FREE RESOURCES: Behind the Scenes [ Page 4 ]
Background info about the stories and themes of ArtReach's plays
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This page (Page #4) has stories and helpful info from behind the scenes of ArtReach productions!  Push back the curtain and check out all these great ArtReach titles: Alice in Wonderland, The Velveteen Rabbit, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Treasure Island, Kid Frankenstein, Christmas Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Sword in the Stone, Sleepy Hollow, Snow White, The Mark Twain Show, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, A Thousand Cranes.  Don’t forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play Package and contain lots more background articles and info about your play!

Six Alices give school play a new twist, in ArtReach's Alice in Wonderland
By Richard Jones, The Journal-News, OH

MORGAN TWP. - The Morgan Elementary School production of Lewis Carroll's classic "Alice In Wonderland" gets "curiouser and curiouser" with not one, but six Alices.

According to co-director Stacey Morehead, this version by Kathryn Schultz Miller has been designed for elementary performers, hence allowing for six different actresses to play the title role so that one isn't burdened by being on stage the whole time.

"It's so much fun for them to get on stage and have their shining moment."
Kids perform Alice in Wonderland play Multiple Alices in Alice in Wonderland Playscript of Alice in Wonderland
ArtReach's Alice in Wonderland - Fairbanks Elementary School, Milford Center OH

 It begins with Lewis Carroll (played by Vinny Giuliano), who did not appear in the books, looking for Alice to find them popping up everywhere, Morehead said, and sticking around for one scene.

The dialogue has also been simplified to roll more trippingly off the tongues of the young actors.

All told, it takes some 75 youngsters, including a chorus of storytellers, to make this "Alice" come to life.

"We've been doing plays here for five years," Morehead said. "It's really good for them to get acting experience. Most kids are really good at it, but don't get a chance to do it very often.

"A lot of them come up with creative ways to add to the show."
Kids love to perform ArtReach's Play Many girls play Alice in play
ArtReach's Alice in Wonderland - Fairbanks Elementary School, Milford Center OH

"But most of all, it's just so much fun for them to get on stage and have their shining moment, especially those kids that don't get involved in a lot of activities. And a lot of them come up with creative ways to add to the show."

The young thespians are more familiar with the various movie versions of the story, particularly the recent adaptation starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

Ally Hannon, who is making her stage debut playing Alice #3, said, "I like how Alice grows and shrinks and meets all the different characters."

"Alice grows and shrinks and meets all the different characters."
Alice play is popular for schools Alice grows in Alice in Wonderland play School performs in local theatre
ArtReach's Alice in Wonderland - Whitefield Elementary School, Whitefield, NH

Madison Hollander, playing Alice #5, has been in three previous Morgan productions, including playing Violet in last year's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." She gets the opportunity to perform in the scene with the Queen of Hearts, played by Tori Rockey.

"She's mean, rude and likes to be the center of attention," Tori said of her role. "I get to boss everyone around."

The other Alices are Alex Adams, Sierra King, Meghan Oliver and Christa Hervner. Thomas Woodruff is the White Rabbit, McKenzie Elam the Caterpillar, Brayden Ploehs as the Cheshire Cat and Carolyn Myers doubling as the other Queen of Hearts. The Mad Tea Party is populated by Jacob Kahman as the Mad Hatter, Nick Rockey as the March Hare and Megan Gentry as the Dormouse.

"The Storytellers have a large role in the play."
Play for children to perform Alice in Wonderland
ArtReach's Alice in Wonderland - Whitefield Elementary School, Whitefield, NH

The storytellers are Elizbeth Abbott, Megan Foster, Lily Hiler, Hayley Patterson, Savana Patterson and Dalton Updike.

Len Martin co-directs with Morehead.

State Street Theatre Company presents "The Velveteen Rabbit: A Christmas Musical"
Live on the State Street Theater stage in New Ulm, MN

"Because once you are Real, you can't be ugly." is one of the messages from Margery Williams' Velveteen Rabbit. 

Join State Street Theater for performances of this beloved children's classic.  Performances will take place Friday, November 26 and Saturday, November 27 at 7 pm, and Sunday, November 28 at 2 pm. Tickets are available at the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce, New Ulm HyVee, and online at

"Because once you are Real, you can't be ugly."
The Velveteen Rabbit : A Christmas Musical
State Street Theater performs ArtReach's Christmas Musical The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit: A Christmas Musical is presented by special arrangement with ArtReach 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, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Charley Nosbush is a wild rabbit in this production. Other shows she has performed in include The Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast. Her hobbies outside of theater include gymnastics, art, and playing with her rabbit Hailey.

