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Shooting for the stars

Richardson children star in production at Post Theater

Sharon McBride
Fort Richardson PAO

The anticipation in the air was so thick it could be spooned up.

Excited laughter bounced off the walls as more than 50 children practiced their parts March 13 in the Fort Richardson Post Theater prior to their production of "The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe."

The children had the unique opportunity to participate in the play during spring break as a part of the Missoula Children's Theatre tour, a nationally renowned theater program that provides professional actors and directors to help children put on a theatrical production within a week.

MCT visited Fort Richardson March 9 through 13 with the basics to put on a play, to include scenery, costumes, props, make-up and lighting. All that was missing was the cast.

That's where the Fort Richardson children came in.

No prior acting or singing experience was necessary for children to participate, said Angele Bell, the Fort Richardson SKIESUnlimited director.

"I just wanted to try it," said 11-year-old Sinead Bolton, who portrayed Robinson Crusoe. "I never thought I would get the lead part."

Tryouts were offered for children in kindergarten through sixth grade, who participated in two free community performances March 13 and Saturday.

"I tried out because I wanted everyone to see me do great," said Aaliyah Warner, 6.

Warner played one of the 10 chameleons in the play, which is based loosely on the novel by Daniel Defoe.

"We get to act like real chameleons," Warner said. "It's very fun."

Touring since 1973, MCT visits nearly 1,100 communities annually in all 50 states, four Canadian provinces, the Canadian Arctic, Cuba, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim. They have also taken this unique theater experience to military installations around the world. 

This is the first time they have been to Fort Richardson, Bell said.

"It's a great full-time job," said Rachel Penny with the Missoula Children's Theatre.  Penny played the role of Friday in the production, while her cohort, Anna Miller, functioned as the play's director.

"The most rewarding part is to see a child that might be a little shy coming in, but by the end of the week they are the loudest one on the stage," Penny said.

 

photos by Sharon McBride/Fort Richardson PAO                Click photos to enlarge

Anna Miller, with the Missoula Children's Theatre, fixes the make-up of a youth portraying a goat before a performance of "The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" March 13 at the Fort Richardson Post Theater.

Anna Miller, with the Missoula Children's Theatre, fixes the make-up of a youth portraying a goat before a performance of "The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" March 13 at the Fort Richardson Post Theater.

The Goats, portrayed by Cameron Vohnoutka, Carson Tobin, Tyler Benton, Jimmy Bolton, Sarah Rowe and Maiya Dotson, rehearse lines March 13.

The Goats, portrayed by Cameron Vohnoutka, Carson Tobin, Tyler Benton, Jimmy Bolton, Sarah Rowe and Maiya Dotson, rehearse lines March 13.

Momma Crusoe, portrayed by Jennifer Zamarron, and Wilson, portrayed by Maiya Dotson, take a break prior to their performance in "The Amazing Adventures Robinson Crusoe." the youth were just two of the actors chosen for parts during the Missoula Children's Theatre visit to Fort Richardson March 9 to 13.

Momma Crusoe, portrayed by Jennifer Zamarron, and Wilson, portrayed by Maiya Dotson, take a break prior to their performance in "The Amazing Adventures Robinson Crusoe." the youth were just two of the actors chosen for parts during the Missoula Children's Theatre visit to Fort Richardson March 9 to 13.

Oscar the Octopus, played by Savannah Benton, gets some last-minute instructions before going on stage to perform in "The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" March 13.

Oscar the Octopus, played by Savannah Benton, gets some last-minute instructions before going on stage to perform in "The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" March 13.

Christian Colon, a member of the Very Hairy Frowny-Face Tribe, gets his wig adjusted by Rachel Penny with the Missoula Children's Theatre. The group visited Fort Richardson during spring break to give children registered with Child, Youth and School Services program a chance to star in a play.

Christian Colon, a member of the Very Hairy Frowny-Face Tribe, gets his wig adjusted by Rachel Penny with the Missoula Children's Theatre. The group visited Fort Richardson during spring break to give children registered with Child, Youth and School Services program a chance to star in a play. 

Friday's family goes through their lines before their performance of "The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" at the Post Theater March 13. More than 60 children tried out for parts when the  Missoula Children's Theatre visited Fort Richardson March 9 to 13.

Friday's family goes through their lines before their performance of "The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" at the Post Theater March 13. More than 60 children tried out for parts when the  Missoula Children's Theatre visited Fort Richardson March 9 to 13.