Caleb Dotson, left, plays the Pied Piper in the Missoula Children's Theatre production of "The Pied Piper" on Saturday at the Moffat County High School auditorium. Caleb is shown acting out how the Pied Piper will rid the town of Hamelin of its rats.

Photo by Darian Warden

Caleb Dotson, left, plays the Pied Piper in the Missoula Children's Theatre production of "The Pied Piper" on Saturday at the Moffat County High School auditorium. Caleb is shown acting out how the Pied Piper will rid the town of Hamelin of its rats.

Craig kids star in Saturday performances of 'The Pied Piper'

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Cooks and townspeople sit on stage during the first of two performances put on by the Missoula Children's Theatre and 60 of Craig's kindergartners through sixth-graders. The show was sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig, The Memorial Hospital Foundation and Moffat County School District.

Quotable ...

“The kids worked really hard, and it paid off.”

— Missoula Children's Theatre touring actor Sam Helmer, about students' Saturday performances of "The Pied Piper".

The Moffat County High School auditorium was overrun with adorable rats Saturday afternoon.

Craig children in kindergarten through sixth grade starred in the Missoula Children’s Theatre two Saturday performances of "The Pied Piper," a tale of a town in serious need of laughter and happiness.

Taught to laugh only after the Pied Piper leads the rats and then their children away, the Hamelin townspeople learn the importance of living a happy existence and even invite the rats back to town.

The youngest actors played the parts of the rats, but they were far from big and scary.

With stage makeup, costumes and one short week of preparation, children took the stage having memorized all their lines and gave a professional performance to the large audience.

“I think it went pretty well,” said fifth-grader Caleb Dotson, who played the Pied Piper. “I was a little nervous, though.”

Dotson wasn’t the only one. Even some of the children playing rats admitted to nerves on the stage.

“My armpits were sweaty because of stage fright,” first-grader Treyton Jacobsen said.

The cast was comprised of about 60 kids and Missoula Children’s Theatre touring actor Sam Helmer.

Helmer and his touring partner/director Angela Brown spent long nights during the past week preparing students for Saturday’s performances.

“They did really well,” Helmer said. “The kids worked really hard, and it paid off.”

Actor Sambu Shrestha, 11, who played a cook, said working with Helmer and Brown was a blast.

“They’re awesome,” Sambu said, adding he enjoyed his role in the play where he got to shove a pie in Helmer’s face.

“It was sweet, sweet revenge,” Sambu laughed.

After a week with the cast, Helmer said, “They had a ton of energy. They really got into the show.”

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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