Jacob Haugen is 19 yrs old. Prior to The Velveteen Rabbit he was in quite a few other productions. His acting career started when he was 9 years old and he got to play Oz in The Wizard of Oz - Children's theater. His most recent State Street Theatre performances include The Twelfth Night (Billy & the Kids version), Into The Woods and A Charlie Brown Christmas where he brought the character of Snoopy to life. He is having fun with this production & cast and hope that audience enjoys it as well.

Paul Henning is no stranger to the State Street Theater stage. Beginning with a Christmas show in 2011, "It's a Wonderful Life", he has been in many shows, including the musicals "South Pacific", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", and others. He has also been in a few comedies, a couple dramas, and most recently was in "Twelfth Night" which ended up indoors instead of at German Park. Outside of theater, you can find Paul working as a custodian at Martin Luther College.

"So glad to be back on stage and hope you enjoy the show!"
Cast of Velveteen Rabbit Christmas Play for kids, the rabbit
State Street Theater performs ArtReach's Christmas Musical The Velveteen Rabbit

Deborah Ingle is excited to make her first onstage appearance in a SSTC production, though you may have seen her costuming work on display in this summer's "Into the Woods". After falling in love with theater in middle school, Deborah enjoyed taking part in community and educational theater, eventually going on to study theater arts in college. She graduated from South Dakota State University in 2019. She is so glad to be back on stage post-pandemic, and hopes you enjoy the show!

Bonnie Lantz is making her SSTC debut as assistant director. She's lived in New Ulm almost 30 years, is married to Dr. Fred Falentin, and has three children: Lantz, Chance, and Maggie, and a dog named Grace. Previous shows include MN Nice, Once Upon a Mattress, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, and I was in The Charlie Brown Christmas.  When she's not on stage she works as a nutrition consultant at Broadway Chiropractic and enjoys leading worship songs at Church, playing guitar, walking her dog, painting, sewing, and gardening. She is thrilled and honored to be working with such a great cast, director, and costumer!

See them in next weekend's production of the Velveteen Rabbit, live on the State Street Theater stage!<liw>

Evergreen Playhouse to Debut the Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Chronicle Centralia, WA - By Justyna Tomtas

Actors at the Evergreen Playhouse will be performing a classic American story of hardships and triumphs focused on a pioneer family trying to create a life on the prairie.

The 15-person cast will open "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Voice of the Prairie" on Friday.

The play will span Wilder's life from early childhood into her older years. The dramatic and heartfelt scenes will depict her family's extraordinary survival of life on the prairie.

Director Angela Wilcox said she was inspired to do this play because it is one of her daughter's favorite stories. It holds personal significance to her, but she also said it's a very important and meaningful story loved by many.

"It really is a beautiful, heartfelt story."
Script of Laura Ingalls Wilder Laura Ingalls Wilder: Voice of the Prairie
Evergreen Playhouse Performs: "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Voice of the Prairie"

"It is dramatic and genuine. The thing about the Ingalls and Wilder families is that they endured a lot of heartache throughout their whole lives, but they were farmers and pioneers so they just kept moving on," Wilcox said. "It's really about love and family and moving forward in the time of grief and loss."

The play is unique because it features over 24 scenes and spans about 60 years of Wilder's life, Wilcox said. The entire production is accompanied by a live musician who plays fiddle and guitar.

"We get to see basic snapshots of poignant memories in her life and her story," she said. "You get to relive the books if you are a Laura Ingalls fan and get to relive some of those favorite scenes."

Wilcox is a new director at the Evergreen Playhouse although she has directed in the past for Performing Arts to Homeschoolers, a Lewis County branch of a homeschool cooperative.

Her cast varies in age and features children to actors with a lot of stage experience behind them. 

For the opening weekend, a local fiddler family will play music from the Wilder era during intermissions. The Fiddlin' Brownies feature six children from the Brown family. The new addition provides something new for audience members that have enjoyed plays at the Evergreen Playhouse before.

"Come and see this because you will be blessed by it."
Little House on the Prairie Play script Play for High School and Middle School
Arts Live Theatre Performs: "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Voice of the Prairie"

The play itself is family-friendly and suitable for all ages, Wilcox said.

"Laura Ingalls is a favorite character, so if you love Laura Ingalls Wilder, come and see this because you will be blessed by it, and it will be a meaningful night for your family," Wilcox said. "My actors do a wonderful job, and it really is a beautiful, heartfelt story."

The play will run Feb. 12-14, 18-21, and 26-28. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $8 for students with a valid ID.

There will also be a Thursday pay-what-you-can night on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the play will help support the Evergreen Playhouse, which is located at 226 W. Center St., Centralia.

FSHS Tiger Drama Camp Performs ArtReach's Treasure Island
Fort Scott Biz, Kansas

This year's annual Fort Scott High School Tiger Drama Camp performs ArtReach Children's Theatre Plays' Treasure Island on June 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. at the Fort Scott Middle School commons area.

Thirty five students in 1st through 9th grade spent two weeks at camp preparing for the production. The play is adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller from the book by Robert Louis Stevenson.

