After 20 years honing the onstage skills of local kids, producer Carrie Beauchamp realized they needed an additional outlet for their talents.
“There came a point when I noticed my young adults were begging for more. They are so eager and so talented,” says Beauchamp. “They just needed more to shine.”
So she began working with an artistic team in 2016 to create the first Hidden Talents Glee show, a presentation of Broadway and popular tunes sung by dozens of local teens and pre-teens.
The show has gained momentum ever since, attracting more to auditions and adding a second matinee for elementary students that sold out last year.
This year, six performances are scheduled May 29 to June 1, involving 104 children aged five to 18.
The goal is to provide an opportunity for as many solos and duets as possible, giving eager teens a spotlight while incorporating the younger ones so they too gain skills and enjoy the thrill of live performance, said Beauchamp.
“We’re picky about making sure the songs are done appropriately, that we are doing justice to the piece.”
Careful consideration is also given to the music. Beauchamp works with an artistic team of six who select the bulk of the songs. Secondary auditions are held once the cast is set and those in the show are urged to come forward with their own suggestions.
“This year, one of our eight-year-old boys performed “When I’m Sixty Four” for us. It was his idea and it is so good we had to include it,” she said.
An older trio perform another Beatles song, “Let It Be,” and other numbers include “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin, “Born to Hand Jive” from Grease, and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” which has become the show’s traditional closer.
In total, there are 32 songs, featuring a six-piece live band and performed as solos, duets, trios or with the full cast.
“Glee is just as much work as a full-fledged musical,” said Beauchamp. “We still do all the singing, the costumes and choreography, everything except a story line.”
Beauchamp said she is fortunate to earn her living through local theatre.
“Hidden Talents is my full-time job and I love it,” she said. “I get to work with these phenomenal children.”
She started Hidden Talents, a not-for-profit company, in 1995 and began staging annual Nightingale Choir Christmas productions. She also launched a musical theatre summer camp for kids that books up quickly every year for seven weeks and has grown to employ 25 paid staff. This year, summer camp is moving to St. Francois Xavier School.
Every few years, Hidden Talents stages a musical like Jesus Christ Superstar in 2017, but Glee has become an annual show.
Beauchamp hires her artistic team for Glee, which includes Jayme Davies, Olivia Gogas, Chris McCloskey, Fayth Kardas, Olivia Voise and Hannah Fadder.
“This is very much a group effort,” she said. “We try to make it as professional as possible.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Hidden Talents Glee 2019, a potpourri of Broadway tunes and pop hits.
WHEN: Nightly at 7:30 p.m. May 29 – June 1. 2 p.m. matinee June 1.
WHERE: Imperial Theatre, 168 Christina St.
TICKETS: $25 adult; $16 under 18 available online or by calling the box office at 519-344-7469.