Jessica Babcock has been working for Jump Dance Company in Lakewood Ranch for eight years helping students learn to sing, dance, act, and entertain. After many years of junior musical productions, Jump Dance Company has taken the leap to produce full scale adult musicals under their new division called Jump Encore!
Their first production, Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods will be performed on the outdoor stage at Hunsader Farms in Bradenton, November 11-14 at 7:00 p.m. and the cast and crew invites you to enjoy their inaugural offering.
Tickets can be purchased by going to JumpEncore.com or through the Suncoast Culture Club's Calendar of Events Page.
Listen to this Suncoast Culture Club podcast episode as Jessica tells us about the evolution of Jump Encore Theatre Company, the amazing and perfect space for this production at Hunsader Farms, and the story line, cast and crew for their performance of Stephen Sondheim's award winning Broadway musical Into the Woods.
Support the show (https://scf-foundation.org/suncoastcultureclub/)
Robyn Bell: It is always very exciting when a new theater company Springs up. And in this case, a theater company that is actually expanding from children productions to adult productions. And I have asked director Jessica Babcock of Jump Encore to join us today, to tell us all about herself, the expanding theater company and their upcoming production of Stephen Sondeim's into the woods showing November 11 through 14 at 7:00 PM at Hunsader Farms. So Jessica Babcock, welcome to the club.
Jessica Babcock: Hi, thank you so much for having me.
Robyn Bell: It's been a pleasure meeting you the last couple of minutes. I see your extensive resume and how much you've done here. And I'm thinking to myself. How come we've never met before.
Jessica Babcock: I know I've been very busy. I keep myself very busy.
Robyn Bell: Not me. I just sit around, you know, Bon Bons and butterflies by the pools. Yeah. Well, let's start with you, Jessica. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the musical theater world here in the Bradenton and Sarasota area.
Jessica Babcock: Absolutely. So I'm originally from upstate New York born in. I moved here in 2013. But when I was up there, my mom is the one that got me into musical theater. She was a dance teacher, most of her life, and she started to choreograph local productions up there. And then eventually she opened up her own children's theater company in Albany. Yeah.
Robyn Bell: So yeah, you were kind of made to do this.
Jessica Babcock: Exactly. I was thrown into it since, as long as I can remember the first show I did was Annie when I was five and I played Tessie. It's been nonstop ever since then,
Robyn Bell: you know, you think about when somebody says, oh, I'm a dancer, I'm a dance teacher. And I have visions that go in my head of, you know, in a ballet studio and stuff. But really, I mean, if you're a choreographer, there's a lot of work in these musicals. I mean, it is a big part of what these musicals are, is the movement and the dance part of it.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, no, definitely. I. Started teaching dance when well, I started assisting first my mom's classes and things like that. And then back in New York, I started to teach a little bit. And then once I moved here in 2013, I started teaching full time.
Robyn Bell: What brought your family here in 2013?
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, so a little sad story. My dad passed away in 2009. Thank you. So. We always love to go to Disney world as a family every year. And we needed kind of a change of pace in life. We are constantly in New York City all the time, as much as we loved it, we loved coming to Florida and going to the beach. And we wanted to move to an artsy town and we had. Never been here before
Robyn Bell: you picked a good artsy town.
I, my teacher
Jessica Babcock: back in New York, her sister was a realtor here and she suggested it and told us about Booker high school which is where I ended up graduating from as part of the VPA program. And so we moved here, sight unseen. We toured a house through FaceTime and we just did it,
Robyn Bell: packed it up. So it was you and your mom, you have a sister
Jessica Babcock: have a sister. Yeah. So we moved down here first. And then. Grandma. And my grandpa moved down here a few years later.
Robyn Bell: Really? So the whole family's here now?
Jessica Babcock: Pretty much. Yeah.
Robyn Bell: And how old were you when you moved
Jessica Babcock: here? I was a junior in high school.
Robyn Bell: Okay. So excellent that you got into the VPA, the visual performing arts program at Booker high school where you were in some productions there?
Jessica Babcock: I was, I was in Midsummer'sNight Dream. I was in Our Town. Yeah. Scott key's wrote an original production called Ghostlight, which we did. And then I assistant directed our last production of Hairspray. And my senior year,
Robyn Bell: I said, you know, a great loss on a Scott keys, retirement.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, absolutely. I actually just ran into him on Monday and it was great to see him.
Yeah. Directing Falsettos at the
Robyn Bell: players, the players, yeah. Down in Venice, knew he wouldn't stop, you know, after retiring from the VPA program. But you don't have to be at school at seven o'clock every morning now,
Jessica Babcock: so he's doing great. It was so nice to see him.
