The Curtain is Up For That “Broadway Beat”
The stage was set, the curtain went up and the lights were lit as the Mesquite Kids on Stage and the Mesquite Arts Council opened their ninth season with their original production of “Broadway Beat” on July 1, 2015 at the Mesquite Community Theatre.
“Broadway Beat” is a compilation of musical numbers from three different sources: “Broadway Beat: Musical Highlights for Over a Century of Song and Dance” by John Higgins, Cristi Cary Miller, Tom Anderson and John Jacobson, “Kids on Broadway: Songs that Stopped the Show” by Mac Huff and “Disney on Stage (Medley)” arranged by Ed Lojeski; each of these three shows was published by Hal Leonard Corporation.
These young thespians, dancers, singers both beginner and novices took the stage with confidence and the audience by storm as they displayed the many talents they possess during this review of much loved musicals both old and new.
Directors, Choreographers, Costumers, coaches, light and sound technician, stage managers, parent chaperones and especially the kids worked extremely hard during the month long rehearsal schedule set for this production. Evelin Spencer, audience member and grandmother of performer Elise Dick, was instrumental in ushering the young performer to and from rehearsals each day and said, “These kids worked so very hard, they would rehearse from 10:30, the dancers from 9:30, until 1:30 Monday through Friday. This is my granddaughter’s third year with MKOS and she was also with Missoula, it’s amazing how hard these kids work to put on these productions and the hard work shows. It was truly a wonderful experience to watch this production and the development of the show from the beginning stages of the rehearsals to now; they’re always wonderful!”
Susan Bennett, Jenny Bennett and Pat Reber, directors for Mesquite Kids On Stage, were the driving forces and founders of MKOS in the summer of 2008. Since that time the children of Mesquite have been able to showcase their many talents in shows like: 101 Dalmatians KIDS, Jungle Book KIDS, Alice in Wonderland Jr., Willy Wonka Jr., Suessical Jr., two productions of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and last year’s Disney Spectacular Musical Review.
Bennett said in her Director’s notes, “When I first started out, even though I had worked with high school aged kids for years, I had my reservations about working with younger students. But it was such a delightful experience to work with younger children that I’m still here. The kids are so enthusiastic! I marvel to see how professional they are, even the youngest of our cast members! Each year the casts seem to get better and better. It is so great to see them grow from rehearsal to rehearsal.” She also thanked the parents who loaned their children to the directors, choreographers and coaches each day.
Pat Reber has always enjoyed working with the “newbies”, the babies of the productions and has spoken many times in the past about how she is thrilled over the fact that each year she is fortunate enough to introduce these five and six year olds to the wonders of theater. When the “newbies” were asked if they’ve enjoyed their first theatre experience every one of the 23 young thespians shouted out with a great big “YES!” with the exception of one young man by the name of Jordan Goodsell who said, “I didn’t.” I asked him why and he responded, “Cause I had to put on makeup; Yuck!” Putting on makeup didn’t hinder “newbie” Samantha Davis one bit, Davis was very eager to express, “This is my first time on stage too and I loved EVERYTHING!”
Jenny Bennett has overseen and worked on not only the musical direction of the show but she ran all the sound and lights for previous shows but this year she turned over the technical reigns to theatre newcomer, Chris Finnegan. Bennett’s choice to turn over the technical functions left her open to spend more time with the musical direction, which was quite challenging for this show, and was a good choice as both the music performed by the kids and the lights and sound provided by Finnegan were flawlessly executed.
Judy Brittain, Choreographer and Head Dance Coach, worked hard for the first week with Choreographer Vicki Eckman and the dancers to learn the moves. Brittain said, “Vicky worked hard on the choreography but was scheduled to travel shortly after rehearsals began and the dance numbers are so cute, I’m sorry she won’t be here to see it. What really gets me is the kids…I can’t believe how hard they work. They’ve come in an hour early every day just to work on the choreography and they’re eager and excited to get moving! It’s been so much fun working with these talented kids and they continue to amaze me every day. After an hour of dancing in the studio they go to the theatre to rehearse the songs and incorporate the dance numbers into the actual show. The energy and excitement are wonderful but the talent and dedication is awesome, it’s a great show and I’m so proud of these kids!”
You have one more chance to see this wonderfully upbeat production with tunes you’ll find yourself wanting to sing along with performed by some of the most talented entertainers in Mesquite tonight, July 2 at 7 p.m. at the Mesquite Community Theatre.
Bring the family, young and old alike are sure to enjoy this very delightful production of “Broadway Beat” the kids will be entertained by characters like Cinderella, Belle and Simba and adults are sure to be set on the path of nostalgia when the kids perform songs from some of your favorite classic Broadway musicals like Grease, Gypsy and Oliver.
Tickets to Mesquite Kids On Stage are $6 for adults and $3 for elementary school age children and can be purchased at any one of the Mesquite outlets: Danielle’s Chocolates, Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Mesquite Fine Arts Center, Have Boutique Will Travel and the Mesquite Community Theatre Box Office or online at: http://gmaf.tix.com.