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Below are frequently asked questions for the following Pittsburgh CLO Education activities:

CLO Academy

Q: Do I have to audition or have experience in the performing arts to get into the CLO Academy?

A: No! Anyone between the ages of 5 – 18 may study at the CLO Academy. The Academy offers classes for beginners, as well as for the more advanced dancer, singer and/or actor.

Q: May I begin my training as a high school student?

A: Absolutely! Students may begin their training at any age. Our class schedule allows students with various degrees of skill to find just the right level for challenging and fun classes, no matter their age.

Q: If I take classes at the CLO Academy, will I automatically be on stage at the Benedum Center?

A: No — however, all CLO Academy students have the opportunity to audition for the directors for A Musical Christmas Carol and applicable Summer Season productions. We encourage all of our students who meet the audition requirements to audition as the process itself is an excellent educational experience. Our classes, such as Musical Theater Technique, help students to prepare for these types of auditions.

Q: I have an 8-year-old child — is it safe coming Downtown for classes?

A: The CLO Academy is located in the heart of the Cultural District. We pride ourselves on having the best musical theater education training in the city. The area is safe and, also, we have a private security guard who knows the name of every parent and student.

Q: Does the Academy have a recital?

A: One of the educational objectives of the CLO Academy is to have 32 weeks of education. Performing opportunities are available by participating in our Spring Semester All-Academy Musical or by enrolling in the Summer Performance Camps. We also offer a Parent Observation Week at the end of each semester for family and friends to view their children’s classes.

Q: How do I decide which age level to enroll my child?

A: Age is based on the child's age of the first day of class in September. For example, if your child is 7 years old and has a birthday in October, you should enroll him/her in the 7-year-old classes.

Q: What is the difference between the Student School and Pre-Professional School?

A: Student School offers classes that are held once a week on Saturdays. This is a convenient schedule for students who are busy with sports or other activities during the weeknights but still want to fit the performing arts into their schedules.

Pre-Professional School classes meet twice a week on weeknights. The program embraces students interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts who are willing and able to dedicate more time to their training.

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Mini Stars

Q: Do I have to pay to be a member of the Mini Star group?

A: No. On the contrary, all Mini Stars receive a scholarship to classes at the Academy. Prospective Mini Stars must audition to be a part of this performing group. If chosen, Mini Stars receive a 50 percent reduction of their tuition in the Pre-Professional School.

Q: What classes must I take to maintain my Mini Star status?

A: All Mini Stars are required to take ballet, jazz, musical theater technique, acting and either private voice or group voice. All classes are part of the Pre-Professional School.

Q: How often do the Mini Stars rehearse?

A: Rehearsals are held once a week on Saturday mornings at the Academy. Mini Stars learn two shows per year: a holiday show and a spring/summer show.

Q: Where do the Mini Stars perform?

A: The Mini Stars perform for school assemblies, private parties, park shows and other celebrations throughout the Tri-State area.

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Gallery of Heroes

Q: Our school does not have a stage — can we still book the Gallery of Heroes musical production?

A: Absolutely — the set design allows for the actors to perform in almost any space, whether it is a cafeteria, a stage or a gymnasium. Please call the CLO Academy office and they will discuss the space requirements -- 412-35-6459.

Q: How long is the show?

A: This year’s multi-media musical presentation, Young Washington, is about 45 minutes long. If time permits, the actors will participate in a 5 – 10 minute question and answer session with the students.

Q: How do I book a Gallery of Heroes presentation at my school?

A: Simply call Patty Maloney at 412-325-6459.

Q: Is there anywhere I can learn more about this performance before booking?

A: Teacher and Student Guides are available online for your reference. We'll be posting photos of Young Washington as the 2011 tour begins.

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New Horizons

Q: My child has autism but is high functioning, and I do not want him separated from main stream education. How is your autism program different from others?

A: Our Creative Discovery Classes for children in the Autism Spectrum integrate main stream Academy students into the class. This integration allows the children to observe and imitate student performers, as well as make a new friend.

Q: May I bring my child’s TSS to class with me?

A: Yes.

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Internship Program

Q: How can I get an application for the CLO Internship Program?

