Adjudicators of the Center Stage Program
As part of the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, adjudicators play a large role in this education initiative at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Adjudicators are local arts professionals who have a passion for the arts and wish to help recognize high school theater and attend participating schools’ productions. After viewing a production, they then submit feedback that is passed onto the students and directors. From constructive criticism to glowing praise, students are able to hone in their craft and artistic talents. With the adjudicators’ help, the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program not only celebrates high school theater, but also prepares the next generation for Broadway. Offering perspective on the part they play as adjudicators, Kyle Brauer and Molly Lucareli express the importance of recognizing young, local talent in our schools.
Kyle was first introduced to adjudication for the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program by his friend, Amanda. Having been a part of theater since the fifth grade, Kyle has pursued his love of the performing arts by performing in musicals, plays and even receiving a Bachelor of Music in Choral/General Music Education from Appleton’s Lawrence University. Since his undergraduate experience, Kyle has been involved with various theater organizations including operating as the director of development for a few years at a nonprofit theater organization in Oshkosh. In his spare time, Kyle also sings with the local community choir, NEWVoices and sits on their board of directors. Kyle continues to follow his passions and has broadened his horizons to choreographing, music directing and stage directing numerous productions. By continuing to develop his artistic talents through these creative outlets, Kyle is able to provide excellent feedback for the many high school productions he has seen and will see as an adjudicator.
While adjudicating, Kyle observes the talents of the high school students on stage including vocals, movement, dance, acting and storytelling. “As a choreographer, I really enjoy watching the choreography and movement being utilized throughout the show and the creative staging that many different choreographers and directors utilize. However, what I value most and watch for in a performance is commitment from the performers,” Kyle stated. Having participated in programs that educated on the basics of theater including stage direction, breaking the fourth wall, acting and reacting, Kyle is able to reinforce the director’s work by offering feedback, tips and suggestions to help with the students’ developing theater skills.
Kyle sees the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program as a way for students to learn from and interact with different theatrical people throughout the Fox Valley region. “The workshops that this program offers through the Fox Cities P.A.C. are a truly unique and incredible way for the students to truly experience theater at a more professional level, as well as develop their own skills and pick the brains of those performers,” said Kyle. For him, the best part of being an adjudicator is seeing the students succeed at what they’re passionate about, expressing themselves and exploring their emotions in a safe and welcoming way.
Parting with some final thoughts, Kyle commented, “I just want to say thank you to all the educators, directors, music directors, choreographers, tech directors, stagehands, parents, guardians and faculty who support, teach and create safe spaces for this next generation. Theater is important; all the arts are important, but what’s most important is that we are creating a future and society of individuals who care for and about one another.”
Molly Lucareli, another adjudicator for the 2022-23 Season of the Center Stage Program, is also helping more students pursue their Broadway dreams. Due to Molly’s involvement with her local theater community, she was recommended to the program by a friend and is now in her second season of adjudicating. She is a consultant for two Center Stage Program participating schools and has led workshops including one for dance and another focused on storytelling through movement.
Similar to many committed to the arts, Molly’s passion took root early, starting at just three years old when she was enrolled in her fist ballet class. For the next 18 years, she studied classical ballet and pointe with the Green Bay School of Dance and the Northeastern Wisconsin Dance Organization. “I knew from a fairly early age that I would never go on to be a professional ballerina, but I enjoyed the education and the artistry of ballet, that I was willing to keep learning and growing,” Molly explained. Using ballet as a starting point, Molly explored other forms of dance including jazz, musical theater, modern, contemporary and tap. Her experience led to various local performance opportunities including St. Norbert College Music Theater, Knight Theatre, Evergreen Theatre, St. Norbert College Summer Stage and professionally with Play-by-Play Theatre. She has loved seeing many touring productions and is currently a Season Ticket Holder at the Fox Cities P.A.C., stating that her favorites from the past two years have been Hadestown and Mean Girls.
Having attended numerous Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program participating school’s productions, Molly shares feedback when the production or individuals “glowed” and ways that they can “grow.” While analyzing components of the production including singing, acting, movement and storytelling, Molly looks for connectedness between those involved, as well as confidence.
Molly also understands the large part that adjudication plays in the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program. “Our job as adjudicators is to look at the people performing – not what they are wearing, what set they are standing on, how functional their microphones are or how full their audience is. We are laser-focused on the individuals who are telling a story.” The feedback that Molly and other adjudicators provide is designed to help students celebrate their strengths and build upon their other skills. “It is very much in the spirit of celebrating successes and exploring ways to keep evolving as artists,” she stated. “Receiving feedback from someone outside of a theater program can be nerve wracking, but it can be so helpful to share things with a set of fresh eyes. When you can target certain skills to practice and work on, the better your overall performance will get!”
Building upon the students’ talents and skills in theater, the Fox Cities P.A.C. hosts workshops with touring and local professionals and Center staff. One of Molly’s favorite parts of being a part of the Center Stage Program was working with students while leading workshops. In January, Molly partnered with a fellow performer and friend to lead a dance workshop with more than 40 participating students of all skill levels. Working with the students on building confidence, stage presence and executing choreography, Molly remarked how it was one of the most rewarding experiences she has had, watching them work hard, take risks while encouraging and cheering each other on.
Sharing some words of advice, Molly concluded, “Continue to be kind and lift one another up. Spontaneous singing and dancing is always acceptable. Find ways to be creative every day.”
Click the link to learn more about the Center Stage Program in Its 7th Year and Meet Center Stage Student Ambassadors, Olivia and Krista. For more information about the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, watch for more blogs on foxcitiespac.com.
Thank you to the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program Corporate Partner, Fox Communities Credit Union and the Workshop and Rehearsal Partner, Schneider Foundation.
Written by Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center