Robyn Bell: So, yeah, that's great. At some point you graduate from Booker high school. Okay. And where do you go next?
Jessica Babcock: So I started some college classes at USF for elementary education. I'm really good with kids. Kids are a huge part of my life. Went through some medical things and took a little break. And that's when I really started to focus. Full-time when teaching dance and things like that,
Robyn Bell: you know, a medical scare can make us. What's important to me. And where am I going to put all my time?
Jessica Babcock: Yeah. So I started teaching dance more full time. When we first moved down here, my mother was hired to lead the Jump Encore production company at Jump Dance company. So she took over the program and kind of. Redid it a little bit reimagined it. And so that's what she started to do when she first moved here.
Robyn Bell: Let's talk about this, Jump Encore them, because it's located in Lakewood Ranch and it started as a children's dance studio.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah. So um, Jump Dance. Company's been around for 16 years now. We're in our 16th season. Carrie Mina is the owner and the Mina in Bowman family. They are wonderful. So. They opened the company and then jump on core was developed. A little bit later after that,
Robyn Bell: About eight years into it, I think, cause it's been where they took this concept and I love this, right. We're a dance school, but now we're going to let you produce musicals like children's musicals, right?
Jessica Babcock: So we have over 500 students at our dance studio
Robyn Bell: You know what? That was one of my questions. How many people are. 500 children,
Jessica Babcock: one of the biggest dance studios in the area. So we have lots of kids who have different interests. So we offer voice lessons. We have our normal dance classes. We have our theater company now and lots of other programs. We have been expanding as much as we can throughout the years, which is awesome.
Robyn Bell: And you probably have a real mix of students that are in public schools, students in private schools, maybe homeschool students. Yeah.
Jessica Babcock: So we we do offer privates like during the daytime and things like that. We have morning classes to offer the flexibility of. Schedules
Robyn Bell: and always in Lakewood Ranch, but where exactly is it?
Jessica Babcock: So we're right off of 64 in Lakewood Ranch Boulevard
Robyn Bell: in that little strip mall,
Jessica Babcock: We have our own free-standing building, but because we are so large, we had to grow a little bit. So we have two additional studios in the strip mall behind us.
Robyn Bell: It's a good problem to have,
Jessica Babcock: and we're looking to expand again.
Robyn Bell: Wow. There's just never enough room.
Jessica Babcock: No, so. We have those two additional studios, but with the way that the theater company is expanding, we are looking to possibly purchase our own space for the theater company.
Robyn Bell: I don't realize, I think when you're really designing a musical and in production, you have to have a large space to recreate what our stage will be like and the blocking, which is, where people are standing and moving and the dancing. Dancing a little classroom,
Jessica Babcock: which is kind of what we're doing right now. So because we have so many classes going on our normal theater company for our kids rehearsals once a week it's a very different kind of schedule for our kids, which allows them to do a lots of extracurricular activities. Cause they only commit to us once a week. So they do like an hour and a half class and they rehearse from August to May. So it's easier to block out a studio for them once a week. with the adult company, We run like on a full professional program where we have to rehearse multiple times a week. So it's hard to block out a studio space for us when we're there every single night. So we've been rehearsing in our preschool space right now because there's no classes at night which has been fine. It's great. And then we move into a studio when it's available. But it's a little bit of a tight quarter, so sure. This has definitely kind of been the initiative to find a new space.
Robyn Bell: And let me ask you, because you started with the children's productions and how many shows a season would you produce
Jessica Babcock: two normally? Yep. So they run at the same time. So we do like a junior production, which goes up to 18 year olds, and then we do a kid's production, which normally. With like seventh and eighth graders. And so the junior production rehearsals on Mondays and then the kids productions on Thursdays. Yeah.
Robyn Bell: And this is a neat concept because they're taking vocal lessons, they're taking dance lessons, and then they can come to you for that evening, once a week, a rehearsal where they're putting those skills together and an actual. Event. Yeah. Yeah. That's a great educational outgrowth of their lessons. You know what they're getting to do really, really cool. So then you've been doing this for eight years with the children. Now you've decided to expand to an adult professional more company. What was the impetus for that?
Jessica Babcock: So like I said, I, haven't a really amazing boss who allows us to kind of do what our heart is feeling. Lets us explore new things out of trial basis. And I talked to her for a while about potentially expanding the program a little bit, and I finally had. This dream, I guess, to really put it into action. A couple of months ago, I've had a lot of life changes going on this year and
Robyn Bell: haven't we all post pandemic. I mean, life doesn't look anything like it did.
