Mesquite Kids Get Ready To Take the Stage

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Directors Susan Bennett, Jenny Bennett, Pat Reber and Cathy McCann along with Choreographer Judy Brittain watch as the Mesquite Kids on stage rehearse their number from the Broadway musical Grease. Directors and cast eagerly await opening night of “Broadway Beat” on July 1 at 7 p.m. and their second show on July 2 at the same time. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

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Judy Brittain gives the cast choreography direction in one of seven dance numbers for the Mesquite Kids on Stage’s Broadway review, “Broadway Beat” which opens at the Mesquite Community Theatre on Wednesday, July 1 at 7 p.m. with an additional show on July 2 at 7 p.m. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The Mesquite Arts Council, Susan Bennett, Jenny Bennett, Pat Reber and most importantly 45 of the most talented Mesquite kids are very determined to wow the Mesquite audience with their talents for the ninth season as they prepare to open “Broadway Beat” on July 1 at 7 p.m. “Broadway Beat” is a review including a variety of Broadway shows such as The King and I, Wicked, Grease and Hairspray with a special medley called “Disney on Stage” which will include music from such shows as The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins.

Jenny Bennett says, “Students have been hard at work, rehearsing up to 5 hours a day to prepare for this fun variety-type show.” Bennett is a Virgin Valley Elementary School music teacher and has been musical director for Mesquite Kids On Stage (MKOS) for many years. Summer workshops for MKOS are open to children ages 5 to 17 and this year the cast ranges from Kindergarten to 10th grade students.

Bennett’s daughter Ellie has been coming with her mother to the summer workshops since she was an infant and is now old enough to be one of the performers. The young Bennett is eager to follow in the footsteps of her musical mommy and drama teacher/director grandmother Susan Bennett.

Ellie and the other tots will no doubt be in good hands under the direction of long time MKOS “newbie” director Pat Reber. Reber said once many years ago that teaching the five and six year-olds is her favorite part of MKOS and each year gets excited seeing the new babes come in for their first taste of theatre.

Susan Bennett said, “I’m thrilled to be a part of this production, I don’t believe I’ve ever worked with such a highly dedicated group of kids like we have this year.  This show is difficult and incorporates not only song but dance and characterization.  It’s a lot for the kids to learn but they’re doing a phenomenal job, I’m just so very proud of all of them.”

Directing, choreographing and musical direction are just a few of the positions that require dedicated volunteers for this group of budding entertainers.

Beside Susan Bennett, Jenny Bennett and Pat Reber directing the kids on their musical and acting abilities, Cathy McCann has also been working on the musical direction. Vicki Eckman choreographed the show and Judy Brittain has been leading the troupes in learning the dance numbers along with assistant dance coaches Sandy Hughes and Donna Eads. Aleta Ruth is working hard at being the Stage Manager along with her faithful assistant Jamie Worthen. Gail Ashdown is the Costume Mistress for the Broadway Beat production.

Let’s not forget the technical end of the show.  This is the first year in the history of Jenny Bennett directing MKOS that she’s had the faith and confidence enough in someone to turn over the technical direction of the group to another individual.

Chris Finnegan, Technical Director for “Broadway Beat” and owner of CK Finnegan Computers says, “The show has it’s challenges and is quite ambitious for these kids but Susan Bennett, Jenny Bennett, Pat Reber and the rest of the volunteers have put together a can’t-miss spectacular with incredibly talented kids which I’m lucky to be a small part of.”

Finnegan is also responsible for bringing the box office into the 21st century and creating the venue for purchasing all Mesquite Community Theatre show tickets online.

The MKOS summer workshop began on June 8 and will conclude with two dress rehearsals on June 29 and June 30 along with two performances of “Broadway Beat!” on July 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. at the Mesquite Community Theatre, 150 Yucca Street.

While The Mesquite Arts Council is sponsoring the show, the Mesquite Toes are helping to provide volunteers and costumes for our students to use.

Don’t miss Mesquite Kids on Stage’s “Broadway Beat,” it’s bound to be the best entertainment in town.
Tickets to the show will be $6 for adults and $4 for children, and are available to purchase at all MCT Satellites (Chamber of Commerce, Fine Arts Gallery, Danielle’s Chocolates, and Have Boutique, Will Travel). Tickets are also available online at http://gmaf.tix.com.

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