Macy Thiebaud remembers how nervous she felt before stepping into a Kids Who Care rehearsal for the first time.
The 2012 original production of Freedom Bound was the then 8-year-old Thiebauds’s first time in a large theater, but it wouldn’t be her last.
“Everyone was so welcoming,” she recalled. “They just made me feel that they really wanted me there. I fell in love with that.”
That love has kept Thiebaud involved in Kids Who Care for 10 years. Now, she serves as student staff liaison for the new June Performing Arts Camp, where she’s helping prepare students for their upcoming production showcase on June 25-26.
The showcase is a surprise mix of different Broadway musical numbers. The event offers free admission and will be in the W.E. Scott Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.
“The songs that we chose are our secret,” artistic director Jay Armstrong Johnson said. “You’re gonna have to show up to find out.”
IF YOU GO:
Address: 1300 Gendy Fort Worth, TX 76107
Saturday, June 25: 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 26: 2 p.m.
Tickets are free but you can reserve your seats online at www.kidswhocare.org.
The camp is a collaboration between Kids Who Care Performing Arts and Bridge Arts Project.
Started in 2021, the two-week performance camp focuses on theater training, tech design, production, workshops and performance opportunities for children ages 8 through 18.
“What we’ve tried to do for this camp is create performance equity for all of our campers,” Johnson said. “So everyone has a moment to step into the spotlight and to shine, and to really grow as an artist.”
With every annual camp, alumni come back to volunteer and mentor the new campers. Mya Bryant joined Kids Who Care in 2010. She is now working as an assistant choreographer for this year’s June camp.
“I have a really close knit community here,” Bryant said.
“I think the most important thing about being a teacher is just being relatable,” Bryant added. “It’s letting the kids know that you’re human as well. That it’s OK to learn and make mistakes. That’s what helps me help other children get more comfortable with dancing and learning.”
The first week of the camp focused on preparations and rehearsals for two music videos shot by music video editor Ron Gonzalez. The videos will be a part of the final live performance. The second week focused on rehearsals, Johnson said.
Kids Who Care is a program founded in 1989 that produces musical theater classes, camps and productions year-round. An upcoming July international theatre camp will focus on original musicals.
Bridge Arts Project is a training and mentorship program that supports emerging artists nationwide. The company was started by Johnson with fellow Broadway actors Mary Michael Patterson and Ahmad Simmons in 2020. All three are Texas natives.
Johnson has appeared in several Broadway productions since 2010. He appeared in the revival shows of Hair, Catch Me if You Can, and most recently in 2018 The Phantom of the Opera on its 30th Broadway anniversary.
With his experience, Johnson’s worked to pass on rituals and lessons he’s learned on stage.
“We like to teach our kids to be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late and to be late is to be history,” Johnson said.
As they prepare for opening night, Thiebaud hopes audience members will feel the kid’s love and dedication put into the showcase.
“I know my sister, my friends, like everyone here who’s grown up here has found their place, ” she said. “I feel like we create shows and moments that hopefully bring the audience into that and help them find their moment.”
David Moreno is a multimedia specialist fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.