FREE RESOURCES: In the News [ Page 9 ]
News media articles, reviews, press releases for ArtReach plays
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This page (Page #9) has great articles from newspapers and school newsletters.  Check out all these great comments about ArtReach popular titles: Peter Pan, Treasure Island, The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book, Mulan,
The Wizard of Oz, The Velveteen Rabbit, Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Nutcracker Prince, A Thousand Cranes.

ArtReach's "Peter Pan" Flies Into Lucerne Valley
Lucerne Valley Unified School District CA
By Peter Day

After months of rehearsals, the Lucerne Valley Elementary School Drama Club actors transported three separate audiences to Never, Never Land during the presentation of the classic tale of "Peter Pan."

Directed by Chris Pennington and LeeAnn Lambert, LVES Drama performed three shows, Friday and Saturday evenings with one Mother's Day matinee on May 12.  The cast consisted of more than 25 young actors who brought the fanciful story of a young boy who can fly and never grows up to life. In a create casting decision, Zoey Davis and Daphne Demke shared the lead role with one taking the two-act show's first half, and the other taking the second. When Zoey and Daphne weren't playing Peter, they assumed the role of the Crocodile.

"More than 25 young actors brought the story to life."
Peter Pan, Lost Boys Peter Pan and Wendy Play
ArtReach's Peter Pan - Let Your Light Shine Youth Theatre, Centralia MO

Evan Lambert portrayed Pan's Shadow and also Tootles while Yuccel Rocis was Tinkerbell. Captain Hook was portrayed by Arelyn, Wendy was played by Scarlett, Tiger Lily was played by Belinda.

Other roles were played by Aubrey Stiles (Winkie), Ariana Garcia (Stellar), Marly (Mother), Irvin Angeles (Michael), Cody Blackwell (Great Big Little Panther), Seth Hite (Lean Wolf), Omar Garcia (Tattoo Bill and Skylights), Derby Demke (Smee), Charlie Rogers (Harry), Chailyn Hite (Pearl), Rickie Simpson (Moonglow) and Rileigh Rollins (Sparkle).

"A young boy who can fly and never grows up."
Peter Pan Play for Kids Kids perform Peter Pan Playscript
ArtReach's Peter Pan - Let Your Light Shine Youth Theatre, Centralia MO

Additional roles were played by Faith Hernandez (Flashy), Caleb (Father), Aidan Moore (John), Angelica (Nana), Lona Malone (Nibs), Emma Rogers (Terry) and Valkyrie Simpson (Starfish).

Playing a huge role in bringing "Peter Pan" to life are the costume and set designers who captured the tone and color of the play. Victoria Enright served as the stage manager and former LVES actor Kylie Lambert, now an LVMHS 7th-grader, served as the assistant stage manager.

The ever-dedicated Lambert family weren't done, however. Joe Lambert once again served ably as the sound and lighting engineer. Steve Boggio was Joe's assistant sound and lighting technician.

"Actors transported three separate audiences to Never, Never Land."
Crocodile in Peter Pan Capatain Hook and Peter Pan in Play for kids to perform
ArtReach's Peter Pan - Let Your Light Shine Youth Theatre, Centralia MO

Directors Pennington and Lambert previously directed the Drama Club's holiday production, "The North Pole's Got Talent!" They have taken over directing duties from teachers Luichoy Hirschhorn and Kay Hall, who oversaw the program for several years.

The LVES Drama Club thanks Sarah Courtney and Joei Miller of LVES Booster Club and Burt Umstead, LVES principal, for their unwavering support.

Treasure Island: Young Pirates of the Caribbean’ musical caps Civic Center camp
AVAST, ME HEARTIES, ArtReach's Popular Musical
Nampa, Idaho Press

Shiver me timbers and ahoy there, mates. Time for a pirate adventure. Participants in the Nampa Civic Center’s Musical Theatre Camp culminate their two-week stage experience Friday with a performance of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island: Young Pirates of the Caribbean.”

