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‘Once on This Island’ a new challenge for BRTF, Jr. cast

The cast of the Boquet River Theatre Festival’s presentation of “Once on This Island Jr.,” which will take place Aug. 10 through Aug. 12.

The cast of the Boquet River Theatre Festival’s presentation of “Once on This Island Jr.,” which will take place Aug. 10 through Aug. 12. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Over the past few years, members of the Boquet River Theatre Festival’s Junior cast have been doing musicals from the Disney Collection.

This year, they depart to the seas with a production of “Once on This Island Jr.,” which can be seen at the Whallonsburg Grange starting Friday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m.

Additional performances are Saturday, Aug. 11 (7 p.m.) and Sunday, Aug. 12 (2 p.m.) for a musical that directors Dale Mason and Alyssa Carroll said they had in mind for this years’ cast.

“We loved the music in this, and it is almost entirely music,” Mason said. “This is more of a dramatic piece, and it is something that the kids can get more of an acting experience with.”

“We are challenging them this year, and we are pleased with how hard they are working,” Carroll said. “This was something that we wanted to do because of the kids that we had coming back, and we are so happy with them and the new kids that have been added into the mix. They all fit into this perfectly.”

There are 32 children who will take part in the performance, ranging in age from eight to 14. Out of those, 28 have had previous experience as a member of BRTF.

“BRTF isn’t just a theater,” Mason said. “It’s a place where these kids make friendships that keep them coming back. We have kids that live here year round and kids that are here for the summer and they all get along great.”

“It is great to see the different kids of different ages come together and interact with each other,” Carroll said. “The experience carries with them into school and throughout the year.”

Children auditioned for the show back in June, and rehearsals started July 23. Overall, the children learn lines, songs and choreography during a two-and-a-half week process before the opening night.

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