New theatre company to offer camps this month


In April, the Ponte Vedra High School Theater Department, under the direction of drama teacher Jason Nettle, presented “Disney Descendants The Musical.” Concurrently, Nettle and wife Katie held a “Descendants” camp for elementary school children.

The idea was to have the children learn a couple of the show’s songs alongside the teen performers. The response was huge; 75 kids signed up.

“We had no idea it would turn out like that,” Katie Nettle said.

There was clearly a demand for a musical theatre outlet for local children.

The Nettles have since launched a musical theatre company, Musical Theatre Ponte Vedra (MTPV), and its inaugural summer camps will be held this month.

“Broadway Bound,” for kids in kindergarten through grade eight, will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 10-13, with a showcase at 1 p.m. the final day. The goal is to learn some basics of the musical theatre and have lots of fun.

Teens in grades 9-12 will meet 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 17-20 and 24-27. They will rehearse a show, “Something Rotten!” to be presented at 7 p.m. the final day. The goal is put together a show quickly, just as professional theatre companies must do.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Katie Nettle. “I’m really excited for it.”

“Something Rotten!” is a musical comedy about the life of Shakespeare, though Jason Nettle does caution that some of the dialogue makes it a PG-13 show. The suggestion for the production was actually made by his drama students.

The teen camp will require taped auditions. There are no auditions for the younger children’s camp. All rehearsals and performances will be at the high school.

The Nettles have extensive experience in the theatre. Jason Nettle had worked as a professional actor in New York for 12 years. Katie Nettle, who has a fine arts degree in acting from UCF, has also performed in several stage productions.

In fact, both husband and wife will be familiar to regular patrons of Alhambra Theatre & Dining where they have performed in about 20 productions. Among his many roles, Jason Nettle demonstrated his comic talents as Lord Farquaad in “Shrek The Musical.” Katie Nettle was last seen in the Alhambra’s production of “White Christmas.”

For the camps, the Nettles will be joined by choreographer Maureen Straub Craig, who also performed in New York.

The PVHS Dramatic Boosters are lending the Nettles their assistance, hosting camp registrations on their website, Signups will be accepted until the first day of camp, though the teens will want some time to put together their taped auditions prior to that.

Ultimately, the Nettles hope to establish a musical theatre culture in Ponte Vedra, perhaps one day launching a community theatre here.