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Mulan Cast List


Mulan  Cast List

Caleb – Mushu, Son

Hannah – Ling, Daughter

Katie – Laozi, Lin, Mother

Kylie – Mag-Yar, Daughter

Alyssa – Mulan

Jazzlyn – Yao, Mother

Jessica – Subar-Tu, Daughter

Maria – Grandmother Fa, Chinese soldier, Mother

Mallory – Chi Fu, Matchmaker, Daughter

Olivia – Hong, Zhang, Daughter

Max – Fa Zhou, Father, Emperor

Braden – Captain Shang, Father

Brooks- Qing Po, Son

Neely – Yun, Mother

Micheal – Shan Yu, Father

Caleigh – Fa Li, Chinese soldier, Mother

Candace – Chen, Daughter

Additional ensemble (dressmakers, hairdressers, soldiers, etc.) and group roles will be assigned throughout rehearsals, all of which have a heavy stage presence.

Spotlight Acting School’s First Theatre-A-Thon

Hello all! I hope all is well and everyone is staying creative! Here at Spotlight things are booming! I wanted to share and give some insight on something coming up that you may not be familiar with.

Over the summer I went a Theatre teacher professional development day, where Theatre teachers from everywhere in Kentucky came to meet and exchange ideas/advice. One of the ideas I really liked came from a local Theatre teacher that raved about the experience. It sounded like so much fun I wondered if Spotlight could have a spin at it.

Thus on Sunday October the 18th Spotlight Acting School is having it’s first Theatre-A-Thon.

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What is a Theatre-A-Thon, you may ask? Well search no more!

Our Theatre-A-Thon is where the whole cast of Alice in Wonderland will gather for six hours at our scene shop at the Spotlight Playhouse. We will be teaching different aspects of theatre throughout the entire day and working on the production.
Spotlight’s ambition is to share the art of performance with our students. A major part of theatre that many do not recognize is behind the scenes work, also known as technical theatre. (Fun fact: Many times it is easier to get a career doing technical theatre than it is with performance.)
During this day, the students will be learning invaluable lessons such as set building, costume construction, and make up design. These are skills that they will need to know in order to become a well-rounded performer. It also helps them gain an appreciation for their show since they were so involved with the process of creating their show, from making their characters to their set pieces come alive.
We are also taking this opportunity to fundraise for Spotlight Performing Arts Inc. This nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide scholarships and financial assistance for students. Did you know that in the 11 years Spotlight has been performing not one student has been turned away for inability to pay? To read all about Spotlight Performing Arts, click here! The cast was sent out with pledge forms, which they will use to fill up with sponsors to support them for every hour they work at the Theatre-A-Thon. For example if someone pledges $1 per hour of the Theatre-A-Thon, they will be donating six dollars. If someone pledges to donate $1,000 an hour they would be my hero! Wishful thinking, right?
On top of all of these benefits of the Theatre-A-Thon, the event will also be valuable time for the cast to bond with each other. It’s basically just going to be one big theatre palooza. The students will be provided lunch and snacks throughout the day, as well as jamming out to some Broadway music. They were super excited when I mentioned I would be making Sarah’s famous Oreo balls to bring.
You can follow our activities that day by entering the hashtag, #SpotlightTheatreAThon on Facebook and Instagram, where we will be taking many pictures and videos of the day’s adventures. I encourage everyone to check it out the 18th! Also if there is a way you would like to get involved please call (859)986-0423 to sign up to sponsor a student or make a donation to Spotlight Performing Arts. Regardless, make sure you come and watch these talented actors perform the very first production at Spotlight’s new campus, Spotlight Theatre on October 29th and 30th at 7:00 and November 1st, at 2:00. You are in for a big, not to mention crazy, treat.

The 7 Golden Things to Bring to Every Rehearsal

A common question I get from parents time to time is, “What does my child need to bring to rehearsal?”

Now that Spotlight Acting School is constantly in the middle some kind of rehearsal (right now we are in full swing of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and starting up Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland. Cinderella and Arsenic and Old Lace audition this weekend), I thought it might be appropriate to share some rehearsal essentials. These are seven things that any actor needs to really thrive during practice!  

