Avenue J Studios introduces youths to stage

By on April 4, 2014

Photo: Avenue J Studios, located inside the Elburn Countryside Community Center, is a performing arts education and youth theatre that opened in January. Avenue J Studios offers traditional acting, drama lessons, youth and theatre musical production programs for ages 3 years and up. A unique aspect of Avenue J Studios is the involvement it allows their students to engage in such as costume designing, creating scenery, applying stage makeup and special effects. The business is decorated with play parts, theatre decorations and costumes.
Photo by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—Andy Conley, a sixth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, has found a place that suits him fine.

That place is the stage. And local youths from kindergarten to seniors, like Conley, have a chance to take to the stage, thanks to Avenue J Studios.

Avenue J Studios is a not-for-profit organization that gives youths a chance to experience stage aspects like acting, creating costumes, making scenery, applying stage makeup, singing and technical crew.

Jennifer Madziarczyk, a Kaneland mother of four and the owner of Avenue J Studios, came up with the idea for the performance studio, located in the Elburn and Countryside Community Center.

“It’s an alternative for kids to go and express themselves in a different manner,” Madziarczyk said. “So it’s not a competition that you find in sports.”

Britt Mattern, assistant principal at Kaneland Harter Middle School, is the mother of Libby, a fifth-grader and Avenue J Studios attendee. Britt said she’s seen Libby blossom during her time with the studio.

“She’s really embraced it and she’s done really well with it, so it’s been nice to see,” Britt said.

Gabby Ziemba, a third-grader, said she likes being a part of Avenue J Studios.

“I like that you get to perform,” she said. “And I like that there’s different stories every time.”

Owner Jennifer Madziarczyk and her daughter, Maggie, 11, are residents of Sugar Grove. Photo by Lynn Logan

Owner Jennifer Madziarczyk and her daughter, Maggie, 11, are residents of Sugar Grove. Photo by Lynn Logan

Recently, three “leprechauns”—Libby and St. Charles sisters Ally Tippett, a seventh-grader, and Julia, a fourth-grader—rehearsed a song about a guy named Jack. Libby wore a sparkly jester hat. Ally had on a shamrock hat, and Julia’s hat had green sparkles jutted to the side.

The cast then practiced a song about “Happily Ever After.”

“Lock into the beat and keep it steady,” music director Nika Plattos advised.

When it was time to take the story to the beginning, Madziarczyk gave the direction.

“Go to the top of the show,” Madziarczyk announced. “Places.”

Libby’s catch phrase when her jokes went flat was always “Never mind.”

And during a rehearsal break, Conley’s brother Mikey, a kindergartener, talked about how he feels about getting on the stage.

“I feel a little bit worried. A little bit cool,” he said.

Avenue J Studios is located at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., Suite 22 in Elburn. You can contact them by callling (630) 770-7365 or visiting www.avenuejstudios.org.