Theater Aspen educates kids of all ages on more than just acting

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Theater Aspen educates kids of all ages on more than just acting

Cast of Newsies stands in the finale after finishing their first show.

Cast of Newsies stands in the finale after finishing their first show.

Photo by Davy Brown

Cast of Newsies stands in the finale after finishing their first show.

Photo by Davy Brown

Photo by Davy Brown

Cast of Newsies stands in the finale after finishing their first show.

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Newsies, the Broadway Musical, sponsored by the Aspen Times, is an enthralling story about newsboys going on strike in 1899 to gain fair treatment.

Theater Aspen put on a performance of the Musical that included students from all over the valley: Aspen to New Castle. It was Theater Aspen’s largest conservatory ever.

18-year-old Actress, Beth Caudill, who played a Newsie, has been accepted into two Performing Arts New York Universities with more still to come. She thought the audience responded well to the show’s humor. “The audience reacted a lot better than I thought they were going to actually because you never know how people are going to respond to stuff like that,” Caudill said. She added that the audience laughed in all the right places and understood the humor of the show. The Newsies Cast thought that opening night was overall a success.

Not only does Theater Aspen offer opportunities for kids to get involved with theater, but the program offers educations for children that go beyond acting skills. Director Graham Northrup has been teaching at Theater Aspen for nine years. “Productions teach kids very crucial life skills that allow them to grow and learn. The big ones being, working toward a deadline, working together as a team, because you can’t just wait until the performance to turn it on and do your thing,” Northrup said. He wants to give students a safe place to learn these skills, surrounded by other children with similar interests. “There’s a very wide variety of skills that they learn and are able to utilize even later in life.”

During the creation of this production, the cast was surrounded by professionals all throughout the process. Director Northrup sees this as an important part of what sets them apart, and the casts ability to learn and excel. He said, “I was excited to really surround them with professionals to help the actors themselves up their own game.” A professional choreographer came to give the cast a six-session intense dance workshop before they even started rehearsals. There were also professionals that got involved with lighting and sound, to costumes and set designing. Theater Aspen surrounds them with professionals so that the actors can learn from them and improve. “And of course it brings them together!”

Emily Brinks, a college-bound 18-year-old actress, spoke about the impact that theater has had on her, and the valley. “We are very proud of the work that we put out and a lot of work goes into what we put out. It has made a very big, positive impact on my life personally and I hope that more kids can join, and experience that profound impact as well,” Brinks said.

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