101 Stories: STAR Program Alumni

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

For the last 21 years, TCT’s renowned STAR Programs have trained students ages 9–18 to become well-rounded performers in all areas of musical theatre through an immersive multi-week intensive. Some alumni have gone on to national tours, Broadway, and even been a finalist on American Idol! These competitive programs are audition-based, and students accepted spend the summer working with leading professionals in the theatre business, helping them improve in all areas. Their work culminates in a final showcase and one-act festival. 

Melissa Campbell

“I truly miss the TCT community! I remember feeling so much love when going to STAR Camp and rehearsals for TCT and feeling like we were all building each other up as an ensemble. We encouraged each other always to be better than we were the day before, and without that lesson of perseverance, I don’t think I would be the performer I am today!”

Allison Edwards 

“My first year at STAR Camp was in 2011, and my last year was in 2017! My favorite STAR experiences include when I got to play the role of Shelly in Bat Boy! I also always loved performing in the traditional FAME medley finale.”

“All of the coaching and training from the amazing staff helped me train and grow as an artist throughout STAR. STAR Camp has helped me gain the professionalism and confidence that I need in the future for auditioning and performing on stage!”

“As I’ve grown and performed with TCT, I have always seen the enthusiasm and excitement of children as they watched the shows. I have had kids come up to me after performing at TCT who said they wanted to be on stage and perform! It’s a great feeling to see that children are enjoying theatre and the arts.”

“What I miss most about The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati is the kindness, determination, and professionalism everyone has while putting on a show. I miss the excitement and applause from the audience in the Taft Theatre and making families smile. I will always hold TCT true to my heart because they have shaped me to become the artist I am today.”

“I am forever grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the TCT family and will never forget the wonderful experiences and people I’ve been able to work with. Words cannot express how thankful I am for the TCT organization. I hope to have future experiences working with TCT again!”

Courtney Hammonds

“For seven years, STAR Camp was the highlight of my summer. Over four long weeks, I got to learn how to be a well-rounded young professional. One of my favorite events at STAR was the STAR Olympics, where all the groups competed in theatre-related games. The team spirit was my favorite part. Each team goes all out with custom spirit wear and a team chant!”

“In addition to a full showcase each year, each group puts on a full hour-long play or musical in just four weeks. It goes by incredibly fast and requires a significant amount of focus and homework. A standout moment that changed and shaped me as an artist was when twelve-year-old me had to accomplish this goal in three weeks due to a week-long conflict. I had to learn to be disciplined, take detailed notes and pick up on choreography very fast to keep up. It matured me as a performer.”

“STAR definitely helps young performers develop creativity and imagination. In the annual One-Act Festivals, sometimes a show is double cast. Because two people share the same role, we had to learn to put on our own creative spin on our character. I learned not to compare myself to others and gained confidence in my portrayal of my characters. I had to use my own creativity and not become a replica of someone else.”

“I loved working with youth who were serious about their craft. I loved learning and growing with my peers. At STAR, we are a community, an ensemble, and a family; and it is felt most during the Showcase finale. I will forever miss performing the FAME medley. There is no feeling like the unity of 80 young professionals wearing a big white star singing, “…and in time, we will ALL be STARs.”

“TCT will forever hold a special place in my heart. The environment is always positive, and the staff is very supportive. The skills I’ve learned while training at STAR and working on TCT’s MainStage will last a lifetime. Thank you, TCT, for enhancing my love of theatre.”

Would you honor STAR Program Alumni with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?