Jessica Babcock: No. Yeah, no lots of crazy things happening this year. But in the end, It all worked out for the best
Robyn Bell: and I'm sure your boss, like every other boss, as long as I don't lose money. Yeah. Right.
Jessica Babcock: Absolutely.
Robyn Bell: Musicals are sort of notorious for losing money. Just like, you know, athletic programs at small schools like us. It's not like, a thousand billion people come to our basketball games and stuff. And so it's the same here we put on a musical, it costs a lot of money to do you hope to recoup your money and ticket sale? It's not guaranteed. So, you know, yeah. It is an investment for the community.
Jessica Babcock: With this show, we want to break, even at least on this one, we have made a lot of investments. Now we want this to be a long-term thing. We have purchased our own lighting system. Um, Yeah, it's incredible. And we purchased a lot of costumes and had a really large donation of costumes from the Asolo, which is amazing.
Robyn Bell: They are so helpful and you know, they run out of space too. They got a purge, I'll take it.
Jessica Babcock: So we went to the costume sale and their costume shop manager. David was incredible and we have. Whole lot of the most incredible costumes now, and we are so thankful to them,
Robyn Bell: but let's Jessica. Let's talk about the need for storage. When you have a musical theater company, you have costumes and set pieces and props and
Jessica Babcock: you should see my mom's garage.
Robyn Bell: Oh, bless her soul.
Jessica Babcock: It's incredible. Um,
Robyn Bell: It's air conditioned.
Jessica Babcock: We constantly rearrange and bring things in. They're all. Stored nicely and totes and everything like that. We do have two storage units on top of that for all set pieces and stuff like that. And then we just built closets in the studio, which is now housing, all of our lighting equipment. Yeah. We're running out of space.
Robyn Bell: I'm going to tell you if you're just a patron and you just go see. That is one of the things that maybe you don't understand is the amount of space you need for rehearsal and the orchestra to rehearse the, singers, the dancers, the actors, but then you have all of the set pieces, these props, these costumes, they have to go somewhere.
Jessica Babcock: They just don't get thrown away at the end. You got to store them somewhere. Cause it's for them again.
Robyn Bell: Yeah, every little piece of wood here at the State College of Florida gets filed away. We might use that two by four three years. You better keep it. Yeah, absolutely. It can be a hoarding situation.
Jessica Babcock: Well, this here's the good thing about our show with, into The Woods right now. We are doing a very stripped down production of, Into the Woods.
Robyn Bell: Well, I was going to ask about this because I read that on your website. And I want to say that when I was in college, I played trumpet in the pit orchestra of that production of, into the woods and we've also actually done the show here at the State College of Florida. And what I remember is. It ain't easy. Like this show in the music is really hard. It's a huge, I was the trumpet player. So I always had that too. And I had to play it in every key. And it was like this thematic thing. Matter of fact, I went to the cast party at the end and I walked in. I go, who are you? Cause they never know anybody in the pit orchestra. So I played the trumpet and they all started singing my little theme, you know, my little family. So the music's hard. The singing's hard. The acting is hard. The costuming is hard. The set pieces are hard, but putting your team of people together, you've managed to make this production a little more manageable.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, absolutely. Um, So we are doing a very stripped down production. We are relying a lot on the space that we are doing our show in at Hunsaders and so basically everything that we are using in the show, you could find in a cabin in the woods.
Robyn Bell: Which is really what the show's about.
Jessica Babcock: Exactly. Exactly. It's found objects, objects are used multiple times in multiple different ways. We have a stripped down cast two 11, which is normal. 25 plus people in the show,
Robyn Bell: people are playing multiple roles, roles.
Jessica Babcock: Absolutely. They tough job back and forth. Like our stepmother bless her is going back and forth between stepmother to Jack's mom, to granny to this and that. And it's. Two line differences.
Robyn Bell: Yeah. Well maybe we should pause here and explain to our listeners that maybe you don't know the story of Into the Woods, the Stephen Sondheim musical. So Jessica, tell us sort of the plot line real quick.
Jessica Babcock: Of course. Oh gosh. It's a long one. Let's do a
Robyn Bell: stripped down version.
Jessica Babcock: So you have. Lots of different fairytales, kind of all thrown together into one story. You've got Cinderella and her Prince. You've got Rapunzel and her Prince. You have little red Jack in the Beanstalk, the baker and the Baker's wife.
Robyn Bell: He interweaves all those stories.
Jessica Babcock: It's incredible how he does it.
Robyn Bell: Smart.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah. It's brilliant. And so everyone is kind of on their own journey to get their wish. And we go through everyone's story and how it is that they go to get that wish and all the different things that it takes and the sacrifices to get those things.
