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Frequently asked questions

What is a performing ensemble?

Unlike a traditional musical where each person is cast in a particular role in one specific show, a performing ensemble is a group of highly talented performers who have the opportunity to work on the very best numbers from a wide variety of Broadway and movie musicals, all combined in a fantastic musical revue.

What sets Take the Stage apart?

We are performance based with experiential training.  During our rehearsals, we show ensemble members how to apply their skills, technique, and talents toward a top-quality, polished performance.  We adhere to standards of hard work and high expectations. 


What are the expectations for participating in an ensemble?

We are looking performers in grades 4 – 12 who love to sing, dance, and act, and can commit their time on Saturday afternoons to fun and engaging rehearsals in preparation for high-quality performances.


How are performers divided into the two ensembles?

The ensembles are grouped by grade level.


Do the two ensembles rehearse and perform together?

Yes.  Performers will work on material with their respective ensembles, with the combined company of both ensembles, and with small groups.  This format allows maximum flexibility to challenge and engage each performer.


What does the season entail?

Our season consists of approximately 28 weeks of rehearsals and performances.  We have a fully produced musical revue in the spring, two to six community roadshow performances, and a final cabaret showcase.


Where do you rehearse?

Our rehearsals are held at Maryland School of Dance, located at 11711-B Parklawn Drive in Rockville.


What is the musical revue?

Our musical revue is a fully produced show with four performances over one weekend in February, where ensemble members perform all of the musical theater numbers they have learned over the course of the season. It is performed in a theater with costumes, full lighting, and sound. Tickets will be available to the public.


What is a road show?

A road show is a chance for the ensembles to perform out in the community at local festivals, fairs, senior centers, etc.  Road shows provide an invaluable opportunity for our performers to learn adaptability and flexibility while accommodating the various situations that may arise at different performance venues.


Take the Stage is a pre-approved Montgomery County Public Schools SSL organization.  All ensemble members are eligible to earn SSL credit for performances.

What is the cabaret showcase?

The cabaret is the final celebration of our season.  Each ensemble member will choose and perform a solo, duet, or trio.  It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the talents of the performers and the company of friends.

What is the tuition and what does it cover?

Tuition is $1900 and covers all 28 weeks of rehearsals and performances.  This includes music, dance, staging, and performance preparation for and participation in the musical revue production, road show opportunities, and final cabaret showcase.  Costumes for various numbers will be provided for use in the performances.

What items will ensemble members need to supply?


Rehearsal supplies

Black 1” three-ring binder for holding music, recording device, pencil with eraser, rehearsal dance attire, dance shoes, water bottle. 


Base costume pieces

Girls:   Leotard, jazz pants, dance shoes (pedinis, jazz shoes, character shoes, tap shoes, as needed), over/under leotard, tights.  An exact list with style numbers will be provided.


Boys:  Black dress pants, black button-front shirt, black socks, black belt, black jazz pants, black jazz shoes, tap shoes (if tapping).


Performance accessories

Occasionally, a performer may be asked to provide “street clothes” or accessory pieces for a particular costume.  These are usually outfits that can be pulled together from clothes the performer already owns, or other common pieces.  For example, performers may be asked to provide jeans, a man’s button-front dress shirt, a scarf, etc.

What is the attendance policy?

Performers may miss a total of five (5) rehearsals during the season.  Absences are not allowed during the three weeks before our fully produced musical revue.


Are ensemble members required to take voice or dance classes?

We do not require ensemble members to take voice or dance classes, but we strongly encourage our performers to do so.  High-quality performance rests on a solid foundation of training and technique, and we hope that our ensemble members will strive to further develop and enhance their performance skills by training in voice and dance outside of their participation in our ensembles.  

How are ensemble members selected?

Ensemble members are chosen by audition.

How should I prepare for the audition?

Prepare 16-32 bars of two contrasting songs (uptempo and ballad).  Girls should prepare one song in head voice (upper register) and one song in chest voice (belt/mix).  An accompanist will be provided, so bring sheet music for both songs.  If you need to have the music transposed by the accompanist, be prepared to tell him what the transposition is.


Be warmed up and ready to sing and dance when you arrive at the audition.  Feel free to bring a water bottle into the audition room.

What is the audition process like?

Performers will be brought into the studio in small groups in the order in which they arrive at the audition.  Each person will sing a selection from one or both of his/her prepared songs.  Don’t be concerned if you don’t get to sing all 16-32 bars of both songs.  We will make sure we hear everything we need to hear from you.


The entire group will be taught a jazz combination to be performed in smaller groups of 3 or 4 for the directors.  Those who tap may be taught a tap combination or asked to perform certain tap steps.


How will we be informed of the audition results?

Everyone who auditions will receive an email regarding the results of the audition.


If we have any questions, whom should we contact?

At Take the Stage, we strive to communicate openly with ensemble members and parents.  We want you to be informed and active participants in this performance experience, and we are happy to answer any questions you have along the way.  In an effort to streamline communication, please direct all correspondence to director Susan Alexander Thompson at

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