Volume 10 Week 10

Sunday, Dec. 14


Updated March 2

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette





(Posted 6:30 p.m., Feb. 8)

Missoula Children's production thoroughly entertaining
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Brittany Dale was sensational in the lead role of the Missoula Children`s Theatre production of `Sleeping Beauty`at École secondaire catholique Béatrice-Desloges on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Take an original script with lots of musical numbers, 60 eager energetic actors between the ages of five and 17 and two dedicated touring actor/directors and what do you get? A fun, thoroughly entertaining production that leaves you grinning from ear to ear.

The Missoula Children's Theatre production of "Sleeping Beauty" wrapped up five-days of rehearsals on Saturday with two shows in the auditorium at École secondaire catholique Béatrice-Desloges.

The aim of the Missoula Chlidren's Theatre company is to bring the theatre experience to as many young people as possible. Ninety-three kids turned out for the auditions last Monday. Of that number, 60 were chosen in different age groups. The younger kids were cast for the chorus and the older kids were given the principle roles.

The play itself was only loosely based on the fairy tale by the same name. In the Missoula Children's Theatre adaptation, invitations are sent out to everyone in the kingdom to announce the birth of the new princess. The job is given to the court jester who recruits a group of lazy and not-so-bright trolls to help make the task easier.

The trolls deliver the invitations to everyone in the kingdom except Scarella who, upset by the slight, decides to cast a spell on Sleeping Beauty so that when she turns 16 she will prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep for 500 years.

The King and Queen try to protect Sleeping Beauty by keeping her to the castle, but when she turns 16 she tricks the jester, who is played by one of the touring actor/directors, and escapes to the countryside where she runs into Scarella and is pricked during a fight over a spindle.

Sleeping Beauty immediately falls into a deep slumber as does the rest of the kingdom who have been put under a spell by a group of fairies.

After 500 years have past, Sleeping Beauty is awoken, not by a prince, but by a king, the King of Rock and Roll. That's right, in a plot twist that characterizes every Missoula Children's Theatre production, Sleeping Beauty is awoken by the King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley, who blows her a kiss rather than planting one on her lips.

When the rest of the kingdom wakes up, they discover that the castle has been turned into a restaurant and Scarella is the owner. The play was brought to a close by an ensemble production involving the entire cast.

Besides being known for their unusual plot twists, Missoula Children's Theatre productions are also known for their underlying message. In the case of Sleeping Beauty it was that children should always listen to their parents.

The play itself was thoroughly entertaining due in large part to the performances of the principal cast members. Alicia Barban and Amy Lowson were fabulous as Scarella and Sleeping Beauty as a young girl, but Brittany Dale impressed me the most as Sleeping Beauty as a young women. She has an incredible voice and an amazing stage presence.

The rest of the prncipal cast included Mathew Schlachter who played the King; Saxon Koyman who played the Queen; Kristen Leboef was the Town Crier; Soloman Davidson played her dog Spot; and Madeleine Dionne was the Lady in Waiting.

The amazing thing about Missoula Children's Theatre productions is that they are able to incorporate so many actors and make them all feel part of the play. There's even an opportunity for those who don't earn a part to help out backstage as assistant directors. Sleeping Beauty was no different.

The trolls were played by Alexa Abou-Assali, Samantha Chan, Sara Mosher, Damian Plummer, Anne Séguin and Monique Staples. The court musicians included Béatrice Bouthilier, Holly Butcher, Ben Julien, and Julia Miller. The cooks were played by Gabriela Calugay-Casuga, Jillian Kimbell, Sheila Lelei Audrey Panainte and Charlotte Timm, and the servants were played by Grace Butcher, Isabelle Gahimbare, Christena Lawrie and Trista Willbond.

The fairies were played by Brianna Bailey, Rosie Chan, Sabrina Chan, Christina Dale, Kayla Farris, Christina Goddard, Victoria Goddard, Maeve Hoban, Logan Montana Latmore, Emily Millan, Natalie Millan and Genessa Panainte.

The palace guards were played by Samuel Donaldson, Kristin McDonald, Laurent Molino, Molly Saint-Yves and Shaahen Willbond and the little caterpillars were played by Madison Bellini, Brianna Victoria Christian, Simone Davidson, Jamie Elliott, Abigail Guertin, Rebecca Kimbell, Brooke Lemire, Tara Lemire, Benjamin Millan, Maiya Saunders and Malin Mardi Storass.

Four other young people helped out as assitant directors. They were Emily Mailloux, Alejandro Neilon-Ortega, Sandrine Murray and Emilie Murray.

Special mention should also be given to Nicholas Butt who stepped up to the plate and took over as the local producer with help from his parents Keith Butt and Heather Dunbar. His younger brother also lent a hand as the musical acoompaniest on piano and parent Kim Kimbell chipped in during the rehearsals as well.

Nicholas has been involved in the MCT Orléans productions for the last 10 years, first as a cast member and then as an assistant producer and musical accompaniest. He stepped in to produce this year's production when no one else would or could.

For more information about Missoula Children's Theatre visit www.mctinc.org., or contact Nicolas Butt or Heather Dunbar at MCT Orleans.

Elvis Presley, played by Missoula Children`s Theatre touring actor/director Jeremiah Erikson, wakes up Sleeping Beauty by blowing her a kiss. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)



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