Robyn Bell: And what are you willing to sacrifice to get what you
Jessica Babcock: get, what you want? Absolutely. It's a really. Story for anyone to go see and relate to because it's really heartfelt. I don't want to give too much away,
Robyn Bell: Are you doing it in two acts?
Jessica Babcock: We are.
Robyn Bell: Okay. So there's an intermission. And you're talking with the
Jessica Babcock: long shows you got it.
Robyn Bell: It is a very long show. And when you said strip down, I was wondering, are you taking out some scenes? Are you just mostly stripping down the characters?
Jessica Babcock: With the licensing. You can't cut anything out of it or else you will get in trouble. And we do not need that. And so we have kept pretty much everything in the show it's stripped down where. Like the stepmother to Jack's mom will change her hat or she will throw on a shawl or something like
Robyn Bell: that would normally be two different people, different people in the production. It's one person.
Jessica Babcock: Yep. And then Milky white. We are not doing Milky white, like a normal Milky, whites, the kids, the cow. And so let's just say Milky white has a great personality in this show. Good. Yes. So that's what we mean by stripped down, we don't have a full set. Like I said, we're relying on our space around us and the few objects that we have. So we don't have those traditional giant story books around the stage and things like that. Lots of trees to go in and out of levels on the stage it's very interesting.
Robyn Bell: And Hunsader Farms has an outdoor staging area, right?
Jessica Babcock: Yeah. So I went out there a couple months ago to their, you pick for their flowers. I've never been out there before and I live right near it and we were walking into one of the market things and I saw this stage just sitting there. Yeah. This is gorgeous with all the trees around. They have benches all lined up and everything. The stage is huge and it has this beautiful cabin looking back to it. And immediately, as soon as I saw it, I started thinking, what can I do with this space? Didn't have permission. Hadn't talked to anyone.
Robyn Bell: Right.
Jessica Babcock: But I was so inspired by it. And I started thinking, what shows can I do? I debated between like Tuck Everlasting and other outdoor shows and. Into the Woods is one of my favorite shows that I've ever done.
Robyn Bell: You went forward all here on the first production. Good for you. It's a tough one.
Jessica Babcock: Immediately less with a amazing cast that I had thought of. We didn't audition for this production. I reached out to pretty much everyone that's involved because it was our first production. It's kind of hard to just reach out and be like, Hey, this is a new theater company come audition. You know, people don't really trust it yet. Right. So we wanted to make sure that we were putting on the best production possible.
Robyn Bell: Well, I was looking on your website, your. Pretty much all star cast and crew. Yeah. And behind the scenes folks. So tell us who all is in this production performing, and then who's making the magic happen from the production end of it.
Jessica Babcock: Okay. All right. So cast wise, we have denatured Jaser she's playing the Baker's wife and her partner, Derek Brookens explained the baker. They just returned to town from traveling around and doing. Theater and like the Midwest area and stuff like that. They are incredible. We are so lucky to have them. And then we have Melanie beer Weiler and her fiance, Todd Maddix, and they're playing Cinderella and Cinderella's Prince. They're coming all the way up from. Palm Harbor. Wow. They're traveling quite far for the show. And then we have Kelly leiszler, who's playing the witch. Kelly is he's a man, it's a very different take on our which, but he is incredible. And everyone's gonna love
Robyn Bell: interesting. Yeah. You normally see the witch, you know, Bean's beat, he's nothing, but you know, the rapping, some of my work really well where the guy.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, absolutely. It's been done before Kelly was the first person I asked to be a part of the show before I even had a production team. I reached out to Kelly because. For years, I've known that Kelly would make an amazing witch like this hadn't it was just coming into play. And the first person I messaged was Kelly and immediately he was like, yes. Yeah, it was, it was great. And then we have Ashley Faygo and she's playing Rapunzel. And then Tanner Foltz is playing Rapunzel's prince.
Robyn Bell: Now we're puzzle, obviously she's up in a high tower. It's a Rapunzel Rapunzel, let down your hair. So I'm interested in how you're doing and I want to get up, I want to go back to the characters, but how then with that limited space you have a little tower you've built or something. Okay.
Jessica Babcock: Well kind of. With the, all those trees around the space or using one of the trees. And then we have a big ladder which will lean upon the tree and like an A-frame ladder and then Rapunzel climb up to the top and she shot her, her long hair, which isn't hair. So that's going to be a fun thing. Had a little experiment with that. You got to make it creative, you know those found objects. And so yeah, that's the tower. It looks gorgeous out in the space. It's beautiful.
