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Our Theatre Teacher

Mr. Keith Carames

A teacher and director living in San Francisco, Mr. Carames has consulted with Carole Shorenstein Hays at the historic Curran Theater, and has taught theatre arts with Craig Slaight in the Young Conservatory at The American Conservatory Theater.  For twelve years, he taught English and Health Education at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, where he also served as the credentialed Chair of the Technical Theatre Department and Artistic Director of all Main Stage shows in the Dan Kryston Memorial Theater. 

While at the College of Liberal Creative Arts at San Francisco State University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude (Theatre Arts Performance and Direction), Mr. Carames consulted for two years as Audience Services Director and taught both Acting and Masks & Movement.  He consults nationally for whole school reform with the Artful Learning team for the Leonard Bernstein Center for Education so that teachers across the country can use the arts as a lens through which to deliver their curriculum.  Most recently he facilitated a city-wide professional development for Leadership San Ramon about the importance of considering the arts when building communities.

Recent directing credits for Mr. Carames include The Crucible, You Can’t Take It With You, Ragtime, The ProducersTartuffe42nd Street and Monty Python’s Spamalot.  He has consulted with local artists to write, produce, and direct several original musical revues including The Barbary Coast Revue, which played in San Francisco for seven months and received’s 5 star rating as a “theatrical gem!” (Richard Connema). 

At James Lick Middle School, where he has taught since 2014, Mr. Carames serves on the Instructional Leadership team and the Gay Straight Transgendered Alliance.  He also manages the after school musical theatre program, where he and his production team of teaching artists and talented students have created two original productions — Homecoming: A Night at the Copa and Just in Case: Tales of an Immigrant Life — both of which earned high praise from the community and accolades from the City and County of San Francisco.

Mr. Carames is the recipient of the Meritorious Achievement Award for Directing from The Kennedy Center.  In 2011, he received the San Francisco Unified School District’s Dream Catcher Award for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Education and in 2012 he was honored by the Mayor and the City of San Francisco as one of ten recipients of the Teacher of the Year award.  In 2015, the Engineers Alliance for the Arts named him Teacher of the Year. 


Important 2018-19 Theatre Arts Dates

Sept. 13: PACSAW classes start.

Oct. 5: Auditions for “A Royal Tribute”

Dec. 7-8: “A Royal Tribute”

Jan. 30:  ArtSmart Winter Recital


VAPA Fall Showcase "Art for Change"

Auditions for the Spring Musical

Spring Musical

Annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival Field Trip

Auditions for 2019-20 ArtSmart Program

VAPA Spring Showcase "Noche en el Zocalo"

Final recital for 2018-19 ArtSmart program

Thank you to JLMS parent Vincent Leddy for the gorgeous photos he took for "Anthem," "Just in Case," and "Night at the Copa."

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Field Trip

The annual three-day trip to Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival is open to JLMS 7th and 8th grades who meet the requirements and complete an application on time.  Space is limited; monthly payment plans and scholarships provided by the PTSA are available.  For additional details, contact Mrs. Loughran ( or Ms. Dicharry (


In April 2018, forty-five 7th and 8th graders, teachers, and parent chaperones went on the 15th annual JLMS field trip to Ashland, Oregon to the Shakespeare Festival.  On the way there, they stopped at the Redding Racheria Indian Council Center to learn more about the Pit River, Wintu, and Yana Indian tribes.  Over the course of their three days in Ashland, students were housed at and attended costume design and improv acting workshops at Southern Oregon University, visited Lava Beds National Monument and the Tule Lake Segregation Center, saw a modern take on the musical "Oklahoma!," and got a backstage tour of the rehearsal and design studios at Allen Elizabethan Theatre.


Community Partnerships

Is your child interested in singing and/or acting?  If so, encourage them to sign up for the Pacific Singers and Actors Workshop (PACSAW), a FREE after-school program open to all JLMS students in the fallWith once-per-week 90-minute sessions over the course of 10 weeks, the Workshop presents classes in foundational singing technique, acting and improvisation that are taught by professional actors and singers (e.g., from SF Opera, Beach Blanket Babylon, Teatro ZinZanni).  Students are introduced to consistent use of tools and habits to allow them to develop and explore self-expression and creativity.  This emphasis on process enables student to make strong, appropriate and personal choices in their performances.  By rehearsing the tools and habits presented in class, students have the opportunity to gain confidence, poise, flexibility, self-awareness, use of imagination, the ability to collaborate with others creatively and the ability to be non-judgmental towards themselves and others.  Participation in the Workshop is a good way for JLMS students to prepare for the spring musical auditions held in December. 


