Youth Summer Theater Program

August 19-23, 2024

Marathon County 4-H is partnering with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, to present: PINOCCHIO, adapted by Jim Caron. This is a one-week, live performing arts opportunity for youth entering grades 1-12 in Marathon County (public/private/homeschool). Two professional actor/directors will come to Wausau for one week: August 19-23, 2024, to direct a full-scale musical starring up to 60 local school-aged children.

What is the musical about?

Geppetto fashioned the puppet in the image of a small boy. Even as the lonely and kind woodcarver worked far into the night, old Geppetto was not aware that the wood under the chisel had come from the trunk of an enchanted tree. But the Blue Fairy was aware, as she watched from afar and gave to that puppet the gift of life. Thus, begins the Missoula Children’s Theatre adaptation of one of the most beloved of all children’s stories–PINOCCHIO. Join our wooden-head as he dances with Geppetto’s charming toys, travels the road to Pleasure Isle with Candlewick and his Crew, and is swindled by the unsavory Fox and Cat. After escaping the clutches of the evil puppet master, Stromboli, Pinocchio finds himself in trouble once more–this time swallowed by a monstrous whale. Very scary stuff! As Geppetto and the friendly Urchins spin their magical tale, we learn with Pinocchio that there are no shortcuts on the road to becoming a real, live boy.

Two professional actors/directors will arrive in Wausau in their “little red truck” that will be loaded with a set, lights, costumes, props…pretty much everything that is needed to put on a play, except the cast! The team holds an open audition and will cast local students to perform in the production. The show will be rehearsed through the week, and a public musical performance is presented at the end of the week!

Audition & Rehearsal Schedule

TENTATIVE – Pinocchio Rehearsal Schedule

August 19-23, 2024

Monday9amStaff ArrivalTheater 
10-NoonAuditionAll YouthTheater & Classroom
Noon-12:15Lunch Break Specified Cast MembersClassroom
12:15-2:15RehearsalTheater & Classroom
2:15-3:15Clean UpStaff
Tuesday9amStaff ArrivalTheater 
10-NoonRehearsal #1Specified Cast MembersTheater & Classroom
Noon-12:15Lunch BreakClassroom
12:15-2:15Rehearsal #2Specified Cast MembersTheater & Classroom
2:30-3:30Workshop #1Staff & ParticipantsClassroom
3:30-4:15Clean UpStaff
Wednesday9amStaff ArrivalTheater 
10-NoonRehearsal #1Entire CastTheater & Classroom
Noon-12:15Lunch BreakClassroom
12:15-2:15Rehearsal #2Entire Cast (except entering 1st grade) + AccompanistTheater & Classroom
2:30-3:30Workshop #2Staff & ParticipantsClassroom
3:30-5:30Set Stage/Unpack CostumesStaff
Thursday9amStaff ArrivalTheater 
10-NoonRehearsal #1Entire Cast+ AccompanistTheater & Classroom
Noon-12:15Lunch BreakClassroom
12:15-2:15Rehearsal #2Entire Cast (except entering 1st grade) + AccompanistTheater & Classroom
2:30-3:30Workshop #3Staff & ParticipantsClassroom
3:30-4:15Clean UpStaff
Friday9amStaff ArrivalTheater 
10-1:00Rehearsal #1Entire Cast+ AccompanistTheater & Classroom
1-1:15Lunch BreakClassroom
1:15-2:15Rehearsal #2Entire Cast (except entering 1st grade) + AccompanistTheater & Classroom
2:15-2:30BreakEntire Cast with 4-H StaffClassroom
2:30-4:30Down Time ActivityEntire Cast 4-H Staff
4:00SupperEntire Cast 4-H StaffClassroom
4:30Makeup & CostumeEntire CastTheater 
6:00pmPerformanceEntire CastTheater 
Until 8:30ishClean UpStaff


 *All Youth: $25 each  / $65 total for 3 or more youth from the same family.                      

 *Fees will be collected after auditions are completed and youth are cast on August 19th.

*If your family has a financial burden, contact Holly Luerssen, Marathon Co 4-H Educator, for a financial sponsorship. 

Community Partners & Donors: We are thankful for these organizations who made donations to the theater camp. It has helped reduce the over all costs.

About the Group Audition

The Group Audition is an experience on its own! There is no limit to the number of youths who may audition. Every child at the audition has an equal chance of being cast. There is a chance that not all of the children auditioning will receive a part, it depends on the number of roles available (usually 50-60), and the number of youths who audition.

Everyone who participates in the group audition will receive an Audition Certificate! No advance preparation is necessary to participate in the group audition! A smile never hurts, though! Just be ready to come and have a good time!

All youth who would like an opportunity to participate in the program, including youth who would like to be cast as Assistant Directors, must participate in the group audition. The group audition is a two-hour session.

