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Young Performers Workshop

Musical Theatre Training Program (Ages 8 - 18)

2024 Summer Session
ALL applicants must complete interview with program director prior to acceptance. We recommend scheduling your interview before registering. Contact CSC Administrative offices to schedule
(908) 979  - 0900 or e-mail

Session: July 15 - August 18, 2024
Registration & Tuition Deadline: July 14, 2024

First Child: $795.00
Second Child: $695.00
(Additional discounts available for larger families)

Accident Waiver form must be submitted to CSC office with registration brochure.

This 5-week musical theatre program has been designed to meet the needs of beginning, intermediate and
advanced performers ages 8 - 18 interested in working in the
theatre. The hands-on program utilizes both the
classroom and the “production process” to train young
people in the theatre arts. The program culminates in a live presentation of select production(s) selected by program director Michael Blevins and is based on enrollment. 
Once registered, students are guaranteed a part in at
least one production and, depending on ability,
experience, desire and commitment level, could feasibly
appear in more than one production.


No experience is necessary, however, applicants must complete an interview/audition for acceptance.


In compliance with Centenary University, and State recommendations and guidelines, Centenary Stage Company has made the following adjustments to standard procedures in order to maintain a safe learning environment for in-person learning.

The following procedures and policies will be followed:

  • Masks are optional indoors, but strongly encouraged to be worn by anyone unvaccinated participant.


30 Years of YPW!

We have had the privilege to sit down with YPW director, Michael Blevins and discuss his 30th year here with the Young Performers Workshop.

You've worked with multiple influential artists and directors, Sir Richard Attenborough, Woody Allen, and Brooke Shields to name a few. What is the most influential piece of advice that you've learned from working with them?


From Richard I would say the notion that art is for everyone and not just the elite. And, if you want to be a strong actor you must whole-heatedly know that you are the perfect actor and only actor walking the planet, to play the role, at that time in that film. And as in life you must think before you speak as it is so with acting. And the notion to act with your eyes not your emotions. The eyes are the windows to the soul and on the big screen your eyes are eight feet wide. Act with your eyes.


Looking back at your extensive career, is there a memory that sticks out from the rest?


Yes, working with Danny Daniels, the Tony winning choreographer of Broadway’s Tap Dance Kid. Danny is a brilliant choreographer who taught me how to teach tap when he hired me to assist him in training young Dule Hill, Jimmy Tate and Savion Glover for their roles in the Tony winning Broadway production of The Tap Dance Kid. Other celebrated Blevins’ students include, Justin Boccitto, Frank Dolche, Ron Moorhouse, composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown, and Tony-nominee Melissa Errico which gave me the weight to give Sean Fosse, legendary iconic show-biz couple Gwen Verdon’s and Bob Fosse’s grandson, his first tap lessons. Daniels is a genius tap teacher who can teach anyone to be a strong tapper. I’m so glad to be well versed in his technique. He would take the simplest steps and just tweak them in a slightly odd way and come up with something so new and fresh. I will never forget Danny Daniels he left me with many wonderful blessings and many awesome steps to share with the world.



What do you like most about working with the Young Performers Workshop?


I enjoy sharing my passion for theatre, acting, dance and music with young people who have a similar love for those arts and disciplines. It is a joy to see young people realize they are far more capable than they ever thought they could be. It’s fun to see them discover they’ve accomplished something new. Plus, YPW students have an incredible work ethic commitment and discipline because they need to in order to survive the program, especially when in a 15-week session we’re on target to produce two or even three full-scale musical shows. I respect them for that and they know it. They learn the awesome power of their ability to make choices and consequently realize when they take ACTion they can alter the outcome. They know I trust them to master what is necessary and they trust I’ll show them at their best and direct them so they uncover and disclose their best selves on stage. Musical theatre training assists the kids with many diverse and necessary skills to move through life – after all theatre is simply a recreation or representation of life. Musical theatre students master quick thinking skills. I love it that the students discover and develop new emotions they would hardly express in their normal lives but with the opportunity to play a role and be someone else the new feelings and emotions flow freely. Likewise, self esteem is easily elevated when they hear the appreciative applause at the end of the show and have their own Sally Field moment and realize, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now! You like me!” Participating in the process of performance students learn alternate ways of doing things and engage in new modes of thinking. I’m very excited about our fall lineup as shows being considered for younger performers this session include Descendants, Aladdin, Frozen and Suessical. Shows under consideration of Jr/Sr high performers include Godspell, The Apple Tree, 25th Annual County Spelling Bee, Into the Woods, Day In Hollywood/Night in Ukraine, Shrek and others. Another thing I think is cool about being the Director of the YPW is I can wear really weird clothes and no one bats an eye.


