Theater troupe brings magic to Castle Pines

Kids chosen in audition will stage `Wizard of Oz'

Photo courtesy of Cheryl McGovern
A “Fierce and Ferocious Flower” performer from a previous Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “The Wizard of Oz.” The production will be featured as an upcoming show in Castle Pines.
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From July 14 to 19, a group of local children will visit a pair of worlds that live in the imagination. First will be the engaging world of live theater, where they participate as actors — or perhaps technical crew — and second, L. Frank Baum's magical Land of Oz.

The nationally recognized Missoula Children's Theatre will make its first visit to Castle Pines, holding auditions, rehearsals and performances at Rocky Heights Middle School, as well as two free workshops for the community. MCT has a great formula worked out, proven successful through the years: It sends two young theater professionals to a community that hires them to form a bunch of children into a working cast in a week.

Their vehicle is equipped for a particular show: in this case, “The Wizard of Oz,” with script, props, costumes, makeup and sound equipment — everything needed to mold about 50-60 children into a cast of young thespians in a week. Then they put on a show for families and friends and head out to the next engagement, leaving a group of kids with new skills and a fun summer experience.

Parker, Highlands Ranch, South Suburban Parks and Recreation and other metro area organizations have called upon MCT for many years for affordable extra summer programming.

Cheryl McGovern, who is leading the program in Castle Pines, was familiar with MCT, due to her previous work with theater in Northglenn, where her own children were involved when young. (For many kids who attended the final performance there, it was their first live theater — they thought they were going to see a movie.)

McGovern is enthusiastic about the quality and the reasonable cost — $55 per child. “Kids acquire life skills — giving a book report is nothing after this,” she said.

McGovern is a board member of the Castle Pines Arts and Cultural Foundation, formed in 2011 as Castle Pines Arts Commission, to bring arts programming to the community. They have applied for nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service, and have had some financial help from the city in the interim, she said. (The next event is a dinner/concert at Cherokee Castle with the 17th Avenue Allstars.)

A two-hour group audition, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., for “The Wizard of Oz” will be held on July 14 at Rocky Heights Middle School, 11033 Monarch Blvd., Castle Pines, where 50-60 kids will be chosen for the cast. It is not limited to Castle Pines residents.

The kids will stay on and start rehearsals, which continue daily through the week, 12:30-5 p.m., learning lines, songs, dances and more. Costumes and makeup are provided. On July 19, they will put on a performance for families and friends.

In addition, two free workshops will be offered (register: castlepinesarts.org/event.)

● 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. July 15 at Cherokee Ranch and Castle: Behind the Scenes Workshop. (Parents can take a castle tour if they like.)

● 6 to 6:45 p.m. July 16 at Castle Pines Community Center: Improv Theater workshop for ages 6-18, limited to 60.

Information: castlepinesarts.org.