and MAN OF LA MANCHA in last Friday's Berkeley Voice, if not you can still check it out now at:

One thing that I wanted to be sure to tell you is it that Man of La Mancha is just the beginning of their new season and expansion. I mean it when I say that your timing couldn\x92t be more perfect. My son has loved every minute of his three years with the group. YMTC is entering a period of a lot of growth that I am very excited about. I think that the theater that YMTC does is fantastic. They offer a variety of classes and workshops, and are trying to bring more professional artists into their activities, offer more mentorship and structure to students interested in the technical aspect of theater, and most thrilled about their move into a relationship with the Julia Morgan Theatre Center as their future artistic home.

They and I are very excited about all the growth and invite you to join and help them get even better! There are lots of ways for you and your daughter to do so:

1)\tCome see Man of La Mancha 2)\tLet them know that you might be interested and supportive of what YMTC does? Maybe you might like to attend an informational event-with food, and a performance by some of the students and the artistic director. Obviously I am crazy about this group \x96 I am happy to talk to you or any other parents who are interested in hearing about it or you can go to their website at: or e- mail them directly at :info at, or call 510-595-5514. jessica

Four thoughts.

First, there is a bay area wide theatre association called Theatre Bay Area, with a website at> .

Check out the member organization weblinks for audition announcements:

Second, be careful about time commitment for your daughter. I've been through this with my two son's, one an actor and the other, a tech. Rehearsals prior to opening are a major time commitment of as much as 40 hours per week, or much more, especially during final tech week. During the six week run, your kid can turn into a zombie, especially with lead role responsibilities.

Three, it is one of the best experiences of their lives. They are surrounded by high quality people who are wonderful role models. They work on a team to get the show together and successfully get through the run. They have live fire, very demanding contributions to make. It is a commercial endeavor. Not much in an AP whatever class or an SAT prep course matches it.

Four, if you get through one or two shows and she wants to continue, then consider a fine arts high school. Only in those settings do you have the school and the arts activity all in one place, so that transportation and other administrative overheads are eliminated. The downside is they live away from home. The upside is that she will be able to both complete high school and devote enough time to her art. For musical theater, I recommend Interlochen Arts Academy near Traverse City, Michigan. Why Interlochen? In a single word - magic.

Good luck, Nathan

In response to the parent looking for Musical Theater opportunities for her teenager - you should seriously look into Youth Musical Theater Company (YMTC) . My son has spent 5 years working with this innovative and dynamic independent youth theater company, and it has been a tremendous learning and professional experience for him. You can still attend YMTC's current production, ''Man of La Mancha,'' on Friday, November 2, 8:00 pm, Saturday, November 3, 3:00 pm, or Saturday, November 3, 8:00 pm at Longfellow Auditorium, 1500 Derby Street, in Berkeley, if you want to see what kind of extraordinary production this troupe is capable of. Upcoming YMTC events include a winter workshop and a production of ''Into the Woods,'' next summer. For more information on the kind of training and experience they offer, check out their website at YMTC mom

The Youth Musical Theater group in Berkeley that's doing ''Man of La Mancha'' right now is great for high schoolers. The actors who've had a lock on the leads for the past three years are seniors, so there will be more opportunities coming up.

There are also some good local community theaters. Altarena is auditioning for ''Chicago'' soon. Contra Costa Civic Theater is auditioning for ''Cocoanuts''. Pinole Community Players does musicals, so does the Willows in Concord and Alameda Civic Light Opera. Check out all their websites.

The families I know who are seriously interested in theater subscribe to a service that announces the tryout opportunities. However, you can also just get on the email list for theaters and they will notify you. I love to sing


  Musical theatre opportunities for parent & child?

Sept 2007

Does anyone know of any Bay Area opportunities for a parent and child to act/perform in an amateur stage production together? We recently visited some relatives in the LA area who are about to perform as a family in ''Annie.'' We'd love to do something along those lines. Any leads would be most helpful. Thank you. B

I have a great recommendation for parent/child acting opportunities -- Contra Costa Civic Theatre (in El Cerrito). They have been around for 50 years and produce high quality theatre that the whole family can be involved in. Many families perform together (or a parent could run spotlight.) In fact it was founded by a husband/wife team whose children grew up acting and participating and now their children are involved. They usually do 2 musicals per year, a comedy and a drama. They also have afternoon/weekend children's programs. My husband directs, acts and is on the Board of Directors. It's a great group of folks, and we really enjoy being involved. Our son is 3 and we plan on getting him involved very soon. Check out Or feel free to call us at 510-665-7795. Susan