1. Closed-Toe Shoes

So many times, especially during summer, it is easy to throw on some flip flops and head on to rehearsal. However, any kind of open toed shoes, such as flip flops or sandals, are not a good choice for rehearsal, and I’m not meaning in a fashion sense. Not only can it be difficult to dance and act in sandals, it can also be dangerous. I can’t count how many stubbed toes could have been prevented. Tennis shoes are always a safe choice that allow actors to move about comfortably. There are also jazz and character shoes to consider as well!

2. Water

I cannot stress this one enough! What many people do not realize about Theatre is that it is an extremely athletic activity. For example, by the eighth time we practice a certain dance in just one rehearsal, it feels like a workout! Young actors (and seasoned ones as well) need to stay hydrated for obvious health reasons. Here at Spotlight, we encourage students to take breaks as they feel they need to, so to have at least one bottle of water nearby is very handy. There are also some instances where we rehearse in a place with no water fountain, so it is always good to get in the habit of bringing your own bottle.

3. Comfortable Clothes

I typically prefer to wear athletic clothes to rehearsal because of how much activity just an hour and a half can provide. Although athletic clothes are not required, rehearsal clothes should be very comfortable. If your young actor does not feel like he or she can move freely in his/her outfit, they should probably change. Actors have enough to worry about singing, dancing, and acting. They don’t have time to be concerned over a wardrobe malfunction!

4. Script

I’m pretty sure I just heard every director in the world go, “Amen!” Here at Spotlight we value our scripts so much that we even have every cast take an oath that they will take care of their script. Sometimes it is inevitable that a script gets left behind, however the more rehearsals that script can make it there the better! Even when students have their lines memorized, scripts are important to practice so students can take notes, go over their lines, or follow along as we review the play.

5. A Pencil

Well, just like school we ask our students to come and take notes, but these notes aren’t for math or science. Of course, we know not every student can read or write, which is totally fine. For those who can, we have found note-taking super helpful for our students to remember what blocking and what stage directions they are instructed to do later. A lot of questions and forgotten direction can be fixed if our students write them down in their scripts.

6. Practice before Practice

This sort of goes hand in hand with bringing your script: knowing the stuff in it. Now parents, I know that most of the time by opening night you know the show as well as the kids do, but that means that they know it too! To push students to their full acting potential, several weeks before dress rehearsal week, we encourage students to be “off book,” which means to have their lines memorized. Because most of our shows take place over the span of several months, if rationed and planned, this is an easy feat. Memorizing a line a night may suffice, or perhaps practicing a dance a couple times before the next rehearsal will do. I know many students like to listen to the music in their car. As a director, it is very easy to tell the difference of when students do go home and practice and when they don’t.

7. Positive Attitude

Because some rehearsals can be difficult it is always best, but hard, to come with a positive outlook on things. I know it is difficult especially on the young ones to repeat something over and over again. It does help the whole atmosphere when students keep enjoying themselves and the rehearsal. Do we expect everyone to always wear a smile? No, though it would be nice. 🙂 However, rehearsal should be a fun atmosphere where children get to express themselves in the arts, and learn about how to better their performance skills. Here at Spotlight, we strive to make rehearsals a positive experience for everyone, therefore negative attitudes should be left at the door.

Of course there are other things every actor can bring to a rehearsal that fit their individual needs. Some students bring healthy snacks in case they get a little hungry. Some students bring notebooks to occupy their time when they are not learning a lesson or on the stage. Electronic devices are never encouraged to be used during rehearsal, including game consoles and cellphones. A cellphone can be used after rehearsal if the student needs to contact their parents or rides.

With these things your young actor can feel prepared and ready for rehearsal!

Do Something Creative Everyday

For those of you that are justing joining us here at Spotlight Acting School, you may  not know that a famous motto we have here, from Spotlight’s founder, is, “Do something creative everyday.”

This is something that many artistic children do naturally anyways, but students at Spotlight are particularly encourage to let their inner creativity out!

Since summer is coming to an end this week for most of our students and our semester begins this Saturday with auditions for Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland and next Saturday for Cinderella and Arsenic and Old Lace, I thought it would be a good time to share some creativity that has happened over the summer with some staff and some of our students!

Sarah Bucknam

As a director here at Spotlight, Sarah typically stays busy all the time. Seriously, she is one busy bee. On top of Shrek the Musical, the multiple camps we’ve had this summer, and directing You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Sarah has also been very active with her photography business! In case you didn’t know Sarah is the creator and owner of Pretty Pixels Photography, where she takes all kind of photos, from weddings to dress rehearsals to family portraits! In fact, some of Sarah’s photography made it in the Kentucky Living magazine!

