The Artists' Studio
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The Artists' Studio, frequently abbreviated TAS, was founded by David and Joellyn Young in January 2003 as an independent for-profit community theatre. The couple each have experience on Broadway with David being a musical director and voice teacher who has traveled with Broadway shows such as Camelot, South Pacific, and The Music Man while Joellyn has most notably been Eva Perón in Evita. The theatre, located in Fishers, Indiana is primitively based as it was renovated from a night club and a stage was added. Despite being in Fishers, Noblesville considers TAS to be one of its own places of interest. The proscenium stage is made of classic design and allows for a variety of different trims to be placed around as well as the movement of the back wall, though there is no fly space. The remaining space allows for a 220-seat house complete with sound and lighting systems, office space, and classrooms. Cast, crew, and various other members are volunteers with few employed within the productions themselves.
The First Years
The seasons of The Artists' Studio have thus far consisted of 8 shows, including a holiday show, and for the first several years, a "young artists production" for aspiring actors and actresses ages 13–25. Of the several years the young artists' production took place, the first and last were Grease. The seasons normally end at the start of summer, picking up again shortly after. Sometime in the summer, the theatre holds General Auditions, that is, auditions for the entire season, though each show normally gets its own as well. Audition notices tend to get notoriety in many papers, such as the Indianapolis Star. Several shows became traditional over the years, primarily due to popularity, and The Artists' Studio began to further embrace them. Ironically, the two major influencing shows within the Artists' Studio's early years were in stark contrast to each other. Each of the two was actually closely linked to different holidays, as Annie was traditionally used as a Christmas show and The Rocky Horror Show was used around Halloween, usually boasting a midnight performance on or around Halloween itself.
Annie and The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show was arguably the first big hit for the theatre, with Dr. Frank-N-Furter being played by Brent Marty. Rocky Horror was the first of the two prominently recurring shows in the theatre's early lifetime having been held three times in four years (though it would continue to emerge in later seasons), with a season going by between the second and third incarnations. The first incarnation The Rocky Horror Show at TAS was considered one of the best shows of 2003 in Indiana.
Annie was used as the annual Holiday show until 2006, though it would periodically return in later years. Daddy Warbucks, the lead male character of Annie, was played by Jay Meisenhelder for several incarnations until he was not taken back as a result of controversy stemming from the show itself. Annie was the first show at The Artists' Studio to have 2 casts, a Cast A and B, though it was only for the children involved in the show. This became common practice for all the later productions of Annie and set the precedent for future shows requiring a children's cast.
Shift into Family Theatre
Annie sold better as a whole than any previous production, despite the first Halloween showing of Rocky Horror marking the first show to sell out. After Annie continued as a success for several years, the theatre began casting more and more children in shows that required a children's cast. This included adding more children into shows that didn't necessarily ask for them, such as being urchins in Aladdin, a Disney production that did not necessarily call for children actors. Soon shows requiring far more children, and several casts of children began to be commonplace at TAS. Shows involving many children, such as Wizard of Oz, Oliver, Seussical, The Music Man, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, became popular starting in the 2004-2005 season and the trend continued onward into many later seasons.
In addition to classes and camps, TAS began producing shows exclusively for kids, beginning with Bye Bye Birdie in November 2007, continuing on with Grease in the spring, and many other productions from thereon. Performance in these productions has cost upward of $100 for the interested children, something unique of mainstage productions and other theatres in the area.
Beyond the Stage
The Artists' Studio is especially unique in that it acts as much more than just a performing theatre. It also offers a wide variety of classes in dancing, acting and singing. It also hosts other unique services, such as hosting themed children's birthday parties. The extra services are likely more a reflection on the fact that, unlike most community theatres in Indiana, The Artists' Studio is a for-profit organization. This has kept the Encore Association, which provides an award ceremony for community theatres in Indiana, from recognizing any of The Artists' Studios productions, as one of the stipulations is that no one be paid in a nominated production; it must be produced by a not-for-profit theatre group.
- page 16, David and Joellyn information https://orchard.org/data/files/Gallery/SummerDocs/Summer_Catalog_online.pdf Orchard School Summer Catalog
- David and Joellyn Young Staff Profile http://www.artists-studio.com/staff.htm Artists-Studio.com
- Night club source, interviews with Joellyn Young
- Noblesville Places of Interest http://www.debcastino.com/PageManager/Default.aspx/PageID=997799&NF=1
- Seating capacity, interview, same as source #2
- Volunteer Request http://www.artists-studio.com/volunteers.htm Artists-Studio.com
- The Artists' Studio announces 2006-2007. . . (and Gen. Auditions) http://www.indianaauditions.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2651 Indiana Auditions.com
- Auditions for Little Mermaid * http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070217/LOCAL/702170317/1177/CUSTOMPUB21 Indystar.com
- Rocky Horror review by http://dev.nuvo.net/articles/article_1576/ Nuvo Magazine
- The return of Rocky in a student paper http://www.mill-stream.org/pages/features/rockyhorror.html Mill Stream
- Nuvo Magazine announces the second incarnation, and calls the first one of the best of 2003 http://nuvo.net/articles/article_3222/ Nuvo Magazine
- Cast List for Annie http://www.artists-studio.com/Aarchive.htm Artists-Studio.com
- Jay Meisenhelder controversy When No Means No http://www.takingdownwords.com/taking_down_words/2005/04/when_no_mean_no.html Taking Down Words.com
- More on Jay Meisenhelder controversy, offers link to outdated Indianapolis Star article http://www.worthyboards.com/lofiversion/index.php/t20464.html Worthy Boards.com
- Cast List for Aladdin http://www.artists-studio.com/Alarchive.htm Artists-Studio.com
- The Music Man at TAS * http://www.hamiltoncountycalendar.com/index.asp?month=2&day=2&year=2007 Hamilton County Calendar
- People and Song fill 'Joseph' stage http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007701200362 IndyStar.com
- @007-2008 Season
- Summer Camp Registration
- Who is missing from the [Encore Award] nominations... (Archived) http://www.indianaauditions.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-1878.html Indiana Auditions.com
- http://www.artists-studio.com The Artists' Studio Homepage