Fun, friends, and acting! These three words describe the experience school kids are having during Near West Theatre’s six-week children’s program, Kids Loud and Musical Organic Revue. The participants are learning new skills they’ll have a chance to show off when they conclude their summer program with three public performances of Startin’ Somethin’ on July 25, 27 and 28. It’s a show they’ve devised with the help of their young-adult instructors, about lousy situations in life — and starting something to change them instead of just complaining about them.
The 18 kids — one from Berea, the rest from within the city limits of Cleveland — are having fun and learning important lessons. Rachel Johanek, Corinne Howery and Jocelyn Perkins, enjoying their four-mornings-a-week experience in KLAMOR, agreed that team building and working as a group are among the most important things they’ve learned. Exercises involving singing and music have helped them hone these skills through listening to one another in order to harmonize and recognize when an adjustment is needed. Each day ends by having the entire group come together, rehearsing for the show, bringing what they’ve learned to the whole group. Jocelyn said this experience has taught her that “everyone is equal and important; even if you’re not front and center stage you are just as important … it takes everyone to make a show.”
The lessons apply directly to theater, but also to their daily lives. On most days the group has a “show and tell” time where a few participants are able to share their talents and interests. For many it’s a favorite time because, as Rachel puts it, “You may learn something new about someone that you didn’t know. It may bring up a common interest and bring you closer together.” The kids’ energy, combined with their sense of community and individuality, is the recipe for a great performance.
KLAMOR’s performances of Startin’ Somethin’ are July 25 at 7:30 p.m., July 27 at 3 p.m., and July 28 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 general admission or $20 for a reserved Star Seat. Tickets can be ordered online anytime or by phone at 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Any remaining tickets will be sold one hour before each performance at the theater. — Devin Sweeney