The Cousins Theater Camp for our 2020 Family Reunion went very well. Nineteen of my 24 grandchildren, ages 3-16, participated on stage.
The mothers and teenagers helped behind the scenes teaching songs and choreography, making snacks and lunches, wrangling children, taking pictures, and applying bandaids when necessary. The fathers and other family members were in the audience. Youngest grandchild Camilla was our honorary baby mouse mascot.
Whereas, I don't recommend doing a Children's Musical in just a few hours of rehearsal, this worked because we did it just for fun. I rewrote the script to feature only a few characters who had actual lines and solo songs, with an experienced Narrator who could keep the plot moving along. This was clearly a time when precasting was imperative. Makayla is the oldest granddaughter and has had her share of lead parts in other shows. She really helped to keep the play on track and displayed why she has had so many lead roles.
The three main characters needed to come with their parts memorized, which they did. Melanie was the Country Mouse. She was in every scene. Heidi was the City Mouse who came to visit the Country Mouse and invited her to come back with her to the City. Megan was the City Mouse's French maid who explained how get some "Joie de Vivre" during the song "As the French Say." Those 10-12 year old girls each had a solo song and a bunch of lines. They even learned to do a bit of the Can-Can.
The other children learned as much as they could the day of the play. As expected, coordinating singing and dancing at the same time was a bit elusive. We have five 5-6 year olds who made up the bulk of the Mouse Ensemble. None of them had any dance training before, but they were good sports trying to learn some steps and even pulled off a conga line in "I Love the City Life!"
Probably the most fun the kids had was being chased by the Hawk at the Country Mouse picnic and then trying to sneak past the Cat on the way to the City Mouse pantry.
Two characters unexpectedly stole the show: Five year old Zak who played the Hawk and the Cat, and little 3 year old Avery who decided to be on stage after all even though she never once practiced with the cast! (Is she destined to be a dancer, or what?)
Everyone came on stage to dance the Finale song "A Country Mouse." All in all, despite the 98 degree weather, unruly winds, scorching sun, and very little rehearsal, the show was a resounding success! And more importantly, we accomplished our goal which was to have fun making a shared memory!
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My name is Betsy Bailey. I have sung, written and taught music all of my life. I enjoy writing and directing Children's Theater shows. This blog will be directed to topics on creating the magic of Children's Theater. I would love to hear your comments!