For Fall 2018, the PACSAW classes will be held on Thursdays from 3:45-4:45pm in Room 236 (Mr. Carames) on Sept. 13, 20, and 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, and 25, and Nov. 1, 8 and 15.  For more information, please contact Nicolle Foland at

Sample ten-week program:

Week 1: How not to feel stupid in front of people
This Introduction to Improvisation will help students feel comfortable in front of others and in getting to know one another through the use of improvisation games.

Week 2: How to hit the high note

By learning two to four songs, our continuation of Introduction to Singing will include a vocal technique group lesson that focuses on posture, breathing and vowel production.

Week 3: How do I get what I want?
We begin our Introduction to Acting as students learn to personalize their interpretation and expression by working on acting intentions.

Week 4: Letting your drama loose through acting
In week 4 we dive below the surface and find the deep emotions one needs to express oneself effectively in front of others through a monologue or scene.

Week 5: Say what you really think!

Week 5 brings us to working on memorized monologues and scenes and applying acting techniques to songs.

Week 6: What about the other people?
Working in pairs, students find relationships to help them make specific choices in their songs and monologues and to demonstrate that acting is a natural human behavior.

Week 7:  Sing out, Louise! 
This week we work through monologues and songs in small groups, bringing together all the elements from previous weeks’ working on projecting the voice with emotion.

Week 8: Practice, practice, practice...and more practice
In week 8, working in small groups, we practice songs with technique feedback from instructors and monologues and scenes making strong choices and with instructor feedback.

Week 9: Did I get it?
Working towards putting it all together, in week 9 students rehearse their final performance piece(s) as we dive deep and work intensely on the elements needed to create an effective performance.

Week 10: Go for it!
In a final two-hour class, the students put all their skills together to present a showcase for invited family and friends in chosen songs, scenes or monologues.


Fall 2017
Fall 2017 PacSA Workshop @ JLMS

Opera star Michael Fabiano's ArtSmart brings weekly, professionally-taught, one-on-one and assemble voice lessons to public school students, free of charge.  School by school, student by student, lesson by lesson, ArtSmart aims to change the landscape of music education in the United States.  JLMS is one of three schools in the nation, and the only middle school, chosen to host this special program.  Student participation is auditioned-based.  Lessons take place during the during the curricular day and last the entire school year.  ArtSmart at JLMS was recently featured in a great The SF Chronicle article

Mr. Fabiano visits JLMS


Opera ARIA (Arts Resources in Action) is the San Francisco Opera's suite of in-school arts education programs.  ARIA programs connect professional, artistic and creative elements with classroom curricula.  One of these programs, ARIA Residency, focuses on one of the many awe-inspiring elements of opera production with a San Francisco Opera Teaching Artist.  At JLMS, ARIA Residency provides staged combat lessons to theatre arts students during the curricular day.

The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company unites artists and audiences through live theatre that is reflective of the authemtic perspectives and history of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Through BATCO's mentorship program, conservatory-trained theatre professionals provide after-school auditioning workshops for JLMS student singers and actors.

More Partnerships

Theatre Arts

"I don't demand perfection from my students.
But I do expect excellence."
-- Mr. C

"A Royal Tribute" Tickets Available

JLMS is proud to present "A ROYAL TRIBUTE," an original, one-hour concert celebrating the music of our Queen, King, Prince, and Princesses of pop, Latin, and soul music.  Two performances only!  Although tickets will be available at the door, space is limited and online ticket holders get priority access to general admission seating.  Purchase your tickets ahead of time for a suggested donation of $15 here 

"Little Shop of Horrors" (Spring 2018)

"Anthem" (Nov. 2017)

In "Anthem: Songs of Hope & Resistence," Rock and Roll, Pop, Country, and Musical Theatre joined forces for one night as JLMS students sent a letter to the president telling him that they are not happy with his policies and how he is running the country.  Arts inspire us and enable us to change our world.  Student voice is at the heart of this very special theatrical event, an evening of ANTHEMS – powerful songs with powerful messages. 

Immediately following the show, there was a reception in the cafeteria with an opportunity for audience members to write their own letters to the president.  Proceeds from this fundraising event went to support the theatre arts program at JLMS.  A portion was also donated to Refugee Transitions, a San Francisco charity creating opportunities for Bay Area refugee, immigrant, and newcomer communities since 1982.

"Just In Case" (Spring 2017)

"Just In Case:  Tales of an Immigrant Life" is an original musical set in the homes of three families -- one Jewish, one Latino, and one Syrian -- whose lives are affected by immigration.  It was conceived of and produced by Keith Carames (Director, Designer, and talented JLMS teacher), Jenna Monroe (Choreographer, Assistant Director), Jorell Chavez (Musical Director), and the students of JLMS.  See a video clip of rehearsal footage here and a longer description of the play below.  Congratulations to all the JLMS actors and singers who participated in "Just in Case" -- your dedication and hard work produced amazing results, the show was an inspiration!

