Rising Stars Camp: A Day In the Life

“What does a typical day look like at your camp?”

We get this question a lot.  And we’re here to answer!

Each Rising Stars summer program runs for just one week, Monday-Friday.  The students rehearse from 9:00 am-2:00 pm each day, and the program culminates in a performance on Friday night.  Instead of producing a single show, we do a musical revue.  This means that we draw music selections from different shows, enabling us to tailor the program to the particular group of students participating, and to highlight more students as soloists.

“Okay, so what happens between the hours of 9:00 am and 2:00 pm each day?”


Great question!  First of all, it’s important to know that, since we are putting together a show in just one week, the camp is very fast-paced, and your child will be occupied with some activity or another pretty much the whole day.  Whatever the kids are doing, they are always supervised by at least one staff member.

Each day includes a ten-minute snack break and a 20-30-minute lunch break.  Campers are responsible for their own food and drink.

At home, your child should spend some time reviewing any material covered at camp that day, whether it be music, choreography, or both.  Since we only have four days to make our show performance-ready, it’s imperative that each camper put in some outside practice time.

While the specific schedule for each camp will look a little different depending on the music selections and the production needs, the week follows a general schedule that looks something like this:


Students arrive at 8:45 for registration, where they are checked in and given their music folder and camp t-shirt.  At 9:00, we do a welcome circle with a name game, so we can all get to know one another!  This is also an important time for our staff to introduce themselves, and share what their role is for the week.

Next, we do a physical warm-up, followed by a vocal warm-up.  Just like an athlete stretches before a big game, it’s important for singers and dancers to warm up their voices and bodies before a day of heavy use.  After Monday, warm-ups begin at 9:00 am sharp each day, so don’t be late – otherwise you will miss this critical period!

After introductions and warm-ups are over, we dive right into music rehearsal!  We will usually begin by learning a full-cast number.  Once we’ve learned the music for the number, we put it up on stage to choreograph it.

By that time, it’s usually snack break.  Yum!

After snack, more music and choreography rehearsals!

Next is lunch break!  Campers get a little time to relax and socialize with each other.

After lunch, we’ll do a review of the numbers we learned earlier, and maybe start a new song if there’s time.  This usually brings us to the end of the day – already!  Just a few minutes before 2:00, we gather on the stage for a wrap-up, and then the kids are dismissed.


Tuesday is music-themed t-shirt day!  Everyone, campers and staff, wears some kind of music-related shirt, if you have one.  If you don’t have one, no worries – just wear whatever you’re comfortable in.

The day begins with warm-ups at 9:00 am sharp.  After that, we’ll usually review one or both of the numbers we learned the previous day.

If there’s a crafting project for the week, our stage manager will show our campers what they’ll be making and how.  Any downtime the kids have throughout the week will be spent crafting until the project is finished.

We’ll also start to rehearse some of the smaller group numbers, which means we’ll often have two rehearsals happening at once!


theater camp Gardner MAWednesday is camp t-shirt day!  First things first: we take a group photo of everyone in their snazzy Rising Stars shirts.  After that, we go straight to warm-ups, and then dive into rehearsing.

We’ll also start rehearsing with props and costumes!  The stage manager will give a little “backstage tour,” showing campers where they should store anything they’ll use in the show.

If there are any musical selections that haven’t been introduced yet, they are taught on Wednesday.  By the end of the day, every number in the program will have been staged.  Campers should have their music 85-90% memorized by the end of the day on Wednesday!


We will rehearse every number on the program, spending lots of time on each selection to make sure it’s polished.  We’ll rehearse in show order, with all props and costumes, if possible.  We’ll wrap up the craft project, and the staff will start to get the space performance-ready.

At the conclusion of the camp day, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the next day – Friday, which means dress rehearsals and the performance!


This is the most exciting day of all!

Campers come at 9:00 as usual, in full base costume and make-up.  After warm-ups, stage management gives a microphone protocol demonstration, and then mics the kids for the opening number.  Our first dress rehearsal run begins at about 10:00.

The dress rehearsal run is done with all props, costumes, sound, lighting, scene transitions, and/or any other details we’ve incorporated into the production.  We also bring in extra musicians on Friday for a professional pit ensemble!

After the run, campers gather on the stage for notes from the directors, and then we all break for lunch.

After lunch is dress rehearsal run #2!  This is followed by another round of notes, a wrap-up, and then dismissal.

