An adult class gathers for Riverside Theatre’s production of Million Dollar Quartet.
Credit: Riverside Theatre

VERO BEACH – With the persistent success of Backstage Access classes, Riverside Theatre continues the series of adult courses that take a closer look at the professional productions being presented at the Theatre.

“Along with all the great programming we have for young people, we wanted to continue our educational opportunities for adults,” says Allen D. Cornell, Producing Artistic Director of Riverside Theatre. “We explore theatre as an art form by examining each specific play on Riverside’s calendar, studying the show’s history, and learning about our production through visits with guest artists.”

Led by Director of Theatre Education Kevin Quillinan, Backstage Access classes are part lecture, part seminar, part participation, part discussion, and seek to build a greater awareness of the many facets and collaborations involved in mounting a show.

“These classes help deepen the students’ understanding of the show and appreciation for the process involved with each production we do at Riverside,” says Mr. Quillinan. “It’s a rare opportunity to hear directly from theatre professionals about what it takes to practice their craft, be it directing, acting, or designing.  Each class contains a wealth of surprising and interesting nuggets of knowledge that always delight the students.”

The classes and schedules are as follows:

“Smokey Joe’s Café” will be one class that will meet Thursdays from 10a.m. to noon. The meeting dates are Oct.18th, Oct. 25th, and Nov. 11th. This course will look at one of the most successful writing teams of popular music. The lives and music of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller will be explored as well as the artists that reached enduring fame singing their songs. The class will also touch upon the creative goals of Riverside’s production.  

“Evita” is a class offered that will meet Thursdays from 10a.m. to noon. The meeting dates are Jan. 3rd, Jan. 10th, and Jan. 17th. Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, Evita is the exhilarating story of Eva Peron who used her charisma and charms to rise to the heights of political power as the First Lady of Argentina. The course will not only examine the show, but explore the musical genius of both Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

“Next To Normal” will be a class that will meet Mondays from 10a.m. to noon. The meeting dates are Jan. 7th, 14th, and 28th. This Pulitzer Prize-winning musical drama, which will be performed on the Waxlax Stage, explores the difficulty of maintaining a normal life when a family member is dealing with mental illness. The class will delve into the advantages and challenges of presenting a contemporary piece that examines an issue that is often neglected.

“My Fair Lady” will be a class the will meet Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The meeting dates are March 7th, 14th, and 21st. This course will look at one of the classic plays from the American stage and one of the most famous characters found in American musicals.  As with other musicals adapted from plays and films, the class will examine the source material for My Fair Lady as well as the various choices made by different productions. Costumes will be a highlight of the discussion as we examine the costume design and build processes taking place at Riverside.  

“Legally Blonde” is the last course that will meet Thursdays from 10a.m. to noon. The meeting dates are April 11th, 18th, and 25th. This class will explore the fun and flashy musical and the story behind the creation of the stage version. Along with our discussion, this will also be an opportunity for the class to learn about the co-production between Riverside and Walnut Street and to hear from actors, directors, and designers about the possibilities and opportunities that come from mounting a production in two different parts of the country.  

Tuition for each three-week class is $70. Class sizes are limited. Riverside Theatre members of $50 and up receive a 25% discount on tuition prices. Patron Producers and Upper Level members can attend classes for free. To purchase a course, call the Riverside Theatre Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at

Riverside Theatre is located at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963. Riverside Theatre programs are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Riverside Theatre is a member of the Cultural Council of Indian River County, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, and the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce.

This article was distributed through Treasure Coast Business, a news service for the readers and advertisers of Indian River Magazine.