"I absolutely love getting to share my love of theatre."
Kids Rehearse Treasure Island Play
Fort Scott High School Tiger Drama Camp Rehearses ArtReach's Treasure Island

The character of Jim is played by 6th grader Scout Eden. Other notable characters include Long John Silver who is played by 8th grader Theodore Bowman, Doctor Livesey - freshman Dimple Williams, and Squire Trelawney portrayed by freshman Adeline Hartmetz. Other campers make up a motley crew of pirates, storytellers, and Skeleton Island Natives.

The camp and show are directed entirely by FSHS Thespians. Seniors Regen Wells and Lexi Hill are the Directors. 

"I absolutely love getting to share my love of theatre with the younger people of our community and I'm extremely happy to have an outlet in the community for directing and producing," Wells said.

"This is my first time directing a show."
Captain Long John Silver leads the way in Treasure Island Kids perform Treasure Island script play
Fort Scott High School Tiger Drama Camp Rehearses ArtReach's Treasure Island

Other high school staff include:  junior Kiara Thompson - Stage Manager, sophomores Emma Bin and Tuesday Glessner - Choreographers, junior Cooper George - Costume Designer, senior Natalie Woods - Sound Designer, senior Jericho Jones - Music Director, sophomores Charlie Chaplin and Chris Newman - Props and Set Designers and freshman Tobi Larrabee and junior Molly Hoyt - Arts Directors. Many other Thespians serve as acting coaches and leaders and Thespian Director Angie Bin serves as show producer.

"Working with the kids is amazing."
Rehearsing is Fun with aRtReach's Play Treasrue Island
FSHS Tiger Drama Camp Rehearses ArtReach's Treasure Island

During the two-week camp, students learn about most technical theatre areas such as lighting, sound, costuming, stagecraft, and make-up. They also help to create the artistic set decor.

Hill said, "This is my first time directing a show and I am so excited to see it performed. Working with the kids is amazing and everyone involved has put so much work into this hilarious show."

Tickets for the show are $5 and available at the doors at Fort Scott Middle School. Doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Frankenstein is 200 Years Old!
The world's most famous monster's birthday

Even National Public Radio is celebrating the world’s most famous monster’s birthday!  Frankenstein still fascinates kids of every age!

Today on NPR:  "Two hundred years ago, a 20-year-old English author anonymously published the tale of a scientist – obsessed with the impossible – creating life. The story evolved into a classic. A masterpiece. Revered alongside Shakespeare. Byron. Melville. The book was decades – centuries, even – ahead of its time. Raising deep, existential questions about who we are, our responsibility in science, and our ethical obligations. This hour, On Point: Frankenstein rises again 200 years on. -- Jane Clayson”

Welcome to My La-bor-ra-tory!  Ha-ha!
Kid Scientists love 'Kid Frankenstein'! Frankenstein play for young people.
ArtReach's Kid Frankenstein

Frankenstein was written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.   She started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818:  It is still available for kids today:  Frankenstein (Junior Classics for Young Readers)  Discover Books, Dalmatian Press.

Critics have responded positively to Frankenstein positive since the mid-20th century. Director Guillermo del Toro describes Frankenstein as "the quintessential teenage book", adding "You don't belong. You were brought to this world by people that don't care for you and you are thrown into a world of pain and suffering, and tears and hunger. It's an amazing book written by a teenage girl. It's mind blowing."

Frankenstein200 is a transmedia project, studying the learning that occurs when people participate in a combination of hands-on activities and immersive digital experiences. The Frankenstein200 kit includes seven hands-on activities that encourage creativity and reflection about responsible innovation.

A Christmas Cinderella will be performed for donations
Community Cultural Center of Tonasket WA

Diana Luca Brown will be directing four performances of "A Christmas Cinderella" at the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket, Dec. 15-18.  Performances will be Saturday, Dec. 15, at 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4:00 p.m.; and Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 16-17, at 1:00 p.m. in a pair of weekday matinees. Admission is $2.00 or a non-perishable food item to donate to the Tonasket Food Bank.

"What a great way to celebrate the giving season!"
A Christmas Cinderella Play
ArtReach's "A Christmas CinderellaBrent Baker/staff photo

Kids Cast Rehearses:  Emma Alexander, Ariana Perez, Phoenix Willging, Anajah Braggs, and Sheyann LaBelle rehearse for their production of "A Christmas Cinderella," scheduled to run at the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket.

