Ninth Foray into Disney, THE ARISTOCATS Kids, Now Playing

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on June 5, 2015

On Tuesday, we read for the first time the completed stage version of Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Magnificent Ambersons.

Sidney McCarty, Truman Jepson, Jesse Boyle, Jewel Stewart, Austin Stewart, Lauren Mund, Grace Davis, Jacob Johnson, Georgia Smith, Bre Cox and Allison Ferebee have been working on it, chapter by chapter, scene by scene, since last fall. Sidney McCarty has acted as dramaturg for the workshop.

The professional company — Emily Rourke, Brian Michael Henry, Zak Schneider, Ben Darragh, Stephanie Gray, James Hansen and Brittany Santos — along with interns Truman Jepson and Lauren Mund and Saturday class students Tanner Sigears and Riley Jenkins, read the script. Local character actor and longtime Roxy supporter Phil Whittinghill took on the part of Major Amberson. It was bliss to hear adults playing adults, but I must say I missed many of the subtleties the workshop students brought to the work.

I want so desperately to build a company, and this reading is a step in that direction, toward a company of talented young people — what in the theatre is referred to as an ensemble. We’ve been lucky to often achieve that, but a company of trained professionals who would possibly be able to take their talents into the schools (when not rehearsing or performing) to prepare students before their field trips would, for me, be bliss.

Twelve is a magic number. Many believe Shakespeare’s coterie of players numbered twelve, with much doubling. I remember having that number in a recent production of Chicago and, even though we were sold-out, we were far from breaking even. Our tickets prices could sustain the performers, but only later did I factor in the cost of an onstage band. So the show lost, but the production broke even. (I’m not good at math, and I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it worked out.)

Disney’s The Aristocats KIDS is our ninth foray into the world of Walt and the Disney family, having previously presented Aladdin JR, The Jungle Book JR, Cinderella JR, Mulan JR, Beauty and the Beast JR, 101 Dalmatians KIDS, The Little Mermaid JR and Tarzan.

With twenty-eight young people who have been with us for some time — Colby Adams, Madison Blackmon, Jesse Boyle, Addisyn Bryant, Adianna Cervantes, Kourtni Cottrell, Breanna Cox, Grace Davis, Cheyenne Deibert, Allison Ferebee, Ehma Herrera, Truman Jepson, Riley Jenkins, Jacob Johnson, Emma Justice, Regan Lawton, Tommy Lester, Sidney McCarty, Lauren Mund, Madeline O’Connor, Lillie Rich, Aidan Sartor, Tristan Sartor, Tanner Sigears, Georgia Smith, Austin Stewart, Jewel Stewart and Amy Wyer — this is a company of, I would like to say, well-trained young people who have hopefully learned the discipline of the theatre and, more importantly, learned a technique or, rather, a way of working.

These young but highly skilled performers bring another Disney classic, The Aristocats KIDS, to the Roxy stage on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 6pm and Saturdays at 2pm and 6pm, through June 13. All tickets are $10.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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