StarStruck Musical Theater was created in 1995 by Lori Stokes, a graduate of San Diego State University and a Fremont, CA resident, as a theater program for neighborhood children. It was originally named Kids On Broadway, and first performed at the Fremont Education Foundation’s Fundraiser luncheon at Castlewood Country Club, with twelve local children ranging in age from seven to twelve years old.
For the first 6 years, Kids On Broadway performed to sold out audiences at the local Broadway West Theatre Company. In the year 2000 it became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and changed its name to StarStruck Musical Theatre. It soon outgrew the Broadway West theatre. After performing a few shows at Mission San Jose High School, Lori Stokes took the big step and booked the Ohlone College’s Smith Center to produce her winter show, Honk!, and it was an overwhelming success! Since then, she has gone on to produce and direct two main stage shows each year. The winter show is performed indoors at the Jackson Theatre and the summer show is usually performed outdoors in the Amphitheatre. StarStruck’s most recent shows have included Seussical the Musical (revival), Shrek the Musical, Peter Pan (revival), All Shook Up, and A Little Princess.
StarStruck has come a long way in the last 20 years, producing 24 main stage musicals, 30 junior shows, 43 matinee performances for elementary school kids through Theatre for the Schools program, where students can see a show for a reduced price, and also offering 220+ after school classes and school break camps. The young performers at StarStruck range in age from 7 to 21 years old.
Lori Stokes continues to produce and direct the theater’s musicals, along with incredibly talented music director, Nancy Godfrey, and amazing choreographer, Jeanne Batacan-Harper. For each show StarStruck employs professional costume and set designers, lighting and sound technicians. Very enthusiastic and talented parent volunteers help Star Struck achieve professional quality shows.
StarStruck mixes a professional environment and training with the relaxed fun and enthusiasm of a kids’ community theater. It is this combination that attracts both the youngest, most inexperienced performer, and the theatrical veteran alike, so that all can share in the magic that comes from creating a musical. All cast members receive intensive training in singing, dancing and acting, while learning about other aspects of theater as well.
StarStruck prides itself on the fact that it is the only year-round non-profit all-youth theater company in the Tri-City area. Actors cast in the main stage productions are carefully selected through auditions that attract actors, singers and dancers from all over (and beyond) the Tri-City and Tri-Valley areas.
StarStruck’s young performers often continue their involvement with the performing arts – through other community theatres, colleges, and even professional theatre. Wherever StarStruck kids go, they carry with them not only the memories of the enormous fun they had together, but also the irreplaceable social and professional skills they acquired during their time with StarStruck.