TWIN FALLS • “If you can hear my voice, raise your hands in the air,” shouted Stephanie Walsh, Missoula Children’s Theatre tour co-director.
Immediately, hundreds of hands shot into the air and conversations quieted.
“If you can hear my voice, you are here to audition,” Walsh said.
Nearly 100 children showed up to audition Monday for the theater’s production of “Rapunzel” at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts. It’s the 16th year that the Missoula Children’s Theatre has come to Twin Falls.
After a one-week rehearsal schedule, children cast in the production will put on two performances, at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, at Vera C. O’Leary Middle School’s auditorium. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children.
But first, the children had to prove they had the dedication to take one of the 63 parts in the play.
The story of Rapunzel takes place in France and includes characters such as mushrooms and potatoes in a garden and ogres and gremlins in a forest. The three bears and the three billy goats gruff also make appearances. The play features roles for children of all ages, from kindergartners to high school seniors.
No acting experience was necessary. Walsh said the only things she and Chelsey Campbell, tour co-director and actor, wanted were children with loud and clear voices, expressive bodies and faces and the ability to listen and follow directions the first time.
“You’ve been auditioning since the first time you’ve come through the door,” Walsh told the youths sitting before her.
She directed the children to line up quietly from tallest to smallest. Then they took turns, each stating first name, last name and age. Walsh asked them to do it while pretending a “spiny-toothed hedgehog was chasing them with a rubber chicken.” Then they did it with attitude. The kind that would get them a detention, Campbell said.
“It was fun. I liked the interaction,” said Jem Manuntag, 13.
It was her first time auditioning for the Missoula Children’s Theatre, and she was cast as an elf.
“I wanted to try something new. I really like plays,” Jem said.
It was also the first audition for Hailee Glauner, 13. Hailee said her favorite part was when they had to mime passing by a mean dog. She also was cast as an elf.
“I liked it all,” Hailee added.
The audition was an important experience for all children interested in theater, said JoLynne McDonald, director of the Magic Valley School of Performing Arts.
Her children, Gabriel and JoJo, were cast as a troll and elf.
“It’s very intensive. They put so much into a short amount of time, and they learn so much,” McDonald said. “It’s amazing how they can focus and condense so much into one week.”