"All of the kids had such smiley faces - they loved it!"
Holiday Play for Cinderella Kids perform ArtReach Christmas Cinderella ArtReach's Musical - A Christmas Cinderella
ArtReach's "A Christmas Cinderella" - Community Cultural Center of Tonasket, WA

Diana Luca Brown, Director:  "Wow, Everybody, what great shows! We want to thank you-everybody who helped make this event a success. Thanks to your donations we collected 8 full boxes of food donations for Tonasket Food Bank! What a great way to celebrate the giving season! The kids had a lot of fun! Also, thanks to all the teachers who came with their classes. You've been great audience!!! Each show was sold and we had almost every day 120 kids in attendance! Thanks to CCCT staff, volunteers and parents~ Merry Christmas!"

 Audience Reaction:  "Thanks to you Diana for bringing Children's theater alive at the CCC. We loved the play and all of the kids had such smiley faces--they loved it also. Keep em' coming!"

ArtReach's “The Jungle Book” Comes to Helper Middle School
ETV News, Price UT

The Helper Middle School (HMS) Rams took the community to the jungle last week with their rendition of the classic story “The Jungle Book.”

"Rams took the community to the jungle!"
Middle School Performs The Jungle Book The Jungle Book for Middle Schools
Helper Middle School, Helper UT - ArtReach's The Jungle Book

Friends, family, staff, fellow students and more were invited to the Rio Theatre, located on Helper’s historic Main Street, for four showings in March to enjoy a theatrical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book.

"Enjoy a theatrical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book."
Classic play for kids to perform Kipling's Jungle Book on stage
Helper Middle School, Helper UT - ArtReach's The Jungle Book

The cost of admission was $4 for adults, $3 for children ages three to 18, and children two and under were free. The concession stand was open and everything purchased benefitted HMS.

'Aladdin' at St. Francis-St. Hedwig School in Rehearsal
It is an end of an era at St. Francis-St. Hedwig School in Naugatuck
Naugatuck, CT Patch, Nancy Sasso Janis, Patch Mayor

Rehearsal photos courtesy of Michael Petruzzi (at the piano)

Naugatuck, CT - Saint Francis-Saint Hedwig School will be presenting their final production before the school closes at the end of the school year.  The show chosen for the last show at St. Francis-St. Hedwig School is 'Aladdin.' Wanda Mascola will direct the students and Michael Petruzzi will serve a co-director/musical director.  Performances are scheduled for Friday, May 18 at 6:00pm and Saturday May 19 at 2:00pm. All performances will be presented in the school gym.  One minor correction is that there is no Thursday show. Both shows will be performed in the school gym. Admission is free and refreshments will be available for purchase.

"Opened strong with all 30 young actors from grades K - 8."
Students rehearse Aladdin Kids are Storytellers in play Aladdin
Saint Francis-Saint Hedwig School (CT) Rehearses ArtReach's Aladdin

Previous productions at the Catholic school have included ArtReach's 'Alice in Wonderland' and ArtReach's 'The Wizard of Oz.'

Review:   Dedicated to the memory of James M. Fitzgerald IV, a magical spirit.

St. Francis-St. Hedwig School Drama Club presented ArtReach's 'Aladdin' for one performance only on Saturday afternoon on the school's gymnasium stage. The script used adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller was based upon 'Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp' from 'One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.'

In fourth century Arabia, a foolish boy challenges an evil magician, a powerful sultan and wins the favor of a princess. The parents and friends that filled the bleachers on either side of the gym delighted in the comedy and excitement of this classic legend where Aladdin performed magnificent feats with the help of a genie and a magic lamp.

The show opened strong with all 30 young actors from grades K - 8 entering from various locations. The first act was a short 20 minutes, but after a 15 minute intermission, the second act ran much longer. The young actors used both the stage and the better part of the gym floor to perform.

The Catholic school students were directed by their beloved Wanda Mascola and Michael Petruzzi was her "partner in crime" as the musical director/accompanist. Mr. Petruzzi added to the typical reminder in his curtain speech to turn off your cell phones so that patrons could "give their full attention to the young thespians" that had spent the last few month working very hard. Unfortunately, due to the weather-related school closures this week, the final dress rehearsal had to be moved to what would have been their Friday night performance. 

Faith Lally was the ever present black cat Persia in a great creative costume. Luke Reilly had a big personality in the role of the blue genie and Lauren Scully came out of her shell in the role of Omar's sidekick Geewiz.

"Comedy and excitement in this classic legend."
School adds songs to ply script Aladddin ArtReach's Aladdin play for kids
Saint Francis-Saint Hedwig School (CT) Rehearses ArtReach's Aladdin

Highlights of the set pieces was the Cave of Wonders, the large cutout camels and the suggestion of the magic carpet ride. Jennifer and Matt Capozziello served as set designers and Ms. C was also in charge of props, costumes AND stage crew along with Barbie Foldvary. Musical numbers were inserted to the story and were performed well. Mr. Petruzzi was in charge of the sound with Natalie Silva, while Ms. Foldvary worked the sound cues very well. The child wranglers include Mrs. Mascola's dedicated husband Neil and Ms. Foldvary. Danielle Dumont and Jen Baehr stepped up to take care of concessions and the cast party.

