Musical Theater Program

Fall 2024 Season Presents: Annie Jr.

We are enthusiastic to announce our fall musical: Annie Jr. (pending licensing permission from Music Theatre International). In this classic tale, orphan Annie dreams of being reunited with her parents and escapes the orphanage to try and find them. Annie discovers a new family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

As we continue to develop our musical theater program at World Upside Down Arts Studio, we are very excited to announce our new team for the Fall 2024 season!

Watch the video from our new directors and check out their bios below. Then sign up below to attend the virtual Meet the New Team event on Monday, May 13, 8:00pm

**Instructions for registration and audition sign up link coming soon!**

Meet the Directors & Production Team

Gisele Gathings

Theater Director

Gisele Gathings has performed as an actress, model, writer, composer, vocalist (Gisele TYF), talk show host, news anchor, voiceover artist, and media personality on television, radio, and film as well as the stage. Gisele’s featured vocal performances include: Kylie Odetta, SpeakEasy Jazz, Lakia Club Italy, Razz Ma Jazz Band, and Grady Hodges Group. She has performed in all of the major theaters in the upstate and is currently touring with Christian Creative Media’s production Viable. Her music project, The Journey Gisele TYF is available on all digital platforms.

Jairo Puello

Music Director

Jairo was born in the Dominican Republic and started his musical career in Puerto Rico where he graduated from seminary. He later returned to his country to be the national director of Awana Clubs International in the D.R. Of his seven music albums, these are the most popular: You are Exalted, I’ll Stay With You, Attached to You (nominated to the Cassandra Awards 2008), and On the Rock. He currently works as a State Farm insurance agent for Mahler Nunez serves on the worship team at NewSpring Church (Greenville campus), and is the music director for the musical theater program at the studio.

Taylor Hungerford

Assistant Director

Taylor is a mother, wife, songwriter, and seasoned musician with a background in vocal music education from Valdosta State University School of the Arts. She draws from her years of experience both as a worship leader and as an early childhood nanny to mentor young artists and performers. Her passion is to empower the next generation to discover their voices while truly feeling seen and valued as they step out to boldly use their gifts—many for the first time ever.

Emma Peters


Emma is a teacher, student, and artist dedicated to sharing her love of movement with the world. As a teacher, she strives to make each of her students feel seen, no matter their level of expertise. She is currently pursuing a BS in Business and Accounting with a minor in Dance at Anderson University, so that she can work in the arts as a business professional. She has taught musical theater, jazz/tap, hip hop, and creative movement at World Upside Down Arts Studio and looks forward to choreographing our Fall 2024 show.

Sign Up for the Musical Theater Program

Step 1: Fill out this form to get the invite for the Meet the New Team event on May 13, 8:00pm and auditions in August

Step 2:
Attend the virtual Meet the New Team event on May 13, 8:00pm (you must fill out the form in Step 1 to get the Google Meet invite)

We are currently seeking clarification regarding licensing rules for items related to our program. As soon as we get clarity on those issues, we will update this website with all of the steps needed to enroll in our fall program.

Musical Theater Program FAQs

  • Mon, May 13, 8pm – Virtual Meet the Team meeting
  • Tues, Aug 13, 5-8pm – Free Audition Prep and Meet the Directors Class
  • Sat, Aug 17, 10am-3pm – Auditions
  • Sat, Aug 17, 4pm – Call backs (if necessary)
  • Mon and Tues, Aug 19/20 or Tues, Aug 20 – Rehearsals start – 5pm-8pm
  • Mon/Tues, Aug 19/20- Mandatory parent meeting –  7:30p-8pm
  • Fri/Sat, Nov 8-9 and Fri/Sat, Nov 15-16 – Shows

Access our Musical Theater Program Calendar (Android)

Access our Musical Theater Program Calendar (iPhone)

Every student in our program participates in the show. We train students for auditions and then hold auditions to determine cast roles: a principal role or an ensemble role. We invite all students (experienced or novice) to attend our free audition prep training class so that they can get to know the directors, meet peer actors, and feel most confident about the auditions. In this free class, students will receive instruction that will prepare them for their monologue and their song. They will also learn a dance routine with the choreographer which will help guide casting decisions. Students should wear comfortable clothes. Dance will not be a part of the Saturday auditions. Click here to download the tool kit Annie Jr. auditions.

