WIESBADEN, Germany - The chickens, cows, sheep and donkeys huddled in the corner awaiting their stage debuts.
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The young faces that poked out from behind the yellow, white and brown costumes beamed with smiles.
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And as soon as the directors gave the signal, the farm animals stampeded across the Wiesbaden Middle School gymnasium stage.
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"You can see the joy in their faces," said Casey Bjornrud, a director with the Missoula Children's Theatre.
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MCT is an international tour project that brings the performing arts to gymnasium floors and auditoriums around the world enlisting only the acting abilities of local children.
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Brought to the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden community through the SKIES Unlimited Program, MCT held two shows of its "Beauty Lou and the Country Beast" musical production on July 31 at Wiesbaden Middle School.
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More than 50 Wiesbaden garrison school-age children participated in the country twist of the fairy-tale story "Beauty and the Beast."
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From the singing number "Wish upon a Wishbone" to a show-stopping dog, the play garnered smiles and laughs from parents and young audience members.
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"These kids are amazingly talented," said Bjornrud as she ran around backstage prepping children's makeup.
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Bjornrud and Jen Weisphal, who played Buckaroo Bonnie, traveled with the MCT to direct Wiesbaden garrison's child-focused production.
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The program began with auditions of more than 60 garrison youths who were asked to state their names and ages in various modes of emotions - happy, sad and even with a little attitude.
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Aaron Magowan, 9, buried his head into hands during his audition pretending to weep as he recited his name and age. His fellow actors giggled and laughed around him.
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After just one week of rehearsals, the cast members took to the stage singing, dancing, reciting lines and hitting their marks.
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As the herd of farm animals circled the stage and returned to their darkened area behind the backdrop, the youngest actors smiled and sighed. And they sat in anxious silence for their next cue to take to the stage.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16