The production team thanked Fr. Sebastian Kos, Dr. John Alfone and the faculty and staff at the school for their support, and the custodians for all the heavy lifting. Emelia Dooling, an alum, returned to help at rehearsals. I was graciously given a credit in the program for helping with publicity, but I really did not do that much.

Congratulations to the St. Francis-St. Hedwig students on a good performance that showed off all of the hard work they had put into this production.

All photos by Nancy Sasso Janis.

Sword in the Stone
The Advocate: Gresham OR

MHCC has had a long history in the performing arts: Just ask Daryl Harrison-Carson, a 20-year veteran instructor and technical director for this year's fall theatre performance, which is shaping up to be exceptional in more ways than just one.

For starters, Harrison-Carson and part-time assistant Julie Akers, who is the director for this year's play, have decided to put a spin on Kathryn Schultz Miller's "Sword in the Stone" that will be unique to MHCC's performance. The script will be reimagined as children acting out the events of the legendary King Arthur's childhood in their imaginations.

"The set helps give the play a sense of magic."

Mt. Hood Community College performs ArtReach's Sword in the Stone

The set, designed by Harrison-Carson, is meant to emulate a play structure, complete with seesaws and monkey bars. She noted that there are a lot of quick scene changes in the script, and this was a creative solution to that problem that helps gives the play a sense of magic.

Another, albeit more extenuating, detail surrounding this play is that the Mt. Hood theatre department's head, Mace Archer, is currently taking a yearlong sabbatical. Harrison-Carson is the only full-time faculty member working in the department; the other members are either part-time faculty or hired by college specifically for the play.

She concedes that progress in the department is a bit "chaotic" right now, but said she is glad that the students are getting to work with different directors and faculty members, which gives more opportunities to make connections that can lead to theatre internships.

One such contracted individual is Kristen Mun, who creates on-stage fight choreography. The Mt. Hood play is set to have plenty of action and sword fights, and special swords of reinforced metal have to be used on stage. Since the swords will be used repeatedly over the course of many rehearsals and performances, they have to be exceptionally sturdy to ensure that they don't wear down and break during the performance.

"Plenty of action and sword fights."

Mt. Hood Community College performs ArtReach's Sword in the Stone

The actors have been rehearsing their fight scenes in slow motion to get the choreography down, and, thanks to Mun's expertise, Harrison-Carson is happy to report that there have been no accidents or severed limbs.

The Sword in the Stone is set to open at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 4. Buses from local elementary schools also will be bringing schoolchildren to see the play, and hopefully inspire them to pursue the theatre, on Nov. 6, 8, 13, 15, and 18.

The matinee will be performed at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, which Harrison-Carson recommends as the best time for MHCC students to attend as there are no class conflicts, and the theater will not be hosting elementary field trips that day.

The play has a runtime of under an hour, and will cost $2 per person. However, since it is considered a children's play, Mt. Hood is willing to waive the $2 entry fee for anyone unable to pay and who wants to experience the magic of the theatre for the first time.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Script is Kid-Friendly
Halloween Script is Full of Hilarious Comedy

You might be surprised during the first few minutes of ArtReach’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.   Rather than recoiling in horror, you’ll be laughing your socks off!

ArtReach’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has been adapted especially for kids and family audiences.  Irving Washington’s famous American tale takes center stage, with his story and language in tact.  The bumbling school teacher Ichabod Crane woos his heart’s desire, the plumb and blushing Katrina, never suspecting that he is the butt of his rival Brom Bones’ practical joke.  Katrina has no intention of dropping her brawny beau for the school teacher, she just plays coy until Brom wins the match.

"You’ll be laughing your socks off!"
The Ride of the Headless Horseman!  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow! Great Roles for Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers!
The Ride of the Headless Horseman!  Great Roles for Middle, Jr/ High School.

Laughs and audience participation make this a great play for Halloween entertainment.  Clearly drawn instructions for building a Headless Horseman costume are included in the Teachers Guide, making it easier for you concentrate on comic timing.  Don’t hesitate to assure your young audiences that, though there will be moments of thrilling fright, they’ll leave the theatre laughing.

Local children perform new version of Snow White
The Cranston Herald, Rhode Island

By Pam Schiff

A beloved classic fairy tale had a few tweaks and changes as the cast of the latest rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves performed this past weekend at William Hall Library under the supervision of Gladys Cole.

“This has been a great experience for my daughter & son."
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
A SMILEY CAST: Gladys Cole (on the stairs) poses with her cast members after a full dress rehearsal.

“This has been a great experience for my daughter Kayla [Snow White] and my son, Aidan [Skipper]. I feel honored that she was able to use the songs I wrote for the play: ‘Wishing Well’ and ‘The Dwarf Song,’” parent Megan Gilbert said. “The kids have been acting with G.Cole productions for over two years and I feel so lucky to have them with a director that is creative, fun and has more patience than I imagine a saint would. This is a total community theater and all parents help so much.”

