Theatre. There’s nothing quite like it. Particularly musicals. There’s something transcendent about music in and of itself, but when it accompanies a narrative, music allows an audience to be drawn in to the world that is unfolding before them.
As an adult there is something about musicals that takes us back to childhood. Even if the message of the show is simple, the suspension of disbelief that results from a musical takes us back to a time where our imaginations created worlds for our friends and us to inhabit.
With arts budgets being cut across the country, children are not being exposed to theatre the way the generations before them were. Grove City College Theatre is doing its part to expose local students to the magic of theatre. The end goal of Grove City College’s annual Children’s Theatre production is to not just to entertain local elementary students, but to possibly pass along the passion for theatre that the college’s performers have to those in attendance.
Every school year during the spring semester, Grove City College’s Theatre department puts on an hour-long musical production with the children of the community in mind. I’ve had the honor to participate in the last three productions, in two of which I had leading roles.
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I first signed up for “The Emperor’s New Clothes” my freshman year. After a hectic callback session, we were off and rehearsals began. One of my fondest memories at Grove City is the rehearsal process for “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and a number of friendships were made during that process. That’s not unique to that production, though. That’s what Children’s Theatre is all about. When you’re there for the fun of the show and for the children, there’s something very organic and beautiful that emerges.
When show week arrives, the cast gets out of classes for one, sometimes even two morning shows for an often packed auditorium. With meet and greets before and after the show, the students who are bused in from local schools get to meet the characters from the show, something that allows for full immersion into the show.
The cast has just as much, if not more, fun than those in attendance, and this is evident to everyone in attendance. The hope is that one day one of those 3rd graders in the audience will grow up and put on a production for a local grade school with the intention of not just entertaining, but of passing along passion for theatre.