Missoula Children’s Theatre set for June

The Missoula Children’s Theatre will bring a summer camp to the Historic Ritz Theatre in Talladega on June 8-13. Registration is $80 per child on a first-come, first-serve basis, with limited slots for each age group.

Talladega’s Historic Ritz Theatre will partner with the Callie’s Kids Foundation to play host to the first Missoula Summer Theatre Camp at the Ritz.

The six-day camp runs from June 8-13 and culminates with two public performances of “Aladdin” on June 13 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 pm.

Ritz Executive Director George Culver said the camp is designed to be a fun, yet focused and mission-driven educational experience.

“This will be the first time to have Missoula’s professional directors work with our local youngsters free of having to schedule around school,” Culver said. “No doubt it is going to be a richer, life-changing experience for them in the areas of creativity, social skills, goal achievement, teamwork, communication skills and self-esteem.”

The camp’s registration fee is $80 for each participant, limited to 60 kids on a first-come, first-serve basis.

There are age restrictions for the camp, with 16 slots available for ages 6-7 and 44 slots for ages 8-14.

On the first day of camp, auditions will be conducted to assign all 60 camp participants a role in the production of “Aladdin, which will be performed complete with sets, costumes, props, lights, dancing and plenty of music.

The Missoula Children’s Theatre is one of the largest and most successful children’s theatres in the world.

The Ritz has played host to Missoula’s week-long residence annually for 17 years, having positively impacted over 1,000 local youth with the MCT’s mission “to develop life skills in children through participation in the performing arts.”

During the week, rehearsal schedules will vary, and those students not rehearsing a particular scene will have opportunities to experience other theatre-related workshops -- such as mime, improvisation, character development, speech projection, stage makeup techniques and theatre tech -- to enrich the overall educational camp experience,

MCT’s Aladdin is an original musical adaptation of the fabled story and will be directed by professional MCT directors Thomson Jaffe and Melissa Trentacoste.

Jaffe is a graduate of DeSales University with a degree in theatre along with a teaching certification for secondary English and communications. The Cohasset, Massachusetts, native, worked for two years in the education department at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.

Tretacoste, a Chicago native, has a theatre degree from Cornell College and has toured as director for MCT’s “Little Mermaid.”

“It is going to be an educationally rich and fulfilled week for 60 lucky kids,” Culver said. “Available slots are filling up fast, so I encourage parents to handle enrollment at the Ritz office quickly before we have to close registration due to a full cast.

“What the kids accomplish in just six day with the professional Missoula Children’s Theatre directors is unbelievably amazing. Just ask any parent whose children were involved over the last 18 years.”

Registration can be done via phone at 256-315-0000 or via charge or by check at the Ritz office at 15 North Court Square from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.