Monday, March 9, 2015

YATS Announces Summer Slate

Pirates, surfers, monsters and 1950s greasers will sing and dance their way through the summer in Slidell Little Theatre’s highly acclaimed youth program, Young Actors Theatre of Slidell, in four separate productions for youth in grades 4 through graduating seniors.

More commonly known by the acronym YATS, the program targets youth from as young as 4 years old to graduating seniors, with the younger kids placed in the Mini-YATS program and older youth divided into four separate age-appropriate productions. Applications for participation in the Young Actors Theatre of Slidell will be accepted on the theatre’s website, beginning on April 1, 2015.

This year’s productions for the older youth are: We Are Monsters, for Young Juniors (kids entering 4th and 5th grades); Hang Ten, for Juniors (entering 6th and 7th grades); Pirates of Penzance  Jr, Young Seniors (entering 8th and 9th); and Grease, for Seniors (entering 10th to graduating seniors).

About the Shows

WE ARE MONSTERS - We Are Monsters is a hilarious new musical that follows human kids into a monster cabaret filled with quirky monster characters. The adventurous humans uncover vegetarian vampires and rock n’ roll werewolves, gradually realizing there may be more to these monsters than meets the eye! Most importantly these monsters and kids discover the importance of friendship and celebrating in the attributes that make each of us different and unique.

HANG TEN – Surfing songs in the style of the famous Beach Boys, the Ventures and other beach music bands give this one act musical comedy endless energy and fun. An Italian immigrant’s Surfin’ Burger restaurant sits on one of California’s best beachfronts. But his dream of owning a restaurant in America is about to be shattered. Not only are his granddaughters becoming too American for Luigi’s tastes, but scheming land developers try to steal his property to build a huge hotel on it. Filled with both hijinks and heart, audiences will cheer as Luigi is able to thwart the developers thanks to the help of his daughter, granddaughters, their surfer friends and a bird-watching society.

PIRATES OF PENZANCE JR– Set on the rocky coast of Cornwall, England, The Pirates Of Penzance JR. begins with a group of pirates who are celebrating the birthday of one of their own, Frederic, who has reached his twenty-first year. Finally having served the full length of his required time with the pirates, he decides to strike off on his own and become an upstanding citizen – which may even mean bringing the pirates to justice. Thus turns out to be a tricky prospect indeed, especially when Frederic’s freedom is called into question!

GREASE - Here is Rydell High's senior class of 1959: duck-tailed, hot-rodding "Burger Palace Boys" and their gum-snapping, hip-shaking "Pink Ladies" in bobby sox and pedal pushers, evoking the look and sound of the 1950s in this rollicking musical. Head "greaser" Danny Zuko and new (good) girl Sandy Dumbrowski try to relive the high romance of their "Summer Nights" as the rest of the gang sings and dances its way through songs recalling the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Elvis Presley that became the soundtrack of a generation. An 8-year run on Broadway and two subsequent revivals along with innumerable school and community productions place Grease among the world's most popular musicals.


The younger children are entered in the Mini-YATS program, which engages children from age four to eight for five days during which they learn their lines, music and blocking, make their props and costumes if necessary. The week culminates in a performance on Saturday morning. This year’s production is Billy No Buzz.

Here is the complete rundown of the YATS program schedule:

For entering grades Pre-K to 3rd grade
(Sessions run Monday-Friday from 9am- 2pm with a performance at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning)
Session 1:       June 1-June 5 with performance on June 6
Session 2:       June 8-June 12 with performance on June 13
Session 3:       June 15-June 19 with performance on June 20
Session 4:       June 22-June 26 with performance on June 27
Audition Prep Workshop: May 26 (times vary according to age group)
            Young Juniors (entering grades 4th & 5th) – May 27 at 5:00 p.m.
            Juniors (entering grades 6th & 7th) – May 27 at 7:00 p.m.
            Young Seniors (entering grades 8th & 9th) – May 28 at 6:00 p.m.
            Seniors (entering grades 10th through finishing 12th) – May 29 at 6:00 p.m.
            Young Juniors – “We Are Monsters” – June 26, 27 and 28
            Juniors- “Hang Ten” - July 9, 11 and 12
Young Seniors – “Pirates of Penzance” -July 10, 11 and 12
            Seniors- “Grease” - July 16, 17, 18 and 19
Unlike any other children’s theatre camp on the north shore, Slidell Little Theatre’s program is the only one to offer help with college tuition through the Lonnie Hass Scholarship, which is awarded to YATS graduating high school seniors who intend to study the performing arts in college.

