Youth Summer Stock 2024

I directed Youth Summer Stock for 20 summers from 2002’s Princess and the Pea to 2021’s collection including Centaurus One and South Paw. During that time I also directed many other youth productions including some summer youth programs in Hudsonville and the Fall/Winter Youth program. Most memorable was 2021’s production of Velveteen Rabbit, which was completely zoomed. I did not meet most of the cast in person until the day we filmed each individual part.

When we were looking at buying that building, we figured out that I had worked with over 250 youth in those 20 years.

Then I moved. I missed it. Now, I’m home.

Next week Youth Summer Stock One starts, (Youth Summer Stock Two opens three weeks later). And I am excited. I feel like a can of Coke being shaken with all your might.

And I’m a little scared. Days at Youth Summer Stock were so exhausting that at 2:30, after the kids went home, I would sit at my desk reach for my mouse, look at the clock, and realize I had been sleeping for an hour.

Feeling very grateful. Two years away from theater is torture. I am grateful for being able to come home and get involved in theater again. Very grateful to be working with some of the most talented youth in the world.

Director’s panic has already set in. Anyone who has led a project knows the feeling. Is everything ready to go? Are all props collected? Will the costumes be done in time? (Although I do have a great costumer, Marcy, and I trust her) Will the cast be ready for opening night? Etc.

I guess this blog is Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2… After Summer Stock Ends…


Day One: I’m exhausted. Had fun. Got a lot of work done. Emmalyn joined us today.

Lunch with 30 kids.

“I Thessalonians 5:11 – Encourage one another and build one another up.” Kiyah

“I got to know more of the younger girls I work with, they are such a delight” Reagan


Today was tech day. A thousand and one details to iron out. Who moves what, who puts the prop in place, and who turns the set? It may have looked like chaos at times, but I have a wonderfully stupendous group of kids. They were volunteering to help. A couple of times I went backstage to assign a task and the kids already had the job done. I am so proud of them.



They have been working hard. I always say that I would not ask an actor to do something I would not do myself.

Well, I broke my rule. When you come to see the show, you will see the doors holding up their door forever and a day. I could not do what they were doing. But boy-oh-boy, they are amazing. (I think the doors are the hardest working group of actors I have.)

This is Friday. Just two more dress rehearsals until we perform in front of a live audience. They are ready… I may not be, but they are.