Theater camp ends with showcase performance

Published 8:45 pm Friday, June 24, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – A week-long theater camp for kids culminated Friday afternoon with a showcase performance for family and friends at the Shelby County High School auditorium.

About 30 kids, ages 5-15, participated in the Red Mountain Theater Company Workshop. Throughout the week, they received instruction in acting, dancing and singing.

“They get training as though they were really getting training for a Broadway play,” said Susan Gordon, the workshop coordinator and director of arts and education for the Shelby County Arts Council, which sponsored the event.

Tina Marie Casamento, a Broadway-connected casting associate for NETworks Theatricals, was the camp’s head instructor.

“I was really proud of these kids,” Casamento said. “Some of them in the beginning didn’t even want to sing solos, and then they had big solos lines in songs that they’d never heard before. That was my goal – to open their minds to other things.”

Other instructors were Dewin Tibbs, the director of music at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church, Jordan Fisher, a Jackson State University student, and Chris Griffin, a freelance singer and keyboard artist.

It was the second year the arts council had partnered with Red Mountain.

“They’re experts at what they do,” Gordon said. “We could not be more pleased with how they perform their workshop. They teach these kids life skills that are unique. It’s not about making little famous actors out of these kids.”

Birmingham resident Anthony Moore brought his two daughters and niece to the camp.

He said daughters Talia, 13, and Tabitha, 10, and niece Halli Williams, 10, bragged all week about the camp, singing songs they’d learned around the house. He said he’d like to bring them back to next year’s camp.

“Oh yes,” he said, “most definitely.”