Spotlight on Youth (SOY) exists to create an extraordinary youth centered theater experience and to advance theater as a means of educating, challenging and inspiring young people.
SOY seeks to become a model for excellence in theater, striving to lead in quality productions for young people, in theater training, and in generating opportunities for using theater in education and community development. We seek to create a cultural center for youth and families, where programs and activities will celebrate diverse art forms, ideas and cultures.
Barbara has been doing theater most of her life beginning with dance at the age of 4. She has done both professional and amateur offerings throughout her career, directing over 80 shows and appearing in close to 200. She holds a degree from WSU. Barbara founded Spotlight on Youth in 2009 and has been its Managing Director, as well as Producer and Choreographer since. SOY is a partner/resident company at the Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton and produces five shows a season as well as classes, camps and workshops. Working with youth is both fulfilling and energizing – watching young people gain confidence and improve their skills and abilities.
Beth Wondolowski has been involved in theater in a multitude of ways. Sponsoring a drama club at Whitmore Lake Middle School and then founding a Summer Music Theater Camp that produced musicals including James and the Giant Peach, Jr., Aladdin, Jr., Little Mermaid, Jr., and Lion King, Jr. spurred her interest in performing in musicals herself. Working with a variety of community theater groups, some favorite roles include Miss Andrews in Mary Poppins, Carmen Bernstein in Curtains, and Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In addition to these roles, Ms. Wondolowski has also been involved in Pit Orchestras for numerous productions as the Conductor, on Flute, or on Keyboards. Her day job is teaching Band and Choir at Lincoln Park Middle School, which she loves as music and teaching are two of her passions. Ms. Wondolowski fully believes that music, theater, and the arts bring a plethora of viewpoints and cultures to students while teaching them lifelong lessons through encouraging confidence, empathy, and teamwork.
As a people-loving social worker, Madison is looking forward to spending her spare time with the Spotlight on Youth family. She has had a passion for the arts beginning at a very young age. She has recently played Annelle Dupuy Desoto in Better Than Ever Productions performance of Steel Magnolias and Cathy/Ditsy in SOY’s Rock 'n' Roll Santa. Madison has experience in acting, directing, assistant directing, and choreographing. Madison is looking forward to expanding her love for the arts by working with Spotlight on Youth. The beauty of live theatre brings her so much joy; she is so grateful and excited to be working alongside Spotlight on Youth children, families, and staff to share the same joy with the community
Gary has been the photographer for Spotlight on Youth over many productions. He retired from Eastern Michigan University as a Professor in the business department and also is retired from EDS as a network design engineer. Gary does a lot of amateur photography and shares his skills with several theater groups in the area.
Jenessa has had a passion for theatre since she performed in her first show when she was nine years old. Since then she has performed in numerous shows. Her two all time favorite roles were Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast. Jenessa joined Spotlight on Youth as an actor in 2012. After performing with SOY for a season Jenessa was ready to learn the technical side of putting on a production. When Barbara approached her about Assistant directing The Sound of Music she jumped at the opportunity and she has been on the team ever since! Jenessa loves being apart of Spotlight on Youth because she gets to see kids fall in love with performing just like she did when she was a kid and she loves the rewarding feeling of watching a production that she put so much time and effort into!
Throughout each season we will Present two to three main stage musical shows and two studio straight or musical shows incorporating classics i.e., Shakespeare, Moliere, Gilbert & Sullivan, Victor Herbert as well as contemporary offerings.
We promise to:
encourage the power of imagination and critical thinking through class offerings in various areas of the arts both inspiring youth to excel in theater arts and creating a safe environment where self-confidence and awareness of self are welcomed and nurtured.
illuminate connections, build bridges, and celebrate diverse cultures wherever practical and possible.
offer study guides to teachers and educators and encourage attendance by offering works that are either in the curriculum or would be good additions to the present curriculum, collaborating with area teachers and educators.
provide an outlet and opportunity for all youth to perform, create and work on a theatrical presentation from script selection through set strike. SOY will allow youth to take on various roles (with adult supervision) learning the craft of theater.
encourage our youth to be stewards of all our resources, natural, man made and intrinsic to self.
embrace the fundamental attributes of young people: curiosity, risk taking, candor and imagination.