Sleeping Beauty practice

Joe Godburn, tour actor/director for Missoula Chilren’s Theatre, practices earlier this week with local schoolchildren for the production of “Sleeping Beauty.”

ELKO — What would happen if Sleeping Beauty woke up from her long sleep and the year was 1950? Patrons of the theater arts and the public are invited to find out during this year’s Missoula Children’s Theatre performance.

The fairytale classic will be performed by 60 local children and promises a few added twists to the well known story.

Bringing youths more opportunities to participate in the performing arts has been on the agenda for educators and parents alike here in the Elko area. For the past four years Gina Kronenberg, Grammar No. 2 PTA member, and Gretchen Lutes, Grammar No. 2 teacher, have worked to bring the Missoula Children’s Theatre to Elko students.

The PTAs of Grammar No. 2 and Flag View Intermediate schools have partnered to sponsor the event for their students, along with several local businesses.

“Growing up in Montana I was familiar with the Missoula Children’s Theatre and always wanted to bring it to Elko,” said Lute. “As both a teacher and a parent, I really felt they provide a theatrical experience that is top notch for our children,” she added.

Flagview PTA president and parent Melissa McJunkin also strongly supports bringing the theater group to Elko.

“Theater Arts are beneficial for children because of the way it connects to the importance of reading. A play has the ability to jump a story off the page of a book or script and bring it to life,” said McJunkin. “Study after study has shown that students who get involved with theater arts are more involved in community service, and less likely to drop out of school,” she added.

Throughout the week, local kids at both sponsoring schools have been practicing for the upcoming performance and enjoying the workshops provided at each school by the organization. Every child at both schools was able to attend workshops even if they were not a part of the “Sleeping Beauty” cast.

“I like the workshops. The kids really enjoy it,” said Kronenberg. “They learn how to put makeup on, use problem-solving skills, both in the theater and in the classroom as well.”

During the week, instructors from the Missoula Children’s Theatre put on assemblies at both Flag View and Grammar No. 2. Parents and children alike seem to enjoy both the play and the workshops.

“My older daughter enjoyed that she was able to be part of a big staging that took place behind the scenes, and then present the finished product to an excited audience. She also thoroughly enjoyed the theater arts’ workshops,” said McJunkin. “My youngest daughter, who is now in the fifth grade at Flag View, is currently participating in the production of ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ When I picked her up from rehearsal on Tuesday night she could not stop talking about how much fun she had,” she added.

Scott McGee, tour actor/director for Missoula Children’s Theatre and one of the instructors for the play and workshops, feels it’s about more than just putting on a play.

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“The basic mission of Missoula Children’s Theatre is to promote life skills through participation in theater, so more than just making actors out of the kids, we’re giving them things like confidence, self-esteem, cooperation and team building,” said McGee.

Several local businesses also sponsored the event this year, including I & E Electric, Read and Powell, Empower Fitness, Coldwell Banker Algerio/Q Team Reality, Ruby Dome Anesthesia, Silver State Anesthesia, The Star Restaurant, Red Lion Inn and Casino, Gold Country Inn, and New Fields Mining Design & Technical Services.

Kids, parents, teachers and instructors are all looking forward to seeing the end result of a week’s worth of hard work and fun this weekend.

“It’s fun to see that it all comes together in just a week, “ said Kronenberg.

This year’s theatrical production will move to a larger venue at the Elko Convention Center Auditorium. Performances will be Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30. Admission is $5 per person or $20 per family at the door.

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