By Gillette Elvgren
Saturday – August 12, 2023. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Performances for schools: September 19-22 and 26-29, 2023
Public performance: September 31, 2023
Coachella Valley Repertory’s Youth Outreach Program is holding auditions for high school-aged actors and actresses for a new production of OPHELIA LIVES! by Gillette Elvgren. The auditions will be held on Saturday, August 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CVRep, located at 68510 East Palm Canyon Drive in Cathedral City, CA. In addition to the experience of performing on the CVRep mainstage, students who are selected will have the valuable opportunity of working with professional designers, directors, and backstage crew. OPHELIA LIVES! is a thought-provoking drama in which members of a high school drama club studying Shakespeare find a letter from a student who is considering suicide. Through examining the characters of Ophelia, Hamlet, Laertes and Queen Gertrude, the drama class discovers each of their inner needs. Two actresses and three actors will be cast in this thought-provoking drama dealing with sensitive, personal issues challenging teenagers today.
Actors should be prepared with a short monologue and may be asked to read from OPHELIA LIVES! For additional information and to secure an audition time, actors should contact Howard Shangraw, CVRep Director of the Conservatory and Community Outreach Programs at HShangraw@CVRep.org.
Performances for Coachella Valley school students will be on September 19-22 and 26-29 at 2 p.m. Student performances are FREE, and CVRep will pay for buses to take students to and from their schools. There will be one public performance on September 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $10 and available online and by calling the CVRep box office at (760) 296-2966. Each performance will be followed by a Q&A with the cast, crew, and CVRep Artistic Director Adam Karsten. The actors will talk about their experiences, opening a dialogue that can continue long after leaving the theater.
Howard Shangraw, CVRep’s new Director of the Conservatory and Community Outreach Programs, said, “CVRep’s Youth Outreach Programs offers classes to young actors, such as the craft of acting. These are taught by theatre professionals who encourage students to let their imaginations soar. Our Youth Outreach productions have been seen by nearly 14,000 students. For many in the audience, these were their first experience with live, professionally staged performances. This year’s production, OPHELIA LIVES!, bravely and honestly speaks to several sensitive and perplexing personal issues that teens deal with. Through the brilliance of Shakespeare, the actors and their audiences share the experiences presented by the playwright and inspire them into making positive, healthy, and constructive choices.”
Adam Karsten noted, “We’re thrilled to bring back CVRep’s annual student productions that are performed by and for Coachella Valley’s high school-aged students. These shows are selected for their entertainment value and cultural and social relevance to our young people in today’s complicated and often overwhelming world. If we are able to use theatre to contribute to the wellbeing, safety and positive experiences of our children and young people, then I assure you, CVRep is achieving a very important goal.”
OPHELIA LIVES! was written by award-winning playwright Gillette Elvgren, who has penned numerous plays for schools, teens, and family audiences. He writings tackle topics such as AIDS, chemical abuse, child abuse, and teenage sexuality. Putting those issues on stage “is a very good way to get the message across,” says Elvgren, whose “social action” dramas have been produced by acting groups all over the country. It will be directed by Howard Shangraw, who is an award-winning director, composer, performing arts administrator, instructor and coach. His professional acting career includes productions off-Broadway, summer stock, feature films, episodic television, day-time soap operas and regional theatre productions.
Coachella Valley Repertory thanks the Anderson Children’s Foundation for a grant that has helped make this year’s Youth Outreach Production possible.
COACHELLA VALLEY REPERTORY is a non-profit, professional regional theater. It is the only theater in California’s Coachella Valley that has Small Professional Theatre (SPT) status with Actor’s Equity.
CVRep produces professional theater and educational programs that present thought provoking theatre of substance. It also offers professional level theatre training for young people and adults in its Conservatory, Writing Competition, and other meaningful, socially, and culturally relevant children’s outreach programs. As a member of the Coachella Valley community, CVRep is committed to enriching the quality of life for all residents and to providing memorable experiences for the Valley’s many visitors.