file photo by Michael Brunk
Kody Bringman and Becca Orts in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW staged by ArtsWest in 2010.

Too much talent: Arts West holding new auditions to accommodate West Seattle young theatre talent

By Emile Monte

If you’re between the ages of thirteen and eighteen and are interested in developing your acting skills over the summer by participating in a professional production right in the heart of West Seattle, it might have disappointed you to find out that auditions for the Arts West Conservatory program have come and gone as of this past weekend. As it turns out, those who did audition were talented enough to inspire Arts West coordinators to accommodate them—and still others who would like to audition—for a whole different production, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, featuring more opportunities and more solos than the originally programmed Guys and Dolls.

That’s right. You still have a chance. An even better one.

The 1967 Clark Gesner musical comedy about making the most of life, based off Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts, will be directed by Kate Jaeger, musically directed by Jeff Bell, and choreographed by Taryn Darr. Kate Jaeger and Taryn Darr are both accomplished actresses known for their contributions to Seattle Children’s, Village, and Arts West theatres. Jeff Bell teaches at Cornish and also contributes to Seattle Children’s and Village theatres.

The Conservatory program, as well as both the Acting and Musical Theatre Academy programs aimed at talent between the ages of eight and twelve (no audition required), have been designed to offer All-star teaching talent. These are actors and actresses, directors and musical directors, choreographers and tech who are professional and experienced—what you would expect from the big name programs held downtown at the 5th Ave and Seattle Rep theatres.

In the scheme of the year-long teaching programs available at Arts West, the summer Academies and Conservatory are “the diamond of the diamond ring,” explains artistic director Annie Lareau. Those kids who have been honing their skills after school throughout the year can come together with new talent over the summer to bring to fruition a truly professional program over the course of six weeks. The pressure of a full-scale production is taken off the shoulders of the younger age groups in the Academies in favor of two week educational programs that produce smaller scale scenes still performed on Arts West’s main stage.

If you’re eighteen or older and experienced in either theatre or teaching (or both), Arts West is also accepting applications for paid internships. You’d be assisting the professionals in guiding and inspiring the young talent of these Academy and Conservatory programs.

The new Conservatory auditions will be held on April 21st at Arts West theatre. For more information, visit the Arts West website or email

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