Robyn Bell: So I went to, oh yeah, no,
Jessica Babcock: you're good. So we have Danielle Snelling. She's the one that's playing. Jack's mom and the stepmother. She is incredible going back and forth. I don't know how she does it. I am in the show as well as directing it. No, it's not. And I'm playing little red. But it's been a lot of fun. And then we have Josh Devine. He is a senior MSA. He's playing Jack. He's played the role before and he, is incredible. Absolutely,
Robyn Bell: really great though, to incorporate some of our local young talent,
Jessica Babcock: because really? Yeah, no, Josh is amazing. The Wolf is also played by Todd who is Cinderella's prince. Okay. So that's one of those double up situations. And then we have Chris Caswell. He is coming and playing the narrator and the mysterious man. He has also played the role before a lot of the people at our show have been in the show before and have played their roles before, which has been really nice.
Robyn Bell: And that rubs silver really nice cast. And then you have, like you said, you are. Co-directing so who's your other half of that? This
Jessica Babcock: is my co-director. We worked together on Nunsense at Manatee performing arts center in January
Robyn Bell: resume. Corey has.
Jessica Babcock: Yes, he does. He is incredible. And I knew that he had. A perfect fit for this as he has a very creative imagination. And he would help bring this new vision to the show alive. So he was also one of the first people I texted. I was like, I need you. But my sister had worked with him. Years prior with different shows. And I had always wanted to work with him. And after I did Nunsense with him, it was a instant connection. I was like, yes.
Robyn Bell: Good, nice. Yeah. And to find all these people available, you know, with busy schedules and stuff with the production schedule.
Jessica Babcock: Yes. Corey just finished directing Title of Show at the Players and Sarasota. And then as soon as he was done with that, he came over to us.
Robyn Bell: And so you also have some sound designers, lighting designers.
Jessica Babcock: Our stage manager, Alicia, Tyler lore. She is an incredible stage manager.
Robyn Bell: They make a big difference, don't they?
Jessica Babcock: Yes, they do. She is a lifesaver. I love her. We have gotten so close throughout this process and I am so lucky to have her and her husband, Ethan Vale who works at theAsolo. He is our lighting designer
Robyn Bell: and he's got this brand new lighting rig does he does.
Jessica Babcock: He's the one that helped me order everything. He's been a huge help as well in the toys store. It's been very exciting. It's been exciting for me too, because I'm learning so many different things. While I was raised into the theater. I saw the directing side of things, the choreography side of the things, and I've staged, managed a few things before I'm now learning. Lighting I'm learning sound aspects and things like that. I'm getting a very well-rounded education throughout this process, which has been really exciting for me as well. And I'm so excited to be able to learn how to do these things and it'll help me in the future.
Robyn Bell: And it's really good. Your show start time is seven o'clock. And so that's going to, it's a nighttime show cause that's about the time that the sun is well, it's
Jessica Babcock: been. Getting pretty dark around six 30 recently.
Robyn Bell: Right now there's a time change on November 7th,
Jessica Babcock: which is exactly why we chose the weekend that we did so that it's even darker.
Robyn Bell: And so that's going to be nice for the lighting. It's an outdoor venue, as we said. So how are you going about the sound? The amplifications?
Jessica Babcock: Yes. So Alicia and Ethan made an investment and purchase their own sound system as well. Um, Yeah, so we have a whole brand new sound system as well that we are using where the first people to do it. And then Alicia, and we have some other people coming in to help with the sound aspect of everything.
Robyn Bell: Excellent. Yeah. Being someone that sat in the pit orchestra. And I, you know, I know kind of the book here, but you have a scaled down version of that as well. How's that going?
Jessica Babcock: An amazing music director, Emily Crume. So she is actually just finishing up mamma Mia at Manatee as well. She's been pulling double duty on this one. She is our music director and she has. Taught us so well, she's a lifesaver and she has compiled
Robyn Bell: she's playing keyboards.
Jessica Babcock: So she is music director, and she'll also be leading the band on the piano. And then we have drums and then we also have a cello, they have a huge. Band rehearsal on Saturday.
Robyn Bell: Now you said that Hunsader Farms is where you're hosting a tell me how did that collaboration come together?
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, so after I thought of the space and what I wanted to do, I sent an email to Kim who is one of the owners of the farm.
Robyn Bell: Let me just interrupt you here because. The grandson, Alex Hunsader is a friend of State College of Florida and my pops orchestra. So he came through here and our music program. He played violin in an orchestra. And then when he graduated, he, as we often say, graduated to the pops orchestra. So he plays violin for my pops. Now he temporarily had moved to Nashville for a little while through the pandemic, but he has moved back and we're glad to have him. So we have the Hunsaders come to all of my pops, concerts and stuff. And they're a great family. It's such a neat place out there.