"Shiver me timbers and ahoy there, mates."
ArtReach's Treasure Ialand Jim Hawkins goes on a treasure hunt
Arts Live Theatre, Fayetteville AR - ArtReach's Treasure Island

Sixty-seven youngsters from Canyon County and beyond — ages 6 to 9 — make up the junior pirates while students 9 to 18 are the older buccaneers. They have learned every aspect of theater performance at the camp. The students have gained hands-on experience acting, singing and dancing. They have also learned about set design, makeup and other aspects of live theater.

“Our youth are our treasure and I love watching them grow from the very shy kid the first day to walking out on the stage with confidence by the performance,” Patricia Walker White, the Civic Center’s arts and community development coordinator, said. “And because this is our sixth year, we have kids that return every summer that are now mentors to new kids coming in. It’s a great program that we put a lot of hard work and heart into and it pays off when you see their faces while they are on stage.”

The story: Young Jill Hawkins (Megan White) and a crew of pirates including Long John Silver (Triston Jackson) take you on an adventure for hidden treasure and fun. Hawkins is having such a bad day she almost forgets it’s Halloween. Everything goes wrong at school, and for dinner mother insists she eat something healthy. She refuses. Little does she know, her great adventure is about to begin.  Ben Gunn (Nick Wiles) and Polly Parrot (Jensen Gunnel) add a bit of humor to the treasure hunt.

"It pays off when you see their faces on stage.”
Kids perform as priates in Treasure Island Good parts for girls and boys in Treasure Island play
Arts Live Theatre, Fayetteville AR - ArtReach's Treasure Island

Watch as young people portray those who dreamed of adventure on the high seas as they play out those dreams in this delightful musical.

Camp skills: Teamwork and communication skills are a key element to theater and this camp draws on all of those skills. This camp provides educational opportunities for youth in theater that they might not have access to otherwise. It also inspires youth in many ways.

"They play out those dreams in this delightful musical."
Kids love being pirates in playscript Long John Silver in Treasure Island
Arts Live Theatre, Fayetteville AR - ArtReach's Treasure Island

“What I learned in camp helped me do my science presentation to the whole school,” said one young man last year.

“As area schools have to look at cutting the arts back to fit budgets, I’m grateful to have a place to send my students,” said one local music teacher.

The directors: Director Courtney Ransom leads this merry band of pirates on this grand treasure hunt. She is joined by The College of Idaho interns Ellen Campbell and Taylor Hawker. Campbell and Hawker have held workshops that included stage combat, and the play includes a pirate fight scene.

Newbury's young actors are all heart performing ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz
Newbury Today: Newbury News and Media Limited, UK
By Trish Lee  Review by ROBIN STRAPP

Corn Exchange Infant and Junior Youth Theatre: ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz, at the Corn Exchange, from April 14 to 16.

If you followed the Yellow Brick Road on the floor from foyer to the auditorium in the Corn Exchange it led to Kansas and their Infant and Junior Youth Theatre's production of The Wizard of Oz, with the motif of the road repeated on the stage as yellow carpets were rolled out. A nice touch.

"Yellow carpets were rolled out. A nice touch."
Innovative Production of Wizard of Oz Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz
Corn Exchange Infant and Junior Youth Theatre performs ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz

This large enthusiastic cast (too many to name all individually) were dressed in colourful costumes and performed with energy. In fact, there were two casts who alternate at each performance.

At the matinee performance I saw, the role of Dorothy was shared between three actors (Beatrice Cratchley, Dora Hopps and Miley Warwick) who confidently embraced the innocence and strength of her character.

When a tornado hit her small farming town, she was magically transported together with her dog Toto, to the world of Oz. Here she met Glinda (Matilda Reynolds), the powerful good witch who helped Dorothy on her quest to find the Wizard. And so her adventure began as she met The Scarecrow (Ed Gooday), who was searching for a brain.

