Arts In ActionCASTTAM


Zach Smith Michaels

CAST has been on my radar since 2008, and I always saw the program as something awesome, but probably not “for me.” In 2012, Ian Evans and Carol Jaudes both asked me if I would consider auditioning for CAST’s production of the “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” It seemed like a solid gig, so I auditioned and got in. That summer I met people who have become some of my closest friends. I grew as an actor, believer, and I also got an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes of a production. All of a sudden, writing and directing became very attractive to me. I participated in CAST three more times after 2012. 2013, 2014, and 2018 and I always try to catch a performance of whatever production CAST is doing.

In 2018, I was hired in GNY as a Creative Arts Instructor primarily for Drama. When Peter Pan was announced as CAST’s next show, I beseeched my drama students who were of age to audition, as I knew what a wonderful experience this would be for them. I was thrilled when the majority of those students were selected for that summer. Seeing them in Peter Pan at the Seaside Pavilion filled my heart with joy as I was amazed to see how much these young actors had grown in just a few weeks!

The most pleasant surprise came when they returned home after the summer. In rehearsals now, I see them taking even bigger risks, asking better questions, and conducting themselves in a more professional manner. They have also become much more confident, which has made their performances all the more exciting! They are more outspoken (in a good way) about the pieces that they perform, and I’m constantly blown away by how gifted these actors are.

CAST took some very young and talented performers and somehow brought them to a whole new level. I’m a believer that creative arts open doors, and I’m thrilled about the doors that CAST is opening for young performers all over the territory!

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