Next Steps

Using research-based best practices, Next Steps Theater Academy classes serve young people through our philosophy of teaching life skills through stage skills. We strive to help each student take his or her next steps as an artist and a person.

We serve both verbal and non-verbal students, students with classic autism, PDD-NOS, other sensory processing disorders, and Asperger's. With small class sizes, our curriculum explores acting, singing, dancing and improvisation, through which students improve social understanding, fine and gross motor skills, empathy, conversation skills, public speaking and confidence. 

ACTING: Explore character, relationships, action and text while developing overall acting skills and confidence.
MUSICAL THEATER: Increase your versatility and work on new vocal and dance techniques while exploring the art of telling a story through words, music and movement.

There are eight students per class. Our classroom model includes teams of lead teachers, special education professionals, and teaching assistants with approximately a 2:1 and often 1:1 student to teacher ratio. Family aides may accompany a student to class as necessary and agreed upon between the family and First Stage. 

For questions or to register, please contact Brenna Kempf, Next Steps Director at or (414) 267-2969.


Acting classes are offered during the school year for studetns in grades 3-12 on Saturdays in six-week sessions. Scene work, improvisation, and social play are all included in our curriculum.

  • FALL: October 14 - November 18, 2017 (1 - 3:00 pm*)   $160
  • WINTER: February 3 - March 10, 2018 (1-3:00 pm*)  $160
  • SPRING: March 17 - April 28, 2018 (1-3:00 pm*)  $160 (No class March 31)

*Exact class time TBD; class will run for either 60 or 90 minutes, pending enrollment.

Foster ensemble and empathy in our enriching Spring Break Academy. Studetns attend class Monday - Friday for one week, studying both Acting and Musical Theater.

  • March 26 - 30, 2018 (9:00 am - 12:00 pm)  $200

For questions or to register, please contact Brenna Kempf, Next Steps Director at or (414) 267-2969.


Our Sensory Friendly Performances offer a variety of accommodations to make your visit to the theater a wonderful experience for the whole family!



  • Social stories that outline the experience at the theater; show-specific social stories (with character introductions and plot synopsis) available on our website two weeks prior to the performance.
  • An opportunity to see the actors in costume prior to the start of the performance
  • Smaller audience size with general admission seating
  • Modified house rules: audience members are free to talk or move during the sho
  • Fidget toys and noise-cancelling headphones placed within the house for you to borrow as desired throughout the performance
  • Reduction in sound lovels and flashing/strobe lights
  • Quiet areas staffed by Next Steps Academy teachers
  • TV monitors in the lobby from which you may view the show, should you need to leave the theater during the performance

Contact the First Stage Box Office to reserve your space at (414) 267-2961 or email


Eureka Award

Next Steps is a winner of the Business Journal's Eureka Awards, which recognize creativity, innovation, leaps forward and progress in business, the arts, education, health care and other areas.