"This was a most enjoyable production!"
The Tin Man in Wizard of Oz playscript Mainstage Production of ArtReach's Wizard of Oz
Corn Exchange Infant and Junior Youth Theatre performs ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz

Dexter Sewell was the Tin Man, cleverly costumed wearing a distressed Heinz baked bean can and a saucepan for a hat. He lost his heart as the wicked witch (Maria Doney) took it away and he was desperate to recover it.

Completing the trio was the Lion (Lizzie Auld) who was no longer brave and needed to find his courage again. But would the Wizard solve all of their problems?

Their journey took them through an apple orchard and a beautiful field of flowers, but their potent scent sent them to sleep.

"The whole company should be congratulated."
Logo for ArtReach's Wizard of Oz Wizard of Oz play for kids to perform Toto in ArtReach's Wizard of Oz
Corn Exchange Infant and Junior Youth Theatre performs ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz

The cheeky young munchkins were a delight as they offered their help, but Dorothy and her new friends still had to find the Wizard - and who exactly was he?

Their pathway to Oz was hindered by the gatekeeper (Milo Mathers) who initially refused them entry. The projection of the wizard as a prehistoric monster was an inventive concept.

Directed by Marcus Bazley, this was a most enjoyable production and the whole company should be congratulated on their successful performances.  Well done!

Applebox theater presents ArtReach's The Jungle Book
By Audrey Caro, Polk County Itemizer-Observer

MONMOUTH — The themes of community and family that run through The Jungle Book also are apparent in The Apple Box Children’s Theater production of the Rudyard Kipling classic.

The theater collaborated with several other entities, including Arts Integrated Ministry, Children’s Educational Theater and Central High School’s performing arts department, said Rob Harriman.

“It’s really cool.  I’m really enjoying it.”
ArtReach's Jungle Book in Monmouth
Rob Harriman coaches the cast of The Jungle Book before rehearsal

Most of the masks used in the play are from Central High School, he said, and Apple Box has lent costumes to CHS for other productions. Western Oregon University is taking care of the sound.

“It’s a reminder that for as small of (an area) as this is, there is a huge pool of people invested in doing this,” Harriman said. “There are four solid kids’ theater programs (in the area).”

Harriman is directing the play and Barbara Harriman, his wife, is the production manager. Rob read through the book with their daughter Fiona and she added some scenes, he said.

Kathryn Schultz Miller adapted the book.

“The author of the play said do whatever you want with it,” Harriman said. “We recalibrated the play to make it fit into our vision of the author’s vision.”

Harriman said he enjoys the theme of community and working together that is implied throughout The Jungle Book.

"This production of The Jungle Book is truer to the source material."
ArtReach The Jungle Book play Fun characters in The Jungle Book
Kankakee Valley Theatre Association, Wheatfield IN

The story follows the journey of Mowgli, a boy who was raised by a family of wolves since his birth, but must flee his home for safety from Shere Khan, the tiger.

“The biggest challenge will be breaking away from the Disney version of the story,” Harriman said.

The Apple Box Children’s Theater production of The Jungle Book is “truer to the source material,” he said.

They reinserted the poems that are at the beginning of each chapter in Kipling’s book.

In its eighth season, the theater group is experiencing some firsts with The Jungle Book production — it’s the largest cast, at 51, and it is the first production that features choreography.

Children from The Dance & Fitness Studio were in last year’s play and were asked to be involved this year, Harriman said.

“That’s how we got so many kids,” he said.

There are four dance numbers, choreographed by Janey Jefferson and Bethany Allen, the dance studio.

“In auditions, we asked if they wanted to dance,” Harriman said. “A lot of the kids were really excited about dancing.”

"The story follows the journey of Mowgli."
The Jungle Book cast rehearsing
The cast of The Jungle Book rehearses a scene at Western Oregon University.

The casts for Apple Box Theater productions are 8 to 14 years old. Veteran participant Haley Taylor, 16, passed the age limit to act in the plays, so she is taking on the role of assistant manager/stage director.

