By CHERIL VERNON
Twenty-seven local children ranging in age from 5 to 17 will perform in the Palestine Public Library’s first musical Saturday at the Palestine Civic Center. The show — “Disney Kids: The Jungle Book” — will start at 2 p.m.
“It’s a 45-minute show with all songs from the original cartoon movie, but the story is told mostly through music,” PPL Youth Librarian Jamie King told the Herald-Press Wednesday. “It’s been a great learning process for most of the kids. They have come a long way and are very excited.”
The show has been one of the many activities scheduled for the PPL’s annual Summer Reading Club.
King encourages the public to attend the show to support these children.
“Just see how hard these kids have worked. It shows that there is a love of arts out there,” King said. “It’s been a more relaxed environment, a learning environment. They have learned a lot and accomplished a lot in a short time.”
King, who has 20 years of experience doing theater through the Palestine Community Theatre, has put together the show with help from Special Collections Librarian Karla Lang, whose family also has experience in the local theater.
“I’ve been doing theater for years and I’ve directed some things for churches and such. It’s been a challenge because most of the kids — especially the younger ones — do not have any experience in theater, so it’s been a huge teaching process — basically teaching them the ins and outs of theater,” King said.
PCT theater veteran Terri Warren is one of the parents who has helped with the show as well.
“She’s helped me so much with the kids as far as helping them understand direction and cues,” King said.
Rehearsals have been held for two hours a night, three nights a week for the last few months.
“If it wasn’t for these kids’ parents, I don’t know what I would do. It’s been a real community effort,” King said, giving credit to parents C. Claiser and his wife, Shay, for helping with multiple parts of bring the show to life, including airbrushing the backdrops and helping secure t-shirts for the cast. She also credited parent Theresa Taylor for making the costumes for all of the principal characters.
“The costumes are wonderful and the set is wonderful. There will be some surprises, too,” King hinted.
A handful of businesses and entities also have stepped up to help bring the production to life, including Walmart, Little Caesar’s, Great American T-shirts Co. and the City of Palestine.
Admission to the show is a non-perishable food item per person. All items collected will be donated to local food banks.
For more information about the show or Summer Reading Club, call the library at 903-729-4121.