"Just In Case" centers around three different family units, each of whom has a relationship with America.  There is a Latino family who has been planning to come to America forever and suddenly decides, after hearing of the American election and the war in Syria, that traveling is a bad idea and that America is not what they thought it would be, so they will not move.  There is a Jewish family whose grandparents came through Ellis Island many years ago and who are celebrating a wedding anniversary together, recounting what it was like to travel to America and how America has given them the life they had always dreamed of for themselves and their children and grandchildren.  And finally, there is a Syrian family who had no intention of moving and who now, as a result of constant warfare, have become refugees seeking asylum in America but they are not allowed to enter the country.  Throughout, the show uses songs from the American Musical Theatre repertoire.  As the show progresses, many students have an opportunity to “break the fourth wall” and address the audience, not as their character but rather as themselves, telling the audience the story of their own family’s immigration to America.

On February 28, 2017, cast members performed a musical number from "Just in Case" at the SFUSD Board of Education's meeting.

"Homecoming" (Spring 2016)

"Homecoming:  A Night at the Copa" is an original musical revue with over 20 songs and dances.  Set at a high school homecoming dance, it follows the journey of several students coping with issues associated with relationships, bullying, substance abuse, loyalty, and falling in love for the first time.  Directed by Keith Carames. Musical Direction by Katy Stephan.  Choreography by Karina Vela.  Produced in collaboration with the Pacific Singers and Actors Workshop.  Notable collaborators include Curt Branom (Beach Blanket Babylon), Connie Champagne (Local Cabaret Legend), Kristen Clayton (Teatro Zinzani) and Nicole Folland (SF Opera).


"The Wizard of Oz" (Spring 2015)

ARE YOU A GOOD WITCH OR A BAD WITCH?  JLMS presented "The Wizard of Oz" Monday 1/26 through Thursday 1/29 from 6-8pm.  You can see a videos of the 1/29 performance here and the 1/28 performance here.  Students worked hard on every aspect of this musical by taking the lead in direction, choreography, costuming, lighting, gaffing, set production and so much more.  They were supported every step of the way by JLMS teachers Mr. Anthony Cavazos (vocals), Ms. Danielle Uttley (choreography, staging), Ms. Lorraine Deschamp (costumes), and Mr. Jake Stookey (production).  The production also included a special presentation by the JLMS Band under the direction of Mr. Brendan Reilly (music).  The show was free, but donations were gladly accepted!  All proceeds benefited the musical theatre program.  Special matinee presentations were held on Friday, January 30th for all feeder schools and their families and at 1:30pm for the JLMS student body. 

Para español, vaya a la parte inferior de esta página y en la casilla "Select Language" elija "Spanish" de la lista de lenguajes.


Theatre Arts Elective

In 6th and 7th grade, students may be assigned introductory or intermediate drama as one of their two semester-long enrichment classes.  Eighth graders can request advanced drama for their year-long enrichment class when they fill out the preference form at the end of 7th grade.

Students in Theatre Arts classes work collaboratively to strengthen self-esteem, increase risk-taking, and develop communication skills.  The curriculum is aligned to state and national standards.  A variety of strategies and exercises are used based on Richard Boleslavsky's Acting: The First Six Lessons that encourage students to find their own voice and be respectful when listening to others. 


Spring Musical

Every December, students sign up to audition for a chance to participate in a fully realized and professionally mounted spring musical.  Pre-audition workshops are offered that teach at least one audition song and one dance combination that will be used by a panel of auditors to determine talent, potential, flexibility, desire and adaptability.  Auditions take place over several days and the cast list is posted before the winter break.

To participate in the spring musical, students must be willing and able to rehearse after school three days a week and must have minimal conflicts with the rehearsal schedule.  Rehearsals take place over for eight to ten weeks and the musical is performed four times for the public and once for students in fourth and fifth grade from our feeder schools.

JLMS productions have received commendations from both the city and county of San Francisco and from the California State Assembly.



JLMS productions have received commendations from both the city and county of San Francisco and from the California State Assembly.

Students perform at SF Opera Open House

Several JLMS ArtSmart students performed at the SF Opera's Community Open House, "ARIA Festival: Youth Voices for Change."  ArtSmart is the extraordinary music education initiative found by opera star Michael Fabiano.  JLMS is one of three schools in the nation, and the only middle school, chosen to host this special program. 

LSOH's Audrey II

Learn about how students helped bring Audrey II to life for their riveting production of Little Shop of Horrors for the 2018 Spring Musical.


JLMS @ the SF Opera

On November 16, 2017, Mr. Carames took 30 students to see "Manon" at the SF Opera, where they were able to meet tenor Michael Fabiano backstage before the performance.


On November 3, 2015, Mr. Carames received the Engineers Alliance for the Arts' Teacher of the Year Award for his work in their Student Impact Project.  Watch his acceptance speech here, where he talks about the importance of "building bridges" in students' lives.