YOUTH­FUL EN­THU­SI­ASM

Young Is­land per­form­ers grace the stage at The Guild in three mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER mau­reen.coul­ter@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mau­reenEl­izaC

Young Is­land per­form­ers grace the stage at The Guild in three mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions

Krys­ten Cameron can’t think of bet­ter way to spend her sum­mer than to be on the stage at The Guild in Char­lot­te­town.

“I love spend­ing my sum­mer on the stage,” said Cameron, of Summerside. “It’s just a great thing to do dur­ing the sum­mer and it’s a pas­sion, so it’s just very fun to love what I’m do­ing.”

The 12-year-old makes the trek into Char­lot­te­town twice a week to play Mayzie in “Seussi­cal Jr.”, a mu­si­cal based on the Dr. Seuss books “Hor­ton Hears a Who!”, “Hor­ton Hatches the Egg” and “Gertrude McFuzz”.

“I love play­ing dra­matic char­ac­ters and (Mayzie) is dra­matic, al­ways,” smiles Cameron.

Mean­while, Ni­cholas Mur­phy, 18, of DeSable is play­ing Hor­ton the Ele­phant, a shy char­ac­ter in the mu­si­cal.

“Hor­ton is very timid, but he also has a very high moral stand­ing so he al­ways does what’s right and he al­ways wants to do good and he al­ways wants to be the bet­ter per­son.”

Mur­phy says be­ing part of this pro­duc­tion has been a won­der­ful jour­ney.

“It’s been re­ally fun be­cause I’ve al­ways sort of worked with peo­ple my age,” said Mur­phy. “It’s been re­ally great sort of get­ting to know peo­ple that are younger com­ing up be­hind me.”

Michelle Banks, direc­tor of “Seussi­cal Jr.”, says the young ac­tors in­volved are en­joy­ing it so much that many of them are be­gin­ning to get what she refers to as the “theatre bug”.

“They are hooked,” said Banks. “A lot of them are just so thrilled to be per­form­ing in a show. It gives them a great ex­pe­ri­ence to in­ter­act with an au­di­ence and to dis­play their tal­ents.”

“Seussi­cal Jr.” is just one of three kid-based pro­duc­tions be­ing per­formed at The Guild over the sum­mer.

Lori Lin­klet­ter is di­rect­ing the other two: “Mada­gas­car A Mu­si­cal Ad­ven­ture Jr.” and “Bub­bles & Bells”.

“They are a joy and plea­sure to work with,” said Lin­klet­ter of her cast in both pro­duc­tions.

She said “Mada­gas­car - A Mu­si­cal Ad­ven­ture Jr.”, based on the Dream­works an­i­ma­tion mo­tion pic­ture, will cap­ti­vate view­ers from the very first to very last sec­ond of the show.

“Th­ese kids just shine,” said Lin­klet­ter.

Sev­eral of those shin­ing per­form­ers in­clude 15-year-old Nathaniel Ing of Strat­ford and 14-year-old Sa­man­tha Jenk­ins of Char­lot­te­town.

Ing plays Alex the Lion and Ma­son the Mon­key and Jenk­ins plays Marty the Ze­bra and is the fe­male swing (mean­ing she cov­ers the roles that need an un­der­study).

“I just love en­ter­tain­ing peo­ple,” said Ing, who has been in­volved in 11 mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions. “I just get a huge kick from it and I love do­ing it.”

Ing’s char­ac­ter, Alex the Lion, is the king of Cen­tral Park Zoo, and his best friend, Marty the Ze­bra, is dis­con­tent with zoo life and de­cides to run away from the zoo.

Marty’s friends fol­low, and they find them­selves on an un­ex­pected jour­ney to the mad­cap world of King Julien’s Mada­gas­car.

Jenk­ins says Marty likes to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion.

“He likes to dance a lot, he’s kind of crack-a-lackin’,” said Jenk­ins.

Jenk­ins is also in­volved in “Bub­bled & Bells”, which she de­scribes as “so much fun.”

‘Bub­bled & Bells’ is a vis­ual and sound stim­u­lat­ing show for four-week to four-year-old kids to ex­pose them to the theatre.

“It’s non ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, so its all clown­ing and im­prove-based on the ba­bies’ re­ac­tions,” said Lin­klet­ter. “It’s a re­ally in­ter­est­ing con­cept to per­form to ba­bies.”

Alanna Jankov, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor at The Guild, said Banks and Lin­klet­ter have a unique abil­ity to bring out the best in the kids they are work­ing with.

Jankov feels the kids are ver­sa­tile be­cause of the di­rec­tion they are given from th­ese tal­ented di­rec­tors.

“What they bring and get th­ese kid’s to do on the stage is

just un­be­liev­able.”

Jankov said “Mada­gas­car A Mu­si­cal Ad­ven­ture Jr.” and “Seussi­cal Jr.” are pro­duc­tions directed to­wards younger view­ers but they also pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment for adults.

“Not only are you ab­so­lutely flab­ber­gasted that chil­dren can be so tal­ented at such a young age, but also the hu­mour is still there and you ap­pre­ci­ate it as an adult as well as chil­dren.”

Cameron, who’s been in­volved in Char­lot­te­town and Summerside pro­duc­tions, said she has learned a lot while per­form­ing in “Seussi­cal Jr.” from the older kids who’ve taken her un­der their wing.

“I feel it’s very help­ful just to be around the older peo­ple. They know more than you so they can teach you what you might need to know,” she said, adding she would love to go to theatre school one day to pur­sue a ca­reer in act­ing and mu­si­cal theatre.

MAU­REEN COUL­TER/THE GUARDIAN

Sadie Ghiz as Gertrude, left, Luka Hall as Jojo, Jack War­ren as the Cat in the Hat and Ni­cholas Mur­phy as Hor­ton in the “Seussi­cal Jr.” mu­si­cal at The Guild. The pro­duc­tion wraps up Aug. 11.

MAU­REEN COUL­TER/THE GUARDIAN

In the left photo Nathaniel Ing is Alex the Lion, Noelle Pet­ti­pas is Gloria the Hippo, Ja­cob Red­ding is Mel­man the Gi­raffe and Sa­man­tha Jenk­ins is Marty the Ze­bra in “Mada­gas­car - A Mu­si­cal Ad­ven­ture Jr.” At right are Pen­guins Is­abella But­ler, left, Seven MacHat­ten, Sophia But­ler and Kath­leen Hen­thorn, as King Julien in “Mada­gas­car - A Mu­si­cal Ad­ven­ture Jr.”

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