Famous outlaw is coming to Duane Smith

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By Kirsten Laskey

One hundred fourteen young performers filled up Duane Smith Auditorium Monday for the chance to make it in the spotlight. At the end of the day, 59 thespians were selected to be a part of Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of “Robin Hood.”

These actors may have made it, but there is still a lot of work ahead for the cast. The performance will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday in Duane Smith Auditorium.

Despite the heavy workload, tour actors/directors Evan and Emily Karlewicz are excited to begin.

Emily said the cast is really strong, and there are a lot of very excited “young ones.”

Plus, they also enjoy this particular play. In addition to comedy, “it’s got a lesson to be taught, but it’s also got a story,” she said.

It’s a story both children and adults can enjoy.

While the story includes the regular line up of characters: Robin Hood, Maid Marion, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John, some new twists to this story have been added. For instance, Hood’s gang is now the Merry Band of Performers.

As local young people have tackled these famous characters, they will learn a few valuable skills.

“They definitely learn life skills,” Emily said.

The mission of the theater company is to develop life skills in children through participating in the performing arts.

These life skills include focus, communication, listening to directions and achieving goals.

“It takes a lot of motivation and dedication on the kids’ part,” Emily said.

Emily and Evan are taking this show throughout the U.S. In a year, Evan said, they go to 42 states. It’s a new place every week, he said.

Missoula has a busy schedule but has included Los Alamos in its tours for about 30 years.

The Los Alamos Arts Council sponsors the show.

“I think it’s just an exciting thing for the kids to do,” said Dora Thielemann, president of LAAC.

Missoula isn’t just for kids, LAAC executive director Marlane Hamilton said the age range goes through 12th-graders.

“I think it’s great,” she said, “It’s a great entry into the arts.”

It’s also quite popular with local performers and audiences. “We had such great community participation,” Thielemann said, “It’s obvious it’s a thing that they love.”

In fact, several principal actors are seasoned Missoula participants. For instance, Natasha Roberts, who plays Prince John, has been a part of Missoula for 11 years. “I enjoy being around other kids who have the same interests as me,” she said. Roberts added being a part of Missoula presents another opportunity to be on the stage.

Macai Schneider, who plays the Sheriff of Nottingham, said it’s her second year in Missoula production. “It’s fun to be around new people and it’s really fun to perform,” she said.

Caroline Wurden, who will be Maid Marion, said she has been involved with Missoula since she was in fourth grade. “It’s fun to meet new people and I really enjoy performing.”

Mika Reagor, Maid Marion’s maid, added, it’s enjoyable because the timing is right, school and sports don’t present any obstacles.

Bethany Sullivan will star as Robin Hood. Come see the show and support these budding actors Saturday. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for children age 12 and younger and will be available at the door.