A: Applications are posted online in November of each year. We start accept applications in December, with interviews beginning in March. You may also request a hard copy by calling 412-281-2234. Click here for more information.

Q: What is the application process?

A: You will need to fill out an application form and submit several associated documents. The requirements for each year are listed on the application form. Potential candidates will be interviewed throughout March and April.

Q: Are these paid internships?

A: You receive a $100 stipend per week.

Q: When do you offer internships?

A: Most Internships are scheduled May through August. However, we do offer two internship positions during the Gene Kelly Awards. For more information on the program, please refer to the Gene Kelly Awards and Internship sections of this web site.

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Financial Aid and Scholarships

Q: Can I apply for both Financial Aid and a Scholarship?

A: Yes. You may apply for both.

Q: Can I receive both a scholarship and Financial Aid award?

A: No. You may receive one or the other, but not both.

Q: Can I receive multiple class discounts if I receive Financial Aid or a Scholarship?

A: No. Discounts do not apply to students receiving Financial Aid or a Scholarship.

Q: Can I receive Financial Aid for Private Piano or Private Voice lessons?

A: No. Financial Aid can only be applied towards regular classes, i.e., Ballet, MT Tech, Acting, etc.

Q: Are there any classes that Financial Aid or scholrships are not applied to?

A: Yes. Fianancial Aid and scholarships sto not apply to private voice or private piano lessons, MT Workshop, All Academy Musical or MT Production.

Q: Can my 5-year-old daughter audition for a Scholarship?

A: No. Scholarships are only for students 10 years- to 18 years-old enrolling in either the Student School or the Pre-Professional School.

Q: Does Financial Aid/Scholarship only apply towards one semester?

A: Financial Aid/Scholarships allocations are for a full school year, Fall and Spring.

Q: Is there any Financial Aid or Scholarships for the Summer Programs?

A : No. Financial Aid and Scholarships are only offered during the regular school year.

Q: May I apply for Financial/Scholarship more than one time?

A: Yes. You may apply every Fall.

Q: If I receive Financial Aid for one year do I have to re-apply again for the following year?

A: Yes. You must reapply every year during the fall semester.

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Creative Vision (CV)

Q: What is the CV program?

A: The CV program is a Pittsburgh CLO Education Department initiative that is a collaboration between school districts and the CLO. The CV program supports PA state standards and delivers a curriculum that is based in communications, literacy and theater arts.

Q: Is this an after school program?

A: No. We are an in-school program that meets for two class periods per week for 30-36 weeks.

Q: Who are the CV staff?

A: The CV staff includes artist educators skilled in acting, movement and voice instruction. They are also adept at classroom management. The CV program coordinator is an educator with 30+ years experience.

Q: What grades do you work with?

A: We work with children in grades K–8. The students are identified by school staff, and we meet with the same15-20 students for the entire school year. This schedule enables us to have a greater impact on the students’ behavior and academic success.

Q: Do the children perform?

A: Yes, at the end of the school year our CV students present a show. Examples of shows over the past 11 years include: Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Odyssey, The Wiz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr. Popper's Penguins and Oliver.

Q: Is the program free?

A: No, this a collaborative program that is supported by the Pittsburgh CLO, our CV program funders and the school district itself. For more information, please contact Susan Pettigrew, CV Program Coordinator, at

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Summer Camp

Q: Does my child need to audition for Summer Performance Camps?

A: Every child registered in our Summer Performance Camps will be cast in the production. The campers audition for roles during the first few days of camp. The directors give each child a special part in the show, assuring that every student feels like a star.

Q: We have a big family. How many tickets will each child receive for performances?

A: Pittsburgh CLO Academy must adhere to Fire Code and Occupancy limits set forth by the City of Pittsburgh. Ticket allotments are based on the number of performers in each camp to assure safe and comfortable seating in the Charles Gray Auditorium.

Q: Will I need to buy costumes?

A: You do not have to buy a costume unless you want to. Costumes are created out of simple things that you probably already have, can easily obtain or we will provide.

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Gene Kelly Awards

Q: May I take photos or videotape the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony?

