'The Hobbit' Premieres This Thursday

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A cast of 70 young people will take the Payson High School auditorium stage Thursday and Friday evenings to perform "The Hobbit: A Musical" the culmination of this year's 18-day Children's Musical Theater workshop.

"It is the perfect year to do 'The Hobbit' with 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring' coming out," producer Kathy Greenberg said.

While the musical falls into the fantasy genre, Assistant Director Louis Crabtree said it has many themes that relate to everyday life.

"In a nutshell, this little hobbit named Bilbo is asked to help these dwarfs on their quest to slay the mighty dragon Smog and get their honored Arkenstone, a symbol of dwarf riches," he said.

"They go through all these different problems with spiders, trolls, and goblins."

"The Hobbit" concludes with an exciting confrontation between Bilbo and Smog, the dragon.

As in past years, the lead will be shared by two young actors to allow them both to have that experience.

Over the course of the past 18 days, the participants have attended classes in all aspects of theater, including line memorization, characterization and stage makeup. The idea, Greenberg said, is for the students to be involved in as many aspects of a theatrical production as possible.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Tickets, available at the door, are $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students. Evacuees from the Rodeo-Chediski Fire and families of firefighters will be admitted free.

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