“It’s fun to see from new perspective,” Taylor said. “It’s really cool. I’m really enjoying it.”

Mulan play entertains area children
Panola College Theatre Department presented “The Legend of Mulan

The Panola College Theatre Department will present “The Legend of Mulan – A Children’s Play” at 10 a.m., Friday, May 3, and at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, May 4, in the Q.M. Martin Auditorium. Both performances are free and open to the public.

“’The Legend of Mulan’ is an interactive play for children of all ages,” said Karen King, theatre director. “This play is our annual children’s event for area schools. We have invited several area schools to bring their students to the play.”

The 1998 Disney movie is now considered a classic, but the story of Mulan is adapted from ancient Chinese legend about a young girl who takes her father’s place in battle. She becomes a warrior-heroine and her story is a cultural icon for the Chinese people. 

The Legend of Mulan is an exciting play about the tale of the heroic Mulan, a woman living in Northern Wei Dynasty China, who has snuck into the army to save China so that her wounded father will not have to fight again against the barbaric Huns. Mulan takes her father’s sword and rises to the challenge to fight in the Chinese Army.

"The audience was invited to hold their swords high, shout, stomp and clap."
ArtReach's play Mulan The Legend of Mulan Chinese tale, The Legend of Mulan
The Panola College Theatre Department, TX -  ArtReach's The Legend of Mulan

Panola College Theatre Department presented “The Legend of Mulan” on Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, in the Q.M. Martin Auditorium. Designed for children’s theatre, the play invites the audience to interact with the cast. Theatre students handed out play swords and, on cue, the audience was invited to hold their swords high, shout, stomp and clap.

Set in ancient China, “The Legend of Mulan,” involves the audience in assisting Mulan in her efforts to defeat the Huns.

Cast members included Peyton Proffitt, Justin Gonzales, Tony Jeter, Jasmine Ryan, Abby Parrish, Sarah Owens, Christian Kotara, Keath Kibbey, Bethany Crowe, Lacie Sepulvado, Angel Kammer, Addie Pope, Tailer Chong and Shelby Watson.

Crew members included Maria Mejai, Kyree Williams, Katy Chance, Bethany Crow, Catalina Zoyquilla, Hannah Williams and Jesse Williams.

The play was directed by Karen King, professor of theatre, and Kyree Williams, student director. The play was presented with special permission from ArtReach Children’s Theatre Plays.

Photos by Katy Chance.

'The Wizard of Oz' by Middlebury Elementary School
One hundred sixty students took part in their first theatrical experience; one played the Wizard of Oz.

"A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."
Wizard in The Wizard of Oz

Middlebury, CT - One hundred sixty students that attend Middlebury Elementary School are clearly loved a lot by others. With great joy, they presented a lovely production of ArtReach's 'The Wizard of Oz' on the stage of Memorial Middle School on Thursday evening with the help of many parents and staff members of their school. Only one performance remains on Friday evening at 7pm and admission is one item for the Middlebury Food Bank.

Director MaryLou Torre, the interim principal of Middlebury Elementary School, understands the importance of theatre in our schools. "The project was all about process. The rehearsals and practices were as much as a part of the experience as the performance you will see tonight. Fun and freedom of expression for the students and the directors were key goals along this journey."

"Fun and Freedom of Expression"
Kids performing The Wizard of Oz
Middlebury Elementary School (CT) - ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz

This version of the classic book by L. Frank Baum is a play adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller. It included a huge chorus of "vivacious" students in a rainbow of t-shirts that narrated the story with choral reading from the bleachers house left. The cast included six different girls in the role of Dorothy, four different Scarecrows, two Tin Man characters, two Lions, two Gatekeepers and many, many others. Everyone had their own wonderful costume; kudos to Amy Raefski on her adorable design work and to the large costume crew.

