FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How did Riverside Youth Theatre get started? In 2000, after directing children’s choirs at Victoria Community Church for several years, Debbie Wolgemuth had parents ask her about starting a community children’s theatre. They were eager to get their children involved since they had been on the waiting list of Riverside Children’s Theatre for many years. After researching several Inland Empire children’s theatres, Riverside Youth Theatre was started to provide more performing opportunities for Riverside youth. We are celebrating our 13th season beginning in September 2012. During the past twelve years RYT has been honored with many National Youth Arts and Inland Theatre League Awards of Excellence.
Goals of Riverside Youth Theatre? We want each student to have a quality musical theatre experience. Our audition committees select the right amount of cast members for each production. Keeping registration fees and ticket prices as low as possible so that a theatre experience is affordable for as many families as possible.
What makes Riverside Youth Theatre unique? Character is a word we use often in rehearsals and classes. Remember that teacher you had a as a child, who encouraged you to exhibit old fasioned values…ones that seem to be forgotten today, like having a strong work ethic, cooperative spirit and good clean fun? This is what sets us apart from other theatre group. We encourage these traits in ALL we do. Incentives and rewards are given not just to the “lead performers,” but to those who star in what matters most. Our highest production award is the STAR AWARD given for exceptional character throughout the musical and performance process.
How is Riverside Youth Theatre distinctive?
Affordable (Registration fees are listed on the Classes and Musical pages of the website.)
Old Fashioned Values (Positive character is stressed.)
Teamwork is expected from students AND parents.
After-School Program (Few late nights for young children on school nights, except for dress rehearsals and performance days.)
No Waiting Lists (Any child that auditions has an opportunity to explore, develop and perfect their artistic skills.)
Two Performing Divisions (Performing opportunities available for elementary and teen students.)
Classes Separate From Musicals (You DO NOT have to attend classes to participate in our musicals. Generally, class study helps students improve in acting, dance and singing skills necessary for musical theatre.
Audition Based Theatre (The quality theatres in the area are audition based. We cast the right amount of kids (generally 30-80) for each production to be a QUALITY theatre experience for your child and our audiences.
Costuming (RYT provides costumes for all cast members by thrift storing or renting them. We ask that cast members provide their own shoes, undergarments and make-up for performances.)
Ticket Sales (Our theatre DOES NOT require you to sell a certain amount of tickets for each musical. We encourage and promote ticket sales through a contest. It helps if each cast member sells at least 10 tickets each to help us meet our production expenses.)
Parent Volunteers (We ask parents to volunteer “behind-the-scenes” on committees and provide a gift basket/donate a gift card/request donations from local businesses for our raffle fund raisers.)
Quality Educational Experience (Our overriding goal is for each student to receive a quality theatre experience after participating in our classes or productions. Students will learn to improve their skills, apply their own make-up, build and paint sets.
Training (Teens serve on the production team for some musicals which develop and improve their leadership skills.)
Who can get involved? Riverside Youth Theatre’s regular programs are geared for youth from 1st grade to 20 years. There are musicals geared for our Elementary Division (1st-6th grades) and our Teen Division (7th grade-20 years). Some musicals (i.e. Joseph…Dreamcoat, Fiddler on the Roof, The Wizard of Oz) include all age groups. There is no experience required to audition or participate in a RYT musical. Many students learn through participation. We do not cast preschoolers in our productions, but offer a Preschool class with no recitals or performances.
How do we get involved? The Parent / Student Information Meeting is the recommended first place to attend. We answer most common questions new families have. You get an idea of our expectations for cast members and parents, plus the time commitments involved. See the RYT Calendar page for the next meeting scheduled. Audition hints and expectations are detailed on the Artistic Director’s Page. Riverside Youth Theatre is an audition-based theatre company and we DO NOT have a waiting list. You are NOT required to participate in our classes to audition, but taking classes does help you improve in your acting, dance and singing skills.
Why do you charge a registration fee to participate in classes and musicals? This a business and we have expenses to pay in order for the business to continue operating. Your registration fees plus ticket sales cover the varied expenses for musicals, including rehearsal and theatre rent, liability insurance, musical licensing fees, printing, sets, costums, props, batteries and more. Riverside Youth Theatre has one of the most reasonable registration fees of any local community youth theatres.
How do I become a part of the e-mailing list? Sign-up for Riverside Youth Theatre’s e-mailing list and be notified 3-4 weeks in advance about upcoming auditions, seminars, registration days for classes, productions and civic events of interest. Send an e-mail to Debbie Wolgemuth, Artistic Director at RiversideYouthTheatre@msn.com to join the e-mailing list.
