Young Performer Auditions

Important updates as of August 24, 2021:

We are excited to return to live theater for the 2021/22 season! As we work toward our return, we wanted to share a few things about the coming season.

  • First, we are thrilled to bring back two shows from our 2019/20 season – THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS and THE AMAZING LEMONADE GIRL. Both shows will include a vast majority of the original young performers, but there are a few roles that will be available.

  • In addition, our season is starting a bit later than normal, and therefore opportunities for young performers in the 2021/22 season are more limited than in a typical season. See below for a full list of available roles for the season.

Audition ProcessFrequently Asked Questions2021/2022 Season of PlaysYoung Performer InformationOther Performing OpportunitiesContact

Audition Process - What Do I Do?

If you are interested in auditioning for First Stage this season, please review our 2021/22 season shows and dates to choose the productions/opportunities for which you would like to be considered. Once you have made that decision, here are the next steps:

1. Prepare Your Audition

For your audition, you can share a monologue and 30 seconds of a song (if you are a singer) of your choosing.

Or, if you would prefer preparing a scene from one of the productions that you are interested in, look through the scenes available for your preferred show and choose a character and a scene to prepare (we will ask other auditionees to read with you at the audition). Please note that some of the shows you may be interested in auditioning for also ask for a song.

2. Schedule your Audition Date and Time

Once you have chosen a monologue or scene and song to prepare, schedule a time for an in-person audition at Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 West Walnut Street, by emailing and selecting your preferred date(s) and time(s).

Our August in-person audition dates have passed. Please email Jeff Schaetzke at if you are still interested in auditioning for the 2021/22 season.

You may also audition by video by submitting a self-video of your monologue, scene or song and sending it to

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Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have auditioned previously for First Stage? Do I need to audition again? Yes, we would prefer you to audition again. We felt this new process was very helpful with casting A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, and ask everyone to audition through this process for the remaining shows this season - even if you auditioned previously this season or in a previous season.

What if I am interested and available for more than one show?
When you send in your audition information, include which shows you would be interested and available for, but you only need to prepare one audition. With the exception of THE DANCING GRANNY, which is specifically a movement/dance audition as outlined below.

Do I have to sing or is sharing a scene or a monologue enough?
If you do not want to be considered for musicals, a scene or monologue is perfect. If you do want to be considered for any of the musicals, please share 30-60 seconds of a song that you feel represents you and your voice.

What happens next?
Based on your submissions, we will invite folks to specific callbacks which will happen between September 8-19, 2021, during which we will provide you additional show specific materials to prepare.

2021/2022 Season Young Performer Opportunities

Developmental Workshop of  a new musical: ONE week of exploration, no full production:

Dates: Rehearsing December 3-6, 2021; potential sharing with audience during a live event or recorded video option.

Seeking a diverse ensemble of 10-15 actors/singers to explore the world of Arthur and his friends and the new story we hope to share with our audiences. This ensemble will work with the writing team and director to help develop this new musical set for production in the 2022/23 season. Participation in the workshop does not promise you a role in the subsequent production. To audition: Please share 30-60 seconds of a song that you feel represents you.

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Foundry New Play Reading Series:

Dates: Rehearsing December 7-10, 2021, Reading for small audience at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center on December 11 at 7pm; Reading December 13 at St. John’s on the Lake.

Mike Dubois - Black, male, 12-15 years old. A good big brother on the cusp of adolescence – wants to be grown up, but not quite ready.

Debbie Dubois – Black, female, 8-12 years old. A deep love for Santa Claus and Christmas. Passionate and fun.

Download audition scene for these roles.

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Family Series production at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater:

Dates: Rehearsals begin December 20, 2021; Performances January 21 - February 13, 2022

Kenny, black, male 10-13. The protagonist, a 10-year-old boy who is the middle child of the Watson family. He is bright, drawn to reading, and level-headed, though he occasionally gets picked on by his older brother and schoolmates for his personality.

Byron, black, male 13 – 15. Kenny's older brother and the eldest child in the Watson family. Byron is a bit of a bully, and everything he does is done in order to make him appear "cool." He also has a tendency to disobey his parents and misbehave; as a result, his parents decide to send him to live with his strict grandmother for the summer.

Joey, black, female 6-10. Joey, whose real name is Joetta, is the youngest child in the Watson family, at five years old. She cares deeply about her brothers, and is a stickler for following the rules. She is also very religious.

Buphead, black, 12-16 – potentially also playing Wool Pooh. Byron's partner in crime, who also likes to make fun of Kenny. Just like Byron, he is not a particularly good student.

Audition scenes available for download:
1. Kenny, Byron, and Buphead
2. Kenny and Byron
3. Joey, Kenny, and Buphead

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First Steps Series production presented at Goodman Mainstage Hall in the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center; a collaboration with Ko-Thi Dance Company:

Dates: Rehearsals begin January 18, 2022; Performances February 12 - March 6, 2022

Seeking 4-6 Diverse Dancer/Storytellers to play the Earth and the Wind. While the dancers representing Earth and Wind have no lines – they are instrumental to the story as they speak with their bodies. To audition: Please prepare 45-60 seconds of dance with a focus on storytelling. Choose a theme – maybe your dance centers on encouraging plants to grow, harvesting crops, building a house, saying goodbye, etc.

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Family Series production at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater:

Dates: Rehearsals begin February 5, 2022; Performances March 5 - April 3, 2022

Roles open for two ensemble male teens and one ensemble female teen – must be strong actor/singer/dancers. Puppetry background helpful. Our world premiere production will be returning after a shortened run in 2020. Most of the original cast is returning. To audition: Please share 30-60 seconds of a song that you feel represents you and let us know if you have done any puppetry work.

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Family Series production at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater:

Dates: Rehearsals begin March 23, 2022; Performances April 22 - May 15, 2022

Role open for a Teen Male. The long-awaited world premiere will finally arrive in May of 2022. Most of the original cast is returning, but there is a role available for a male-identifying teen. The main role is that of Alex’s brother, but this actor will also play multiple roles throughout the process, so versatility is key. Download audition scene for this role.

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First Steps Series production presented at Goodman Mainstage Hall in the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center:

Dates: Rehearsals begin April 11, 2022; Performances May 7 - June 12, 2022

CJ – young boy of color 8-12, precocious, at times impatient, comes to truly begin to see and appreciate the world around him as he learns empathy on a journey with his Nana. Some singing as well. To audition: Please prepare 30-60 seconds of a song that you feel represents you and your voice.

4-5 ensemble members who will play a variety of characters on and around the bus – as well as creating the environment and soundscape for the play. Actors need to be strong movers. Strong singers/rappers helpful as well. To audition: Please prepare 30-60 seconds of a song that you feel represents you and your voice.

Audition scenes available for download:
1. CJ & Ensemble
2. CJ & Well-Dressed Woman/Ensemble

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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 Wednesday 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, young performer casts will alternate rehearsal days. 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 four 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 Goodman Mainstage Hall at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.

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.

Other Performance Opportunities

Auditions for First Stage Theater Academy’s Company Class (March/April), Young Company (August) and First Stage Theater Academy’s Performance Experience Classes are scheduled separately.

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

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