Superior Arts Youth Theater

Superior Arts Youth Theater

The next online production from the Superior Arts Youth Theater is coming soon. "Happiness is Homemade" by Quinn Xavier Hernandez virtually premieres online Friday, May 21, and has a dash of comedy, an appreciation for homemade food, and the unexpected. That all blends together in this ambitious multimedia production from SAYT, featuring youth talent from the Upper Great Lakes.

We spoke with director Sophie Sam about how the production came together, including the challenges of continuing to navigate socially distanced productions with the added challenge of filming in multiple locations in our region:

Superior Arts Youth Theater is a year-round arts organization that seeks to empower young people by providing educational, performance, and technical theater opportunities. During the time of Covid-19 and social distancing, they've pivoted to alternative programming, one of which is an animation series, voiced by the young actors from SAY Theater. These animations premiere online; you can follow SAYT on Facebook for updates and visit for more information.  Kurt Hauswirth spoke about the animation series with  Superior Arts Youth Theater's Executive Director, Jalina McClain, as well as Esme, a student voice-actress from Houghton. / Superior Arts Youth Theater

We all need a safe space sometimes, whether it is a quiet place where you can get some reading done, or a person you can turn to that understands what you're going through. "Matilda" is a story all about escape, finding a safe place from oppressive adults, and the magic that can come from hope. Based upon the original 1988 story by Roald Dahl (and subsequent 1996 film), "Matilda the Musical" is a stage musical from 2010 which explores those themes through song and dance, and is the next production from Marquette County's Superior Arts Youth Theater.

Director Susan Candey came to Public Radio 90 to speak more about the production and what opportunities it brings to youth in our area:

Kurt Hauswirth / Public Radio 90

The Marquette area is rich with arts output, especially in local theatre. There's NMU's Forest Roberts Theatre & Dance, Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council (The Vista Theatre), Superior Arts Youth Theater and Lake Superior Theatre (and that's for starters). To celebrate the productions, actors/actresses, production staff and crews, and to simultaneously raise money for these organizations, the first Marquette Area Theatre Awards Fundraiser takes place Thursday, February 6th, 2020.

To tell us more about this first-ever awards show and fundraiser, local theatre star Bobby Glenn Brown came to Public Radio 90:

Superior Arts Youth Theater

The word Frozen brings to mind at least two things; our frozen Great Lakes in winter, and the Disney film based upon Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, and all the sing-a-longs of "Let it Go" that you can muster.  However, Disney's Frozen Jr.  is also the next production of the Superior Arts Youth Theater in Marquette, MI.  Based on the 2018 Broadway musical, Frozen, Jr. brings the characters of Elsa, Anna and the land of Arendelle to life.  You'll hear all the familar songs (along with new songs from the Broadway production).  It opens Thursday, November 21st at the Forest Roberts Theatre in Marquette.

We had a chance to talk with Young Elsa (played by the young actress Avonlea) and the director (SAYT and Forest Roberts Theatre/NMU alum Jill Vermeulen) all about their experiences and excitement they have about Frozen Jr:

Public Radio 90

Based on the novel and the hit-movie of the same name, this musical chronicles the journey of the famously perky Elle Woods, a fashion-savvy, UCLA sorority girl who finds her life turned upside down when she is dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Warner, for not being “serious” enough. Determined to show him that she can be both fabulous and smart, Elle follows Warner to Harvard Law School, where she initially struggles to fit in with her navy-wearing, East Coast classmates. However, with the help of her sorority sisters and her new friends Emmett and Paulette, Elle discovers that maybe she does have what it takes to succeed at Harvard… and she doesn’t need to sacrifice her delightfully pink personality to do it, either!

We spoke with the director of SAY Theater's "Legally Blonde The Musical Jr." and Petra Frazier, one of the principle players:

Superior Arts Youth Theater Facebook Page

The Superior Arts Youth Theater is a nonprofit organization in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan that provides opportunities for youth ages 3-18 to get involved in theater productions, on stage and behind the scenes.  The next performances happen May 3rd through 5th with the second annual Play Festival, with three different plays highlighted.  The classic German folk tale "Hansel and Gretel" (directed by Nathan Morgan), Shakespeare's "As You Like It" (directed by Teagan Sturmer), and "Brave Little Tailor" (directed by Taylor Koski) are all featured in performance at both the NMU Forest Roberts Theatre and the NMU Panowski Black Box Theatre.

All three directors, as well as the executive director and producer Jalina McClain, joined Kurt Hauswirth during Classiclectic to talk about their experiences preparing the companies for performance, as well as challenges and surprises along the way:

Public Radio 90

The Superior Arts Youth Theater will present Disney's "Newsies: The Broadway Musical," based on the 1992 motion picture which was inspired by a true story.  Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is a story of Jack Kelly, the leader of the newsboys who wade through difficult times. Classic music of Alan Meknen is highlighted, with songs like "Carrying the Banner," "Seize the Day," and "Santa Fe."

Susan Candey, in her third directing position with the Superior Arts Youth Theater, came to our studios to tell us more:


One would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't know something about the story of "Alice in Wonderland," by Lewis Carroll.  In this case, the Superior Arts Youth Theater will present a reinvigorated production of the Disney version.  Hear about the production from director, Jalina McClain:

Fun fact about this production: there are over 75 kids involved, on and off stage!

Superior Arts Youth Theater

"Peter Pan" is the next big show for the Superior Arts Youth Theater, and Executive Director Jalina McClain stopped by our studios to tell us about the production, which involves flying, sword-fighting and aerial silks!

The show opens Thursday, March 15 at 7:00pm ET at the Forest Roberts Theatre.  Visit for more information and tickets.