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City Desk

The Orphan Girl's Jackie Freeman looks back to 2018 and forward to 2019

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2018

The season began In September for the OGCT. Their first production was “Here I Am: An Orphan Girl Cabaret.” This was a one night only event that was held at the Copper King Hotel.

 

Jackie Freeman, Artistic Director at OGCT explained that this was their first attempt “at least since I’ve been here,” she said, “that we tried a program like this.”  “We asked the kids to come in with a piece that would show the Butte community who they are,” said Jackie.

 

“The Cabaret brought in a lot of new patrons and kids. This was an interesting way to showcase our kids in a way they had not been seen before,” said Jackie. One good example, Jackie explained, one of the kids that has been in the program for about 3 or 4 years decided to do stand-up comedy. After her performance, Jackie said, “Everyone was saying, ‘I didn’t realize she was that funny.” Even though the young lady had been in the program for a few years the stand-up was something new and showcased a new talent that was otherwise hidden.

 

The Cabaret had performances ranging a wide variety of talents covering most arts. “We had dance, and comedy, and musical theatre pieces; we had pop music pieces. “We had some fun upbeat pieces and we also had some pieces where the kids were definitely revealing their souls in a raw way to the audience,” said Jackie.

 

“Newsies” was the second show of the season and was a huge success. Jackie mentioned that 20% of the patrons for this show came from out of town. The OGCT brings not only patrons from surrounding areas but there are also performers that come from the same surrounding communities. There were approximately 70 kids involved in this production.

 

The last show of the season was an all-time favorite, Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” This was Jackie’s first experience directing a period drama. “The kids really dug in with this material. There is such sweetness and sadness to this tale and I was really proud of them,” said Jackie. The story of the March women is timeless, “the things that Jo struggles with, for instance, being put into a box when she wants a career. This play still resonates with women and our struggle to be ourselves,” said Jackie.

 

Not only does the attendance at the box office continue to grow so does the program, attendance of performers and kids that want to be involved. With the rise of the program at OGCT, the scholarship level is rising. “Currently 52 percent of our young artists are in scholarship as of right now this year (2018). We are just happy to be a home for all these kids who need a place to be regardless of their financial situation,” Jackie said.

 

Scholarship money $3,000 or $4,000, comes from the Markovich family charitable foundation and the rest is offset set with personal donations and this year the Butte Community Foundation gave money towards the scholarships.

 

2019

The first production planned for 2019 is C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” This production will run from February 29, 2019, until March 16, 2019.

 

Sixty-five children have been cast with twenty-five main leads and two ensembles. The two ensembles have twenty in each and they will alternate performances. This gives the younger members a taste of the theatre without having to deal with an eight-show-run, which is a lot for the younger children, explained Jackie. Rehearsals will begin January 7th.

 

The second production is a community theatre production called “Urinetown the Musical.” “It is a musical about a dystopian future where there is a water shortage and you have to pay to pee,” explained Jackie. The music for Urinetown was written by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis and the book is by Kotis.

 

Jackie said that “Urinetown is a very over the top, slapstick, almost vaudevillian in a sense type comedy. Makes fun of a lot of other Broadway musicals. We wanted to try this because I feel that Butte has a great sense of humor and this is something they would want to come and see.”  “Urinetown will run April 4th through the 13th.

 

OGCT will be rounding out their season with another 10/24 Play Festival which will be at the Covellite Theatre on May 11th at 7:00 pm. During the 10/24 festival participants will write, direct, produce, and perform 5 to 10 minute plays within twenty-four hours.

 

The work done at OGCT is important. Yes, we get to enjoy wonderful plays and musicals and revel in the talents of our local children, but having a background in the performing arts can be a wonderful gift for your child.

 

Scholastic web site says that “Kids who perform gain skills that extend far beyond the standing ovation.” Having your child enrolled in performing arts will give them skills that will help them in school, college and throughout the rest of their life.

 

Skills such as thinking on their feet, so-to-speak. “Kids who perform are quick thinkers,” says Scholastic. They have the ability to stay calm and carry on regardless of the blooper. When performing kids learn that when on stage if something goes wrong you improvise and carry on. Performing helps the children master anxiety. When in another character the child is able to express a variety of emotions. Their self-esteem can soar. Having an audience react to what you are doing onstage is wonderful for one's self-esteem, to have them laugh at your jokes or applaud.

 

Being on stage and in the shoes of a character gives a child a new way to see the world; in fact, it can increase their world view and allows them experiences that they may not otherwise have.

 

Classes

Workshops and classes are being held in January. There is Basic Acting class are for ages 6 and up. “We don’t generally have 6-year-olds in our program but we are trying to engage that younger age range,” said Jackie. Then there will be Basic Acting 2 class which will work on audition skills and acting monologue skills. Finally, they will hold a Fantasy Make-Up class which will be in conjunction with “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

 

Tickets for any of the performances can be found at www.orphangirl.org/tickets or you can call 782-5657. You can also find ways to donate and/or volunteer at orphangirl.org.

 


 


 

 

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