Audition sign up link coming soon!

For the auditions, students should prepare 30-60 seconds of a song and 30-60 seconds of a monologue (memorized speech). Students can use content from the Annie Jr. toolkit for their audition and may bring a track on their phone/device to play through our Bluetooth speaker or sing acapella. We will not have a pianist to accompany with sheet music. Audition slots allow 10-15 students to participate at a time. Once each group has auditioned, students are free to go. Students will not be tested on their dance skills during the audition.

As we prepare for our fourth season of musical theater, we want to continue to improve our program and offer more value to our students and their families. Here are some changes we are focusing on for the Fall 2024 season.

  • Maximizing rehearsal time: Most of our rehearsals will consist of tight rotations where students will be simultaneously trained in music, acting, and choreography and will rotate rooms as needed so that they are actively participating during the entirety of the rehearsal. We want to minimize downtime and maximize training.
  • Emphasizing technical theater: We want to include technical theater as a part of our training program so that students can work with adult volunteers and teaching artists to create the set, props, and costumes from the beginning of the season. Training in technical theater will be a part of the rehearsal rotation.
  • Guest teaching artists: We want to give our students exposure to local artists who excel in their craft and also to leaders who provide good role models for our students, so we will be inviting guest teaching artists to come and share their stories during our rehearsals. Parents will be invited to these sessions.
  • Character development: We want to help our students lay a strong foundation for identity as they discover their purpose in life. We want to intentionally address questions our students may have:
    • “Who am I?”
    • “Does my life matter?”
    • “Am I accepted?”
    • “Am I loved?”
    • “Am I significant?”
  • Parent Advisory Committee: If you are a parent who cares deeply about our program and wants to make a positive difference and contribution, we invite you to enjoy our volunteer parent advisory committee. You can anticipate monthly virtual meetings but we will make more concrete decisions based on interest. Contact Joanna Puello at to sign up!

Elementary, Middle, and High School students are invited to participate in our musical theater program.

To give our students the optimal training and performance experience, we prefer not to exceed 30 students per cast. We are currently seeking clarification regarding licensing rules for items related to musical theater licensing for the Fall season as it relates to having two casts. As soon as we get full clarity on our specific questions, we will update this website with all of the steps needed to enroll in our Fall program! 

Weekly rehearsals are held at World Upside Down Arts Studio. Tech rehearsals are held at the performance venue the week before the show. 

The shows will be performed at the Younts Center for Performing Arts in Fountain Inn, SC, on November 8-9 and November 15-16. There will be tech rehearsals at the Younts Center for Performing Arts in Fountain Inn every night the week before the first show. If we have two casts, each cast will have their own week of tech rehearsal (Mon-Thurs with performances on Fri-Sat). If we have one cast, the cast will only have tech rehearsal Mon-Thurs, November 4-7, before the opening show. Tech rehearsals are mandatory. 

The participation fee for the musical theater program is $123/month per student.
Fall Season – August – November (four months of $123/month)
Spring Season – January – May (five months of $123/month)

The first payment is due August 18 –  ]We are allowing a delayed payment for August so that parents can make final commitments after final audition decisions have been made.
September – November –  Monthly payments are due before the 1st of each month to avoid a late fee.

Parents are responsible for the costs of their child/ren’s costumes. We will try to keep these costs to a minimum. If your family is going through financial hardship, we can help you raise funds to cover the costume costs.

We offer 5% discounts for siblings, veterans, and full-semester payments.

We can also provide discounts to parents who invest in our program with sweat equity (helping us obtain sponsorships, conduct fundraising events, grant writing, set design and construction, prop and costume creation, sound engineering and lighting, event hosting, etc.).

See the Policies & Pricing page for details on payment dates, pricing, discounts, and scholarship applications.

Support Our Musical Theater Program

World Upside Down Arts Studio is proud to offer a robust and growing theater program.  We are currently funded with tuition payments and generous donations. You can support our theater program by volunteering, sponsoring a show, and/or giving a 501(c)(3) charitable contribution to cover production costs for set design, costumes, props, and more!