Jessica Babcock: It is incredible. Like I said, it was my first time out there a couple months ago and I was amazed at how big it is and how much stuff they have for you to do. They have a petting zoo and they have like all these different, like a Western like village out there. They have a huge. Ballroom for weddings and things like that.
Robyn Bell: It is totally one of these little gems and jewels that if you've never been there, go to Hunsader Farms and just experience it. And so you just reached out to them. But so
Jessica Babcock: I reached out to Kim and I was like, hi, you don't know me. I am part of Jump Dance Company, which is actually located very close to them. I said, I would love to use. I have this vision that I would love to transform your space into. And I told her kind of what I was about and what I wanted to do. And she immediately was like, yes, she was like, let's make this work. And I was so thankful to her because I don't know what I would have. It worked out because the space is just so perfect.
Robyn Bell: It is. So I can just, I can see it. I can see how great
Jessica Babcock: twinkle lights and the trees around you and all the lighting. And
Robyn Bell: you're going to feel like you're in a fairytale.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah. The only thing that we're kind of worried about are the little birds behind us in the petting zoo and we get loud. So talking animals in the middle of the show, there's goats and. Different donkeys,
Robyn Bell: you know, it just might make the experience all the more real miss
Jessica Babcock: fear. Exactly.
Robyn Bell: So neat. Yeah. You know, I'm one of the things that I really like about this is since I talked to people in Sarasota and Bradenton, you know, there's a lot of theater companies in Sarasota, a lot of people that are startups, there's, the professional companies, the community companies, and here in Bradenton, we have the Manatee players. We have here at the state college of Florida, we do one production in the fall, and then we do scenes in the spring with our class here. But it was really good to read that there's another musical theater company in Bradenton doing stuff in Bradenton. That's I should probably shouldn't leave out the island players, Murray island, you know, they do stuff as well.
Jessica Babcock: I had never been there before either. It's a very cool space. But exactly that was what I was thinking kind of when I expanded the program, not only in Bradenton, but in the Lakewood Ranch area as well, which was kind of included in Bradenton, but until the Player's Center goes out there, there's, there's really not a presence out there. And not only just Bradenton, but in the entire Sarasota and Bradenton area, there's not. Enough children's theater meaning for families to go and see with adults that are performing for the kids family-friendly productions that are oriented for kids and their families. And so that was a big. Part of what I wanted to do when I expanded the program is that I want to do family-friendly productions for people to come out and see, because kids don't get enough exposure to theater nowadays.
Robyn Bell: You're not going to be doing any more mature audience only shows you your, your focus is on family friendly shows.
Jessica Babcock: I love that. Yeah, maybe in the future, once we've grounded ourselves and everything, but I really want us to be focused on family friendly productions. I would love to develop a program for adults to tour to different schools. I know FST and Asolo have something similar, but. nowadays, kids don't have enough exposure to. Theater so I would love to be able to offer that to kids in Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton,
Robyn Bell: great vision and a great goal. I'm excited to watch you live that and bring that to our, community. You talked about the beautiful staging area to Hunsader, and there's some bench seats, but if you don't think you're going to be comfortable sitting on a bench because you kind of get hunched over, you are allowing people to bring chairs, launchers.
Jessica Babcock: And we also um, for our VIP tables we have picnic tables set up for our audience members. Decent price. It comes with four tickets. We get a bottle of wine, a little fancy posters and things like that. Yeah. And that way you have that table to yourself, it's a good option as well for people who are still being very cautious with COVID because it is a separate space for you and whoever is in your bubble and being outdoors in general is really awesome because there are people who still have to be cautious with COVID and immunocompromised people. So being outdoors. Great still
Robyn Bell: what is the cost of a ticket to come see the show?
Jessica Babcock: So tickets are 25 and that's for adults and then kids are 15 and then we have. Tables which comes to the four tickets and some of those extra bonus features, like I mentioned for one 50.
Robyn Bell: Okay. And how many of those tables do you have?
Jessica Babcock: I can have as many as I want.
Robyn Bell: Okay. So that section will never sell out,
Jessica Babcock: never sell out, make the entire audience VIP tables. If I want.
Robyn Bell: I love that. No, Jessica you've been, you know, a long time resident, 2013, you said to the Suncoast. And so I have some fun, rapid fire questions for you for as you as a member of our community Selby gardens or the Ringling mansion.
Jessica Babcock: I have never been to the. Oh, I know I wanted to go all the time. My family always wanted to go.
