Backstage: A Virtual Broadway Experience

Saturday, August 21, 2021 | 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

Crane River Theater’s Backstage Workshop is going virtual this year with an interactive Broadway experience. Backstage is the perfect way to kick-start your ’21-’22 One-Act, Speech, and Performing Arts season with advice from professional artists and educators.

Created specifically for Nebraska high school students, this unique 4 and 1/2-hour fully virtual training session allows teachers to gather young artists in their school auditorium or large multi-purpose space with access to a video projection screen to experience a day’s worth of inspirational interviews, special performances, and action-packed learning sessions.

Students can participate in a Spotlight Scholarship contest judged by special guest artists with a $500 scholarship prize for the winning student! An exciting addition to this year’s event is the Broadway Musical Theater Showcase where schools can submit a recording of a Musical Theater number of their choice. Winning submissions from both contests will be shared during the event with industry professionals and schools from across the state.

For a one-time registration fee, students can experience Backstage: A Virtual Broadway Experience with renowned Broadway artists and educators! More information regarding featured artists will be released soon!

The current registration fee for the program is $500/school. Crane River Theater recently received support from a private grant to offer this program for $100 to the first 20 registering schools! Email Education Director, Matthew Briggs (matthewbriggs@cranerivertheater.org) to take part in this special offer. Act fast because space is limited.

Get ready to SHINE! Crane River Theater is excited to bring back this scholarship opportunity for students attending this year’s “Backstage” experience. Any student from a participating school may register to sing or perform a monologue to qualify for a $500 scholarship.

Students should prepare a recorded video of 5-minutes maximum singing a Musical Theater selection OR presenting a comedic or dramatic monologue. Submissions are due Monday, August 2, 2021, by 11:59 PM.  Special guest artists will judge submissions, and the scholarship-winning submission will be announced and featured during the experience.

Students should upload their video to YouTube or Google Drive as an MP4 or MOV file. How can I upload my submission? Follow these directions to upload your completed video to an unlisted YouTube file.

  1. Go to www.youtube.com and sign in. If you don’t already have an account, create one.
  2. Click the “upload” button at the top.
  3. Select the file you want to upload or drag/drop your video file into the box.
  4. In the “Basic Info” screen, enter the appropriate title (Name, 2021 “Backstage” Audition Submission) where the filename appears.
  5. In the box below the title, enter your name, high school name, the title of the song or monologue, the title of musical or play where the song/monologue is from, and an appropriate email address.
  6. Change the privacy setting from “Public” to “Unlisted.”
  7. Click “Done.”
  8. When the video is uploaded, copy the URL and paste it into an email to be sent to Crane River Theater Education Director and “Backstage” Coordinator, Matthew Briggs (matthewbriggs@cranerivertheater.org).
  9. You will receive a confirmation email within 3 business days of your submission.

Tips and Tricks for successful video submission:

  • Quality is key! Choose the device that has the best quality video and audio recording available. Devices can include a smartphone, iPad or tablet, or video camera
  • Enhance mobile video by shooting horizontally, not vertically. Try using a tripod or recording stand
  • Ask someone to operate the camera for you.
  • Control the lighting in the room to offer the best viewing experience possible.
  • Leave the camera or recording device plugged into electricity while recording.
  • Test! Test! Test! Always take a test recording to ensure quality and lighting before recording your actual submission!

Backstage: A Virtual Broadway experience is offering schools to showcase student talent and celebrate the incredible work of teachers across the state. The Broadway Musical Theater Showcase is a school competition that allows students and teachers to submit a recording of a group Musical Theater performance number featuring as few as 4 students. The performance should not exceed 5-minutes in length.

Choreography, Scenery, Costumes, and props are not required, but they are strongly encouraged. Teachers may use a recording from their most recent spring musical or student showcase. Special Guest artists will evaluate the performance numbers and the TOP 3 submissions will be featured during the experience. One school will be recognized as the top Broadway Musical Theater Showcase School and receive a coveted award. Schools may upload their video to YouTube or Google Drive as an MP4 or MOV file.

When the video is uploaded, copy the URL and paste it into an email to be sent to Crane River Theater Education Director and Backstage Coordinator, Matthew Briggs (matthewbriggs@cranerivertheater.org). How can I upload my school’s submission? Follow these directions to upload your completed video to an unlisted YouTube file.