“Pretty Pixels Photography gives me the chance to be creative! I am pleased to say that I have done something creative EVERY DAY this summer.” -Sarah


The Perkins’ Family

You might have seen Caraline on stage before in shows such as, Little Mermaid, Jungle Book, Aristocats, Peter Pan, Shrek, and upcoming in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. This summer her little brother and sister, Zach and Lainey, joined Spotlight with Oh Those Summer Nights. On top of having cupcake competitions to making movies this summer, this bunch loves to perform so much they decided they wanted a stage in their backyard. If that’s not creative, I’m not sure what is!


Katie U.

Earlier this summer you may have seen Katie onstage singing about how Farquaad’s guards blew her condos down in Shrek the Musical and then in Oh Those Summer Nights, but the fun didn’t stop there. In fact, Katie went to MADD Camp (Music, Arts, Drama and Dance), where she got to learn and express her creativity for an entire week!


Chad & Letha Hembree

Chad and Letha Hembree are pretty much creative all the time. They kind of have to be, being the owners of Spotlight Acting School. They have had an eventful summer, from Shrek the Musical, to Oh Those Summer Nights, to the multiple camps, to planning and preparing for this semester. There’s been a lot of creativity going on in the Hembree household. Even on their vacation in Florida they were hard at work, researching and participating in mystery dinners.


Yes, this is Mr. Chad participating in a dinner show.

Katie W.

Katie W. was also in Shrek the Musical hitting those wicked notes as the Dragon. Not long after Shrek ended, Katie packed her bags for three weeks to participate in Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. Katie looked like she had a blast!



Karlie has had an eventful summer! After traveling across the country she visited the Oregon Film Museum and was a cowgirl out west! Karlie didn’t have to go too far to be artsy though. Just in her backyard she made a birdhouse for her clubhouse and colorful lanterns out of tin cans.




Gwen sang about being “too off the wall” in Shrek the Musical this summer as Humpty Dumpty. I think her choice in hair color is just fine…in fact I think it’s awesome! As soon as Shrek was over, Gwen dyed her hair BLUE (and a gorgeous shade of blue, I may add).


Brandi (Me)

I have had a lot of fun this summer with directing or being involved with all of our productions here at Spotlight. Something creative I like to do outside of Spotlight is crochet. I love making scarves, blankets, dishcloths, accessories, and this summer a couple of photo props for Pretty Pixels Photography! One of my favorite things I have crocheted this summer has to be this baby blanket I made for a good friend.



This summer Critley has had the opportunity to not only be involved with several of Spotlight’s productions, but she has also gotten a job writing for the Berea Citizen. She does a great job covering local news in our community!

“It gives it a chance to use the other part of my degree, English! New’s and writing has always been something I’ve loved. I even used to publish a family newspaper when I was 9 . I would collect family stories, birthdays and events . Then I would print them and deliver them to my family months. So I guess you could say I’m back to my roots!”


With our semester starting on Saturday I am excited to hear more stories about how our students spent their summer creatively. I bet if I had a list of every single student that did something artsy then I could write a whole book! I love our students and how artistic and talented they are, thus I am looking forward to another fantastic semester at Spotlight Acting School!

What’s Going on at Spotlight?


Hello all!

Less than one week until many go back to school, if you aren’t already. Where has the time gone? Although the pool will be closing and vacations will be over, don’t worry! There is plenty of fun happening at Spotlight this season!

With all the exciting events, fundraisers, and news that has been advertised lately I thought it might be a good idea to write down all that is happening in the next month or so, for those who have been busy at the beach, or new viewers that may have missed an announcement.
Prepare to get excited about this semester.

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Then I am very excited to share that last week we signed a lease to open a new campus in Richmond! Our new Richmond Campus, called the Spotlight Theatre, is located in the Richmond Mall, where Hallmark used to be. This new spot for us is opening this weekend with auditions, but soon will be the home of small group, afternoon classes. For the first time Spotlight will be offering classes for students, including costume construction, dance lessons, music lessons, guitar lessons, acting lessons, art lessons, and audition workshop. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to dedicate a whole post to going in depth about these upcoming classes and opportunities. Personally I’m very excited.

