Hundreds gather at Playhouse on the Square for the UPTAs

Hundreds gather at Playhouse on the Square for the UPTAs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Once a year in Memphis, dreams come true for hundreds of performers hoping for their big break.

It’s all thanks to the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions (UPTAs) which is a four-day audition process held every year in February at Playhouse on the Square.

Performers travel from across the country to meet producers booking talent for resident companies, touring productions, on cruise lines, in theme parks like Dollywood - even Disney!

Michaela Catapano traveled from New York. It’s her first year auditioning, and she hopes to land a job before she graduates this spring.

"I am really excited, but also a little nervous. Like really nervous. I kind of want it to happen and be over,” Catapano said. "To get a job from this right and be booked and blessed right after college would mean a lot to me."

She and hundreds of others wait inside a holding room reading lines, practicing music and warming up before they head into the audition.

Next, a group of 25 contestants head to the green room where they meet Sally Stover, and UPTA volunteer who makes sure all performers is stage ready.

After Sally, they hit the stage -- one at a time for a quick 90-second audition in front of dozens of producers like Wally Mason with Blue Gates Musicals.

"These are people that are professionals at what they do and it's a great place to find the talent that we need to fill our spots,” Mason said.

Michael Detroit, Executive Director with Playhouse on the Square created UPTA auditions 26 years ago - now the second largest audition of its kind in the country.

"This particular convention brings in nearly a million dollars’ worth of economic impact to the city which is fresh money,” he said.

Detroit hopes this growing audition process will continue to employ performers for years to come.

For more information on how to take part in next year’s auditions, click here.

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