Founder and Artistic Director J. Jason Daunter welcomes you all to the December Newsletter and wishes you all a happy and warm holiday season.



Auditioning, Part 3: College Edition, cont.
Selecting Your MaterialBy Christine Riley,
Projects with Jason Artist-in-Residence

Welcome back! We are going to continue down the path of college auditions today, but as with last week, most of this information will apply to all auditions!

Choosing the “right” song can often be a daunting task. How do you find something that shows everything that you are in 16 bars? Realistically, you don’t! To be honest, the audition is about you and who you are as a human and a performer. It is not about the song. You are an individual, which makes any song you choose special and unique because you are choosing to do it your way. You don’t have to find the most obscure song to stand out or be different. Instead, think about how you connect with the song and be clear about the story that YOU are going to tell.

For college auditions, I recommend having five songs prepared and ready to go- two Traditional Musical Theatre, two Contemporary Musical Theatre, and one wildcard (typically something in the pop/rock realm but maybe jazz or another style that fits you). These five songs should cover everything you are being asked for at the different schools. Having multiple songs also gives you the opportunity to sing different material at different auditions because you may be feeling more connected with a song on any given day. I often ask students what other songs they have in their book so that I can choose something that helps me learn the most about them. The songs should contrast each other in style, tempo and character. Ideally, your traditional ballad should have a more legit sound- this doesn’t mean it has to be high – but ideally it shows a round, supported tone without any belting. Your contemporary selections should use a more contemporary vocal style appropriate to the piece (of course there are some legit contemporary songs too).

Tips for choosing appropriate material:

  1. Search for characters that are close to your age range.
  2. Make sure the song sits well in your voice. Remember – you do NOT have to show your highest or lowest note – the song should sit comfortably in your vocal range.
  3. Look for stories that YOU connect with. It is important to remember that your musical theatre audition is not about showing off your voice – it is about acting and storytelling (supported by solid vocal technique)!
  4. Figure out if the song will make a good cut. If it is a long story song, it may be hard tell a story in 16-32 bars. If you aren’t sure, ask someone!
  5. When looking into pop/rock music, try to find songs that work well with piano accompaniment. Some songs lose the feel and/or drive of the song without the guitar or drums and other songs are really strong with piano.
  6. Do some research! There is a LOT of material out there. Sometimes it takes a while to find songs that work well for you. A few places to start:
    • The Singers Musical Theatre Anthologies are still a great resource – especially for Traditional Musical Theatre. When using them, also look at the show descriptions. There may be shows you aren’t familiar with that have additional songs not found in the anthology that could be great choices for you.
    • Find a few performers that you connect with and that have a career path that you can see yourself following. Find out what roles they have done and search for performances on youtube. Many Broadway performers do cabaret nights or presentations of new work, which are often filmed and put on the internet. This is a great way to find material.
    • There are two great websites that have huge databases of contemporary musical theatre writers and their work. Check both of them out: and
    • For pop/rock music, is a great resource. They also have audition cuts available for many songs! Many of the audition cuts have a new accompaniment written specifically for a pianist to play (not a guitarist).

Remember that auditions are like job interviews. We want to know who you are! When choosing material, it is important to think about how you want to introduce yourself. I say this because I have seen students choose material because it may be shocking or surprising. Typically these pieces hide the performer because it becomes more about the song and the desired effect instead of the actor and what they have to share. I would much rather see something straight-forward and honest where there is a clear objective to fight for.
Do your research! Even if it isn’t college audition season for you, start working on finding songs to put into your audition book. This way, you will be prepared when you have any audition coming up. Read librettos, listen to cast albums, troll youtube and all of the sheet music sites that I listed, ask friends and teachers and then narrow down your choices. You may start with ten pieces to end up with five. Sometimes you need to sing the songs and do your paperwork (we will get to that next month) to finally determine what material makes it into your audition book and what is set aside for another time. Next month we will talk about how to practice and prepare the songs for your auditions. Make sure you have your options set and are ready to dive into work!


[Image Description: Photo of Christine Riley. She is smiling at the camera. Her head is tilted up to look at the camera. She has dark red hair, and dark eyes. She is wearing a red shirt. End image description.]ABOUT CHRISTINE RILEY
Christine Riley is a Music Director, Vocal Coach, and Arranger currently residing in NYC. As a music director, she has worked Off-Broadway, on national tours, and regionally in the US. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Marymount Manhattan College, where she serves as the instructor for Fundamentals of Musical Theatre, Musical Theatre Song Portfolio, Professional Preparation: Musical Theatre, Music Director for many productions, the faculty recruiter for Musical Theatre, and the program director for the Musical Theatre Pre-College program. In addition, she is a Music Director for Camp Broadway (performances at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and Rocktopia), and maintains a private vocal coaching studio in New York City. Ms. Riley is the author of Music Fundamentals for Musical Theatre (Bloomsbury Press 2020) and received her Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College, and a Master of Music from Arizona State University.



