What is Young Star Musical Theatre?

Self Expression. Creativity. Enrichment. It’s all here.

Our Mission

YSMT is a theatre arts training program devoted to introducing performing arts to students in grades 1st-12th, by providing a high-quality experience that is educational and fun.

Our program is designed to create a hands-on theatre experience that encompasses acting, singing, dancing, and even important backstage skills.

Young Stars will enjoy making new friends, gaining self-confidence, and value teamwork every day at YSMT.
There is no better place for children to experience the theatre than in YSMT's positive and encouraging atmosphere where every student gets the opportunity to perform on a professional stage.

Read our West Orange Observer article here

Our Team

Ms. Shmaine

Director, Owner

Ms. Shmaine has taught students of all ages for nearly 33 years. Her artistic vision and "big picture" mindset creates extraordinary productions full of happy, talented students who fall in love with all things musical theatre. Ms. Shmaine creates an upbeat and fun experience for students of all ages. 

Mrs. Lexy Shepherd-Cizek

Managing Director, Co-Owner

Ms. Lexy has grown up in YSMT since the age of 5 and has performed in over 60 mainstage productions. Ms. Lexy loves watching each individual student grow and gain confidence in themselves. She currently teaches all elements of musical theatre to every age division & specializes in choreography and costume creation. 

Mr. Tarquine (Mr. T)

Music Director (MS/HS)

Mr. T recently joined the YSMT team as our middle and high school music director. He is currently the theatre director and choral director at Windy Hill Middle School in Lake County. Producing over 10 performances each school year with his students, he manages to

Our Values

—Character over competition: Our intentional focus is on growing each performer into a well rounded, team-oriented individual who can think independently on stage and off. 

—People over programs: We exist for our communities: those we know and those we have yet to meet. The people. We are united through the arts and come together as a family towards a common goal. 

—Service over spotlight: We believe in bringing each other up through friendship and inclusion. We share the spotlight with one another to give everyone their moment and chance to shine. 

—Excellence over ego: We value each other and work together to create and express. We believe that we are all equally important in the creative vision and process. 


Learn more about who we are

Our History

Young Star Musical Theatre was the creation of Barbara Shepherd in 1980 in Los Angeles, California. Barbara created Young Star to enrich the lives of young children and their families through the power of theatre. Her good friend, Betty Lee Smith, was a professional choreographer and dance teacher who opened her studio doors to the early days of YSMT. ​Together they created a program that showcased each student individually and empowered everyone to be the best they could possibly be. 

 In 2001, Shmaine brought YSMT to Arizona where she started with 11 children in a low budget performance of The Wiz. Within two years, YSMT grew to over 100 students performing four or more full scale, Broadway-style musicals to sold-out audiences. Young Star Musical Theatre was the first theatre company to fly their young performers with professional ZFX flying for Peter Pan in a 114-year-old Historic Opera House Theatre.

In 2008, YSMT began performing at their first professional theatre facility with 1,100 seats. There YSMT thrilled audiences with Beauty and the Beast, Annie, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Broadway Review Shows, High School Musical, Seussical, and more.

In 2008, founder Barbara Shepherd lost her four year battle with breast cancer. Her legacy lives on through her daughter Shmaine and grandaughter Lexy and every Young Star that walks through our doors. In memory, our Young Stars sing "Seasons of Love" from beloved musical RENT at the Intermission of every performance in dedication to Barbara and all that she did for this company. 

In 2018, Young Star Musical Theatre began again in Winter Garden, FL. Within the first year and a half, registration skyrocketed from 27 students to 85+. In May 2020, YSMT opened a performing arts studio located just minutes away from Historic Downtown Winter Garden. At the YSMT studio, Young Stars can take many different classes like character acting, technical theatre, broadway tap, and audition for the mainstage musical productions multiple times a year. 
YSMT also offers multiple week-long camps during summer break as well as private voice, piano, and acting lessons in our music rooms.

YSMT is dedicated to enriching the lives of every Young Star. We believe each child will grow as a performer and will become strong, confident individuals both on and off the stage. ​​​

Read our West Orange Observer article here

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