First Stage alum Brian Craft to appear in "Hula Hoop Sha-boop" at Stackner Cabaret

12:24 PM
By Mithra Ballesteros, First Stage Children's Theater

It's August and as a college junior at Shenandoah Conservatory, Brian Craft should be packing up to head back to school.  But when the twenty-year-old nailed an audition for  "Hula Hoop Sha-Boop", his plans changed.

Katie Siri and Brian Craft in HULA HOOP SHA-BOOP at the Stackner Cabaret.  Photo by Tony Clements.
In the four-person musical review that opens tonight, Craft plays "Paul," a dorky guy who lights up the stage when he sings.  Craft raves about the production:  "It's a baby boomer show with really distinctive characters.  Everyone will find something to love in this show." 

As a native of Brookfield and an alumni of First Stage Children's Theater where he performed in the 2004 production of MISS NELSON IS MISSING, Craft is thrilled to be in Milwaukee.  "I love Milwaukee.  And First Stage is near and dear to my heart.  When I auditioned for this part, it was great to share my First Stage connection with the director, Tony Clements."

Said Clements about Craft's First Stage experience, "As a director, it meant that I had a clear idea of the kind of theatrical environment Brian came from, and the training he had.  It was definitely a positive thing."

Craft agrees that his background with First Stage's Theater Academy and First Stage productions provided him with a solid foundation.  "First Stage taught me rehearsal technique.  I rely on that training at school and now at work."

But as Craft's director points out, "When push came to shove, I cast Brian based on what he did in the audition, his singing voice, and who he is.  Brian had an innocence and an honesty that I was looking for."

So while First Stage takes pride in the accomplishments of its alums, it can take no credit.  That goes to Brian, a very talented young man who has an excellent reason for being a little late back to school.

For an inside peek at rehearsals for "Hula Hoop Sha-Boop", click here.  JK Productions/West 30th Productions' "Hula Hoop Sha-Boop" runs at the Stackner Cabaret from August 6 - September 4.  Click here for ticket information.

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