Lo­cal theatre group reaches for the “Sky”

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By MIA MCCASLIN mm­c­caslin@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Mi­aMcCaslin

The Sky is the Limit Com­mu­nity Theatre has been host­ing a chil­dren’s sum­mer camp for up­wards of two-and-a-half decades, and this year, a group of more than 30 campers rang­ing in age from 5 to 13 years old will be putting on the childthemed mu­si­cal, “Gi­ants in the Sky.”

Each year, the campers who at­tend this five-week pro­gram work to­gether to put on a mu­si­cal, do­ing all of the cos­tum­ing, prop and set work for the show, which is per­formed free for the pub­lic in the fi­nal week of the camp.

This year the shows will take place on Thurs­day, July 27, at 11 a.m. and Fri­day, July 28, at 7 p.m. at the North Point Gov­ern­ment Cen­ter at Wise Av­enue and Mer­ritt Boule­vard.

Shows are free and open to the pub­lic. There are 600 avail­able seats for each per­for­mance. Snacks and con­ces­sions will be sold for $1 a piece at the back of the theatre be­fore the show and dur­ing the brief in­ter­mis­sion. “Gi­ants in the Sky” has a run­time of ap- prox­i­mately 45 min­utes to an hour.

The camp runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each week­day of the five-week du­ra­tion. Be­fore lunch, the campers at­tend classes on a va­ri­ety of top­ics, from voice coach­ing, act­ing, tech ba­sics and dance. Af­ter the chil­dren eat, they spend the af­ter­noon re­hears­ing in prepa­ra­tion for their per­for­mances.

Campers of all needs and skill lev­els come to­gether dur­ing these weeks to pro­duce a mu­si­cal that they worked hard to com­plete.

“These shows are very col- lab­o­ra­tive, and they all have a say in what gets done,” said Tammy Kaskel, di­rec­tor of the sum­mer pro­gram. “Kids al­ways come back.”

Julia Pe­ter­son, a 13-yearold camper who has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the camp since she was six, says that her fa­vorite part about camp is the an­nual tal­ent show, in which she has sung every year. “We got to ex­pe­ri­ence her voice ma­tur­ing,” said Kaskel.

Kaskel said the camp is “the full ex­pe­ri­ence,” and en­rolled kids learn how to au­di­tion, sew on but­tons, sing three-part har­monies and much more.

“We take them from what­ever level they come in at and push them to work on some­thing that makes them re­ally proud,” Kaskel said. “My daugh­ter was six when she started do­ing this, and she was very shy, but now she is so out­go­ing and she does all of the shows with the theatre.”

Gra­cie Kaskel, Tammy’s daugh­ter, says her fa­vorite thing about camp is now per­form­ing in the shows. “But re­ally, I like every- thing about camp,” nowten-year-old Gra­cie said.

Dur­ing the camp, var­i­ous en­ter­tain­ment acts such as ma­gi­cians, clowns and choirs come to per­form for the campers. Ad­di­tion­ally, the in­volved chil­dren are given the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend ex­clu­sive and in­for­ma­tive field trips. This year, the stu­dents were even able to take a work­shop and per­form at the Hip­po­drome Theatre in Bal­ti­more.

The com­mu­nity theatre is sup­ported by the Bal­ti­more Depart­ment of Re­cre­ation and Parks to in­cor­po­rate pro­grams for chil­dren with all needs. Other than the sum­mer camps, The Sky is the Limit Com­mu­nity Theatre also hosts two larger shows dur­ing the fall and win­ter months, as well as a show choir on Fri­days.

Au­di­tions for the fall pro­duc­tion will be held in late Septem­ber. More de­tails will be printed as they are an­nounced.

PHO­TOS BY MIA MCCASLIN

The Sky is the Limit Com­mu­nity Theatre camp per­formed “Gi­ants in the Sky” from hit movie mu­si­cal Into the Woods at the North Point Pub­lic Li­brary on Mon­day, July 24.

The old­est and most ad­vanced group, the blue group, per­formed “Can’t Stop the Beat,” from pop­u­lar mu­si­cal Hair­spray.

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