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How to Become a Good Stage Parent

March 31, 1997|MARY ROURKE

With Dick Van Patten and Peter Berk as guides, a book about child performers seems less scary than it otherwise might. There is hope for a sensible approach when Van Patten, the perfect dad in the '70s TV series "Eight is Enough," is dishing out the advice.

"Launching Your Child in Show Biz" (General Publishing, $19.95) is a step-by-step guide. And while headlines such as "Marketing Your Child's Ballet Talent" or "Baby Stars" might sound farfetched to many parents, the how-to of it is quite informative. Seriously committed moms and pops will appreciate the book's directory of film offices, casting calls and agencies around the country.

On finding a job for your budding ballerina:

"The good news is that there are some 20 to 25 auditions held every year in large population centers such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and New York, since most major American ballet companies are always seeking the stars of tomorrow."

Onstage children:

"Unlike films and many TV shows, in which scenes may be shot out of sequence, a play is presented in 'real time.' For many young performers, this leads to a much more secure feeling."

On preparing for auditions:

"Any young actor would do well to memorize and be ready to perform any one of several monologues ranging from the humorous to the more serious. He or she will repeatedly use them throughout the early part of a career."

A word to show-biz parents:

"If the interview is less than a smashing success, don't scold your child or show disappointment. There will be other opportunities ahead."

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