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Minot-area children sought for Missoula Children’s Theatre production of ‘Johnny Appleseed’

Traveling theater brings ‘Johnny Appleseed’ to Minot

Submitted Photo Missoula Children’s Theatre will be bringing the production of “Johnny Appleseed” to Minot in June. Area children are sought to audition.

More than 60 children are sought for a Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Johnny Appleseed” in June in Minot.

Mouse River Players will hold auditions at its theater from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, June 7. Rehearsals will immediately follow, with rehearsal times varying for cast members based on roles. The show dates are Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12.

Directors with the Missoula Children’s Theater bring sets, props, makeup, costumes and music for the show, performed entirely with children ranging in age from those entering first grade to those coming out of eighth grade. Any child from the Minot area or who will be in the area during the week of June 7 is eligible to pre-register to audition.

Pre-registration is required and can be completed online at mouseriverplayers.com.

Registration is limited to the first 64 children. The show is seeking 60 performers and four assistant stage managers, who will aid in rehearsals throughout the week and take on essential backstage responsibilities.

The cost is $40 for the first registration and $20 for the second registration within the same family. Other children in the family then register for free. The cost includes three theater workshops to be held that week. Some scholarships are available.

No advance preparation for the auditions is required other than to come excited to perform, said Heather Speer, president of the Mouse River Players board. Masks may be required so children should come prepared.

Among the roles to be cast are Johnny Appleseed; the Kiddoes; the Pioneers; Sir Peter Prescott and his sidekick Rupert; the Fife & Drum Soldiers; Lewis & Clark; A group of Western Animals; and the Apple Seeds.

The show tells the story of Johnny and his buddies as they travel across the land on foot, make friends with many different people and animals and sleep under the twinkling stars. Their adventures yield orchards of delectable fruit that take a crunchy bite out of hungry tummies across the West. Even a grumbly wolf is won over by the sweet taste of the apples and the kindness of friends.

“Johnny Appleseed” is a musical so children who love to sing are encouraged to audition. However, Speer said, there is a place for any child who loves to perform because the songs are easy to learn and are performed in groups.

Speer said Mouse River Players hosted the Missoula Children’s Theatre in 2019 but was unable to bring a second show last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s production is sponsored by Mouse River Players and 10 local businesses.

“This program is a wonderful program that teaches kids confidence and public speaking,” Speer said. “It’s a great thing for the community.”

Throughout its 45-year existence, the Missoula Children’s Theatre International Tour has fostered developmental life skills in more than a million children. It expects to work with 65,000 children in more than 1,200 communities in all 50 states and 17 countries this year.

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