With the help of some out-of-town friends, local students will take to the Mishler stage with a production of their own.
The Blair County Arts Foundation brings the Missoula Children's Theatre to Altoona annually, giving area children a chance to take part in a theater production.
The theater company is based in Missoula, Mont., and has a mission of teaching life skills through participating in the performing arts, according to its website.
"We tell them a lot, 'It's not my show and it's not Blaire's show, it's their show.' We're just here to help them put it all together," Rachel Bailey of Missoula Children's Theatre said of herself and fellow tour actor/director Blaire Smith.
For this year's production of "Pinocchio," auditions for a cast of about 60 students in kindergarten through grade 12 will begin at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the Mishler Theatre, according to a BCAF release.
Auditioning students must be present for the entire two-hour session. The production's first rehearsal will follow the auditions.
If you go
for Missoula Children's Theatre production of "Pinocchio"
When: 4:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Mishler Theatre, Altoona
For more information, call the Blair County Arts Foundation at 949-2787.
What: Missoula Children's Theatre production of "Pinocchio"
When: 3 and 7 p.m. March 22
Where: Mishler Theatre,?Altoona
Tickets: $11, adults; $8.50 children. Prices include box office handling fees. Tickets are available at www.mishler
"As this is a group audition and no advance preparation is necessary, students should just be ready to come and have a good time," the release read.
Rehearsals take place daily from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at the theater. Those cast in the production must be available for all rehearsals required of their role and the performances at 3 and 7 p.m. March 22 at the Mishler.
"The kids, they learn all of their songs, dances, their blocking, their lines, everything, all in one week, and they put it together with costumes and props, set and lights, and it's amazing," Smith said.
This production follows the classic Pinocchio tale, but with a "Missoula Children's Theatre twist," Smith said. "It has an interactive story line to it, so it's not only the audience watching; there's moments where the audience participates in the show."
Students will play such leads as Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket in the production, while Smith and Bailey play Geppetto and Stromboli, the evil puppet master, Bailey said. Students also work in other aspects of a production such as set changes.
"They get to be part of the whole experience, not just learning their lines on stage," Bailey said.
Bringing such experiences to a community is beneficial.
"Especially these days, when arts education is getting the bottom priority in a lot of schools, it gives kids a chance to be really immersed and be a part of an arts experience that they can really feel proud of, and they can explore their own creativity, and how to work with others in a different kind of setting that's not just a classroom or a sports team, but they can take all those skills and use them for something else really productive where they see this wonderful end product at the end of just five or six days," Bailey said. "They can feel really proud because they did the show."
Young, Oakes, Brown and Company, P.C. and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts makes the residency in Altoona possible, according to the release.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.