‘An excellent week:’ Children, teens participate in musical theatre workshop

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Another troupe of young actors has completed Montevallo’s annual summer theatre workshop.

Children and teenagers spent two weeks in July learning the ins and outs of theatre before wowing audiences with their newfound skills in two performances at the end of the Parnell Memorial Library Foundation’s 2019 Musical Theatre Workshop.

“We have had an excellent week,” Foundation President Greg Reece said on the morning of July 19, hours ahead of the final dress rehearsal and performance of “The Sad Song of the Lowdown Fox,” a story about three mischievous foxes that discover an empty box, only to find the box is full of possibilities and potential trouble.

About 33 participants ranging in age from about 6-12 years old comprised this year’s production cast.

Eleven teen volunteers helped construct the set, worked backstage during the performances, operated sound and lighting equipment, performed with the live band and completed other important tasks.

The performances are mostly student-driven, with guidance from Reece, Workshop Administrator Lorrie Ozley, Director Phil McEntee and Assistant Director Pauline Beach.

“We really like to give those teenagers real responsibility and follow their lead as far as how they want to envision the set,” Reece said. “We provide adult support as needed. I think they’re learning some good skills, not only about stage craft, but about responsibility.”

Participants donned their costumes during the costume parade on July 16, giving everyone a preview of how they would look on stage.

“The costumes are all homemade, so it’s fun for the directors to get a first look at all of the costumes during the costume parade,” Reece said.

This marks the 13th year of the workshop, which is made available to participants free of charge, thanks to donations given to the Parnell Memorial Library Foundation.

“We always have lots of generous supporters, but we’re always encouraging others to chip in,” Reece said. “It’s a great program. We get a full camp every year without any problem.”

Donations to the Parnell Memorial Library Foundation may be sent to P.O. Box 62, Montevallo, AL 35115 or at parnellmemoriallibraryfoundation.org.

Reece said both of his children participated in the workshop as young kids and then helped out as teen volunteers.

“Lots of kids grow up in the program, and that’s exciting for us,” he said. “It’s definitely worth my while to invest my time in it through the years.”

For more information about the Musical Theatre Workshop, go to parnellmemoriallibraryfoundation.org.