Campers should make sure they rest up and eat a good dinner at home, because they’re back at 5:30 to get ready for the performance!  We’ll warm up, run through anything that needs touching up, and then head backstage before our 7:00 pm show!

As you can see, it’s quite the whirlwind of a week, but so much fun!  We love seeing the progress the kids make in just a short amount of time, and seeing their beaming faces after putting on a spectacular show!

Register to reserve your spot in one of our programs today!  Choose from three locations:

  • June 24-28, First Congregational Church, Gardner, MA ($250)
  • July 8-12, Dane Street Church, Beverly, MA ($300)
  • July 22-26, Union Congregational Church, North Reading, MA ($300)

Still have questions?  Contact us to learn more!

Rising Stars Auditions: A How-to Guide

Get excited, everyone – Rising Stars audition season is here!  Whether you’re auditioning this weekend for our Beverly program, or next month for our Gardner or North Reading programs, you can rest assured that this post will tell you everything you need to know about our unique, thorough Rising Stars audition process!

Auditions of any kind can be nerve-wracking, even for the most experienced singers.  So, our goal is to make your audition experience as enjoyable for you as it is for us.  What’s a Rising Stars audition all about?  Read on to find out!

The Format

First of all, it is important to remember that your Rising Stars audition is non-competitive.  Meaning, you don’t have to worry about “getting in.”  We take everyone.  The auditions are simply a chance for us to meet and hear you.  Since our camp program is a musical revue instead of a single show with a fixed cast, we choose the musical selections based on the talent we see in the auditions.  So, you get to participate in a program that is tailored specifically to your strengths, and the strengths of your peers – how cool is that?!

The auditions are one-on-one appointments.  You will not be singing in front of your peers (you’re welcome).  You will be singing for me and Kim Lamoureux, our artistic director.

What to Prepare

For your Rising Stars audition, you must prepare some kind of solo selection.  It does not have to be long – one verse and chorus is enough – but it does have to be memorized.  Let me repeat that.  THE SONG MUST BE MEMORIZED.  

Acceptable genres for an audition song include musical theater, Disney, church songs, folk songs, or classical art songs.  You should choose a song that will highlight what you believe are the strongest parts of your voice.  The song should show us your comfortable range, and have a character that is suitable to your age and acting abilities.

Please please please, do not sing a pop or rock song.  We have very good reasons for this stipulation:

1. Pop songs usually have a very small, low range.  A song with a five-note range that sits in your vocal basement is not going to tell us very much about your voice.

2. Young singers usually just end up imitating the artist who sings the song, even if they are trying not to.  We want to hear YOU, not an imitation of the pop star du jour.

3. Singing a pop or rock song with good technique is much harder than you think, and can put quite a strain on a young, inexperienced voice.

4. Our camp is musical theater, and while the lines these days between pop and musical theater styles are becoming increasingly blurred, we’d ideally like you to choose something squarely in the musical theater category to give us an accurate baseline of how you sing in that style.

You should come to the audition with the sheet music for your song three-hole-punched into a hardcover binder.  This is for the pianist who will be playing for your audition.  Yes, a real live pianist!  No karaoke tracks please.

During the Audition

First, we will do some simple stretching and breathing exercises with you.  This warms your body up for singing, and also helps you to relax a bit.

Next, we will do some vocal exercises with you, which will give us an idea of your vocal range and comfort zone.  If you’ve never done vocal warm ups before, you might feel very ridiculous at first, but don’t worry.  We singers do these weird warm ups every day, so we will not think you are ridiculous.

After the exercises, we’ll have you sing the song that you’ve prepared.  After you’re done, we may ask you to sing all or part of it again and change something about the way you sang it before.  Don’t worry – it will be something simple, like stand up straighter, or smile more, or stop wiggling your fingers.

We may also ask you questions based on the info you provided on your audition form.  Usually we’ll ask about your dance experience, or ask you to tell us about your experience playing other instruments if you’ve listed them.

What Are We Looking/Listening For?

1. Your voice.  This means overall range, tone quality, and where you are most comfortable singing (high or low).

2. How well you respond to direction.  For example, if we ask you to adjust your posture, or sing something slightly differently, are you able to adapt quickly?

3. If you adhered to the audition requirements.  Was your song memorized?  Did you pick the right kind of song?  Did you three-hole-punch your sheet music?  We’re more apt to bestow responsibility on you at camp (read: assign you a solo) if we see that you followed directions for the auditions.