Robyn Bell: I have a vision for you, Jessica. When you go to the Ringling mansion. I should do a show here.
Jessica Babcock: I, I already know from the pictures that I've seen, I've had so many dreams and I'm always thinking of new shows that we can do.
Robyn Bell: We're doing here right now at the college, the Mystery of Edwin Drood. And I thought, well, that'd be a good show to do outdoor at the Ringling, you know, with the mansion and stuff.
Jessica Babcock: So, okay. So I guess that'll be gardens. My jump has. He used to perform there every Christmas during lights and bloom. So yeah,
Robyn Bell: that's what lights and bloom is a really cool thing that Sylvia garden stuff. Okay. I think this is an easy one for you. Community theater or professional.
Jessica Babcock: Oh, wow. Not an easy one, but oiled again because they're so different. The community theaters around here, you have such a sense of family. Professional theaters around here while they were incredible, the productions they put on. You know, I'm going to stick with community cause I'm a little mad at professional theater right now because Asolo didn't hold auditions for locals this year. And that is extremely disappointing. Um, There is so much local talent around here that is not being utilized in the professional theaters that they really need to start kicking that in.
Robyn Bell: All right. I call it a syndrome. It's called the expert from afar. That even if you live next door, You certainly don't know as much as a person that is from New York City or in my world of conducting, you know, bring me a European conductor way over a girl from Tennessee,
Jessica Babcock: not the Asolo, but I was very frustrated with that when they announced that they were only doing video auditions for understudies. Usually they hold a big mass audition. I understand. COVID, it's an issue, but that would've been nice for the locals.
Robyn Bell: Well, not everybody gets it right every time
Jessica Babcock: now. That's why it's fine. But community theaters.
Robyn Bell: All right. Here's the next one? This is a, Bradenton Lakewood Ranch question. Okay. For breakfast. Oh, the Sage Biscuit or the granary.
Jessica Babcock: Oh, I really like Sage. I really like Sage. The Granery is close by to my studio, but I really like Sage.
Robyn Bell: Oops, H biscuits or, oh no,
Jessica Babcock: we had our first production meeting there.
Robyn Bell: So let me tell you about my experience. I tried to go and it was like a two hour wait and we left, so I couldn't get in, but I hope to try it someday. Just huge. Yeah. So they have to load two locations too, so yeah. Okay. Now here, I'm going to ask this question of you with your Mickey mouse sweatshirt on, and you're already a profession of love for Disney a day at the beach or a day a day.
Jessica Babcock: Oh, Disney went a hundred percent after rehearsal. The other day, we got out at five, one of my cast members, and I literally ran up to Disney after the rehearsal to just go watch fireworks.
Robyn Bell: Wow.
Jessica Babcock: We just go out for a couple of hours. I will never turn down a day in Disney.
Robyn Bell: It's much more expensive than a day at the beach.
Jessica Babcock: You know what? I disagree with you there.
Robyn Bell: Okay. Good for you with you.
Jessica Babcock: Well, I mean, theoretically, I have my annual pass for me. Very expensive. It can be I'm my grandmother pays for my annual pass for my Christmas present every year. So.
Robyn Bell: I don't can she taught me, I need a good grandmother like that.
Jessica Babcock: She's great. I love her. But yeah, so I am very fortunate that I don't pay for my annual pass. But I make sure to utilize it as much as possible so that she knows that she's getting her money with her.
Robyn Bell: We go once a year to the food and wine festival at, at Epcot. Yeah. And we just plan one day and we eat every single thing that is there. you have to pay for all that. So it gets a little pricey, but I, you know, I turn on my apple watch and to track my steps. Oh. And one year we walked 11 miles. So I said, well, I don't feel so bad that I ate and drank all day long. Yeah,
Jessica Babcock: no, it's good. That's the thing. It's a great workout to keep steps in and you, I just go and people watch sometimes, like I will just go and watch people. I won't do any rides or anything like that. I will just go into.
Robyn Bell: That's pretty good. I have another friend that's like that him, he's a Disney freak with a, you know, they call him and he will go over there for any drop of that. And let's go
Jessica Babcock: because it immediately makes you happy. It is so difficult. And I don't know how I see kids cry there because the second that you walk in there, I don't know how at your
Robyn Bell: happy place for certain, okay. A Manatee or a dolphin.
Jessica Babcock: Dolphin on every cruise. I go, when I go into them with dolphins, I love dolphins.
Robyn Bell: So that's so neat. I've never done that.
Jessica Babcock: It's incredible.
