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September 14, 2014

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Traveling theater group brings Goolsby students together

Musical lets children shine on stage

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Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Home News

Student actors from Goolsby Elementary School wave to an appreciative audience at the conclusion of a production of “The Princess and the Pea” on Friday night.

The Princess and The Pea

Goolsby Elementary student Ryan Thomas portrays Prince Ice Man of Glacierdom during a student production of Launch slideshow »

Precious princesses and plump little peas were the highlight of the day for some students at Judy and John L. Goolsby Elementary School.

For some students, the delight was in seeing and laughing at the performances. For others, it was in being on stage when just days before, auditions for the hour-long musical had not even taken place.

More than 60 students participated in the show, part of Missoula Children's Theatre's annual tour through Nevada.

The little red truck holding all of the necessary supplies for a full-scale musical rolled into town on Feb. 1, auditioned students Feb. 2, and immediately chose the lucky few and began rehearsals.

Four hours after school each day was required for some students to prepare for the musical. Those with smaller parts, such as the younger students, had to stay for as many as two hours each day.

About 100 students tried out for this year's play, "The Princess and the Pea." Goolsby's Parent Leadership Team has brought the children's theater to the school for the past five years.

The first performance was done Friday morning. It was a good segue for some of the students because, while they weren't in full makeup, they were in costume and got to perform for an audience, made up of the youngest students at the school.

"They laugh at anything," Hanna Goldstein, 9, said.

Classmate Cameron Sandefur, 10, agreed. Cameron was one of two student directors who helped the adult directors, either providing lines when one was forgotten or keeping younger students distracted during slow moments.

Even though Cameron wasn't on stage, he still had a lot to do, so hearing a positive reaction from the crowd was good.

"It gives you encouragement, because they think it's funny," he said.

The students were supposed to memorize all of their lines by Thursday, which was the last full day of rehearsal. Doing so was not so easy, though.

"It's hard not to forget your line or say the wrong one," Hanna said.

Though the students can laugh and have fun while they're preparing for and actually putting on the show, it has hidden benefits they wouldn't think about, said Brian and Allison Epperson, the directors touring with Missoula Children's Theatre.

"It teaches them to work together toward a common goal, and not in competition with each other," Brian Epperson said.

Sometimes there are issues with stage fright, but most of the time that goes away, he said.

"It's done in such a way they (the students) don't realize they're on stage performing for everyone," he said.

Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].

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