Young Performer Auditions

Important update as of May 29, 2020The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors
Due to the ban on public gatherings and social distancing requirements from the COVID-19 public health crisis, all in-person young performer auditions are temporarily on hold through July 6. Starting in July, we will reach out to young performers who have auditioned us in the past and give them information on call backs for our updated 2020/21 season. If you are a new student, please submit an audition video before June 30, 2020.  

Audition by Video
In the meantime, send us your video audition to Jeff Schaetzke at Please submit your video audition by June 30, 2020. If you are a new student for First Stage and have not auditioned for us, please send us a short video of your audition. We're happy to accept a monologue or song as an audition for next season, before we can all safely gather again at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. 

A general audition consists of a one-minute memorized monologue and a one-minute song (optional, but encouraged). 

As the nation’s leader in Theatre for Young Audiences with age-appropriate casting, First Stage casts between 140-180 young performers ages 8-18 among our 8 – 9 plays each season for our Mainstage, First Steps, and Foundry Stage productions.

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General auditions for young performers for the 2020/2021 season are being accepted by video through June 30, 2020. Weare happy to virtually "meet you" and consider you for our  season of plays. We ask for a one-minute memorized monologue from a play or piece of dramatic literature and a 30-60 second song (optional, but encouraged). Song can be whatever you’d like, a capella (no piano). Auditions are encouraging and fun.

If you are unable to submit your video by June 30, 2020, we will accept video submissions over the summer, and hope to resume in-person auditions at MYAC over the summer to be considered for our winter and spring plays of 2021.

f you have any questions about Young Performer auditions, please email Jeff Schaetzke at

Previously auditioned in 2019-20 been cast/called back in 2019-20

If you have previously auditioned for First Stage during the 2019-20 season, your audition and performance was taken into consideration for our Spring Callbacks. Young Performer callbacks will be emailed to those students who we are calling back for the first three plays in our 2020/21 season.  We are considering past students as of May 4, and will let you know by May 29, 2020 for which show/role you are being called back.

If returning students are not satisfied with their callback invitations, all students are welcome to re-audition at any general audition. If you accept your callback(s), then simply accept your callback invitation.

We will have two sets of call backs during the spring and summer:

Casting for RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER™: THE MUSICAL will be announced in late June/early July. Casting for the remaining productions is announced mid-September.

Each young performer may only be cast in one production due to commitment and missing some school for each production.

Young Company and Company Class, and Spring Performance Class auditions are held separately through the First Stage Theater Academy.

If you have any questions about the status of your audition or call back, please contact Jeff Schaetzke at


What is a General Audition?

  • Ages 8-18 (in 2019-2020)
  • 30-minute audition in a group with 7-10 young performers
  • Group warmup/exercise/theatre games
  • One-minute monologue memorized from a play or musical or dramatic work
  • One-minute song sung a Capella that shows off your voice (optional, but encouraged)
  • Have fun!

What is a callback?

  • A callback is an audition for a specific show.  The director of the show will be there with a choreographer or music director and other First Stage staff.  
  • You will sing or read from the show and you will be sent that information ahead of time
  • You will read and sing with other young performers being considered for that show.
  • For musicals, you will sing specific parts of the show that are sent to you
  • You may be asked to do a dance call or movement or puppet exercise that will be explained to you.

What happens after an audition and callback?

  • Directors will look at the roles available and necessary for each show, consider all factors including double casting (we double cast each young performer role) and then make offers.  

  • An OFFER for a role is an invitation to play a certain part in a show.  That may be exciting – but you need to consider your evening commitments for rehearsals, your weekends for 7-8 weeks as there are rehearsals and performances each Saturday/Sunday for eight weeks, and your school schedule.

What is it like to be in a First Stage production?

  • Being cast in a First Stage show is a lot of work and a lot of fun!

  • Young performers are always “double cast”’ and share their roles with a “counterpart”, which is another young performer in which you will share duties, blocking, performance responsibilities and may be asked to switch rehearsals or performances on a limited basis.

  • Rehearsal schedule:
    • Young performers work with the adult, professional actors, professional stage management team, and directors to rehearse and perform the roles in any given production.

    • The typical rehearsal/performance commitment is between 8 – 9 weeks.

    • Young performers begin rehearsals on YP weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

    • Rehearsals are Tuesday through Friday from 4 – 8:30pm, with a 20-minute dinner break; Saturdays from 12:30 – 4pm or 5 – 8:30pm, and Sundays from 10am – 1:30pm or 2:30pm – 6pm.  

    • During the week, one cast is Tuesday/Thursday and one cast is Wednesday/Friday.  This keeps young performers fresh with their schoolwork and not at rehearsal every single night.  On the weekends, casts alternate between the first rehearsal block and second rehearsal block.  This adds up to 4 rehearsals per week in each cast. There will be three to four BOTH CAST rehearsals in which we call all of the young performers to have them work together or watch each other.

    • Rehearsals for the first three weeks are at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. At the end of the third week, our Mainstage production rehearsals will move to the Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. All other productions will typically tech in Mainstage Hall at MYAC.

    • Once Mainstage shows move to the Marcus Center, pick up and drop off is at the Stage Door of the Marcus Center on State Street.  An Assistant Stage Manager will meet them at the door and wait for their rides with them after rehearsals or performances.
  • Performance schedules:
    • Our school matinee performances are in the morning and into the lunch hour.  Young performers should expect to miss between 7 and 9 days of school from 8:30am until 1:45pm.

    • Young performers to be at their show times one hour before their performance, and to be picked up 30 minutes after the final show of the day.  A typical show call is 9:00am until 1:45pm. If you are available, you will to go to school in the morning before 8:30am or after the shows from 2:00pm on. 

    • We work with schools and principals to make sure your attendance is excused as long as your work is being completed.  Because of the school commitment, we only cast young performers in one show during any season.

    • Once you are offered a role in a show, you are expected to have any outside commitments cleared for the duration of rehearsal or performances.  In very rare exception can we allow you to miss rehearsal – we only have three weeks to put a production together, and time is valuable.

    • If you’re cast in a show, it means you aren’t able to be on a sports team, competitive dance team, or in another show during those eight weeks.  It isn’t fair to either production or team and it usually makes the young performers have a poorer experience in both cases.

    • Please discuss any possible conflicts with casting or Stage Management at the time of the offer.  We have to replace young performers from time to time who have unexpected conflicts or conflicts that haven’t been communicated.

Auditions for First Stage Theater Academy’s Company Class (March/April), Young Company (August) and First Stage Theater Academy’s Spring Performance Classes (school year) will be scheduled separately, and not through this process. For more information about these auditions, please contact the Academy office at (414) 267-2970 or

For further information about First Stage auditions, please contact Jeff Schaetzke, Director of Artistic Operations, and