Robyn Bell: It's really cool to see the Manatee though, when you're like kayaking and stuff, you're like, oh, I mean, the dolphins are cool, but you can, you can like, hang out with
Jessica Babcock: Amanda, teach the place up my Ruskin where all the manatees go for the season. That's awesome. I just, I really love dolphins. There's a beautiful place in The Bahamas that allows you to like, actually like deep sea swim with them and stuff like that. And they like. I love, I love animals. I don't really support like zoos and things like that, but like they put, they push you by like your feet and you get to like throw the dolphins.
Robyn Bell: Well, there's always animal kingdom at Disney.
Jessica Babcock: I know, I know they're rescues and things like that. And they rehabilitate, which is really nice. But yeah,
Robyn Bell: Jessica by boat or by converting. Yeah, you boating girl. You like it? I cruise ships. I heard you say ships. I don't know if that counts as a boat, but
Jessica Babcock: they do it's on the way to no, definitely. I don't like to get from my hair in a convertible. You can't really tell right now, but I have very, very curly hair. So convertibles are just not my friend.
Robyn Bell: If you don't have a hat or whatever your hair is just
Jessica Babcock: totally. For Easter, we spent an entire day out on a sailboat and it was one of my most favorite days of my life. Nice laid on the front of the sailboat. It was incredible.
Robyn Bell: And that's something else I've never been on a sailboat.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, that was the first time I did that.
Robyn Bell: And somebody needs to take me on a sailboat.
Jessica Babcock: I need to, I need buy a sailboat somehow. I don't know how I don't have the money for,
Robyn Bell: it was going to say it's going to be hard community theater, business, Jessica, but I wish you all the best
Yes, I call it sir. Learn, taste on spam budget.
Jessica Babcock: Exactly. Absolutely.
Robyn Bell: Here's your last one? We ask everybody roundabouts or stoplights.
Jessica Babcock: Oh, Roundabouts
Robyn Bell: you feel safe and around about,
Jessica Babcock: you know, what I learned to drive in New York?
Robyn Bell: Well, there you go.
Jessica Babcock: So I had a much harder driving tests then down here and so right.
Yeah. Roundabouts don't scare me. The red lights down here take for
Robyn Bell: forever. I saw a wreck just this morning and a red light or somebody ran it and turned. They
Jessica Babcock: take forever. So you have more people going through them and stuff like that with a roundabout, at least.
Robyn Bell: And that's the mindset is that the red lights here they're are twice as long as any place I've ever lived. And so people want to rush to get through them. So you don't have to sit there for so long and it really causes more accidents. Sure. Well, congratulations, Jessica. You are now officially part of the club. Now this production begins on Veteran's Day, Thursday, November 11th, and runs through that weekend to Sunday, November 14th. All of the performances, are at 7:00 PM. And how can we get tickets to the show?
Jessica Babcock: Yes. So you can go to jump encore.com or our Facebook page, which has jumped bond Corp as well. We have Instagram stuff like that. And then. Direct ticket link through that.
Robyn Bell: Great. And I have added these productions to our Suncoast Culture Club, calendar of events, page as well. And people can get their ticket there if they're looking for something to do a show there, but we will put all those links in our show notes, Facebook, the Instagram, the website, so that if anybody's listening to this on the web, they can just click right there through the show notes. Now I noticed that. For jumping on court has two other productions plan, both at the Riverview performing arts center, and both will be the children's musicals, right. Beauty and the beast and Adam's family. So fun. They're going to be both in may, but what is next on the docket for the adult productions? A jump Encore. What are you going to stage next?
Jessica Babcock: Gosh. Well we have lots of ideas going around right now.
Robyn Bell: You kind of need to see how this one goes.
Jessica Babcock: Yes. I definitely know that either. Spring or this summer that we will be doing a 10 person cast production of Annie all adults. Okay. Yeah. And he will be an adult
Robyn Bell: and adult Annie.
Jessica Babcock: Yeah, absolutely. So that'll be coming up soon. We just need to solidify that and the dates and things like that. And we have some other shows being thrown around here. So,
Robyn Bell: well, we look forward to when you're in production and ready to start marketing that let me know. We'd love to talk to some of the cast members fromAnnie. That'd be really great. Well, Jessica, thank you so much for joining me today to share this awesome news about your expanding musical theater company and Lakewood Ranch. There are some people in this world that know what it takes to produce a musical from start to finish and others that just show up and enjoy the end product. But let me tell you, it is a feat and you are to be commended on the work and effort. You've put into this and choosing Into the Woods as your first show. Amazing. And at Hunsader Farms, I'm really looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your upcoming productions, my best wishes and luck to you and Jump Encore.
Jessica Babcock: Appreciate it. Thank you so much.