Since the year 2000, Slidell Little Theatre, through its YATS program, has disbursed nearly $50,000 to local YATS high school graduates to help further their studies in the performing arts.

There is a fee for participation in the YATS program, with special adjusted rates for members of Slidell Little Theatre.  Registration opens April 1, 2015 and applications can be downloaded from the community theatre’s website at For additional information about the YATS program, please email

Monday, March 2, 2015

‘Doubt’ Poster Artist Paints with Photography

Naomi Schmidt
Encouraged by her father, Naomi Schmidt began taking photos when she was about 10 or 11 years old. In college, she borrowed a friend's single-lens reflex camera and started taking pictures of her fellow classmates playing football and other activities.

Since then, she has upgraded her camera equipment, as well as her knowledge base. Her award-winning photography has been recognized by the St. Tammany Art Association, Louisiana Office of Tourism photo, and Slidell Art League. Her photography has been commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce in Slidell and the Bellsouth Real Yellow Pages for St. Tammany Parish, in addition to donations to organizations and events like Christmas Under the Stars, Slidell Heritage Festival, Tammany Trace, and Habitat for Humanity.

Naomi grew up in the New Orleans and attended Concordia Lutheran College in Michigan before graduating from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education, followed by a Master's degree. She has been a resident of St. Tammany Parish and an Adapted Physical Education Teacher (P.E. for children with special needs) for the St. Tammany Parish School System since 1987.

Photography, she feels, cannot only be a work of art, but it can help to preserve the beauty of the past and the present for future generations.

Naomi explains the behind-the-lens look at her composition of the photo that became the poster for “Doubt: A Parable.”

Poster by Naomi Schmidt

“When researching for a poster, I gather as much information about the characters and story's plot from multiple resources.  This process can last for weeks prior to actually shooting the poster creation. The resources may be in a film version; a book;  or most probably the script itself.  I take each character (primary) and find something that may represent each to include in my poster creation. While I created this poster approximately one year ago, I remember that the priest in the story also coached basketball, hence the basketball trophy.  There are nuns in the story, hence the prayer beads or a rosary.  

"Wedding rings, because as this 'Lutheran Girl' understands it, the nuns are married to the Church to represent or symbolize 'marriage' or fidelity to the Church.  The Bible, of course, is the whole connection to the basis of the story. I chose the background cloth for a couple of reasons: wrinkled to represent the complicated storyline and the color purple can symbolize pain, suffering, and therefore mourning and penitence.

"The pen represents multiple uses of the pen, as in the priest and his sermons, the nun and her reports and the nuns as the Teachers.

"I shot the photo on the back of my flatbed truck tailgate as a still life set up, mainly because natural lighting seems to be the best."  

Slidell Little Theatre’s production of the powerful drama, “Doubt: A Parable” is onstage weekends through March 15, 2015.

A Catholic priest, Father Flynn, is suspected by Sister Aloysius of sexual molestation of the only African American boy in a Catholic school in New York City. She is determined to stop him. Sister James, a neophyte nun, wants to do the right thing, but is unsure who to believe. Mrs. Muller, the mother of the boy in question, doesn’t want to cause any trouble for reasons of her own. The audience is challenged in their own beliefs and criteria for accusation. Did he do it or is he being falsely accused?

The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning “Doubt” is directed by Gary Mendoza and stars Larry Johnson, Jr. as Father Flynn, Anne Pourciau as Sister Aloysius, Maria Hefte as Sister James and Shelby Faciane as Mrs. Muller.