How are we building one, possibly two new theaters, you may ask? I can tell you it’s not the most inexpensive endeavor Spotlight has taken on. Our ideal budget is $30,000, however in order to keep scholarships available we are fundraising this budget. Whether you can give $10 or $10,000, anything helps our goal of giving our students performance spaces they deserve AND prevents us from having to turn away students, due to lack of scholarship. In fact we are currently in the middle of a T-shirt fundraiser, which you can find out more about on our Facebook page. Check out this information here and order a T-shirt you will cherish forever.


Now let’s talk about what is going on in these spaces.

Auditions start on August 15th with Aladdin for ages 4-11 and Alice in Wonderland for ages 11-18 at our new Richmond campus. Then the next weekend at our Berea campus, Spotlight Playhouse, will hold auditions for Cinderella for ages 4-11 and Arsenic and Old Lace for ages 11-18. Not only are all these shows classics and crowd favorites, all of them are a part of new theaters that have never seen that production before. For theater folk, it’s a unique experience of gracing the stage with something new and innovative; for non-theatre folk, let’s just say it’s really cool. Audition pre-registration can be found here! We welcome all children here, new students or returning, ability to pay or not, shy or not shy, to be a part of this experience of learning about the art and putting on some good shows.




Sorry, I got a little carried away there.

Right now several of our students are already in rehearsal, getting ready to premier our grand Spotlight Playhouse with You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, directed by Sarah. This talented group has been working all summer to put on a full length musical with your favorite Peanuts characters front and center. Director Sarah has some cool things to say about it here!  September 25th is when we cut the ribbon for the Playhouse and at 7:00 that night Charlie Brown starts off that season. 

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And boy, is that season huge.

From Spotlight Acting School productions, to mystery dinners, to some of your favorite classic plays, and to movie nights, Spotlight  Playhouse can be your source of entertainment every weekend this year. I could list off all the names of the productions OR you can go check out the detailed schedule and repertoire here. Like what you see? Well guess what? For the first time ever, we will be offering season tickets for Spotlight Playhouse! Ticket holders will have the opportunity to choose their membership package, that not only gives ticket holders first pick of seating, additional benefits such a percentage off our merchandise, and free refreshments when applicable, but also gives members various discounts and deals with some area businesses. Folks, be sure to keep an eye out on when the tickets are released for sale because these season tickets packages are ones that can’t be beat!

I am very excited for what awaits this semester! I hope after reading this you are too! For updated information you can check on our Facebook and as we try to keep things fresh on our blog. Feel free to comment and leave any questions or share your excitement!


Shrek Diaries Day 7

Good morning all! This evening will make our third day into tech week and our second day of dress rehearsals. I am thrilled on how things are coming along! The cast is working so hard, the band sounds great, and technical details are finally wrapping up!

I’m proud of how diligently everyone has been working. This group has truly been a dream cast. Each person has dedicated themselves to putting time and effort in not only the big stuff, but the small details as well.

I could talk all day about the small things the whole cast has pulled together, but today’s feature will be on how Matt Manning prepares for each show. Matt is a college student from Eastern Kentucky University, who is premiering in his first Spotlight show playing Lord Farquaad.

Day 7 of Shrek Diaries: Farquaad’s Makeup

Lord Farquaad is a comical yet conceited character. Despite his face makeup, you shouldn’t consider him high brow.

Before every tech/dress rehearsal this is how Matt has been getting ready to become Farquaad:

First, he covers his eyebrows in glue and matte acrylic paint.


Then he puts foundation over the paint.


Then  comes his eyebrows.
IMG_0181Afterwards he dawns on his whole costume get up!


Photo taken by Sarah Bucknam with Pretty Pixels Photography. Check her work out here!

To see Matt as Lord Farquaad in action, don’t miss Shrek the Musical this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! For more information you can click here! You can also let us know you’re coming by RSVPing (not mandatory) on Facebook here!

For more #Shrekdiaries you can check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6. Stay tuned for more entries until the show premieres!



Shrek Diaries Day 6

Good evening everyone!

I can’t believe it’s show week! Only four more days until opening night! Yesterday was an extremely productive day. The band moved in, four trailer loads of sets and equipment brought in the theatre, the cast worked with the set pieces for the first time, and tech cues were assigned. It was a blast!