Corinna Flanagan and Kathy Miller served as the Art Director/Set Design team. The panels of the set were painted by a large group of students (shout out to Nick Salvucci) that got to wear cool painted t-shirts on opening night. Michael Kaulins served as AD and Lydia McCarthy did the choreography. Chris Turecek was the Music Director/Tech Director. Community theatre actor/dad Ian Diedrich did the prop construction, including the head of the wizard painted on a white curtain; shout out to Kalman Zold who played Oz. Michaela Turecek did the pretty impressive make-up for the actors that needed an unnatural face color. I had a great reserved seat in the front row, but the sound with microphones on stands was really very good throughout the gym.

A bunch of young male actors was the pretty adorable Flying Monkeys with Luke Humphrey as Chimp, Emma Taglialatella as Scamp and Kyleigh Favale as Rascal. Eva Guerrera rocked the role of the "they don't call me wicked for nothing" Witch and melted impressively. Addison Mitchell and Owen Lattanzio did well with the shared role of the Gatekeepers. Ryan Dawes and Madison Ferguson were both good Lions and Cole Hughes and Luke Jackson in full silver were effective Tin Man, I mean Men. Scarecrows were Matteo DelBuono, Caitlin Flaherty, Peter Skabardonis, and Kiera Daweese.

"They don't call me wicked for nothing..."
Children performing The Wizard of Oz play
Middlebury Elementary School (CT) - ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz

Glinda in the classic pink dress and crown was played well by Rachel Anderson, accompanied by bubbles. Featured Munchkins included Ryan Murray (Joe,) Emily Raefski (Curly,) and Hunter Diedrich returned to the stage to play Burly. Leah Wasserstein was Auntie Em and Jack Sedensky was Uncle Henry. Joey Bernardi barked well in the role of Toto because there was no stuffed dog in a basket in this play. The poppy scene gave new meaning to "pulling my leg" in a cute way.

The gaggle of girls in the blue and white gingham included Emma Kulla, Faith Graziano, Lauren Anderson, Grace Jackson, Elizabeth Raefski and Aubrey Guiditta. The most adorable Munchkins specialized in stealing hearts in their floral hats and technicolor outfits. Best featured ensemble was billed as "The Forest" and included Brailee Batista, Evan Deschaine, Lilyana Reed and Shaelyn Walsh as the apple-throwing trees with lots of attitude.

"Congratulations on a job well done."

ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz - Gaslight Kids Drama Camp, Enid OK

The curtain closed between the scenes and if the transitions were a bit long, what the audience saw when they reopened was worth the wait. The students could never be heard backstage and that can be hard for the very young. The director shared during her curtain speech that the young thespians, some as young as six, had been practicing since January, during which time their "little school play" grew into a full 55-minute production. The students all knew their lines and if they hadn't expected to perform in front of people sitting in the 600 seats, it did not show.

Thank you to this elementary school staff for giving most of these young performers their first theatrical experience in a safe setting. Congratulations on a job well done.

ArtReach's 'Velveteen Rabbit' brings holiday magic to musical life
The Journal, New Ulm, by Clay Schuldt

NEW ULM - State Street Theater Company (SSTC) is kicking off the holiday season with a Christmas version of Margery Williams' book, "The Velveteen Rabbit."

Performances of ArtReach's "The Velveteen Rabbit: A Christmas Musical" are 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28.

"The Velveteen Rabbit," tells the story of a stuffed rabbit (played by Karina Koracan) given to a small boy named Michael (Emmett Gaalswyk) as a Christmas present.

At first, Michael prefers the mechanical toys but later comes to love the velveteen rabbit the most. The rabbit hopes to someday be a real rabbit, but can only achieve this through the love of his owner. The story follows the relationship between the boy and rabbit as he grows older.

This production of the story emphasizes the Christmas elements of the story. Several classic Christmas songs are interwoven through the play but sung using different lyrics based on the Velveteen Rabbit story.

