Corbett Children's Theater In The News

    Lisa K. Anderson, " Eastside Theater Company presents classic musical 'Annie' " Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 27 February 2018

Sunny musical set in 1933 opens on Friday at Eastside Theater Company in Troutdale.

Annie 2018
Contributed Photo: Karen Hawley - Ania Vilius, left, and Ellen Horton portray the title character in Eastside Theater Companys upcoming production of Annie.

Playing the title character of "Annie" has been a longtime dream for both fifth-grader Ania Vilius and fourth-grader Ellen Horton at Corbett Grade School.

The two share the lead role of Annie in Eastside Theater Company's production of the beloved musical opening Friday, March 2, at The Chapel in Troutdale. Both say they hope audiences take away Annie's positivity and hopefulness.

"Annie is always trying to make the best out of things," notes Vilius. Horton adds "This is really a meaningful show."

    Corey Buchanan, " Off To Neverland " Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 28 November, 2017

Eastside Theatre Company to perform 'Peter Pan' at The Chapel in Troutdale in early December

Sequoia Boom, right, plays Peter Pan while Brook Mackaness plays Captain Hook in the Eastside Theatre Company's production of 'Peter Pan.'
COURTESY PHOTO - Sequoia Boom, right, plays Peter Pan while Brook Mackaness plays Captain Hook in the Eastside Theatre Company's production of 'Peter Pan.'

The Eastside Theatre Company's production of "Peter Pan" is a unique blend of versions of the iconic story told over the past century.

Script writer and assistant director Josh Johnson used the book "Peter and Wendy" as his narrative guide, incorporated elements from the movies "Peter Pan" and "Captain Hook" and mixed in modern language so the show is palatable for 21st century listeners.

But capturing the book's essence was his primary objective.

"There was a lot of different changes that were in the movie, and not a lot of people know the true essence of the story of Peter Pan," Johnson said. "That's a big reason why I wrote it, trying to stay as true to the original story as possible."

The Eastside Theatre Company will perform "Peter Pan" eight times from Dec. 1-Dec. 10 at The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troudale.

Though versions differ, "Peter Pan" is a coming of age story about a boy who flies to Neverland to embark on various adventures including a climactic battle with Captain Hook. During the script writing process, Johnson found that people probably wouldn't understand a lot of the early 20th century dialogue in "Peter and Wendy."

"A lot of the language from 100 years ago is completely different than how we talk now, " Johnson said. "We changed the dialogue so people today could understand it."

Johnson also drew inspiration from the movie "Hook," which dives into the origins of Captain Hook's rift with Peter Pan as well as elements from the "Peter Pan" movie.

"Mixing those films together and putting it on a stage, I don't think someone has done that before," Johnson said.

Katrina Nix, who plays Wendy, drew more inspiration from reading the book than seeing the movie.

"In a film you're just watching them and only getting emotions by what you see. When you read the book the author often takes you into their mind and thoughts," Nix said.

Jessie Turner plays Mrs. Darling, Katrina Nix plays Wendy, Ezra Johnson plays Michael, and Daniel Johnson plays John in upcoming shows at The Chapel in Troutdale.
COURTESY PHOTO - Jessie Turner plays Mrs. Darling, Katrina Nix plays Wendy, Ezra Johnson plays Michael, and Daniel Johnson plays John in upcoming shows at The Chapel in Troutdale.

Sequoia Boom enjoyed watching the movie "Peter Pan" growing up and connected with the adventurous spirit of the film. So Boom tried out for the role of Peter Pan and earned the part.

"When the auditions first came out I thought to myself, 'This is a cool opportunity. I'm going to shoot for Peter.' He's always been my favorite character in Peter Pan," Boom said.

Boom says the swordfighting battle between Captain Hook and Peter Pan is one of her favorite scenes.

And Johnson, who once underwent combat training, enjoyed teaching the actors how to grip the sword properly and use proper footwork.

'It's a bit of a challenge teaching students how to properly handle a sword in a safe way but also that looks exciting to the audience," Johnson said.

The crew utilizes visual projection and special effects to simulate the journey from the real world to Neverland and made puppets for the crocodile and the dog Nana. The crew includes 30 actors while about 45 volunteers helped out with the production process.

"We're going miles beyond what we normally do on the technical side," Johnson said.

Boom encourages local theater enthusiasts and Peter Pan fans to come out to see the production.

"There's good humor, a lot of fun friendships you can see on stage, a lot of cool fighting, cool effects, and it's just a fun play to see," she said. "It can get emotional and it has a little bit of everything. It should be fun for all ages."

