Young Performer Auditions

Important update as of June 1, 2021:

We are so excited to welcome our young performers back for our upcoming 2021/22 season! We believe in the importance of our productions reflecting our community on stage and behind the scenes. We are actively seeking a diverse group of actors for all of our productions. We encourage young people of all backgrounds, abilities and experience to audition.

General Young Performer AuditionsAudition by VideoFrequently Asked QuestionsContact

Audition information for A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

Young Performer auditions for A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS are complete. Casting will be announced in June 2021.

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General Young Performer Auditions for the 2021/22 Season

General auditions will be held in July and August, both virtually and in-person at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.  All students ages 8-18 should prepare a one-minute memorized monologue and a 30-60 second song to be sung a capella.   We will hold in-person 30-minute auditions in July and August, and will ask you to sign up for one audition time. You may also submit a video audition any time before August 15, 2021. All those auditioning this summer will be considered for our Fall Callback session, which will be in late August and early September.  

Dates for General Auditions and Fall Callback sessions will be announced by June 15, 2021.

2021/22 Season of Plays (following the holiday production):

  • THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM - 1963  (Play), January 21, 2022 – February 13, 2022
  • THE DANCING GRANNY (Play with music), February 12, 2022 – March 13, 2022
  • THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS** (Musical), March 5, 2022 – April 3, 2022
  • THE AMAZING LEMONADE GIRL** (Play), April 22—May 22, 2022
  • LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET  (Play with music) , May 7, 2022 – June 12, 2022

Rehearsals begin 4-5 weeks before each opening night, and rehearsals are usually at 4pm-8:30pm, three nights a week and a 3-4 hour block on the weekend, normally Wednesday through Sunday. 

 ** If you were cast in the previous productions of THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS or AMAZING LEMONADE GIRL, you will be contacted about whether you would like to be considered again for that production. 

All productions will rehearse and perform in person, safely, with First Stage and MYAC protocols guided by Actor’s Equity Association. 

Please email Jeff Schaetzke at with any questions.  

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Audition by Video

If you prefer to submit an audition virtually, you may send your video audition to Jeff Schaetzke at 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). If memorizing is a challenge, please perform a dramatic reading that is energetic and includes some movement.

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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 Performance Experience Classes are scheduled separately. For more information about these auditions, please contact the Academy office at (414) 267-2970 or

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

New Students and Families

General auditions for young performers for the 2021/22 season are being accepted by video through summer 2021. We are happy to virtually "meet you" and consider you for our season of plays. Please perform 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 a video, you may schedule an in-person audition when we are able to safely audition at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, tentatively summer or fall of 2021.


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

Returning First Stage Students

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

If you have previously auditioned for First Stage, we would like for you to consider re-auditioning for us in the summer or fall 2021.  We will email all of those students who have previously auditioned, and will help guide you through returning to the audition process.  You’re always welcome to submit an audition video (one monologue or reading and one song).  Once we announce our season, we will invite you to a call back for one of our shows and give you materials and instructions.


For 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.


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

Audition by Video

You may send your video audition to Jeff Schaetzke at 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). If memorizing is a challenge, please perform a dramatic reading that is energetic and includes some movement.


Once our 2021/22 Season of Plays is publicly announced, we will contact our past and currently interested young performers with information on auditioning for an individual production. These auditions will take place between Summer 2021 and Fall 2022. 


We’re excited to see you soon! Please reach out to Jeff Schaetzke, Director of Artistic Operations at with any questions.  

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