With a full cast of children aged 5 to 14 years old, Cole had her hands full keeping everyone focused and on-task.

The cast was made up of children from Cranston, Warwick, Richmond, Pawtucket, East Providence, South Kingstown and East Greenwich.

"She makes everybody feel like their role is special.”
Kids performing Snow White play Snow White and the Witch in School Play
ArtReach's SNOW WHITE - The Arts Project of Orange County, San Clemente CA

Kayla Gilbert (Snow White), Maya Madison (The Queen), Neala Pyne (The Mirror), Liam DeRosa (The King) and Kyle Denson Yay (The Prince) all filled the lead roles.  

Other players included Jacqueline Buffery (Narrator No. 1), Olivia Sturtervant (Narrator No. 2), Annalise Curry (Lady Margot), Kate Curry (Lady Sybil), Robert Bourvier (The Huntsman) and Grayson Carrier (The Tree).  The Queen Spirits were Jamisen Geyer (Witch Hazel), Dilys Wiening (Rose Thorn), Lily Soares (Ginger Root) and Kristen McConnell (Fireseed).  The Dwarves were portrayed by: Aidan Gilbert (Skipper), Marinn Danis (Chipper), Brady Burden (Giddy), Caden Burden (a-Choo), Remmy Danis (Grouchy), Kristen McConnell (Wall-Flower) and Raegan Garcia (Snores-a-lot).  The Forest Animals were: Alannah Curry (Bunny), Emily Panas (Bumble Bee), Payton Garcia (Squirrel), Morgan Panas (Deer), Rose Bouvier (Owl) and Sophia Poirier (Blue Bird).

"It's really fun acting with Miss Gladys. She makes everybody feel like their role is special,” said Kayla Gilbert, a 12-year-old Bain Middle School student and actress.

Aidan Gilbert, a 10-year-old student and actor from Stadium Elementary School, added his praise.

"I like playing a part of a dwarf and being able to sing the song my mom wrote for us."

"My goal is to continue to empower children through theatre."
Forest Creatures in Snow White Large cast of kids for Snow White performance
ArtReach's SNOW WHITE - The Arts Project of Orange County, San Clemente CA

For this production, the children started rehearsing in March and performed in May.

“G.Cole Productions was started in 2013 with a production of Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon at the Artistic Exchange in Cranston. Then I directed Holka Polka at William Hall Library and I knew I wanted to only produce children’s theatre. So I changed the name to G.Cole Productions Children’s Theatre Company. My goal is to empower children though theatre: to give children organization, leadership, and public speaking skills to develop confidence and know that dreams are possible. I have been very fortunate that Adrienne Gallo at William Hall Library has allowed me to use the library for rehearsals and my productions,” Cole said.

G.Cole Productions is a community theatre and is only successful with the help of the parents of the children that participate in the productions. Parents help with all aspects of shows costumes, props, set-design, usher, front house, tickets sales and backstage crew.

Cole received her associate’s degree in fine arts from the Community College of Rhode Island. She was mentored by the late Jeffery Butterworth, who encouraged her to choreograph her first children’s show. She interned at John V. Doyle School’s drama production of Lullaby of Broadway. Butterworth also gave her a chance to write her first play, Only Monday.  She went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts & Science from Rhode Island College.

“I knew that I wanted to have a career in theatre. My goal for G.Cole Productions is to continue to empower children though theatre. I feel so blessed that I have this wonderful career teaching and directing children’s theatre,” she said.

Mark Twain Loved Childrens Theatre
Every Child Deserves Theatre in School

"Children's Theatre is a great educational feature.  The time ought to come when a child's theatre will be a part of every public school in the land.”
Mark Twain (The New York Times) August 10, 1909

The occasion of Mark Twain’s quote was the closing of East Side Playhouse due to lack of funds.  Just one year earlier Mr. Twain had delighted in a performance of an adaptation of his book, The Prince and the Pauper, produced for a young audience.   Our most beloved American author knew more than a century ago what we all know now, children’s theatre should and must be a staple of feature of education.

For many years, we would hear from teachers who lamented the fact that there could be no drama club at their schools because they had no stage.  Sometimes they would say their school could only afford a few dollars toward the expense of a theatrical production.   Without sewing machines there could be no costumes.  Without a work shop there could be no scenery.   But anyone who has read or seen an ArtReach play knows that none of these things are needed to put on a wonderful show that will light kids’ imaginations and make their parents fairly burst with pride!