A: It is prohibited for the audience to take flash photography or videotape any portion of the ceremony inside of the theater.

Q: May we purchase a video/DVD copy of the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony?

A: Due to licensing restrictions, there is no public sale of the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony.

Q: May we purchase photographs of the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony?

A: The Pittsburgh CLO does not currently offer photos to the public.

Questions From Teachers

Participation and Pre-show

Q: What budget category is my school in, and why?

A: Your school will be assigned budget level 1, 2 or 3 in accordance with how it compares with the expenditures of the other schools, as stated on the production budget form. The number of schools in each budget level varies by each year.

Q: May we change budget categories?

A: You may not change budget level categories or request to be placed in a specific budget level.

Q: If I turn in my ticket form and then realize that we need more tickets, what should I do?

A: If you are requesting seats to be included with the school, contact the Gene Kelly Awards Coordinator and they will try to accommodate your request, if it is possible. If you wish to purchase seats separate from the school, you will have to wait for the tickets to go on public sale.

Q: I know I am going to be late handing in a form; what should I do?

A: Contact the Award Coordinator as soon as possible, by email, telephone or fax. They will make note of your situation and try to work with you to accommodate it.

Q: I have missed a deadline for a form without realizing it, what should I do?

A: Send in the form immediately and alert the Award Coordinator as soon as possible.


Q: May I nominate two students for the same scholarship?

A: No. You may only nominate one student from your school to represent for each scholarship.

Q: May I nominate one student for two different scholarships?

A: Yes, although we encourage you to offer these to two different students.

Q: Do I have to nominate a student for one of the scholarships?

A: It is not required but highly recommended that you nominate students for scholarships. This program can only potentially benefit them.

Rehearsals and Show Day

Q: Do the participating best musical nominated students need a chaperone for the rehearsal and show day?

A: Yes. Any school participating as a best musical nominee MUST have chaperones for the rehearsal, as well as the entire Gene Kelly Awards ceremony.

Q: Do the finale participants need a chaperone for the rehearsals and show day?

A: The finale participants do not need chaperones for the rehearsals or the show day, but they will be expected to remain in their designated dressing room unless otherwise notified.

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Questions From Students

Participation and Pre-show

Q: Will I receive email reminders regarding information about the Gene Kelly Awards?

A: You may not receive email reminders unless it concerns a finale participant rehearsal or a best actor/actress rehearsal. Your teacher receives regular updates, and you should contact him/her directly if you have any questions.

Q: I want to purchase tickets, but not with my school. May I do this?

A: Yes, but you will have to wait for the tickets to go on public sale.

Q: Can you notify me directly before contacting my school if I am nominated for an award?

A: No. It is our policy to notify only the schools.


Q: May I apply for more than one scholarship?

A: Technically, yes, but your teacher is responsible for choosing a representative to apply for each scholarship, and so you will need to speak with him/her directly. In regards to the University Scholarships, this is a separate program and you are free to apply to as many as you wish.

Rehearsals and Show Day

Q: Are the rehearsals mandatory?

A: Yes. The rehearsals are mandatory. Speak with the show’s director if there are any questions or concerns.

Q: Rehearsals interfere with Graduation / a choir concert / Prom. What should I do?

A: Teachers are informed of the rehearsal schedule five months in advance. You must plan in advance if you choose to be a finale participant, as your presence is required even if it means not attending Prom. We understand it is more difficult for best actor/actress nominees, who only receive notification of their nomination in mid-May, but it is still highly recommended that you do not miss a mandatory rehearsal. If you have a scheduling conflict, contact the show's director immediately.

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Questions From Parents

Participation and Pre-show

Q: Will you call me if my son or daughter is nominated before calling the school?

A: No. Our policy is to notify only the schools.

Q: My son or daughter’s school already sent in their ticket order form, but I want another ticket. What can I do?

A: If you are requesting seats to be included with the school, you must contact the teacher and make a request through him/her. If you wish to purchase separate seats, you will have to wait for the tickets to go on public sale.


Q: When will my son or daughter be notified about scholarships and scholarship winners?

A: Students will be notified at least two weeks before the Gene Kelly Awards ceremony.

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