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Child actors audition in record numbers

March 24, 2019
In this March 17, 2019 photo, Children speak to director Morgan Carder, right, as they audition for Disney's "The Jungle Book Kids" and "Into the Woods Jr." at Fairmont State University's Academy for the Arts in Fairmont, W.Va.. Drawing a large number of children hoping to be cast for a role, the Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts held the auditions for the K-6 production as well as for "Into the Woods Jr." for grades 7-12 at Wallman Hall. (Eric Hrin/Times-West Virginian via AP)

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — Xander Hayes was trying out for the part of King Louie at the auditions for Disney’s “The Jungle Book Kids.”

“My favorite animal is monkeys, and I just thought he would be a cool part to do,” he said.

Drawing a large number of children hoping to be cast for a role, the Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts held the auditions for the K-6 production as well as for “Into the Woods Jr.” for grades 7-12 at Wallman Hall.

Leigh Anne Bolyard, director of the academy and producer of the two shows, said 60 tried out for the “The Jungle Book Kids” and another 30 auditioned for “Into the Woods Jr.”

She said it was a big turnout for the academy’s youth theater company.

“That’s probably the most we’ve ever had turn out for these auditions,” she said.

She attributed the interest in the productions to word-of-mouth and other factors.

And because of that word-of-mouth, she said, the academy for the arts is growing. This year, more than just Marion County children turned out.

“Every year, we’ve had more and more students sign up to audition for our youth theater company shows,” she said.

In addition, Bolyard said children audition after having seen the previous spring’s production. She said she was “absolutely” encouraged by the turnout.

“And a lot of these students that are auditioning with us this year have done classes or private lessons to help prepare for the auditions,” she said.

Bolyard said there were 47 parts in the “The Jungle Book Kids” and 21 in “Into the Woods Jr.” The productions will both be presented the same night from May 16-19.

According to its description, Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts is “dedicated to providing students quality training and exposure to the arts.”

The academy states that it “utilizes Fairmont State facilities and highly qualified instructors drawn from Fairmont State faculty and area teachers,” using the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts standards as a base for its curriculum.

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Information from: Times West Virginian, http://www.timeswv.com