"Mark Twain's greatest hits for teens."
One Act Play for Schools and Theatres -- The Mark Twain Show One Act Play for Schools and Theatres -- The Mark Twain Show
ArtReach Touring Theatre, The Mark Twain Show

At ArtReach we encourage educators to concentrate not on what they don’t have, but what they do have in abundance!  Every teacher and every student has a deep well of imagination that can be called on to delight, dazzle and enchant.   ArtReach’s plays are designed to coax out the treasures that already exist in the hearts and minds of every student, young or old.

One of ArtReach’s biggest fans, Sarah Ackerman-Hale writes:

"Directing plays inspired me to go back to school to become an elementary teacher. As I've completed my schooling, I've come to really understand and appreciate your philosophies about the emphasis being on the process, not so much the completed ‘product’.”

As you might have guessed, Sarah’s recent production of ArtReach’s TREASURE ISLAND was huge hit.  Mark Twain would have loved it!

The Importance of Being Tinker Bell
Why is Tinker Bell one of children’s theatre’s most beloved characters?

In the play PETER PAN, Tinker Bell is Peter’s best friend and constant companion.  She tags along with him to the Darling house, helps Peter find his shadow and sprinkles pixie dust on the children to help them fly.  She may even be in love with Peter though he doesn’t know that since he’s only a little boy.  Before it’s all over Tinker Bell has saved Peter’s life by drinking the poison that was meant for him.  And in a way, she has saved us -- the audience, by inspiring us to "believe”.

Tinker Bell is a child’s ultimate imaginary friend.  One who loves Peter no matter what and will help him in life’s struggles and even save him from death.

"Tinker Bell is Peter’s best friend and companion."
Tinker Bell is a fun part for shy kids!  Peter Pan! Great Parts for Young Kids!  Peter Pan!
Tinker Bell from Shoultes Elem (WA) & Welsh Hills Granville (OH)

In the original production of PETER PAN, Tinker Bell is seen only as a reflected light and heard only as the tinkling of bells.  ArtReach’s production allows the Tinker Bell to come fully alive onstage.  Instead of a light, a real performer uses only a kazoo and body language to communicate, which retains the effect of her original otherworldliness while allowing the young actor to fully embrace and enjoy Tinker Bell’s unique fairy/pixie character.

At ArtReach we often point out that Tinker Bell is a great role for kids who love to act but have trouble learning lines.  That doesn’t mean that this is a simple role to perform -- only that a playful, imaginative child can truly convey Tinker Bell’s rare and magical gifts.

Why is ArtReach’s Wizard of Oz so popular?
It’s not hard to understand why teachers all over the world recommend ArtReach’s version of WIZARD OF OZ over all others.

This script is one of the most beloved because it stays true to L. Frank Baum’s original book.  This no need for gimmicks, stage tricks or elaborate effects.  There are no long speeches or complicated sequences.  Just as Baum gave kids a safe place for dreaming in his classic book -- this version uses the written word as a structure for kids to hang their dreams on.  It uses the child’s innate impulse to play and invent – the essential elements that make the story so endearing.  Using creative play as its base, kids are allowed to be silly, to day dream, to explore a land of Oz that is distinctly their own.  Why just watch a storm appear?  Why not become the storm yourself?  Why should Toto stay in his basket when he has so much to do and say?  Why does there have to be just one Dorothy?  Why can’t everyone who wants to play the girl from Kansas have her own special moment?

 "Fun, freedom and creative joy are infused in every page."
Fun Characters for Lots of Children to Perform!  The Wizard of Oz! Several kids get to play Dorothy and Scarecrow!  The Wizard of Oz!
Stage Kids (CA) & Shoultes Elem (WA) - Up to 4 Scarecrows!

ArtReach’s version of THE WIZARD OF OZ was written just for kids.  Fun, freedom and creative joy are infused in every page of this script, inviting children and directors to create a play that is meaningful for their special kids.  No hassle, no fuss and no demands.  Whether you are a professional or a first time director, you can’t go wrong with ArtReach’s WIZARD OF OZ.  The script takes you by the hand and lets you and your kids find your own yellow brick road.

Peter Pan is Theatre – Not TV
So you didn’t like the TV Special PETER PAN LIVE?  Almost nobody did.  Here’s why.

The TV Special Peter Pan Live! had hardly begun before twittering folks all over the country were sharing their displeasure.  It seemed everyone was disappointed in this most anticipated production.  Why?

Allison Williams and Christopher Walken gave heartfelt performances.  The scenery and costumes were unique, colorful and imaginative.  The songs were the same great songs we remembered. So why did so many folks feel let down when they watched this beautiful and exciting TV event?

At ArtReach, we realized long ago that a live performance never translates to video or TV.  Television productions are written, acted and edited for television’s unique platform – a screen.  A stage performance is a once in a life-time event, and its magic depends entirely on the interaction and participation of a live audience.  When we watch live people pouring their hearts out on stage we engage, sympathize and feel invested in the success of the performance and performers we are watching.  We are as exhilarated as the performers because for just a short while we are sharing an extraordinary moment of human connection.

