Fort Rucker children perform 'Jack and the Beanstalk'
The entire cast sings a song together at the end of the show.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 5, 2012) -- Eighteen Fort Rucker children tiptoed around backstage applying last minute makeup and finding their places before their first production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" June 29 at the post theatre.

"This is going to be one great show," said Gabrielle Franklin, 10, the show's "fire eater," as she danced around in a red leotard and flame-themed skirt.

The children auditioned for roles June 25 and performed a full-length play June 29 and 30, with the help of Ashley Boyd, Mia Sage Lowry and the Missoula Children's Theatre -- an organization that sends teams of actor-directors to all 50 states and several countries to teach children about theatre one week at a time.

"The kids were great," Boyd said. "They worked really hard rehearsing. They did all of this in just four days."

Part of the mission of Missoula Children's Theatre is teaching life skills through the performing arts, Lowry explained.

"We expect a lot of these kids," she said. "We hope when they leave they know they have value, their voice is worth hearing and anything they have to say is important."

From the time we start auditions, we believe in them and that never stops throughout the entire week, she added.

Boyd said she hoped the children learned about teamwork, confidence, a sense of accomplishment and the importance of hard work.

"The children did a great job. They were very enthusiastic," said Denise Honeycutt, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation partnership specialist.

During the week, she said she noticed some shy children start "breaking out of that shell" and interacting with the other children.

"The ability to speak to different individuals and different age levels, to care for them and help them along, is a great life skill," she said.

"This is a good experience for them to have," added Emily Pierce, child-youth program assistant.

Before the performance on June 29, Courtney Denton, 13, who played a farmer, merchant and harp, sat backstage and waited on the play to begin.

She said the week of rehearsals had taught her about speaking loudly and clearly, enunciating, using motions and remembering lines.

"It's really fun," she said. "You get to meet new people and catch up with old friends."

On the other side of the stage, Courtnee's twin sister, Aleecia, prepared to play the part of the giant.

"It's ironic because I'm the shortest big kid," she said. "You have to use your imagination and be creative."

The play told the traditional story of "Jack and the Beanstalk" with one small twist. Instead of being violent and angry, the giant in the play was lonely and in need of a friend. Because Jack and another character, Jill, were kind to the giant, he gave Jack a "small" coin to take home with him.

Throughout the performance, the characters emphasized the importance of friends and Family.

"Even though we have no money, we have more because we have each other," explained Jack, played by Trevor Christensen, 14.

Page last updated Thu July 5th, 2012 at 00:00