Craig elementary students to perform ‘The Pied Piper’ Saturday |

Craig elementary students to perform ‘The Pied Piper’ Saturday

Darian Warden

Director Sam Helmer of the Missoula Children's Theatre directs K-6 students in Craig during rehearsal for The Pied Piper production to be held Saturday in the MCHS auditorium. With auditions Monday, the students and directors have six days to memorize and perfect performances before two shows Saturday afternoon.

Sixty Craig students in kindergarten through sixth grade spent some long days this week preparing for a Saturday performance of “The Pied Piper” produced by the Missoula Children's Theatre.

With auditions taking place Monday, the children and directors have just six short days to put together an entire play. That means about three and a half hours of rehearsal each night, with a little less for the little ones in kindergarten and first grade.

Veronica Diderrich said she's grateful for the opportunity to keep her daughter Alicea Diderrich, 12, engaged and busy after school for the week. Alicea was chosen to be the assistant director for the play.

"I'm proud of all these kids," Veronica said. "They only have six days to get ready for a production. Two hour auditions can be a little hard on this age group, but they all did awesome."

Directors Angela Brown and Sam Helmer work with the children each night, helping to memorize lines and choreograph positions on stage. Both have degrees and backgrounds in musical theater.

The twosome is currently on a 5-month tour, traveling all 50 states spending a week in different towns working with kids to put on a production at the end of it. This is the pairs second tour together.

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"It's really great getting to work with a different cast every week," Brown said. "They're great kids every time and every single time it works. It's really cool to see this process work in a week. It's amazing what these kids can do."

Playing Sarah the little orphan girl, 11-year-old KennaLee Rowley said she's excited for the performance and had memorized most of her 61 lines by Wednesday night.

Lilli Pearce, also 11 and playing the Mayor's daughter, said she's kind of nervous for her performance but excited for her dad to come from Denver to see it.

"People should come see it," Rowley said. "It's really entertaining."

The play is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital, The Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Moffat County School District, who all helped bring the Missoula Children's Theatre residency to Craig.

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or

If you go …

What: The Pied Piper

When: Saturday 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Where: MCHS Auditorium at 900 Finley Lane

Who: Craig K-6 students

Cost: Tickets are $5 and available at the door

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