Children’s theatre returns to Esky | News, Sports, Jobs

Jordan Beck | Daily Press
From left, Grace Sviland, Claire Marlett, Georgia Reed, Isaiah Anderson, Michael Rexford, Madison Niswonger, Kenan Trent, Allie Livingston, Sophia LaCosse, and Haley Sherman participate in a rehearsal for a Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at the Bonifas Arts Center Tuesday.

ESCANABA — For the past few days, local students from kindergaten through 12th grade have been involved with a Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at the Bonifas Arts Center. Performances of the show, which are open to the public, will take place at 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday.

“We cast the show through an audition on Monday,” Chris Vance said. Vance is one of the show’s co-directors, along with Ashley Jones and Annie Liskow.

Since then, cast members have been rehearsing for about four hours per day to get ready for the show.

“It’s an adaptation of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ … it’s Missoula’s version of ‘Snow White,’” Vance said. Characters and plot points have been added to the classic fairy tale in this version.

Vance said the students involved with the show have been enthusiastic about it.

“(They’re) super-excited … to just be a part of it,” he said.

Isaiah Anderson, who is playing the role of “Bob” in “Snow White,” said he has enjoyed being involved with Missoula.

“I think it’s really cool that people can gather up and … interact with other people,” he said of the program.

Madison Niswonger, who will play “Whiner,” said she has also enjoyed meeting new people through Missoula.

“(I like) being with the other people and having fun,” she said.

Bonifas Center Executive Director Sue Roll said the Bonifas and Players de Noc play important roles in bringing Missoula to the area.

“Players (receives) a grant that helps pay for much of the Missoula program, and they look to the Bonifas to administrate the program,” she said. The grant is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and CUPPAD.

According to Roll, Missoula has been coming to Escanaba for about 25 years. She also noted that Lorrayne Krans has served as the accompanist for almost all of their shows locally — a tradition which will continue in 2018.

While this is his first time being in a Missoula show, Anderson said he appreciates that Missoula Children’s Theatre has been coming to the area on a regular basis.

“I think it’s pretty interesting, how they come here every year,” he said.

Roll said participation in Missoula can give students valuable insight on what it is like to be part of a show.

“I think they learn about the theater experience,” she said. Additionally, she said that Missoula helps participants develop their self-confidence and ability to work as part of a team, and that students who take part in the program often end up going into fine arts programs at their high schools.

Niswonger said she is looking forward to performing “Snow White” this Saturday.

“I’m excited about doing the play because … it only happens once a year,” she said.

Roll said she enjoys having Missoula come to the Bonifas.

“It’s my favorite part of the year,” she said.

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