A group of area children took parents and friends on a magical journey down the yellow brick road this weekend with a production of “Oz!”
Participants in Kidshop Theatre, a summer drama camp offered by Foothills Theatre, have spent the past three weeks learning lines, songs, dances and helping to make costumes and build the set for the show.
The show opened Friday night with an additional performance on Saturday, after which the kids enjoyed a pizza party to celebrate.
“Seeing my granddaughters in a play like ‘Oz!’ was a thrill,” said Kevin Hege who attended Friday’s performance. “Everyone did a great job, especially the director. These are the greatest moments for me.”
Morgan Harrison, a veteran community theater actor, has directed Kidshop for the past five years. He said that the children not only have fun, but learn a lot of great skills by being involved in theater.
“The Kidshop play is super cute with great young voices,” said Suzanne Puckett, a longtime supporter of Foothills Theatre. “The kids are so cute in their costumes. I also love seeing the sets the kids help design. Kidshop is a great summer camp for kids to take make believe and make it come alive. Thanks also to the adult kids who make Kidshop happen.”
Assistant Director Christie Harrison and Arts Council Director Leighanne Martin Wright also said they were extremely proud of the kids for their work on the show.
Jane Riley, whose granddaughter Isabella Brumfield played the role of Dorothy, expressed her thanks to the adults who work with the kids to put on the show.
She said simply, “‘Oz!’ was awesome.”
A veteran theater participant with experience working with large-scale shows in Las Vegas, Louis Jeroslow, said he was impressed with the program.
“Having our background in theater particularly, what they have accomplished in three weeks with a group of kids was ambitious and it’s a testimony to the ability of the kids and, of course, the leaders of the camp,” said Jeroslow, whose son took part in the camp. “Elijah has had just such a blast. He’s really flourished in it.”
For the past several years, one participant of Kidshop has been recognized with the Dani Mackey Memorial Award. This year’s winner was Jaron Nunnemaker of Thurmond who played the Great and Powerful Oz. The award is in memory of Dani Mackey, a longtime performer with Foothills Theater and volunteer with Kidshop who died several years ago.
Christie Harrison said following their final performance on Saturday, the children had a great time eating pizza and celebrating the success of their show. Though the show was over, the kids were still singing songs from the play.
“As a tradition, they sang,”she said. “They chose the Scarecrow song. All the kids sang and danced before they enjoyed eating pizza, fruit, cookies, and cake. While sitting around the table the actors told stories and laughed so much most of them were crying. Ada, who played Toto, said her favorite part was when she went off stage and got the witch’s hat.”
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.