The outdoor pool opens Saturday, May 25.

All Posts

Q&A with Theatre at the J’s Director and Producer, Eliana Rantz

Eliana Rantz

Theatre at the J has been a growing program at the Mayerson JCC, beginning from a handful of students performing short plays and growing to a cast of students performing Disney JR productions. The next musical to grace the Amberley Room stage is Disney’s Moana JR. We sat down with the director and Theatre at the J producer, Eliana Rantz, to talk about the upcoming production. 

We are a few years into Theatre at the J. How have you seen the program grow from the first show to your most recent one? 

Theatre at the J has witnessed tremendous growth in the quality of productions and participants’ involvement. We started the program with less than 15 students across both classes, and now we service over 40 participants across three classes. Our first two shows were small and used all in-house tech, costumes, sets, and props. Last spring, we tackled more ambitious projects and cultivated a stronger sense of community within the program. 

Why did you choose Disney JR.’s Moana for the spring musical?  

The decision was made with several factors in mind. Disney has a place in a lot of people’s hearts – both young and old. It brings in a lot of interest! Moana is a captivating story with unique characters and a catchy soundtrack. This production also offers the opportunity for the cast to explore rich and culturally diverse material and showcase their talents. 

What are you most excited about for this musical? 

I am most excited for people to see all the hard work the students are putting into this show. Watching their growth from the beginning has been inspiring. I’m eager for the audience to see that and for people to see the overall development of Theatre at the J. 
How do you see this positively affecting the kids in the show? 

Our program allows people to be their authentic selves. It builds confidence and self-esteem. It’s also educational in that we meet the kids where they are and elevate their skills to their full potential. Every rehearsal and class, they enter the space with smiles on their faces, ready to work. Some parents have remarked this has been lifechanging for their child and encourages growth.  

What would you say to someone who wants to try Theatre at the J, but is feeling a little shy? 

We encourage kids to come out of their comfort zone and offer a safe space to explore and try new things. I would tell them to just try it out. If they want to start with something small, they can check out our summer pop-ups to get a taste of Theatre at the J. Hopefully it will encourage them to join us for our Fall program! 

Anything else you would like to add? 

We hope you’ll board our boat and join us for Moana JR on June 2 and 3!   

Cross training. Young woman exercising with dumbbells.

Join The J

When you join the J, you're doing more than just joining a fitness center; you're becoming a member of a truly wonderful community.