4. Your personality!  We want to get to know you!  Believe it or not, aside from vocal quality, this is probably the biggest deciding factor for us as directors when we are choosing the camp repertoire.  We want to choose pieces that you will have fun singing!

So there you have it.  Haven’t scheduled your audition time yet?  Be sure to get your registration in ASAP!  Our registration deadlines are Wednesday, May 9 (tomorrow!) for Beverly; Friday, June 1 for Gardner; and Friday, June 15 for North Reading.

See you all at camp!

summer musical theater camp

Why Rising Stars?

If you’re the parent of a theater-loving kid or teen, you probably already know there’s a TON of summer theater programs to choose from.  There are companies that produce full shows; others where teens can intern behind-the-scenes; still others where you can learn the ins and outs of the tech world.  Whatever it is you want, greater Boston has you covered!

Here at Rising Stars Productions, however, we believe that ours is truly one of the most unique summer theater programs around.

So why Rising Stars?

Performance Experience and Skill-Building

Here at Rising Stars, we put the “performing” in “performing arts.”  That means we’re dedicated to two things: a high-quality production, and skill-building.  Over the course of the week, your child will gain not just the confidence he or she needs to shine, but also skills that he or she can take to the next performing venture.

Our program is a musical revue, which means it consists of selections from a wide variety of shows.  This enables us to feature more students than we could in a single show with a fixed cast.  It also exposes the students to a wider range of musical styles, and gives them a starting point from which to explore certain shows further if they want.

We are also dedicated to featuring kids who want to be in the spotlight: if your kid wants a solo, they will get their chance in the limelight.  If they’d rather just be in the ensemble, then that’s perfectly okay too.  But whether your child wants to be a star or just be in the background, he or she will receive the unique attention he or she needs to be a skilled and confident performer.

Unique, Thorough Audition Process

Our auditions are non-competitive, and conducted one-on-one with your child.  This allows us to get to know their voice and personality, and consider what songs might suit them best.  We’re very sensitive to audition nerves, and strive to make the process as un-intimidating as possible!

The song selections are chosen based on the auditions each year.  The result is a unique program custom-made to your child’s needs and talents.

Top-Notch, Professional Staff

Our carefully-vetted staff are all industry professionals with extensive performance experience in their respective fields.  Furthermore, they are all experienced, passionate educators dedicated to helping your child succeed.

Small Program Sizes and Individualized Attention

We keep our camp sizes to 20-25 students.  This allows us to work with them individually or in small groups, giving them the attention they need to build both skill and confidence.  This is very different from many summer theater programs, where your child is just one among dozens.  At Rising Stars Productions, your child is not simply a number in a huge cast; he or she is a key player and will be treated as such.

We also believe that the small sizes help the social dynamic of each camp.  We make it our mission to ensure that every child feels included and valued, both on and off the stage.


Open to Students of All Levels

Our summer theater programs are open to all levels, including beginners!  In fact, many students have their first theatrical experience with us.

However, we’ve also had older, more experienced students use our program as a training ground for community theater productions, and even college auditions.  Whether your child is venturing onstage for the first time or is a seasoned performer, they will learn a lot in our program!

Intensive, Immersive Learning Experience

Our students take an entire program from page to stage in just one week!  The rehearsals are very fast-paced, but don’t worry – we go to great lengths to make sure everyone is on the same page (literally and figuratively!).  Our staff are always happy to provide extra help.

Register Now!

Registration is open for all three of our summer programs: June 24-28 in Gardner ($250); July 8-12 in Beverly ($300), and July 22-26 in North Reading ($300).  Our summer theater programs run Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-2:00 pm, with the final performance on Friday at 7:00 pm.  Tuition includes a non-refundable $50 deposit, due at registration.

Click here to start your registration today, or contact us with any questions.  We’re looking forward to a spectacular season!

theater camp Beverly MA

The Ten Commandments of Rising Stars Week!

Summer is our favorite season here at Rising Stars – it means our camps and theater intensives are just around the corner! This year, we’re very excited to run THREE musical theater programs – the first, our Musical Theater Intensive for Homeschoolers, runs June 11-15 in Beverly, MA; the second, Rising Stars West, runs June 25-29 in Gardner, MA; and our traditional Rising Stars Camp runs July 23-27 in North Reading, MA.

(These programs all have different names but are essentially the same.  They just have different titles because of boring legal reasons that I won’t go into.  All you need to know is that, no matter which of our programs you are enrolled in this summer, your experience will be fun, awesome, educational, empowering, and probably – no, make that definitely – very sweaty.) Read more