Dublin Scioto High School Veterans Theatre Project
By Patricia Santanello,
Projects with Jason Sustainer Member Educator

Last year our AP Studies teacher approached me with an idea for an immersive, historical lobby experience to accompany our production of Calling Amelia: A Musical in the Sky, a musical about Amelia Earhart. It was successful beyond our wildest dreams and over 1,000 elementary school children took part in the experience and watched our show. Every fall, our school’s social studies department does a veterans project where sophomore social studies students interview veterans and create tri-fold displays about that veteran. Then on Veteran’s Day we invite veterans to our school to honor them and all of the projects are presented. Last summer, during California Thespians’ Theatre Teacher Bootcamp, we were talking about creating original pieces of theatre for this school year. I got the idea to collaborate with AP Studies once again to create a piece of Verbatim Theatre using the veterans interviews that students were already doing and pairing up my Advanced Acting Ensemble students with sophomores to access the veterans interviews. It also seemed like a project that would lend itself to our virtual world of teaching and performing.One of my students was chosen to perform in the staged online reading of Carey Crim’s Distance Learning. I was fortunate to speak with Jason about our veterans project and he suggested that we might want to work with a playwright. We were paired up with Carey to help us write our show, and it has been an amazing experience. Carey took 116 pages of interview transcripts and turned them into a play, now titled With Honor. We are currently in our first read-through of the script and tweaking it here and there. Each of the students in my class added their personal thank yous to the script and I was able to research and add some historical background and transition material throughout the script. Students also selected what they felt were the most compelling stories in the 116 page transcript. With Honor is something that we are very, very proud of. Carey is an amazing and gifted playwright. Working with her has been  a transformative experience and something that we sorely needed in the midst of the craziness that we are living in. 



For information about producing Carey Crim’s
DISTANCE LEARNING, please contact:


Artists in Conversation: Savion Glover
An Educator’s Perspective
By Amanda Pascale, Lehigh Valley Acadamy Regional Charter School
Projects with Jason Member School
In the short time we have been involved, Projects with Jason has provided my students and I with meaningful connections and experiences. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this collaboration between professional artists, student artists, and educators. My student dancer, Zoe Miller, participated in the Artists in Conversation event with Savion Glover. The lesson she was given was unique and insightful. It was inspiring to witness Mr. Glover challenge the students to own their perspectives through theoretical application. It was a learning experience for me as well! These events are essential for educators looking to provide their students with authentic, real life, experiences in the arts. I can’t wait for the next one!


A Projects with Jason membership not only welcomes you to the Projects with Jason family, it opens doors to additional creative opportunities like these. For more information on the membership that’s right for you, please visit



Whitney Claire Kaufman
[Image Description: Photo of Whitney Kaufman. She is laying on her right side, with her right elbow propping her up. She is wearing a dress with champagne colored sequins arranged in varying striped patterns. He blonde hair is hanging down her back, and she is wearing bright red lipstick. She is looking off to the left, and facing the camera. End image description.]Whitney has spent the last 15 years as a professional singer in musical theater, voice over, recording, and symphony performance. After studying theater at Chapman University, she toured with the Broadway national tour of Mamma Mia! for 2.5 years. After that, she joined the cast of Disney in Concert, traveling the world singing the music of Walt Disney with symphony orchestras.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in the theatre arts?
Always! I wanted to be in the circus first, but once I was in junior high, it was pretty clear that I had to be onstage.

What is your dream role/job?
One that I create and originate in a new production.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Performing a special sensory-friendly concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony, accessible to people who are neuro-diverse, have disabilities, and their families.

What career advice would you give your younger self?
The work will always come. Do not fear the in-between.

When will you know you’ve “made it”?
I have! I make my living as a performing artist!

What’s your favorite self-care activity?
Morning coffee in bed with my kitty, Cat Steven. I put on music, open the windows for fresh air, and slowly ease into my day.

What is one thing that can instantly brighten your day?
A random text from a friend saying they’re thinking of me.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Babysitting three boys ages 5-9 all by myself. Chaos.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
A lack of self-awareness.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
I don’t feel guilty about much…all things in moderation. Including moderation.

What’s the phone app you use most?

Current obsession?
Tie-dye from my friend Megan’s company Here:Now Apparel. So cute and comfy!

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
Told someone the hard truth. Always worth it, though.