  1. Go to www.youtube.com and sign in. If you don’t already have an account, create one.
  2. Click the “upload” button at the top.
  3. Select the file you want to upload or drag/drop your video file into the box.
  4. In the “Basic Info” screen, enter the appropriate title (Name, 2021 “Backstage” BMTShowcase Submission) where the filename appears.
  5. In the box below the title, the high school name, the title of the song, the title of musical or play where the song/monologue is from, teacher name, and an appropriate email address.
  6. Change the privacy setting from “Public” to “Unlisted.”
  7. Click “Done.”
  8. When the video is finished, copy the URL and paste it into an email to be sent to Crane River Theater Education Director and Backstage Coordinator, Matthew Briggs (matthewbriggs@cranerivertheater.org).
  9. You will receive a confirmation email within 3 business days of your submission.
School Registration Form
Individual Registration Form
Also including:
  • Janet Rose (Retired Speech and Debate coach at Kearney)
  • Becky Boesen (Nebraska-based creative, Blixt Locally Grown Founder)
  • AJ Johnson (NSCTA President and Coach at Hartington-Newcastle)
  • Erinn Dearth (Nationally-Acclaimed Actor, Founder of Spring Theatre)
  • Dan Beckmann (Nationally-Acclaimed Actor, Spring Theatre Artistic Director)
  • Deb Velder (Past Associate Director, Nebraska State Activities Association)
  • Patsy Koch-Johns (Nebraska State Board of Education and retired coach at Cozad and Lincoln High)
  • Skip Altig (Retired Speech and Debate Coach North Platte)
  • Matt Heimes (Speech Coach at Lincoln South West)
And Many More…

Frequently Asked Questions

When is “Backstage: A Virtual Broadway Experience”?

Backstage: A Virtual Broadway Experience, or Backstage, for short, will be held on August 21, 2021 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM CST.

What will “Backstage” look like?

On Saturday, August 21, 2021, we invite you to gather your students in a large auditorium or multipurpose space with access to a video projection screen. Students will be on their feet, interacting with peers and hear advice directly from seasoned Broadway performers and top One-Act and Speech judges in the state. A 30-minute lunch break will be offered, and schools are encouraged to plan accordingly. This information will motivate you and your students as you prepare for the school year.

What is “Backstage”?

Crane River Theater is ecstatic to present “Backstage: A Virtual Broadway Experience,” a unique learning adventure guaranteed to excite and inspire your students. This is a great opportunity to launch your One-Act season, ignite creativity for your Speech season, and recruit new students to join your cast or team.

Created specifically for Nebraska high school students, this unique 4 and 1/2-hour fully virtual training session allows teachers to gather young artists in their school auditorium or large multi-purpose space with access to a video projection screen to experience a day’s worth of inspirational interviews, special performances, and action-packed learning sessions led by seasoned Broadway professionals.

This program sounds amazing, but we are concerned about cost. How can you help?

The one-time registration fee of $500 per school allows as many students to join in on the fun as possible. There are a few ways schools can bring this unique learning opportunity to students.

  • Divide the fee among participating students.
  • Engage your boosters to sponsor the opportunity for your students.
  • Ask a local business to sponsor the opportunity for your students.

Crane River Theater recently received support from a private donor to offer this program for $100 to the first 20 registering schools. Email Education Director, Matthew Briggs (matthewbriggs@cranerivertheater.org) to take part in this special offer. Act fast because space is limited.

I am a homeschool student. Can I participate?

Absolutely! Crane River Theater is happy to welcome any homeschool participants. Students can register for this event online at CraneRiverTheater.org/Backstage. The registration fee for homeschool students is $50 per student.

How can my school get more involved?

“Backstage: A Virtual Broadway Experience” includes two exciting competitions! There is no additional cost for participation.

  • Spotlight Scholarship Contest:  Individual students can submit a video of themselves singing a Broadway Musical Theater selection OR presenting a comedic or dramatic monologue. The video should not be more than 5-minutes in length. Submissions will be judged by special guest artists, and the scholarship-winning submission will be announced and featured during the experience.
  • Broadway Musical Theater Showcase Contest: Schools can submit a 4-6-minute group musical theater number with a minimum number of 4 student performers. Schools will receive special recognition, and the winning submission will be shared across the state during the experience.

How can I upload my scholarship or school video submission?

Schools or students should upload their video to YouTube or Google Drive as an MP4 or MOV file. Follow these directions to upload your completed video to an unlisted YouTube file.

  1. Go to www.youtube.com and sign in. If you don’t already have an account, create one.
  2. Click the “upload” button at the top.
  3. Select the file you want to upload or drag/drop your video file into the box.
  4. In the “Basic Info” screen, enter the appropriate title (Name, 2021 “Backstage” Audition Submission OR 2021 BMTShowcase Submission) where the filename appears.
  5. In the box below the title, enter your namehigh school name, the title of the song or monologue, the title of musical or play where the song/monologue is from, and an appropriate email address.
  6. Change the privacy setting from “Public” to “Unlisted.”
  7. Click “Done.”
  8. When the video is uploaded, copy the URL and paste it into an email to be sent to Crane River Theater Education Director and “Backstage” Coordinator, Matthew Briggs (matthewbriggs@cranerivertheater.org).
  9. You will receive a confirmation email within 3 business days of your submission.

How can I register my school or student?

Registration is available online at cranerivertheater.org, by calling 308-627-5796 or by emailing Crane River Theater Education Director, Matthew Briggs matthewbriggs@cranerivertheater.org.

School registration is due by Monday, May 10, 2021. Payment is due by Monday, August 9, 2021

Crane River Theater’s Arts Education Programs are generously supported by the Arram Family Foundation and the Peter Kiewit Foundation.