News Column

'Pied Piper' cast, show set for Saturday

June 10, 2014

By Donna Stinnett, The Gleaner, Henderson, Ky.

June 10--To be cast in "The Pied Piper," a Missoula Children's Theatre production that will be performed Saturday afternoon at South Middle School, auditionees were challenged to master three skills.

Number 1: To be "loud and clear."

Number 2: To be "big and expressive."

Number 3: To be "able to listen and follow directions."

Turns out, all 28 local youth who tried out Monday morning for this music-themed production brought to town by Henderson Area Arts Alliance and RiverBend Academy in honor of the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival succeeded in the challenge and were given a part in the show.

In addition to The Pied Piper, the roles are a girl named Sarah whom "nobody likes," the mayor's son and daughter, four town council members, two townsfolk, six cooks charged with the task of constantly feeding the ever-hungry mayor, 12 "cute and cuddly rats who have infested the town and made it horrible" and the mayor, played by Missoula staffer Erica Diederich.

Diederich is joined by fellow Missoula staffer Elizabeth Watson this week in working on their first show for the organization. Consultant Jonathan Gregory is also assisting them producing the show. This week's show is the 102nd he's worked on for Missoula.

Rehearsals started as soon as auditions were completed Monday morning and continue all week.

At auditions, participants were arranged in size, revealing participants as young as 5 and as old at 16.

Once arranged, the first audition exercise required them to say their names using various demeanors.

One direction was to say it like they'd just "won a trip to Disney World."

Another was to say it like "their little brother won a trip to Disney World and they didn't get to go."

As the "audition games" continued, the potential cast members got less inhibited and more expressive as they tried out such lines as "I hereby proclaim that all ice cream should be chocolate or vanilla," "the opera was terrible" and "my dad could beat up your hamster."

There was also a little singing, a little movement and both at the same time.

"This, ladies and gentlemen, is musical theatre," Gregory said, as he instructed the smaller children to "relax like a noodle" and act like he was pulling a string on the top of their heads.

"The Pied Piper" will be performed at 3 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $11 at the door.


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Source: Gleaner, The (Henderson, KY)

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