"The musical promises to be fun for the whole family."
The Velveteen Rabbit Kids Christmas Play
State Street Theatre Company (MN) - ArtReach's The Velveteen Rabbit

The cast of toys gather with young Michael on the bedroom set of "The Velveteen Rabbit: A Christmas Musical." Back row L to R: Paul Henning (Skin Horse), Monkey (Elijah Friese), Jacob Haugen (Jack in the Box), David Henning (Donkey) Ash Larson (Robbie) and Lucy Gaalswyk (Tin Soldier). Front row: Karina Koracan (Velveteen Rabbit), Evelyn Helget (Raggedy Anne), and Emmett Gaalswyk (Young Michael).

The Velveteen Rabbit, played by Karina Koracan, climbs out of a sack after being thrown away.

Actors range in age from 8 to their 60's. The play is directed by Sarah Tetzloff, with Bonnie Lantz as assistant director. Undertaking costume design and prop selection are Deborah Ingle and designing and constructing the set were done by Eric Fliszar. Lantz and Ingle are also cast in the production.

"The play is a heartwarming Christmas tale."
Christmas Musical for Kids to Perform Children's Musical for Christmas
State Street Theatre Company (MN) - ArtReach's The Velveteen Rabbit

The play has been in rehearsal since late September. Tetzloff described the play as a heartwarming Christmas tale. She praised the cast for making it a fun experience.

"I've been having a lot of fun with the actors it has been great working with them," Tetzloff said.

Another fun aspect of the play is the set. The musical has two set locations, Michael's bedroom and the woods outside the house. Fliszar was able to create two sets in a single location. The main set was built on wheels that can rotate during scenes.  The cast can spin the bedroom scene around to the outdoors set within 20 seconds.

Assistant director Lantz added the details to the bedroom scene, painting letter block stools for the toy characters and detailing the wallpaper. Lantz said she used every trick to bring the set to life. The set even includes a picture of the original Velveteen Rabbit book cover.

Lantz said one of the best parts of doing this production is everyone likes the legend of toy rabbits coming to life through love.

"Audience members are invited backstage to meet the cast."
Velveteen Rabbit Christmas Musical
State Street Theatre Company (MN) - ArtReach's The Velveteen Rabbit

The musical promises to be fun for the whole family. The first production starts immediately following the New Ulm Parade of Lights. Following the Sunday matinee performance, audience members are invited backstage to meet the cast and enjoy cookies and hot cocoa.

Tickets for performances are available at the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce, New Ulm Hy-Vee, and online at Patrons are asked to park either in the theater parking lot off Washington Street or on the street.

The Velveteen Rabbit: A Christmas Musical is presented by special arrangement with Art-Reach Children's Theater Plays. The production is also made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board and legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Annual holiday production has delightful shenanigans
ArtReach's Twas the Night Before Christmas
Sandy Strickland,  The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

The Abominable Snowman was sprawled on the tile floor solving a crossword puzzle. But when he stood up, his shaggy white fur causing his palms to sweat, he tried "to look mad, really mad."

The glowering was a way of psyching himself up to kidnap Santa's signature red-nosed reindeer. Santa, meanwhile, was cooling off with a hand-held fan as dance teacher Debra Rankin adjusted his flowing white locks and chest-length beard. It was getting a little steamy inside his padded red velvet suit.

"It felt like I was in the hot sun," said Santa, alias 9-year-old Dylan Emerick of the Northside. Meanwhile, dancers were doing impressively agile splits. Elves and reindeer were working on geography lessons or putting puzzles together. As show time neared for the annual holiday production at Pine Forest Elementary School of the Arts on the Southside, the 70-member cast and crew passed the minutes in a variety of ways.

"I like doing plays. I got to act silly."
Twas the Night Before Christmas Musical
Richmond Hill Community Theatre, Richmond Hill GA

"At rehearsal, we encourage students to bring classwork that they're missing and do it during their down time," said Jill Herkel, director and head drama teacher at the Grant Road school. "We always want them to understand that performing in these productions is a privilege, and academics do come first."