What makes you feel at peace?
The ocean.

If you were a super hero, what would your power be?
Teleportation….or mind control.

Tell us one thing that’s on your bucket list.
Seeing the Northern Lights with my own eyes.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint chip

You’re looking for a midnight snack… what are you reaching for? Or ordering?
Sourdough toast with butter. Always carbs. Always.

What’s the most inspiring thing anyone has ever said to you?

“Performing isn’t for yourself. You give your gift to God (or the divine spirit that exists in whatever form you choose), he/she/it gives it to the audience, and they give it back to you. It’s an energy exchange.”



How to Make Your Own Stocking
By Jamie Brown,
Projects with Jason Contributor Member

Hello Projects With Jason family! Jamie Brown here to bring you a simple, fun, Holiday Stocking tutorial.

Using our pattern as your roadmap, I encourage you to design your own stocking inspired by a character from one of your favorite Broadway shows.


  • Projects With Jason Stocking pattern (see below on how to assemble the pattern)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the stocking body (non-stretchy, stiffer fabrics work best)
  • 1/4 yard of fabric for the stocking cuff (non-stretchy fabrics work best)
  • 9″ of ribbon or trim for the stocking hang loop (can be any width between 1″-3″)
  • scissors
  • tape
  • thread
  • pins
  • sewing machine OR hand sewing needle
Assembling the pattern:
Print all 4 images (found below) of Stocking pattern pieces (Be sure to print “actual size” onto a standard letter size paper [8.5″x11″]. Do not scale or crop). Cut out all 4 pattern pieces and tape together following the directions on the pattern pieces.

Step 1:
Use the stocking pattern as your template and cut out two pieces of fabric; one for the front of the stocking and one for the back of the stocking. Be sure to turn the pattern piece upside down when you cut out the back piece so you have a mirror image. To get the Dear Evan Hansen shirt and pants look, I first sewed the 2 fabrics together and then cut out the pattern pieces. 
Step 2: 
Cut out one rectangle of your cuff fabric that is 9″ tall and 18″ wide. Cut one piece of your hang loop ribbon that is 9″ long. 
Step 3: 
Put the front stocking piece and back stocking pieces together with the good sides of the fabric facing each other. Pin these pieces together along all edges except the top opening. 
Step 4: 
Sew the stocking together all the way around using a 1/2″ seam allowance (that means your needle should be 1/2″ away from the edge of the fabric). Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and at the end. (Backstitching is done by sewing backward and forward a few stitches.)
Step 5:
Very carefully, use the tip of your scissors to clip all the curved edges of the stocking. Make tiny clips and don’t clip through the seam that you just sewed. (This will help smooth the curves of the stocking and alleviate bunching.)
Step 6:
Turn your stocking right side out through the top opening. Use your finger to push out all the curves on the inside of the stocking so the outside is nice and smooth.
Step 7:
Put aside the stocking for a moment while we create the cuff. Fold the long rectangle cuff piece in half so the short sides are together. The good sides of the fabric should be facing each other. Pin those edges together (it should be 9″ long). 
Step 8:
Sew the edge you just pinned together using 1/2″ seam allowance. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end of the seam. 
Step 9:
Turn the cuff right side out so the seam is now hidden on the inside of the fabric.

Step 10: 
Fold the cuff in half  with the wrong sides of the fabric and the seam you just sewed facing each other. Both of the raw edges should meet at the top. 

Step 11:
Put the cuff aside for a moment and pick up your hang loop ribbon and your stocking. Fold the hang loop ribbon in half (short edges together). Pin the loop on the inside of the stocking over the side seam with the loop going down into the stocking. 
Step 12:
Sew the hang loop to the stocking along the edge you pinned. 
Step 13:
Take your cuff piece and place it inside the stocking with the raw edges of the cuff lining up with the raw edges of the top of the stocking. The seam of the cuff should line up with the hang loop ribbon. Pin all the layers together.  (your loop ribbon should now be sandwiched between the cuff and the stocking). 
Step 14:
Sew around the top of the stocking that you just pinned going through all the layers, including the hang loop ribbon. 

Step 15:
Pull the cuff out of the stocking and fold it down around the stocking. Your hang loop should now be sticking out of the top of the stocking. And your stocking is now complete!

Step 16 (optional):
Decorate to your heart’s desire! Using a glue gun or a needle and thread, add beads, buttons, sequins, rhinestones and trims. Add a name or a show quote. Create a name tag to hang from the loop….the possibilities are endless so have fun with it! 



