Craig kids craft fun fantasy with Missoula Children’s Theatre show ‘Pinocchio’
Missoula Children's Theatre "Pinocchio" cast and crewPinocchio — Bella ShortJiminy Cricket — Samantha FranklinBlue Fairy — Kiki BohrerFox — Sophia VanzoCat — Bella VanzoCandlewick — Sean SmithCandlewick's Crew — Jackson Worton, Amanda Franklin, Braxton Miller, Natalie Womble, Shelby WilsonUrchins — Danaka Miller, Emma Fritz, Liliana Williams, Damian Carter, Treyton JacobsonHarlequin — Heidi SnowColumbine — Kennedy KosturScaramouche — Issabella HodderSchool Kids — Sean Jacobson, Zach Womble, Marlie LaRose, Lexington Bergstrom, Myles Fadely, Perrin Smith, Vyvien Williams, Izzabella Bergstrom, Brooklynn KroeseToys — Kaliyah Oxley, Robbie Fritz, Kaden Kuberry, Ellie Jenkins, Finnley LaRose, Ryker Lyons, Braelee Bohrer, Kylie Hammer, Avery Jones, Galataya Mounce, Kainen Verburg, Helton Richards, Zariah Stover, Ellamae Miller, Riley McCain, Cesar JaureguiAssistant Directors — Zach Prescott, Alizea MontanoAccompanist — Julia FosterTech Crew — Hunter Petree, Joshua Gumber, Tiana Nichols, MaKala Herndon, Justice McMillanGeppetto/Stromboli/Director — Michael BeverleyDirector — Abigail Gilbert
Faraway places, colorful characters and whimsical situations are what Missoula Children’s Theatre brings to towns across the world again and again each year, and Craig was no exception.
The week-long, intensive drama experience came to a close for local kids during Saturday performances of “Pinocchio.”
The classic tale about a wooden puppet magically brought to life hit the stage at Moffat County High School with traces of both the original adventures by Carlo Collodi and the beloved Walt Disney cartoon.
Bella Short portrayed the title character who has to learn right and wrong amid some bad influences.
Short said it was a daunting task to which she admitted some nerves during dress rehearsal.
“I have 118 lines,” she laughed. “Some parts are kind of hard, especially at the end.”
Nonetheless, being part of the production alongside familiar faces made it easier.
“I love being in this with my friends and being active,” she said.
Samantha Franklin donned a jaunty hat and more as Pinocchio’s newly appointed companion, Jiminy Cricket.
The helpful insect regularly poses in what she referred to as “high knees,” which can be pretty tiring.
And, though the show features plenty of music, the Disney originals “Give a Little Whistle” and “When You Wish Upon a Star” aren’t among the setlist, she added.
“It’s a different version, and a lot of stuff is the same but not all of it,” Franklin said.
Kiki Bohrer portrayed the Blue Fairy, who sets the story in motion with a bit of magic.
“I like when I first come in, I get to make Pinocchio and all the puppets come alive. That’s my favorite part,” Bohrer said.
MCT has come to town each year since 2012, with local supporters this year including Memorial Regional Health, MRH Foundation, Elk Run Inn, Friends of Moffat County Education, Craig Kiwanis Club and Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads.
With two tour directors in tow, one works with kids behind the scenes with scenery, costumes, props and more, while the other takes a role onstage.
While Abigail Gilbert performed the former function with the local technical crew and assistant directors, Michael Beverley worked with kids in the spotlight as Pinocchio’s newfound father figure Geppetto as well as the kindly woodcarver’s polar opposite, the tyrannical puppet master Stromboli.
“It’s been a really great week and a really great group of kids,” Beverley said. “I’ve never been to Craig before, but the people are fantastic.”
Going through training in music, choreography and dialogue in less than a week, Beverley noted the kids of Moffat County showed great aptitude as thespians.
“Every time I do this, kids always wow me being able to do all this in a matter of five days,” he said. “I’m really proud of them.”