Children’s theatre performs 3 summer shows

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It all starts when the little red truck rolls into town.

Contained within that rig is everything needed to put on a full-scale musical production — just add actors.

Missoula Children’s Theatre is returning to Baker City three times this summer — one week each in June, July and August.

Throughout the five days of rehearsals, kids learn their lines and choreography, get outfitted with costumes and put on two performances for the community.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 3.44.44 PM“In one week, they can make miracles happen,” said Ginger Savage, executive director of Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, which is hosting the theatre company.

After the cast is set, the youth — 64 in all from ages 7 up to grade 12 — rehearse all week with two actors/directors from MCT who travel throughout the summer bringing plays to towns across the country.

Crossroads is hosting MCT with the help a grant from DE and Jane Clark Foundation as well as donations made at the annual gala held last fall.

The first performance is “Sleeping Beauty,” starting with auditions on Monday. Each production developed by MCT is based on a well-known fairy tale with all sorts of twists and turns.

Savage said pre-registration has been “over-the-top successful” and limited space is available for the July and August shows.

“We cannot believe the overwhelming support we are getting,” Savage said.

According to Jonna Michelson, MCT marketing director, MCT has toured for more than 40 years and will visit nearly 1,200 communities with 44 teams of actor/directors. In addition to the main performance, she said the MCT staff includes three “enrichment workshops” that develop creativity and social skills.

“Rumpelstiltskin” is set for July 18-23 and “The Frog Prince” is scheduled for Aug. 15-20. Public performances happen on the Friday and Saturday of those weeks at Baker High.

Those interested in joining those productions are encouraged to call Crossroads soon to register at 541-523-5369. The cost is $30. Scholarships are available.

Although cast spots fill up fast for each MCT production, Savage said they still need to build the audience at each of the shows, which helps raise money to bring MCT back the next year.

“After years of hard work proving to families and kids the value of this amazing program, we now have tons of family and kids involvement,” she said. “The one thing we continue to struggle with is audience — we need our community to come and support the kids with all their hard work.”

Savage said she’s seen first-hand how MCT can affect kids — when she joined the cast of Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” last year, she acted alongside three youth who had participated in MCT.

“These kids are excited about theatre and they want to do more,” she said.

And now, as EORT is starting to renovate the old Orpheum Theatre in Baker City, Savage sees more opportunities for kids to get involved in the arts.

“The community needs to get even more excited about attending theatre,” she said. “Baker City will be both a visual arts town and a performing arts town.”


— Lisa Britton, Go!

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