Create your own Stocking and share it with us by posting to your social media using the following tags:



Here are a few great examples of Stockings, using this same pattern:


Anne Boleyn from Six
by Kendall Swendsen
Instagram: @kendallaswendsen


Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family
by Lauren HaskinsInstagram: 

Dolly from Hello Dolly
by Haven Hanson



Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked
by Jamie Brown


DownTown Jamie Brown is an Entertainment Costumer based in Los Angeles, California. She is a proud member of IATSE local 768, working freelance on projects for theatre, television, film, music, and digital media. She is an advocate for educational theatre, volunteering as the Technical Coordinator for the California State Thespians and is a professional member of the Educational Theatre Association. In March of 2018, Jamie was inducted into the California State Thespian Hall of Fame. Past projects include: Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, America’s Got Talent, Westworld, American Music Awards, The Most Popular Girls in School, and various concerts such as Beyoncé, P!nk, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, and Taylor Swift. Since March, Jamie has been making cloth face masks that she sells through her Etsy shop. $1 from each mask sold is donated to The Actors Fund Covid-19 Emergency Relief, which is providing financial aid and resources for entertainment professionals.



North Kansas City High School,
Projects with Jason Member, Educator Randy Jackson
North Kansas City High School is 95 years old. Since then, the Thespian Troupe 2191 and Northtown Theatre Association (our drama club) have been attending trips to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Orlando along with participating in Missouri State Thespian Conference and International Thespian Festival. We are proud to have had State officers as well as taking shows to both state and international festivals. We currently have several students performing and working in the theatre world around the united states both on the stage and behind the scenes. Randy Jackson has been in charge of the program since 1997, and has provided all responses below.

What makes your theatre program unique?
Our high school is the most diverse high school in the state of Missouri. We have always casted non traditionally in all of our shows. We also have a high free and reduced lunch and little opportunity to take lessons to enhance their singing, acting and dancing skills. All the skills they use in performance are taught through our program.

What about your theatre program makes you most proud?
We are a program that emphasizes on production by the students. We let the students design and build all aspects of the technical elements. We also cast according to ability as opposed to race or stereotype.

What was the last production you did before the shutdown?
Student Directed One Act Series – we call The MOBS (Mini OffBroadway Shows)

How has your program adapted to the quarantine?
Practice the guidelines set by our county, wear masks, keep safe distance. Spread out in rehearsal and stream the performances – no in person audience.

If you could share one thing with theatre educators about teaching virtually, what would it be?
Be flexible, embrace technology and see it as a way to be creative.

What are the biggest challenges your program has faced with the quarantine?
Keeping the kids involved in theatre with smaller projects – Which is why we joined Projects with Jason

If you could share one thing with students learning theatre virtually, what would it be?
Learn time management and make sure to build in break times to breathe.

What are you most looking forward to when you are able to have all your students back in the classroom?
Conducting workshops – and I miss the noise and energy of a full class.

What is the first production you will do when you are able to put on a live performance again?
The Wiz

Any words of wisdom to share with Projects with Jason members?
Take advantage of the opportunities that the theatre community is offering through their websites, both free and member fee sites. It allows your students to work and be inspired by industry professionals – share the opportunities so other programs can follow your lead.



A short look of the work North Kansas City High School theatre program has done in the past.

If you’re a Projects with Jason Member and would like to see your program featured in our newsletter, please complete this form:



Photo of: Matt Conover

By Matt Conover
Projects with Jason Staff Member
The world is different.  Lots has changed. And with this the need for dynamic, thoughtful, creative people is higher than ever. And where will we find people like this? Theatre people. The qualities and the creativity of theatre people is what the world needs to move us ahead.
So many of the people who participate in theatre, in school or otherwise, in their youth do not go on to careers on the stage or behind the scenes. Instead they take the experiences and the talents developed in the collaborative, dynamic and diverse world of creating theatre to a wide variety of careers- from healthcare, to finance, to education, and well beyond.
Whether you are currently a student of theatre, a theatre educator, or a professional, you have the power. The power to create change. And you have the tools with which to make it happen in an empathetic, inclusive and purposeful manner. Think about all of the things that you have learned in the theatre — so many more than you can probably easily identify. Do not sell yourself short. 
You have done research — whether for a role or a period costume design or a type of lighting instrument to use. Research is key to so many facets of life where as a parent or a professional; theatre prepares you and allows you to innovate and explore.
You have told stories — every time you engage in theatre you become a storyteller building your creative skills each and every time — on stage, back stage, giant musical or one person show — telling stories is foundational to our society and nothing prepares you better to do this in life than theatre.
You have engaged in conflict management and relationship development. Whether in the collaboration of a design team, the management of a technical rehearsal or simply being in a scene on stage that just isn’t working. In every career or profession, these traits are vital to success — and even being a mom or a dad!
You have been tasked with solving problems and think critically in all sorts of ways — ways that will inform how you approach so many of life’s challenges.
You have become a collaborator — one who is often forced to build bridges from one idea to another, from one team member to another to solve common goals.
You have learned to be flexible, nimble, and adaptable to change. Whether that is to a cue going wrong in a show or to the show being moved to a Zoom version. These qualities are vital to your success in any arena in your future.
And all of the above allow you to develop as a leader. You may not “be in charge” or “be the boss,” but you do lead. As a member of any theatre company leadership comes from so many sources. 
Peer leadership, leading your fellow cast or crew members, your fellow teachers, your fellow citizens is key to your and our future. Change happens in our schools, in our businesses, and in our country because enough people lead each other — not as their boss, but through all of the skills of being in theatre — empathy, collaboration, adaptability, and so many more.
Yes, the world is changing — be part of that change.  Be a leader.



