The Ahwatukee Children's Theatre is putting out a final casting call this weekend for girls who would like to walk the runway in the American Girl Fashion Show fundraising event this October.
Auditions will be this Saturday, Aug. 6 in front of the Gap at Chandler Fashion Center starting at 2 p.m. Judges will be looking for girls who resemble historical dolls like Addy as well as others to represent the diverse range of contemporary dolls. Girls of all ethnicities and cultures are needed and modeling experience is not required.
"The girls are going to have to just do a simple modeling walk and we are going to ask them a couple of questions," said Yvette Dickson, director of development and community outreach for the theater, who added that the process is going to be very easy and lots of fun.
Stephanie Spanos, public relations manager for American Girl, said that on average between 100 and 200 girls show up for the auditions.
Between 50 and 70 girls will be chosen for the three casts that will display 21 historical and 25 contemporary outfits from the American Girl clothing line. Four girls will also be chosen to be commentators for the shows.
The models will be picked based on their resemblance to the dolls and whether or not they are a size 6X or 10, which typically fits girls between the ages of 6 to 9.
Smaller-sized girls will sport the Bitty Baby line while others will wear American Girl clothes.
The size specifications are due to the fact that the outfits are on loan from American Girl and cannot be altered. Girls who are not chosen will still have the opportunity to participate.
"If someone does not fit into those sizes but would still like to participate in the show they can purchase a guest model package and walk the runway with their doll," said Dickson, who added that the package costs $25.
Girls who are picked to be models will have to work hard for the honor by attending orientation, fittings and rehearsals. They are also expected to raise $150 by selling $30 event tickets, $5 raffle tickets or ads that will be featured in each of the more than 1,000 keepsake programs to be distributed.
All of the money raised from the fashion show will go to fund programs at the 501c(3) non-profit children's theater. Besides ticket sales and guest packages money will also be raised through a variety of corporate sponsorships.
"Right now we are looking for our diamond sponsor. This is such a wonderful opportunity," said Dickson, adding "people are definitely going to see our sponsor's name."
With a price tag of $2,500 the exclusive diamond sponsor will receive perks such as logo placement on all 20,000 fashion show invitations sent out to an American Girl mailing list. This sponsor will also be given a VIP table for 10 at one of the shows.
"It's definitely our largest fundraiser of the year and our hope is to make a lot of money to benefit the performing arts," said Dickson, who envisions the show as an annual event.
The partnership with American Girl offers the theater guidance and support for such a major event. While this will be the first American Girl fashion show hosted by the Ahwatukee Children's Theatre, the program has been in existence since 1992.
Nonprofits pay the $6,000 and in return they receive an operations manual, programs package, personal event consultant, clothing for the show, party favors for every person and raffle prizes that include dolls from each product line.
While $6,000 is a large initial investment, organizations that host the fashion show generally bring in anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.
To ensure that the shows are successful American Girl takes care in spacing them out regionally to reduce competition.
"It's a way for us to offer a really unique and memorable experience for girls and their families while still giving back," Spanos said.
The fashion show itself will be at The Castle at Ashley Manor five different times; Oct. 1 at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and Oct. 2 at 1 and 4 p.m. Two-hundred tickets will be available for each show.
• Morgan Sailor is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.