The show is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Kathryn Schultz Miller's adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore's classic A Visit from St. Nicholas, telling how the poem came to be. There are shenanigans afoot as the Moore family prepares for Christmas. It seems that the Abominable Snowman captures the family mouse, Izzy, as well as Rosie the reindeer, in an effort to ruin Christmas and prevent them from arriving at the North Pole to save the broken toys.

You see, there are three misfit toys - a toy soldier that marches backwards, a Chatty Cathy doll that speaks gibberish and a purple lump of Play-Doh.

The cast of fourth- and fifth-graders performed the play for the student body, parents and community. This month, the dedicated magnet arts school, a feeder to LaVilla School of the Arts, is taking the show to Crown Point and Greenland Pines elementary schools in Mandarin.

Matthew Johnson, a 9-year-old Arlington resident, said it was fun playing the Abominable Snowman. It was a pivotal role: he got to chase his friend around the stage and laugh and joke with classmates.

"I like doing plays. I like acting, and I got to act silly," the fourth-grader said. "I love Christmas. It's my favorite season of the year." For Dylan, Santa is the ultimate role. Even when he wasn't in costume, classmates recognized the brown-eyed fourth-grader and told him what they wanted for Christmas. "I had to tell them I wasn't Santa Claus anymore," he said. Though he'd never heard of Moore's poem, Dylan dubbed the rhythm "really cool" and said the words matched brilliantly.

The show is a team effort. Music teacher Terri Wester worked with the singers, Rankin the costumes and choreography and Herkel the directing and technical end.

ArtReach's "The Nutcracker Prince" Ushers in Holiday Season
McLean High School, Falls Church VA

The two work study theater classes joined forces to welcome the winter holiday with a colorful production of ArtReach's “The Nutcracker Prince” a play built around characters and themes of the iconic “Nutcracker” ballet set to music by Tchaikovsky.

The teenage Clara, her pesky brother, their mother and father and their eccentric Uncle Drosselmayer all came to life one Christmas Eve not so very long ago – a Christmas Eve that also featured a life-and-death struggle for gingerbread between the Rat King with his mousy minions and the soldiers of good led by the Nutcracker himself. The play speaks to the heart of the magic that Christmas represents to so many of us when we are children, but also to that special if complex moment when the future as a grownup man or woman beckons.

 "Welcome the winter holiday with a colorful production."
ArtReach's Christmas Play Nutcracker Nutcracker Prince play for kids
ArtReach's The Nutcracker Prince - McLean High School, Falls Church VA

The ballet was first performed in Russia in the late 19th century, its loose-knit plot pieced together from a collection of fantasy stories written in German by E.T.A. Hoffman. By all accounts, the author was fascinated with what it means to be alive and what would possibly bring inanimate objects, especially dolls, to life. From the ballet forward this theme was always presented with a light touch, yet it’s clear that the stories springing from Hoffman’s bizarre imagination could (like most fairy tales originally) be quite frightening.

The play was directed by McLean’s work study theater teachers, Carolyn Sullivan and John DeMers, with a Christmas-festive set assembled and painted by their colleague Dave Hoopingarner. Other assists came to the production team from McLean’s own Phillip Reid and Rob Langston.

"What would possibly bring dolls to life."
Rat King in ArtReach's Nutcracker Prince High School performance Christmas play for  kids
ArtReach's The Nutcracker Prince - McLean High School, Falls Church VA

The cast was led by Abby Criswell as Clara, Jack Dennis as her brother Fritz, Trevor Sheehan as the Nutcracker, Daniel Goodwin as Drosselmayer, Maia Stewart as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Ben Shue in an over-the-top turn as the snarling, gingerbread-crazed Rat King. Also contributing to the magic were Kathryn Knight, Ben Baker, Lauren Banks, Polina Leonova, Noor Haq, Alex Pisocky, Juan Ramirez, Adrian Guevara and Minh Lam. Issac Orrel served as The Storyteller.

Many parents contributed goods and services, especially Andrea Shank and Mary Knight. The students and their teachers were grateful to Mark Thompson and Dr. Ellen Reilly for their support.

