Stage Kids is a local youth theatre group based out of Wenatchee for local children ages four through eighteen. Students come from as far as Quincy to participate, said Michelle McCormick, artistic director for Stage Kids. Students participate in theatre day camps, classes, and productions.
Stage Kids is a year round program with performances throughout the year. It started in 2014 with 19 kids and peaked at over 800 kids before the coronavirus pandemic, said McCormick. Stage Kids has grown mainly through word of mouth.
In the classes, kids rehearse two evenings a week and every other Saturday for productions at the Beacon Hill Grange in Wenatchee, said McCormick.The day camps occur over a short period of time, five to ten days, with a performance at the end.
Locals from Leavenworth and Cashmere are participating in the productions this summer. Carly Ostrum from Leavenworth is playing Little Red in Into the Woods. Kaili Miller and Trip Martin of Cashmere are cast in The Wizard Of Oz.
This summer, Stage Kids will perform four productions: The Wizard Of Oz, Into The Woods, The Grunch, and The Aristocats. The last performances of The Wizard Of Oz are this week. The show will be on June 23 and 25 at 7 p.m., and June 26 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Grace City Church in Wenatchee. The Wizard Of Oz was first performed six years ago and this year's show features some of the original cast all grown up.
Performances for The Grunch, which features children in third through eighth grade, are on July 9-10 at Beacon Hill Grange in Wenatchee. After that is The Aristocats, starring elementary schoolers, on July 30-31 at Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee.
Admission to the Aristocats includes admission to Ohme Gardens before the show, said McCormick. The Aristocats is a story about a group of cats who are going to inherit a fortune from their owner. The butler wants the fortune so he abandons the cats in the countryside. The play follows the cat's journey back home to Paris.
The Grunch is about a boy who thinks that being in musical theatre is the dumbest way to spend the summer, said McCormick. The musical theatre kids win over the boy when he realizes that they are like his family. The Grunch features diverse musical scores and a heartwarming lesson about accepting people who are different then you.
Into the Woods is the last play of the summer with performances August 19 through 22 at Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee. Into The Woods is a musically challenging show played by teenagers ages 13 and up. The show features many Grimm fairy tale characters, like Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, all intertwined into one storyline.
“Into the woods is such a hard show that I haven't wanted to do it before, but I knew I had the right kids to do that show this year,” said McCormick
Stage Kids performances have been affected by coronavirus. Last spring, they were in the middle of producing The Wizard of Oz when they had to shut down the in-person show, said McCormick. But that didn’t stop Stage Kids from performing as they simply shifted to online productions.
The first online production was called The Show Must Go Online, said McCormick. Each kid rehearsed a monologue and had a parent record their final performances. All of the performances were then sent to McCormick and pieced together into one storyline
Both a fall and a Christmas production were recorded in a big open warehouse with social distancing protocols followed, said McCormick. Students wore masks while rehearsing. The performances were then broadcast online and people could buy tickets to watch them.
After that, the Stage Kids crew began to plan to resume the Wizard Of Oz fully in person. Out of 110 kids in the previous Wizard of Oz cast, 65 returned to resume their role this summer, said McCormick. Precautions are still being followed. Students are performing with clear face shields and seating areas are spaced so no one is directly in front or behind anyone. Every audience member is asked to wear a mask.
Stage Kids is a 501(c)(3) non profit run both by McCormick and by Cashmere local Lacey Price, who is the managing director. Recently, Stage Kids had their biggest fundraiser to date. Kids were sponsored to dance for 50 songs in a dance-a-thon and raised $24,000 for the program.
The mission of Stage Kids is to make sure that every child who wants to try it out is able to. McCormick wants parents to know that scholarships are available for Stage Kids. Stage Kids events tend to fill up quickly, so if your kid is interested in joining be sure to sign up for the newsletter on their website.