Madagascar Jr
Fame Jr

The PAC Youth Theatre in collaboration with the Highlands Middle School presented the musical, FAME Jr. on November 3, 2022. Twenty-two students were cast. They sang they danced, they choreographed, they acted! They had fun! They learned what it was like to be on stage and project to the audience.

           Family, friends, and school supporters filled the new Highlands Performing Arts Center theater. Two hundred and thirteen enthusiastic theatergoers were in attendance and gave the cast a standing ovation for a job well done.

           Joi Chapman, PAC Youth Theatre Artistic Director and Highlands School Music and Drama teacher directed FAME Jr. She looks forward to directing the lower school in a musical in the Spring of 2023.

           The PAC Youth Theatre program is sponsored by the Cullasaja Women’s Outreach and Mountain Findings. The program is free to all students and is entirely funded by grants. FAME Jr. was presented with permission from Musical Theatre International.


Joi Chapman, Director Youth Theatre

Last Fall’s middle school production of Fame Jr. was a tremendous success and paved the way for the elementary school students to get excited about being in Madagascar Jr. A Musical Adventure.

            Going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, Marty, the zebra, wishes that he could be out in the wild. After meeting a bunch of crazy penguins who also want to escape from the zoo, Marty follows them and breaks free. Discovering that their friend has gone, Alex the lion, Melman the "hypocon-giraffe" and Gloria the hippo, go on a mission to find him and bring him back to the zoo. But before they make it back, the group is caught and boxed up, waking up to find they're

en route to an African wildlife reserve. But then, all hell breaks loose when the penguins escape from their crates and get up to mischief again, landing them on the island of Madagascar, where they then meet King Julien, the flossing, party-loving lemur, and his tribe.

            Artistic Director, Joi Chapman has been working with fifty elementary school students since January on learning lines, songs and dances for Madagascar Jr. A Musical Adventure. Students began coming over to HPAC in February for rehearsals, to learn how to use the space of the stage and how to project in the larger auditorium.

New Performance


Our previous performance

Fueled by the grants awarded in 2017 by the Cashiers Foundation, the Cullasaja Women's Outreach, Mountain Findings, the Highlands Foundation and the seemingly endless enthusiasm of young people, the PAC youth Theater has enjoyed an event-filled 11th year.

Of course, the program is predicated upon ongoing training with the students invited to view and study the PAC's presentations of the current streamed productions of The National Theatre of London. Classes are also offered at different times of the year in acting, voice, and movement; general theater studies; text analysis; tech design, production skills, stage combat; and front of house.

Those who study in the Youth Theater's Intern Program learn hands-on lessons of working with national touring groups. Members of the program begin by watching and listening to our Director’s instruction. As time goes on, with hard work and perseverance, they are taught to be able to serve as lighting technicians, sound engineers, prop masters, wardrobe assistants, and even backstage managers for community and professional productions at the PAC.​

The PAC youth Theater is free and open to all local students, regardless of their level of experience. Different programming has different age requirements. For information call 828.526.9047.

Copyright 2023. Highlands Performing Arts All Rights Reserved. 

Joi holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University, and has taught elementary, middle, and high school music at different times in her teaching career in Florida and Ohio. She is now the music & drama teacher at Highlands School.

Along with being a performer herself, she has music directed many musical theatre productions for elementary schools and middle schools in Sarasota, Florida, as well as for a dance studio’s musical theatre encore program. She is also a co-founding member of Rise Above Performing Arts in Sarasota, where she returns once a year to continue to music direct.

Joi has also directed multiple award-winning Choir and Show Choirs.

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