DHS OAP presented moving performance of ArtReach's "A Thousand Cranes"
Devine High School, Devine News TX

You could have heard a pin drop as the Devine High School One Act play set the solemn scene of Hiroshima, where the main character Sadako (Ariana Russell) suffered the long lasting effects of the atom bomb which fell ten years prior to this scene. Russell and the entire cast and crew did an excellent job of handling such difficult subject matter.

The audience enjoyed comical and playful banter in some of the opening scenes between Sadako (Russell) and Kenji (Jose Guardiola) as they raced "on the playground."

When the story took a scary turn, doctors at the hospital (Jose and Amada Guardiola) did a good job of portraying the confusion and hysteria as the child Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia.

"You could have heard a pin drop!"
High School Performance of Sadako Play
Devine High School, TX - ArtReach's A Thousand Cranes

Team members who helped put on the production of A Thousand Cranes are (back row, left to right): Patti Taitano, Miguel Palma, Jo Taitano, Gabby Romano, Abbey Paulson, Ariana Russell, Amada Guardiola, Emilie Dudley, and Charlize Benavidez; front row (left to right): Paige Williamson, Shi Mercer, Paige Reyna, Jose Guardiola, and Jillian Courtade.

Jose Guardiola played three roles in the play, a difficult feat, and did a good job of transitioning from character to character.

The carefully orchestrated lighting by crew members Emilie Dudley and Paige Williamson, and sound effects by Charlize Benavidez and Paige Reyna did a great job of setting the solemn tone of the play.

Grandmother played by Abbey Paulson also did an excellent job portraying the grandmother's spirit, the character which delivers the news that the little girl is passing away from the effects of the bomb.

In one of the most tender moments of the production, grandmother (Paulson) explains to the little girl that the atom bomb has made her very sick, even though it took years for her to become ill.

"But it's been ten years since the bomb fell," Sadako says, "How can that be grandmother?"

"The bomb continues to fall, Sadako," grandmother said.

Stage manager Jillian Courtade, makeup artist Miguel Palma, stage assistant Josephine Taitano, costume construction by Madeline Steubing, alternate Gabby Romano, and director Patti Taitano also did an awesome job bringing this play to life.

PCC play 'Cranes' is all about hope
By Nicky Hamila For the Arizona Daily Star

Betsy Kruse Craig has the ultimate teaching tool: Theater.

Craig has been instrumental in bringing theater for children to the Pima Community College stage.

Based on a true story, it's about a young girl named Sadako Sasaki who lived in Hiroshima. She was 2 when the atom bomb was dropped on the city, and 12 when she was diagnosed with leukemia from the radiation.

"Kids have a voice that is powerful."
A Thousand Cranes
Pima Community College, AZ

It touches on culture, war, self-empowerment, empathy.  And that's just for starters.

Japanese legend holds that if a sick person folds a thousand cranes, the gods will make the person healthy again.

Sadako starts folding cranes in hopes she will recover. It's a task she can't complete — she lives long enough to fold 644 cranes. Her classmates fold the rest and bury them with her.

"She is the icon for hope and peace," Craig said. "I think it's important for kids to understand that they have a voice and that their voice is powerful."

The play also teaches about war and its ravages.

"There have been children throughout history that have had to go through war," Craig said. "I think it's important for kids to know how other children have lived in countries of war. . . . For a piece like this, it teaches you about culture and history and sympathy and empathy."

And that makes "A Thousand Cranes" a play of a different sort.

"It's less of a play," said Craig, "and more of an epic poem."

"A Thousand Cranes"
• Presented by: Pima Community College Theatre Arts.
• By: Kathryn Schultz Miller.
• Director: Betsy Kruse Craig.
• When: 7 p.m. Fri and Sat; 2 p.m. Sat and Sun through Oct. 5.
• Tickets: $6.
• Information: 206-6986.
• Running time: 60 minutes, with no intermission.


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