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Seeing Stars at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre

By Ratasha Smith

Come see the stars from Jupiter: the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, that is.

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is Florida's largest award-winning regional theatre. "Our not-for-profit Theatre has become one of Florida's preeminent professional theatres, committed to performance, production, and education through its collaborations with local and national artists," says Linnea Bailey, the public relations director for the theatre.

"Our status as a not-for-profit regional theatre means that every dollar spent at the theatre (whether through donations or ticket sales) goes back into the local economy." Bailey says.

The theatre was founded in 2001 by a group of local area supporters. The theatre was then renovated and opened by 2004. The theatre is now in its 13th season and has won multiple Carbonell awards, South Florida's highest honor for artistic excellence - including the prestigious Bill Von Maurer Award for Theatrical Excellence.

"The award is given to the theater company that exemplifies excellence for the totality of its programming: productions, educational outreach, developmental programs and audiences served," Bailey explains.

Led by Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato, the theatre's season runs from October to April, leaving the summer months for family-friendly programming and summer camp programs. During the upcoming season, will be producing the musicals Billy Elliot The Musical, The Will Rogers Follies and Kiss Me Kate, as well as the mystery Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap and the drama Frost/Nixon.

"We try to choose a season that will offer something for everyone," Bailey says. "The Number 1 rule of producing is 'know your audience,' and although many of our audience members appreciate musical theatre, there are others that want challenging drama."

The 617-seat theatre attracts about 100,000 people annually and has a subscription base of about 7,626. "Our audience is made up of both year-round and seasonal residents. Many of our audience members are from larger cities, such as Cleveland and New York, and they're used to going to Broadway and other cultural events regularly. This gives them their 'theatre fix' for the season," Bailey says.

For those who want to be center stage, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre hold auditions in Florida, New York, and Chicago for adults. For children, the theatre holds local free auditions for children and teens through their "First Steps to Stardom" process, where they hire younger performers for the upcoming season to fill the younger roles. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre follows the Actors' Equity Association (AEA) union requirements and host Equity Principal Auditions (EPAs), or union open calls. Children, both performers and theatregoers alike, can also attend the Paul and Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts, which provides afterschool, weekend, and summer programs for more than 600 students. "We believe that our investment in these students is important because they are the next generation of audience members and performers," Bailey says.

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre also employs roughly 182 people annually, including staff, designers, and performers. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, $2.5 million of its annual $6.8 million budget is donated.

"Supporting the Theatre with a tax-deductible contribution supports daily operations for the Theatre and its Conservatory," says Bailey. "This allows the Conservatory to scholarship 25 percent of its students and supports outreach programs such as the Theatre's student matinees - in which more than 3,000 area students are bussed in each season to attend children's performances - and the Conservatory's Page to Stage program, in which Theatre teaching artists travel to area schools to engage students in the process of bringing a story from its written form to the stage."

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About The Author

Ratasha Smith is a correspondent for the Inner-City Newspaper in New Haven,...

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