    Corey Buchanan, " Musical 'Honks' its horn for diversity " Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 03 October, 2017

Eastside Theatre Company performs ' Honk! A Musical Tale of "The Ugly Duckling"

Abby Cohen, left, plays Ugly and Brook Mackaness plays the Bulfrog in 'Honk! A Musical Tale of The Ugly Duckling.
COURTESY PHOTOS: KAREN HAWLEY - Abby Cohen, left, plays Ugly and Brook Mackaness plays the Bulfrog in 'Honk! A Musical Tale of 'The Ugly Duckling.''

Through songs, jokes and storytelling, "Honk! A Musical Tale of 'The Ugly Duckling'" describes the value of authenticity, uniqueness and diversity.

And the Eastside Theatre Company's rendition of the play will be performed Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14 at The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale.

The production not only expresses these themes verbally but also exemplifies them through its cast.

Two of the main characters, Ugly and the Cat, are typically played by men, but in Eastside Theatre Company's production female actors Abby Cohen and Jessie Turner earned these parts.

"I'm hoping that people will leave with a newfound sense of appreciation for their identity and what each individual has to offer and to see Ugly's personal journey on the stage and how that impacts everybody. I'm hoping it will be powerful in a lighthearted way," Turner said.

Photo of 'Honk! A Musical Tale of 'The Ugly Duckling'' actors Simeon Johnson (left), Lauren Binney (middle), and Kasey Stadel
COURTESY PHOTOS: KAREN HAWLEY - Photo of 'Honk! A Musical Tale of 'The Ugly Duckling'' actors Simeon Johnson (left), Lauren Binney (middle), and Kasey Stadel

The play, which debuted in England in 1993 and won the Oliver Award for Best Musical in 2000, chronicles the tribulations of a duckling whose appearance differs from his brothers and sisters. Derided and named "Ugly," he runs away with a nefarious and hungry tomcat.

But through a journey of self-affirmation inspired by a bullfrog, a chicken, a domesticated cat and others, Ugly learns that his uniqueness is a gift rather than a curse. Eventually, he transforms into a swan.

"Each person he meets along the way helps him to find something within himself that can really be appreciated," Turner said.

Cohen not only had to adapt to playing a male role, but also to a character who is more optimistic than she's used to.

To prepare to play Ugly, she listened to the play's soundtrack as well as other upbeat songs. She also altered her gait and voice.

"It's a lot of body language that's different. I have to constantly think about lowering my voice. On stage, I can't walk the way I normally walk," she said.

Her favorite scene is a duet between Ugly and Ugly's mom Ida, played by Lauren Binney, which culminates Act 1. Ida is the only character who appreciates Ugly early on in the play and is anguished by his absence.

"I think it's really touching," Cohen said. "It's about how I should keep looking and hold my head up high."

Turner, who plays the Cat, has also navigated a steep learning curve — but she likes it that way. She says a scene in which she rapidly switches from flirtatiousness to aggression has been the most challenging to master.

"I am very growth-oriented. I love challenges that could potentially help me grow and they always do. It's good to be challenged in the theatre world and it makes it more exciting," Turner said.

Brook Mackaness plays a bullfrog who teaches Ugly, through puns and jokes, that he will find someone who loves him "warts and all."

"It's super funny. I have so many puns and play on words. They're all dad jokes," Mackaness said.

Above all else, Mackaness appreciates the play's range of emotion.

"There are sad, depressing songs and also really happy songs. The range of emotions you can see is strikingly phenomenal. The ups and downs are really impressive," he said.

    Rob Cullivan, " Two adaptations, lots of mattresses " Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 18 April 2017

Corbett Children's Theater performs two versions of the classic, 'Princess and the Pea'

Queen Aggravain (right), played by Jessie Turner, embraces her son Prince Dauntless, played by Ethan Golden
COURTESY PHOTO - Queen Aggravain (right), played by Jessie Turner, embraces her son Prince Dauntless, played by Ethan Golden, in Corbett Children's Theater's production of 'Once upon a Mattress.' The shows begin Friday, April 21. '

When the Corbett Children's Theater studies something, it really studies it. The company has decided to take on not one, but two renditions of the classic tale "The Princess and the Pea" for its spring performance season..

Both shows are absurdist, comedic riffs on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale. "Once Upon a Mattress," to be performed by the older actors, is a musical, while "The Princess and the Pea" theater adaptation is a straight play and will be performed by the company's "Rising Stars."

The premise behind both productions remains largely the same: a prince, shepherded by his pushy, devious matriarch (a grandmother in the play, mother in the musical), goes on a journey to find his true love. But, in order to marry the woman he chooses..."

    Rob Cullivan, " Ghosts of Christmas haunt Corbett Children's Theater stage this weekend " Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 06 December 2016

Dickens' classic 'Carol' wraps up run

CCT's A Christmas Carol
Contributed Photo: Karen Hawley - Alex Hugo, left, plays Tiny Tim and Brook Mackaness plays Ebenezer Scrooge in Corbett Children's Theater production of 'A Christmas Carol.'