Youth who wish to audition must arrive by the scheduled start time and must stay for the entire length of the audition session (2 hours).

Please note that some cast members may have their very first rehearsal right after auditions end. The rehearsal session after auditions will be two hours long.

The show is cast at the sole discretion of the Missoula Children’s Theater (MCT) Actor/Directors, and roles will be announced at the end of the audition. The actors/directors will ensure no youth is singled out and will do their very best to ensure all youth leave auditions with a positive feeling!

PLEASE NOTE: There is a maximum cast size for this program. This year’s production can have between 50-60 youth cast members. While we truly believe every youth brings a special talent with them to auditions, casting is limited to the amount of roles available. Please discuss this with your child(ren) ahead of time so they are prepared.

If youth are not able to attend the group audition, they will not be able to participate in the program. The group audition is an important part of the process; it provides the MCT team the opportunity to assess the abilities of the youth auditioning in order to cast them in the role that is just right for them. The entire length of the program is one week, which does not provide extra time to hold more than one audition session.

About Rehearsals

Although not all cast members will be needed at every rehearsal, those selected after the auditions must be able to attend all the rehearsals required for their role and must be available for all scheduled performances. Putting on an entire show in one week brings challenges, it helps to know expectations on participation in advance. A detailed rehearsal schedule is distributed to youth at the conclusion of auditions. Youth should expect to rehearse a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes each day (two-hour rehearsal, 15-minute snack break, two-hour rehearsal). Plus a workshop on 3 of the days. Please refer to the schedule. Not all cast members will be needed at every rehearsal, but it is imperative that all youth who audition have a clear schedule on the week of the program.

THURSDAY: BRING A BROWN PAPER BAG TO REHEARSAL ON THURSDAY! Each student MUST BRING A BAG (a brown paper bag or large gift bag works best!) that is labeled with their (1) FULL NAME and (2) CHARACTER ROLE. Costumes will be placed into each bag on Thursday.

The Performance

The performance will take place on Friday evening and will be 60-70 minutes in length with no intermission.

Cast will remain on site after the final rehersal. We have it planned that they will be with us for the entire day through the end of the performance, so there will not be a need for you to bring your youth back and forth. Our 4-H staff will provide an afternoon snack, activities, and supper.

MCT will sell t-shirts throughout rehearsal week and following the show.

After the final performance, the team will check-in costumes, break down the set, and load up their little red truck. Additional help from cast members and family is greatly appreciated for this process!


Participants will be under the supervision of the Missoula Children’s Theatre Inc. Actor/Directors, as well as the Marathon County 4-H staff. Please remember that as part of the registration process, youth participants agreed to follow the Wisconsin 4-H Code of Conduct.


It is understandable that youth may become ill during the week of the show, and the MCT team do their very best to accommodate a missed rehearsal due to illness. Unfortunately, due to the short time frame the cast has to prepare for the performance, if youth miss more than one day of rehearsals it may not be possible for them to participate in the role they were cast.

Frequently Asked Questions

More Info Coming Soon!

Reach out to Holly Luerssen, Marathon County 4-H Educator, at

What Youth Can Also Expect

  • During dress rehearsal or the performance, some costumes may feel warm, especially costumes for the youngest cast members. We try to do our best to keep the space cool and comfortable, but please be prepared for this possibility. We rely on the costumes provided by MCT, some of which are well cushioned!
  • This program may require some waiting…not every participant can be on the stage practicing all the time. There will be times during the week when youth will have to practice their skills in waiting. MCT actors/directors will do their best to keep youth engaged as much as possible, but there will be times when participants will need to wait quietly, especially back stage, or while watching other youth or groups onstage.
  • There is a maximum cast size for this program. This year’s production can have between 50-60 youth cast members. While we truly believe every youth brings a special talent with them to auditions, casting is limited to the amount of roles available. Please discuss this with your child(ren) ahead of time so they are prepared.

Why You SHOULD Participate!

  • The Youth Summer Theater Program is INCLUSIVE! All youth in currently in grades 5K-11 (as of May 1, 2024) are welcome to audition – no experience is necessary!
  • An opportunity for youth to try something new and challenge themselves!
  • An opportunity for youth to gain life skills, such as, creativity, communication, decision-making, problem solving, caring for others, and healthy choices!
  • The Youth Summer Theater Program builds self-esteem, confidence, and resiliency in youth!
  • Gives youth the chance to meet and work with two professional actors/directors, as well as the chance to meet new friends!
  • A chance to be with other youth/individuals that share your interests!

Need an Accommodation?

Accessibility is important to Marathon County 4-H. UW-Madison’s Division of Extension is committed to creating an accessible, inclusive, and equitable experience for all program participants. In partnership with the McBurney Disability Resource Center at UW-Madison, the division evaluates and responds to requests for disability accommodation(s), in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Learn more online here.

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