Feedback about Riverside Youth Theatre:
“Congratulations on your new Riverside performance venue! Thank you for your wonderful dedication to theater and the many blessings you bring to Riverside!” (May 2013)
“I just want to thank you so much for all that you are doing for my daughter. Her confidence is building right before my eyes! You are a pro, very dedicated to your field, and I’m so glad to have found your program! So excited about our future with Riverside Youth Theatre!” (January 2013)
“Your production of West Side Story was awesome. Your vocals were most impressive. Keep on keeping on! You’re really making a difference in this world!” (July 2012)
“West Side Story…Probably my favorite RYT show I’ve seen! Great team effort.” (July 2012)
“It was nice meeting you this last Saturday at the performances of Joseph and Spelling Bee. RYT has very high standards and your shows displayed the best in Youth Theatre. I was impressed with the acting, dancing, singing and costumes. The discipline of the children was fantastic and I know you worked hard to get the desired effect. Congratulations to you, your staff and young professionals. I am looking forward to seeing your future performances.” (May 2010)
“Just wanted to drop a note to say how much our daughter enjoyed the recent competition at your theatre. She met some new people and had a great time performing. Thanks for letting the kids have a chance to show their talents on an individual basis. The level of talent was amazing!” (January 2010)
“I just want to thank you for all you do. You have made an enormous impact in the lives of my girls.” (November 2009)
“Our family enjoyed the On Broadway Now production almost as much as the Mulan production that had our own kids in it. Thank you for a wonderful theatre experience. We are looking forward to the new classes coming up.” (August 2009)
“We are so blessed to have had this opportunity to see our kids all on stage at once. Each time our hearts grew! Thank you for your hard work and dedication.” (August 2007)
“Howdy Theatre Lovers…Just a plug for Ms. Wolgemuth: Debbie does a fantastic job with the children and her performances are top notch. She is a professional, and expects participants to meet the challenges of a full scale, live production. My son was in the musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and, not being a singer OR a dancer, learned many new skills and had a terrific (but exhausting) time. Hard work but well worth it!” (March 2007)
“I just wanted to say “Thank you!” again for the theatrical make-up class. All of the students in our co-op who were able to attend came home wanting to practice more and excited about what they learned! What a blessing it was!” (October 2006)
“I have just finished auditioning for Broadway Meets The Movies and … WOW…what a great experience! Everyone was so helpful and nice. I felt welcomed and learned a lot. I attended the How To Audition workshop. There was so much good information. It really helped me to be even more prepared for my audition for RYT and will help me in the future for other auditions as well. Thanks for all the help and I look forward to a wonderful production and making new friends and great memories.” (September 2006)
“I just wanted to thank you and your staff for a very enjoyable experience today. This was my daughter’s very first time auditioning for a part and you all really made it a lot of fun…and minimized the anxiety!” (September 2006)
“What a great day I had seeing Godspell and 101 Dalmations. You do so much wonderful work with all these kids. I hope their parents are truly grateful for the experience you are providing their young ones. 101 Dalmations was such a fun opportunity for the little ones. Cute. And the costumes definitely worked. Godspell was a treat. The musical performance and the voices were so good. Impressive. It was very special to see the feeling and enthusiasm in their faces. Thank you for a delightful day.” (August 2006)
“I would like to thank you and your wonderful crew for the awesome job you have all done. I hate to see this end next week. Our daughter has absolutely loved rehearsing and performing in 101 Dalmatians. It has been such a joy to be a part of RYT. A heartfelt thank you to you, your family, and the director/choreographers. They have all been fantastic.” (This was our second Student Directed production. August 2006)
“I wanted to thank you so much for giving our daughter the opportunity to be in Acorns to Oaks. She enjoyed it so much and had so much fun. She needed to build her confidence level… She loves the stage and singing and dancing. You have a great group of kids and she made many new friends. Thanks again! You did a wonderful job with the kids and the performances were excellent.” (August 2003)
“Bravo! Bravo! Your group’s production of I Do! I Do! was as good as youth theatre gets, to say the least. I saw it Friday evening and was impressed beyond measure. Please give my regards to the kids who produced, directed and stage worked as well as those two young actors with such HUGE talent, to be able to pull off such demanding parts. Bravo to you too because it was obvious the kids had excellent, professional guidance” (Note: This musical was our first student directed production in August 2003)
“Because Joseph is one of our all time favorite musicals, we brought five family members with us who had never seen it. Quite honestly, I really didn’t expect too much from a “youth theatre” and an afternoon matinee. We absolutely loved it and had a great time. The kids were terrific. Again, thank you for a lovely Saturday!” (May 2003)
“So often in theatre groups one sees that the older kids, the “stars” develop personality traits that are less than desirable…thinking they are “all that,” acting bratty, etc. I want to thank you for the excellent spiritual and moral values you foster in the group, as well as all the great directing, teaching, etc. That is what makes this group so much fun to be part of and has made this a great social experience for the kids.” (May 2002)
“Thank you for putting Bye Bye Birdie together! You made my first musical experience very wonderful!” (May 2002)