Sometimes it takes a nice guy to act mean.

Just ask Brook Mackaness a junior at Corbett High School. Mackaness plays Ebenezer Scrooge in the stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famed 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol,” which Corbett Children’s Theater presents this month.

In real life, Mackaness, 16, tries to be as nice as possible to people, but having played “mean” roles before with CCT, he’s come to realize he’s really good at acting really bad.

“A lot of it is in the voice,” he says of his characterization. “You can’t be mean with a..."

    Rob Cullivan, " Children's theater runs down rabbit hole" Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 11 October 2016

Children's theater's 'Alice in Wonderland' on stage this weeekend

CCT's Alice in Wonderland
Outlook Photo - Ava Horton plays the title character in the Corbett Children's Theater production of 'Alice in Wonderland'.

The title role in Corbett Children’s Theater production of “Alice in Wonderland” intrigues Ava Horton.

“I find it interesting that she is dreaming up all these mad characters, and that she thinks she is mad,” says the 11-year-old. “It’s a weird thing to think about — but it’s kind of cool.”

The play, based on the works of 19th century British author Lewis Carroll, brings alive the story of Alice, a 7 year old girl, and her imaginary company, including the White Rabbit, the Dormouse and the Queen of Hearts.

    Rob Cullivan, " 'Sunrise, Sunset' - to illunminate stage " Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 1 March 2016

Corbett Children's Theater stages 'Fiddler on the Roof'

Fiddler on the Roof
Contributed Photo:Karen Hawley

You could say Corbett resident Isaiah Johnson, 18, was born to play Tevye, the boisterous Orthodox Jewish father of five daughters in the iconic 1964 musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“I’m naturally a loud person,” Johnson says with a chuckle. “I’m already a big character who people sometimes have to take in small doses.”

Johnson belongs to the 64-member cast and crew of Corbett Children’s Theater staging “Fiddler” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, as well as at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 3 to 12, in The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale.

    Rob Cullivan, " 'It's a Wonderful Life' - even on the radio" Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 15 December 2015

Corbett Children's Theater presents twist on beloved classic

Wonderful Life
Photo:Karen Hawley

It’s almost certain if you own a TV set you have stumbled upon, if not intently watched, a broadcast of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the classic 1946 movie starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, whose attempt at suicide is thwarted by Clarence, his guardian angel.

Radio veteran and sound effects wizard Anthony Palermo took the movie script and adapted it, creating “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play,” which Corbett Children’s Theater is staging this holiday season.

    Rob Cullivan, "Final Curtain", Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 20 November 2015

Community institution seeks affordable rehearsal space

    All the world’s a stage, Mr. Shakespeare wrote, and Corbett Children’s Theater is looking for an affordable corner of the world it can call its home stage. At the end of this year, Corbett Children’s Theater must vacate its temporary rehearsal space at 27000 S.E. Stark St., in the Troutdale Marketplace, to make way for a new tenant.

Special AnnouncementPhoto Credit: Outlook Photo:Josh Kulla

    Angel Williams, CCT artistic director, and board member Kurt Shinn say CCT hopes to find an affordable rehearsal space in East Multnomah County. The theater recently sent out a letter to its supporters asking for help... [Continue Reading]

    Rob Cullivan, "Children's stories strike a different note in play", Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 28 October 2015

Corbett theater debuts 'Seussical the Musical' Nov. 5

    As you watch members of Corbett Children’s Theater rehearse songs from “Seussical the Musical” you realize the words of Dr. Seuss’ books were tailor made for song. Take “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think,” sung by the Cat in the Hat.

“Think invisible ink/Or a gink with a stink/Or a stair to the sky/If you open your mind/Oh, the thinks you will find/Lining up to get loose/Oh, the thinks you can think/When you think about Seuss!”
SeussicalPhoto Credit: Outlook Photo:Josh Kulla

    Making its Broadway debut in 2000, “Seussical” was written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and is primarily based on “Horton Hears a Who!,” “Horton Hatches the Egg” and “Miss Gertrude McFuzz.”

    Listening to the Corbett youngsters sing the tunes in “Seussical” is like hearing a Gilbert and Sullivan song or a Rogers and Hammerstein number, as their dancing accentuates the clever...

    Rob Cullivan, "Con man star of Corbett Children's stage", Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 28 January 2015

Theater to present 'The Music man' Jan. 30 to Feb 8

    Sometimes it takes a liar to help people find their true selves.

Music ManPhoto Credit: Outlook Photo: Troy Wayrynen

    That’s the message behind “The Music Man,” which tells the story of fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band he vows to organize, despite the fact he doesn't know a trombone from a treble clef...