March 4, 2024
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Summer Productions Begin at ‘Black Box Studios’

At the Dwight-Englewood School, Black Box Studios recently commenced rehearsals for Legally Blonde The Musical. This is the seventh summer of the “Rock Musical Theater Intensive,” originally called the “Rock Musical Revue.” In its beginning years, the program took place in the Teaneck Jewish Center, but this year it will be the drama portion at the camp “Dwight Englewood Summer Connections.”

The camp has a professional training focus, and there are no counselors, which gives campers the freedom to make their own artistic decisions. This is one of Black Box’s busiest summers, with multiple productions being performed in both New Jersey and New York. Black Box has been providing collaborative theater workshops and performances for children ages five to adult since 2007.

Matt Okin, founder and director of Black Box Studios, chose Legally Blonde because “It is our first time on this campus and we want to attract a large, mainstream audience. The program is educational, and Legally Blonde has cutting edge material that fits into the way that we do shows at Black Box.” Black Box strives to give professional training in a relaxed setting, focusing mainly on collaborative theater. “By working in an ensemble, drama students develop confidence of working in a group. They will work hard for one month, to develop a product. It is a fun place where creative freedom is expressed,” Okin continued.

“A typical day in camp is jam packed,” Naima Hirsch, student director of Legally Blonde, added. “We rehearse music, blocking, choreography, and we work on dramaturgy, which is research and analysis of the play to help the actors develop their characters. We teach the campers to be creative and confident in their skills and abilities.”

“The goal is not to be flashy, the goal is to learn something, then show what you learned through a performance. The best thing about Black Box is you get to come out of your shell, not be afraid of who you are and embrace your personality,” Ari Hiller, who has been acting with Black Box for six years, said.

Huey Esquire, one of two musical directors working on Legally Blonde, works with the kids on improv and music. “It is a very special group of kids and it’s run at a very high, professional level,” Brody Greif, the other musical director, said.

The early bird registration for BBS’ Fall and Winter semester, which begins in Teaneck on September 8, 2015, is now open. Any classes requiring auditions, such as Teen Drama Ensemble or Teen Musical Theater Ensemble, will offer a first round of tryouts sometime in July.

For further details, visit www.blackboxnynj.com, call 201-567-6664 and/or email [email protected].

By Amanda Leifer

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