NORWAY — The second annual Children’s Theater Workshop is busy preparing for their performance of Jill and Michael Gallina’s musical, “Bebop With Aesop,” at 2 p.m. Saturday March 22, at the Second Congregational Church, 205 Main St. The public is invited to the free performance. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m.

Since late September, a dedicated cast of 13 grade-school students have been participating in the free weekly musical theater workshop, sponsored by the church. They have rehearsed songs, learned choreography and memorized lines. They have practiced the stage craft of expressing their emotions. They have discussed and amassed props and costumes. But most of all, they have had fun getting ready for their production.

According to the director, Shirli Allen, some community members and family have asked if the show will be ready. Her smiling reply is, “At this age, it’s not all about being ready. It will be wonderful, silly and whimsical. You will smile. It may not go exactly according to the script, but it will be their show. A workshop experience is more about the process than a perfect production.”

Most of the children, ages 6 to 12 from four surrounding towns, did not know one another before the Wednesday workshops. They have made new friends, practiced respect and compassion, and have helped each other with each new theater skill. Some of the very shy participants have blossomed. Some of the bold have learned restraint. Parents have shared the task of weekly snacks for the group, created costumes, amassed props and as the show approaches, they are now arriving a few minutes before the end of rehearsal, to quietly watch some of the children’s accomplishments.

The musical uses five familiar fables of Aesop and teaches wise saying and literature with music and costumes. The audience will be enchanted by the milkmaid who spilled her milk, the haughty grasshopper, the slow and steady turtle, wise old Aesop and the delightful cast of frogs, ants, chickens and lambs.

The production is directed by Shirli Allen and assisted by Kate Wood. Renee Moody, as part of her senior project has choreographed the production and Ed Baldridge accompanies the troop on piano.


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