The Delaware All-State Theatre (DAST) is an organization, now in its 5th year, that puts on a musical every summer using the best high school and middle school performers from throughout the state of Delaware.
This year's production of HAIRSPRAY is set to open this Friday, June 22nd.
DAST was started by Artistic Director/Producer, Jeff Santoro. HAIRSPRAY marks its 5th major musical production. Previously, DAST produced LES MISERABLES: STUDENT EDITION, WEST SIDE STORY, URINETOWN, and RAGTIME.
Below is a Q&A with DAST Associate Producer, Deb Johnson, about DAST.
MB: What inspired Jeffrey Santoro to start the DAST program?
DJ: Jeff often goes to area high school shows and wondered what it would be like to put the "best of the best" onstage together. There's all-state choir, band, sports ... but nothing for theater. He saw a void and filled it.
MB: How are students selected to participate in DAST?
DJ: Students are selected by audition, just like any other theatrical production. The only stipulation is that they must be a [middle or high school] student.
MB: How do you think students who participate in DAST benefit from the program?
DJ: We hope that the kids get a feel for what working on a professional production is like. We bring in professionals to teach workshops, we hire pros to work on our productions, and we often travel to NYC to work with Broadway folks. We want them to see that they actually can go beyond their comfort zone to produce an exceptional product.
MB: What can audiences who attend a DAST production expect?
DJ: We hope that we provide our audiences with an exceptional theatrical experience. Our goal is for audience members to completely forget that they are watching kids onstage (which we've heard time and time again).
If you are in the Delaware area this weekend or next weekend, don't miss DAST's production of HAIRSPRAY at The University of Delaware's Thompson Theatre!
The show opens on Friday, June 22nd and runs through Sunday, July 1st.
To purchase tickets and for more information, visit DAST's website.