What does the Young Performers Workshop mean to you?


It means I get an opportunity to help others achieve their dreams and to play a prime role in shaping the theatre of tomorrow. As an entertainer you the performer are the instrument – and a unique one at that. YPW also means a fundamental opportunity for young performers to learn more about themselves and who they are – their minds, their voices and their bodies. Socrates declared his guiding life principle by stating “Know thy self.” and “Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom” was asserted by The Tao Te Ching. And Shakespeare of course, in Hamlet penned “This above all, to thyne own self be true.”


What advice would you give someone who wishes to pursue the arts as a career?


I would say you get what you expect. If you think you will succeed and are willing to do what’s necessary. You will succeed. Otherwise, if there is anything else you can do and be happy - do that. But if you’re going to be absolutely miserable if you don’t pursue a career - then go for it.

Meet the Staff:
Michael Blevins 
Program Director
Michael Blevins is an accomplished Director / Choreographer having choreographed the Off-Broadway production of "The Mad Forest" for the Manhattan Theatre Club.  He has directed and choreographed the National Tours of "Babes in Toyland", "Aladdin", and "Tom Sawyer" for the American Family Theatre. In addition to those credits, he directed/choreographed Centenary Stage Company's Holiday Spectacular productions of "Newsies", "Cinderella", "Annie", "Mary Poppins", "Beauty & The Beast", "Christmas Carol", "Wizard of Oz", "Oliver", and "Peter Pan".
He has worked with many Tony and Academy Award winning Directors and Choreographers including Sir Richard Attenborough, Joe Layton, Woody Allen, Vivian Matalon, Peter Gennaro, Danny Daniels, and Bob Fosse.  He has appeared in several Broadway productions including, "Bring Back Birdie", Neil Simon's "Little Me", and Tony Winning "Tap Dance Kid" in which he created the role of  "Winslow".  Major film roles include a cameo in "Zelig", and a supporting role in the screen biography of "Chaplin".  He is most widely known for his portrayal of Mark in the movie "A Chorus Line".

Research studies point to strong relationships between learning in the arts and fundamental cognitive skills and capacities used to master other core subjects, including reading, writing, and mathematics. Studies show that kids grow up participating in the arts score higher on the SAT by an average of 51 points on verbal and 38 points on math!


Young Performers Workshop is dedicated to the enrichment of young lives through experience in the theatre arts, and serves as a venue for cultivating young theatre performers between the ages of 8 and 18. The program is one of only a handful in the nation that offers both formal training and production experience for young people. Registration is open to any young person regardless of experience. However, prospective students must complete an interview/audition prior to acceptance into the program.

YPW is under the direction of Broadway, film and television veteran Michael Blevins, and students study technique in acting, voice, and dance with a staff of theatre professionals in a five-week summer session. YPW also offers a fall and spring session, conducted each Saturday throughout the academic year, which culminates in a festival of shows performed for regional audiences. The program is held on the campus of Centenary University in Hackettstown, New Jersey.


  • The fall session begins in September, culminating with the "Winter Festival of Shows" in December.

  • The spring session begins in February, culminating with the "Spring Festival of Shows" in May.

  • The summer session is a five-week intensive program beginning in July culminating with the "Summer Festival of Shows" in August


"Take it from me, who's been regularly attending high school musicals for more than four decades: I've never seen the likes of what the Centenary Young Performers achieve."

— Peter Filichia, Drama Critic

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