Cast members rehearse for next week’s Cool School Showcase event at the Count Basie Theatre.
By TOM CHESEK
In some respects, it’s not all that different from those good old school talent shows that generations have known and tolerated.
Only in this case, many of the kids doing the singing, the dancing and the acting are skilled and budding pros who already have agents. And instead of an all-purpose room with folding aluminum chairs, the show goes up on the boards of one of the most famous entertainment stages on the East Coast; a Red Bank venue whose marquee groans these days with the names of such heavyweights as Wayne Newton, Lewis Black and a local talent by name of Springsteen.
Under the supervision of Executive Director Yvonne Lamb Scudiery, the Cool School program at the Count Basie Theatre has been offering an ambitious and highly regarded curriculum of classes and workshops for aspiring actors, musicians and dancers aged 4 to 16 years. The course selections, taught by a crew of seasoned pros, range from funtime-atmosphere weekend activities to some very serious seminars in professional development and audition technique.
Young performers from all over Monmouth and parts of Ocean County as well as master-class students hailing from precincts in northern NJ and NYC have taken some crucial first steps at the Count’s Cool School. The sessions, which begin each January, April, July and September, climax with the presentation of a quarterly Cool School Showcase, the Winter 2008 edition of which comes to the Basie stage on the evening of March 18.