Dear theatre lovers, artists, and friends,

Looking for a way to support the arts this holiday season? Consider doing your holiday shopping through one of these organizations that is giving a platform to artists working in side jobs during this challenging time. And you can always give the gift of Projects with Jason to the theatre lover in your life! Connect a student with professional artists in their field and give them learning opportunities they won’t find anywhere else!

or email us at to get started!

Side Hustle Collaborative was hatched from two entertainment lighting professionals, Rachel and Eric. They started a bagel company and made an Etsy store for their pottery hobby to pass the time during lockdown. After selling 3000 bagels and making over 30 sales on Etsy, they were determined to figure out a way to help other out-of-work industry folks get their side hustles noticed. Side Hustle Collaborative is a site dedicated to entertainment industry professionals who have either formed a side business as a result of COVID-19, or an existing hustle that they’re dedicating more time to. Help support these incredibly creative individuals as we all work to rebuild our industry. is a virtual marketplace that provides a centralized showcase for the art created by the theatre community while their industry is on hold. Erin and Truly created Backstage Bazaar to provide a searchable web directory that links the online shops of theatre professionals from the global theatre community. The site makes it easy for buyers to do their gift shopping with only a few clicks and offers the certainty that their purchases are genuinely helping artists through a difficult time. Erin Slattery Black and Truly Carmichael met at UT-Austin while completing their MFAs in Costume Design/Technology and have both worked extensively in the costume industry for over 20 years. Their work has been seen on stage and screen from Broadway to the Alley Theatre and has been worn by celebrities ranging from Catherine O’Hara to Big Bird. 




Julia Cuppy
Jamie Brown
Lauren Carroll & Chris Herman
John & Jane Conover
Nick Robinson
Kathleen SwitzerPRODUCERS
Donnie Bryan
Debby Gibbs
Beverly Hills High School, Beverly Hills, CA, Educator Karen Chandler
Carson High School, Carson, CA, Educator Marcia Barryte
Galt High School, Galt, CA, Educator Sonja Brown
Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School, Bethlehem, PA, Educator Amanda Pascale

Kyle D & Kimberly Cole
Matt Conover
J. Jason Daunter
Philip & Krista Elhai
Jack Lane & Michael Hamilton
Jim & Merry Mosbacher
Alma Middle School, Alma, AR, Educator Marti Jo Salisbury
Ashland High School, Ashland, OR, Educator Betsy Bishop
Bloomfield Hills High School, Bloomfield, MI, Educator Mary Bogrette
Buford High School, Buford, GA, Educator Kimberly Staples 
Charter Oak High School, Covina, CA, Educator Nicole Pedroche
Claremont High School, Claremont, CA, Educator Krista Carson Elhai
Dublin Scioto High School, Dublin, OH, Educator Pat Santanello
Sam Barlow High School, Gresham, OR, Educator Jeff Schroeder
Jesuit High School, Portland, OR, Educator Jeff Hall
Liberty High School, Henderson, NV, Educator Sharon Chadwick
Lincoln High School, Portland, OR, Educator Jim Peerenboom
Munster High School, Munster, IN, Educator Ray Palasz
North Kansas City High School, Kansas City, MO, Educator Randy Jackson
Olympia High School, Olympia, WA, Educator Dallas Myers
Penn Manor High School, Millersville, PA, Educator Melissa Mintzer
Royal Oak Middle School, Covina, CA, Educator Nicole Pedroche
San Juan Hills High School, San Juan Capistrano, CA, Educator Cambria Graff
Stages St. Louis Performing Arts Academy, Chesterfield, MO, Educator Dominic Dowdy-Windsor



CLICK HERE to e-mail for Special pricing

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