Although rehearsal was phenomenal, my personal favorite part was moving a particular set piece to the theatre: good ole Bessie.

Day 6 of Shrek Diaries: Dragon

Meet the lady we have all decided to call Bessie, our fire-breathing dragon. She can also hit some wicked notes.

Watching this transformation has been incredible! Can you believe she was once only chicken wire and last week’s newspapers?


The dragon was created by Spotlight friend, Scott R.O. Smith. He and his fiancé, Critley King, AJ, and Sarah, have spent many nights working on Bessie to get her to perfection!


Can you imagine driving next to Bessie on the highway? Let’s just say we got a lot of weird looks yesterday.



Just wait until you see her at full form! Dragon/Bessie is one of the many reasons why you should come see Shrek the Musical this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:00, or at 2:00 on Sunday. You will also see Critley in the production as the Witch, as well as AJ shredding some guitar, and Sarah and myself puppeteering Bessie.


Also don’t forget our Swamp Dance Party Friday night after the production, or our Shrek Camp, which shows a behind the scenes look of the show.

Stay tuned for more #Shrekdiaries until the production begins!


Shrek Diaries Day 5

Good afternoon!

With only six more days until opening night for our production of Shrek the Musical, we decided we should share the creative projects and hard work our cast, crew, and parents have been coming up with!

Yesterday I shared an exciting preview of our three little pigs’ costumes. Today I’ll give a little sneak peak of one of Fiona’s costumes.

Day 5 of Shrek Diaries: The Wedding Dress

Now since this is a wedding dress, I can’t share the whole outfit. After all, it is bad luck, right?


I can reveal that it is big and poofy! And white. And at a price real brides would swoon for.


Made from white tulle and elastic, the skirt part of the dress had to make for a quick costume change. Thus I can say no more without spoiling too much of the production!


You don’t need to RSVP for this wedding though, cuz it’s taking place in Shrek the Musical! Come see the whole outfit along with a production you cannot miss June 11-14 at Madison Middle auditorium. For more info click here!

For more of our #Shrekdiaries check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 and stay tuned in the upcoming days before the production!


Shrek Diaries Day 4

Good morning all! This Brandi.

In anticipation of Shrek the Musical, which premieres in just ONE WEEK (hold on I think I might have just had a minor heart attack), we decided we should share the projects and hard work our cast, crew, and parents are contributing to the show.

Day 4 of Shrek Diaries: Pigs in Pink

Today’s post will be about the fairytale creatures we all know and love as the three little pigs. Except in this production this trio is a little spunkier than the traditional tale.

Unlike in the story you may know, these condo-owning, accented pigs don’t let anyone push them around! Plus, they’re stylish to boot.

The costumes are an assembled hodgepodge of pink! Look at their ears, that one of the pigs herself made:

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These look awesome Katie U.! Here is some more stuff that was collected and you can expect to see the pigs modeling.

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This stylish trio is one of the many reasons you don’t want to miss out on this production! Be sure you mark your calendars for June 11-14 to come see Shrek the Musical at Madison Middle auditorium, here in Richmond, KY.

For more #Shrekdiaries check out Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Then stay tuned for more in the upcoming week before the production!




Shrek Diaries Day 3

Good morning all! This is Brandi writing here.

For anyone that was not aware, Spotlight Acting School’s Shrek the Musical premieres in just 9 more days! With so little time and so much being done behind the scenes in order to bring the audience a truly spectacular show, it’s hard not to share some of the work from our students, crew, and parents!

Day 1 I shared Dulocian wigs

Day 2 was ogre skin

Day 3 is something you may find cute, yet disgusting. And this time I’m not talking about ogres.

Day 3 of Shrek Diaries: Dancing Rats

That’s right, rhythmic rodents. And I’m not talking about the singing, dancing three blind mice that are in the show either.


Even if you don’t like rats, how can you not find these tiny cast members adorable? Director Sarah has creatively taken stuffed bears to make them into light weight rats!




Why must they be light weight? Well that is because these rats will be dancing on top of Sarah’s feet, along with choreographer Kelly’s, cast member Sienna’s, and my own feet as well! Thus I will say no more, not to spoil too much of the show, but dancing rats is one of the many reasons for you not to miss this production June 11-14! For more information on the performances click here! Until then stay tuned for more previews with #Shrekdiaries.