MOUNT VERNON — With only one week until the opening night of “How I Became a Pirate,” the production’s director has been preparing for the event for some time now.
JJ House, 11, first became enamored with theater after seeing the MTVarts presentation of The Wizard of Oz.
“It was action, it had great music and the actors were fantastic,” said JJ. He auditioned and received a part in the MTVarts presentation of Rodgers and Hammersteins “Cinderella” where he played a townsperson.
“It was fun, we got to sing songs and get to know great people,” he said. JJ then decided he wanted to be a director.
“It’s always fun because you get tired of acting sometimes, to tell you the truth. Say you want to try something new each year, so that’s what I did,” said JJ.
After talking with his aunt, Sadie Hunter, vice president of MTVarts, along with the help of producer Janis Stone and artistic director Bruce Jacklin, they helped to make JJ a director.
Stone said that the team at MTVarts chose the musical and proposed the idea to the budding director.
“Aunt Sadie came over to our house with “How I Became a Pirate” with the music on a CD,” said JJ.
According to JJ, one key to preparing for the role of director is that “you have to get along with people.”
“You have to get along with the music director, choreographer, you have to make sure they can do the right actions for the right music,” said JJ. He added that his favorite part of being a director so far has been to see all of his old friends from previous shows like “Cinderella.”
According to ‘The JJ Project’ website, some of JJ’s directorial duties, with supervision from his mentor, director Bruce Jacklin, are to “oversee auditions” for the role of the character Jeremy Jacob in “How I Became a Pirate,” “guide the actors through the rehearsal process,” and to “approve to his production staff children who have previously been involved with MTVarts.”
“The most challenging part is (that) you have to get along with the music director. She really hammers it to you, which I can understand because you want them to sing well and it makes sense too; you don’t want a bad voice, especially when you’re on stage where there’s a lot of people,” said JJ.
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