Camp designed for distance participation

ARVADA CENTER TO OFFER STUDENTS THE WORLD’S FIRST ZOOM MUSICAL

By John Moore, Senior Arts Journalist

Welcome to the era of the “Zoomsical.”

The Arvada Center, iTheatrics and licensing giant Music Theatre International are teaming up on an innovative way to get students back rehearsing, performing and celebrating the magic of musical theatre in the age of COVID19.

MTI has just created and released the world’s first musical specifically designed for distance participation, using the video-conferencing platform Zoom. “The Big One-Oh! Online Edition” is a 20-minute variation on Dean Pitchford’s beloved children's novel about an unusual boy who is about to turn 10. The musical is specifically designed to be rehearsed, produced and performed remotely on the internet, providing young people and their creative teams alike “the opportunity, during this time of disconnection, to connect in a meaningful way,” said Lisa Leafgreen, the Arvada Center’s Director of Education.

“As we navigate the ever-changing days we’re living in, and the wide variety of individual comfort levels, we want to make sure kids know there is a completely safe, yet creative and fun opportunity for them to be cast in a musical this summer,” she said.

The Arvada Center’s virtual camp begins on June 22 and runs through July 17, building to a performance that will be shared with parents and other digital audiences – including the child actors themselves. “We plan to record the musical using Zoom but then edit it for quality and show it as a Watch Party,” she said. “This way, the kids can watch their own performances at the same time as everyone else.”

Leafgreen says the Arvada Center is stepping up as real pioneers in this area, “especially in the world of children’s performance,” she said. “This is an opportunity for us to be involved with rethinking what theatre is and how it can be presented. There are no barriers here. You don’t need to come to the Arvada Center. You don’t even have to live in Colorado to participate in it.”

In the story, Charley Maplewood has never been one for parties – that would require friends, which he doesn’t have. Well, unless you count his monster friends, but they’re only imaginary. But now that he’s turning 10 (the big One-Oh) he decides to throw himself a birthday party, complete with a “House of Horrors” theme. Of course, things don’t work out as he plans. Will Charley’s party be the big One-Oh ... or the big OH-NO!?

(Spoiler alert: In the end, Charley learns to trade his imaginary friends for real ones.)

“The Big One-Oh!” is written by Doug Besterman (music), Dean Pitchford (lyrics) and Timothy Allen McDonald (book).

The Arvada Center is offering “The Big One-Oh!” in place of the previously announced “Shrek! Junior.”

“The Big One-Oh!”/At a glance
  • Directors: David Payne and Brandon Bill
  • Cost: $250
  • Preferred ages 9-13
  • Virtual camp times: 1-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for four weeks
  • Virtual camp dates: June 22 through July 17
  • Performances: Top be presented virtually as a Watch Party. Details to come.
  • Call 720-898-7200 or sign up below

sign up now

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