The Missoula Children’s Theatre is coming to Payson to cast local children for a production of “Betty Lou and the Country Beast.”
The famed Missoula Children’s Theatre Company (MCT) will come to Payson the week of Aug. 13 to find cast members for its version of Betty Lou and the Country Beast.
Longhorn Theatre, will co-produce this theatre event.
“After kids participate in this program, they say, ‘Wow! I did something really special,” said Lynette Brouwer, a local Payson mother whose daughter participated in the program when they lived in the Midwest, “They do a professional job.”
Brouwer said the children who participate learn about more than just drama, they learn to work together as a group, listen to instructions, gain public speaking skills, and self-confidence.
“The group performs world-wide,” said Brouwer.
MCT started in 1970 with two actors who organized adults to perform plays for children. Soon towns around Montana asked for the group to perform for their children. As time went on, MCT cast children in plays such as Hansel and Gretel.
One winter, a town miles away from Missoula requested a performance. Not feeling comfortable traveling with children on winter roads, the directors decided to take a gamble and find child actors at the town of the performance.
The play was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. MCT directors worried they would not find seven children to play the dwarves, so a week before the performance, they drove to the town after putting out a cast call. More than 450 children responded – and the mission of MCT was born.
Now partially supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Cultural Trust, the organization travels to towns throughout the nation to put on plays casting local children.
For the Payson play, the MCT directors will need to find between 50 to 60 children from the first through the twelfth grades.
The pace is fast, said Bouwer. The children will be cast on Monday, Aug. 13 and by Friday Aug. 17 they will perform the opening night. Performances end on Saturday the Aug. 18.
Children do not need to prepare an audition piece, nor is experience necessary. The directors will take them through readings, movement and songs. Once auditions conclude, MCT directors will announce the cast. Successful actors will go home with scripts and rehearsal calendars.
Rehearsals will take place Tuesday through Thursday, Aug. 14 through 16. Some will rehearse from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., others from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and some will be asked to stay for both sessions.
Performances will take place at 6:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Aug. 17 and 18, in the high school auditorium.
One last hurdle remains: MCT and the Longhorn Theatre need community support to bring this exciting theatre company to Payson. Sponsorships are available in any amount from $10 to $500 and over.
Questions should be directed to the Longhorn Theatre Director, Mrs. Kathy Siler, at [Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org].