"A stage performance is a once in a life-time event."
Children's Christmas Musicals from ArtReach!  A Christmas Peter Pan! A Christmas Peter Pan!  Children's Musical Christmas Plays for Large Casts of Kids!
ArtReach’s Peter Pan, North Shore Children's Theatre, Salem, MA

J. M. Barrie wrote PETER PAN specifically for the stage.  He didn’t write his novel PETER AND WENDY (which is now in the public domain) until long after the stage play’s spectacular success.  Never was there a story that depended more on the delicate interaction between actor and audience.  Try as they might, the best actors directors and designers in the world cannot save PETER PAN from looking bland and lifeless on a TV screen.

People reacted negatively to the TV Special Peter Pan Live! simply because they instinctively wanted more.  They could feel in their bones that this would be terrific if only they were actually there to expereince it.  That’s why no matter how many media screens we own on our TVs or our phones; we will still seek out live theatre performances.  Peter Pan will always fly into our hearts, as long as theatre lives.

Mt. Hood Community College Theatre Department Announces Exciting Play Season
Filled with diverse genres, thought-provoking themes, and gripping performances.

This play season, experience the gentle sea breezes and lush mountains of Hiroshima in ArtReach's "A Thousand Cranes"; watch a beautiful community blossom in gritty Cleveland, OH in "Seedfolks"; and walk through the turbulent halls of high school again in "Be More Chill."

"A perfect play for young audiences."
A Thousand Cranes Middle School and College Students Perorm
ArtReach's A Thousand Cranes - Bastrop Middle School, TX - Hutchison School, Memphis

The Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) theatre department is gearing up for an exciting 2023-2024 play season. Filled with diverse genres, thought-provoking themes, and gripping performances. There will be something for everyone, from heartwarming dramas to lively musicals, with stories that will make you think and gripping performances.

ArtReach's "A Thousand Cranes," by Kathryn Schultz Miller is a perfect play for young audiences. It tells the story of a young girl named Sadako who gets cancer as a result of the Hiroshima bombing, and her goal to fold a thousand origami cranes in the hopes of healing and peace. Through her journey, the play explores themes of resilience, the enduring power of hope, and the devastating impact of war.

The theatre department at MHCC offers many ways for people to get involved, including acting, backstage work, and technical classes. Auditions for these productions are open to MHCC students as well as community members. While students can enroll in theatre classes to secure a role, community members have the option to get involved through community education classes at MHCC.

"The play explores themes of resilience, the power of hope."
Middle School Students perfor A Thousand Cranes Sadako's story in A Thousand Cranes Sadako flies paper crane
ArtReach's A Thousand Cranes - Trunkey Public School, NSW, AU

"For the students&ldots; I'm hoping that it gives them a sense of community around the college," Daryl Harrison Carson, the theatre technical director and instructor at MHCC said, "Working toward a shared goal and learning something along the way in the process. Aside from the hard work it takes to put on a play, it's fun and usually a good time. I know my theatre friends from college are my lifelong friends so that's what I hope for the students to gain. For the community, the shows will make them think about things in a way they hadn't thought of before. The goal is always to put on a good show and to do a little bit of teaching since we are a college." This season has not been without its issues including the delayed hiring of a full-time theatre faculty member and the impact of COVID-19 on the preparedness of students.

"We've been having more trainings for the musical this year," Harrison Carson said, "This past year the director did a pre-audition workshop which helped the students [feel] more prepared. As soon as we get our new full-time staff on board we'll try to get some of that going for the performance part*. Over the summer we've been working with some of our tech students to get them a little more training so that they can be up to speed on tools and processes."

 "Stories that will make you think."
Dance is in A Thousand Cranes Classic story of sadako play Dance and Drama in A Thousand Cranes Play
ArtReach's A Thousand Cranes - Hutchison School, Memphis

The theatre department plans to connect with other MHCC departments such as the Japanese Culture Club to help inform the production of "A Thousand Cranes," the Associated Students of Mt. Hood Community College (ASMHCC) to facilitate the proceeds from "Seedfolks" going to the MHCC community garden, and MHCC's graphic arts program who have designed posters for plays in the past.

If you or someone you know is a budding thespian who is thinking about the best place to become involved in theatre, may we suggest MHCC? In addition to the fact that the MHCC theatre department produces a winter musical every year, the program is better able to offer more leading roles to first and second-year students than may be open to the same students at four-year colleges.

"Students in their freshman and sophomore years can get meaningful roles on stage," Harrison Carson said, "Then we have students who as soon as they're ready, they'll design, they'll stage manage, they'll have high-responsibility roles backstage with the production. We try to do that so they feel like they have ownership in the plays that they're working on. Not just a little paint here and there but they're creating the whole production."

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