Summer Music Theatre Showcase supports scholarships for students

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 10, 2013

ROCHESTER — Once school is out, many parents are left wondering what to do with their children for the summer. Many looking to keep their kids engaged and active turn to Summer Music Theatre, managed through Rochester Community Schools’ Summer Learning Program.

Started in 1973 at Adams High School, Summer Music Theatre is now a community-wide education offering that allows middle school and high school students to study the theater process, onstage and backstage, with a new production each summer.

However, to participate in the summer program, students must pay a sizeable fee. JoAnna Pillsbury, Summer Music Theatre director, said those who can’t afford the fee can submit for a scholarship, based on need.

“A lot of kids can’t afford to do Summer Music Theatre because it’s a $375 fee to do it — which is money that goes into the district for the program to operate — so to allow those kids to participate, we do a fundraiser every year,” she said.

Summer Music Theatre alumni will present this year’s SMT Showcase, which provides young students access to the program by raising funds for scholarships, at 7 p.m. July 13 at Adams High School, 3200 Tienken Road in Rochester Hills. Those who wish to attend are asked to bring a donation of at least $10 per person for admittance to general seating.

“It is a fundraiser event, but it’s also very entertaining. We have high school-graduated students that are in college and some that have already graduated from college. These are people that are going into musical theater or some form of musical entertainment as a career, so the quality of their voices is very high. It’s just amazing to hear this group of people sing,” Pillsbury said.

The one-time special evening SMT Showcase performance has become a tradition, Pillsbury added, providing a showcase of returning talent, all connected with SMT in some way. The night will feature approximately 20 songs, including a variety of solos, ensembles and even a full-cast song from “Shrek: The Musical” — this summer’s SMT production that will open just a few weekends later on the Adams High School stage. 

Eight of the more-than 100 local middle and high school students in “Shrek: The Musical” are able to participate in this year’s SMT production as a result of the funding provided by last year’s SMT Showcase.

This year’s SMT production will open July 25-27.

“You have to see the amount of talent that these kids have. It’s stinking phenomenal,” said Cat Menzies, vocal director for “Shrek: The Musical.”

Show times for “Shrek: The Musical” are 7 p.m. July 25-27 and 1 p.m. July 27. Tickets for the night performances are $10 for students and seniors, and $12 for adults, while matinee tickets are $8 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults.

Tickets can be purchased online at, at Adams High Theatre 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. weekdays through July 24, and at the door one hour before each performance.