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Industry First: The REP Named to Orlando Sentinel’s Top 100 Companies

Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP), in partnership with UCF, was named one of Central Florida’s Top 100 Companies by Orlando Sentinel at a special awards luncheon, the first arts and cultural organization to receive this honor in the program’s history. The REP is Florida’s only full-time professional theatre for families and young audiences, and has staged recent box-office hits such as Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical and Junie B. Jones The Musical! A long-standing premiere award program in Central Florida, Orlando Sentinel’s Top 100 Companies seeks to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in Orlando, benefiting the city’s economy, work force, and business. The list recognizes companies that demonstrate a core commitment to creating a positive employee experience, measuring workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. Applicants are also evaluated on benefits that are provided to employees in the following categories: core benefits, family related benefits, work environment, communication, training and planning, and supporting documents. “We have immense pride to be recognized as one of Central Florida’s Top 100 Companies by Orlando Sentinel,” says Gene Columbus, Executive Director. “We work hard to take care of our employees, create a positive work environment, and treat our staff like The REP Family we are!” Orlando Repertory Theatre’s benefits include a flexible work environment, comprehensive medical and dental plan, along with a generous vacation …

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The REP Announces Its 2016 – 2017 SEASON

Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP), in partnership with UCF, is proud to announce its 2016 – 2017 Season! The REP is Orlando’s premiere and Florida’s only professional theatre for families and young audiences, and has staged recent box-office hits such as Rudolph The Red-Nosed The Musical and Junie B. Jones The Musical! Rock The Presidents (October 10 – November 13, 2016) is a high-octane musical revue spanning the entire history of the American presidency – from George Washington to Barack Obama, while looking ahead to the future! The men who rose to the highest office in the land are brought to life through all-new original songs in a variety of genres: rock, hip-hop, blues, pop, jazz, reggae, country, and more! Audiences young and old alike will learn something new about our Presidents, while perhaps seeing something of themselves reflected in the stories on stage with a book and lyrics by Dwayne Hartford and music by Sarah Roberts. Harry Connick, Jr.’s The Happy Elf (November 7 – December 18, 2016), from the Grammy-winning musician, this joyous new jazz musical sure to become a holiday favorite! Eubie is the happiest elf in the North Pole, whose constant energy and exuberance wears others out. Eubie believes if he can restore joy to the forlorn town of Bluesville, full of children on the naughty list, he will win a …

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The REP’s Emily Freeman Honored at Evans High School Heroes Event

by Brynleigh Benak, REP Intern “From the moment you guys first walked through the door of room 7-301 I knew that you were about to change my life.” “Through this entire project I’ve learned to be a bit more free and silly and not to worry about it if people laugh or not because it’s theatre and it’s entire goal is to make people happy while sending a message and I love that.” “You made me develop my leadership role by allowing me to share my opinions and thoughts amongst my peers.” “Thank you for being my teacher, best friend, and guider.” These quotes are from the students of Evans High School to Orlando Repertory Theatre’s Community Engagement Director, Emily Freeman. Emily was nominated, and ultimately selected, as an Evans High School Community Hero at EHS’s Honoring Our Heroes event, which recognizes members of the community who are working specifically with and for young people at Evans High School. Emily was selected based on her direction and involvement with students in one of The REP’s theatre-based community engagement programs. Brynleigh Benak (BB): First of all, congratulations on your recognition at Evans High School! Can you tell me about the program? Emily Freeman (EF): Thank you! We have worked with Evans High School for five years providing an in-school residency program. We send teaching artists to …

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Junie B. Jones Returns to The REP With an All-New Musical!

Orlando, FL (April 4, 2016) – Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP) presents Junie B. Jones The Musical (April 4 – May 15, 2016). This production is presented by OUC – The Reliable One and directing sponsor Appleton Creative. She’s back with an all-new show! It’s Junie B.’s first day of first grade and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie B.’s friend Lucille does not want to be her best pal anymore, and on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie B. has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly lunch lady, a kickball tournament, and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal”, and first grade has never been more exciting! “While thinking about bringing Junie B. back to life at The REP, we wanted to find a new way to introduce our audiences to the world of Junie B. Jones!,” says director Steve MacKinnon. “We approached the production as a look into Junie B.’s first-grade journal, and wacky and distracted world! Using a highly conceptualized design of projections, scenic design, lighting, props, and costumes, we have strived to capture the essence of this precocious little girl. We have had so much fun discovering the characters in Junie B.’s world and making them come to life …

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Building Imagination: Stephen Pugh Reflects On 13-Show Run At The REP

Actor Feature: Skippyjon Jones by Danica Taylor Skippyjon Jones, currently playing at The REP, is Stephen Pugh’s 13th production as an actor on our stages. Pugh plays the roles of Scar, Princess, Sir Mew Mew, and the memorable villain, Alfredo Buzzito. Some of his past credits at The REP include The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer TYA, The Borrowers, and Orphie and the Book of Heroes. We sat down with Stephen and asked him to share some stories about his career, experience, and favorite memories with The REP. How did you choose to pursue a career in theatre? What is your story? Stephen: “The first time I did theatre was just before high school. My sister had been part of the theatre department there, and she suggested I do the summer show before my freshman year. The show was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I played Benjamin, the youngest brother. After that, I just kept doing show after show in high school.” At one of his last high school last shows, Stephen was invited to audition for a scholarship for Seminole State College. He received the award and continued to do shows while in college. He was the only student cast in his first professional show with Orlando Theatre Project, and eventually left school to start working …

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“Skippyjon Jones” Brings Musical Mexican Fun to The REP

Orlando, FL (February 29, 2016) – Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP) presents Skippyjon Jones (February 29 – April 3, 2016). This production is supported by Walt Disney World. Skippyjon Jones is a rambunctious Siamese kitten with big ears and an even bigger imagination. When his loving, yet exasperated mother puts Skippyjon in time-out, he cannot help but daydream. His imagination takes him far, far away to Mexico, where he pretends that he is a swashbuckling Chihuahua. This sweet, silly tale celebrates the power of imagination. As Skippyjon would say, “Mucho fun!” “We are so pleased to present this sweet, adventurous story about a curious Siamese cat with big ears and a vivid imagination,” says director Gary Cadwallader. “Based on the books by Judith Schachner, this story perfectly captures the innocence and imagination of youth, and demonstrates how a closet, cape, and a few toys can lead to a lively adventure. In Skippyjon’s instance, his unusually large ears lead him to believe he’s a Chihuahua, which transports him on a fantastic journey to experience the culture of Mexico. There, he learns that Chihuahuas are kind, loving creatures that share common hopes, fears, and a sense of community. And, boy, do they love to fiesta! It’s wonderful when everyone can share their unique, personal stories, and learn from one another’s cultures.” Skippyjon Jones is now playing Saturdays …

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