Directing a musical production with a large cast of children and adults takes a lot of behind the scenes support and the Studio Theatre certainly had that support for their production of Just So on stage for the final showings this weekend. Here director Jay Goddard gives the cast some pointers after the first dress rehearsal.

Directing a musical production with a large cast of children and adults takes a lot of behind the scenes support and the Studio Theatre certainly had that support for their production of Just So on stage for the final showings this weekend. Here director Jay Goddard gives the cast some pointers after the first dress rehearsal.

Just So an adventure for families

This weekend is the last chance for children and adults to see the Studio Theatre’s musical Just So. The play finishes its three week run with performances tonight, a matinee Saturday afternoon and a Saturday evening performance.

This weekend is the last chance for children and adults to see the Studio Theatre’s musical Just So. The play finishes its three week run with performances tonight, a matinee Saturday afternoon and a Saturday evening performance.

Having the play run for three weeks makes for a strong likelihood that tickets will be available.

It is a brilliant play and a wonderful experience for the audience.

The play has also been a great opportunity for many parents to work together with their children on a project that promotes family literacy.

The dynamic mother/daughter duo of Nancy Gale, Child Development Centre manager, and Shirley-Pat Gale, community literacy co-ordinator, teamed up to produce the play.

“Like any sport I think parental involvement makes a big difference. Many parents can’t believe how their children have grown in self-esteem and confidence,” Nancy says.

While lead character Elephant Child Samantha Fradette was on stage with Kolokolo Bird Chelsea Goddard in most scenes, Samantha’s dad Mike was working behind the scenes creating the crocodile.

While Sylvia Swift played the eldest magician, daughter Kara Pare, played the bounding kangaroo, a cooking stove and a Wildebeeste, and son Myles sang and danced in the chorus.

Megan and Kaitlin Jantz also sang and danced in the chorus while their mother Linda worked behind the scenes as a “kid wrangler” helping to organize the children for their entrances and exits on and off stage and their father Keith helped to build the set and design the sound.

Cindy Nadeau played a Wildebeeste and an elephant and her daughter Danielle Schultz played a hippo, cake sugar and sang in the chorus.

Cindy’s other daughter Savannah Nadeau worked behind the scenes as assistant stage manager to the stage manager Micheal Hodgson.

The family connections continue with the Droucker and Brown families as well as Studio Theatre president Sheryl-Lynn Lewis, her husband Curt Sprickerhoff and their two children Conlan and Tara who worked behind the scenes.

Cariboo Chilcotin partners for Literacy directors Bruce and Lil Mack also helped out behind the scenes and are looking forward to taking their grandchildren to the play this weekend.

Lil made the beautiful fabric backdrop pieced together to look like mountains, streams sky — a little abstract — and Bruce “helped out a bit” cutting fabric and helping to hang the backdrop.

“This play is a great way to interest kids in drama and stories and anything that does that is a great asset to the community,” Bruce says. “It is a fabulous performance and a lot of fun for everybody.”

From the choreographer Becky Strickland to costume designer Bev Frittenburg, there are dozens of people who worked to bring this production to the stage, too numerous to mention here, but the credits are all there in the program received as you enter the theatre.

The musical Just So was written by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles and is based on the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. The story is about how the animals developed attributes that make them special, but also about the challenges children face as they grow and finding their own way in the world.

For director Jay Goddard the play was a total family commitment. Daughter Chelsea took a lead role as the Kolokolo Bird, son Damian was the puppeteer, and daughter Tianna was in the chorus and played Wallaby 1.

Jay’s wife Stephanie Van Der Laan worked behind the scenes on costumes and getting kids on and off the stage. And even their exchange student Dennis Geyer joined the fun as the sound tech.

“The message is especially meaningful as the majority of the cast are between the ages of eight and 18 and dealing with the same challenges of finding identity and purpose as are the characters in the play,” Goddard says.

Just So is on stage at the Studio Theatre in Glendale elementary school tonight Feb. 18 starting at 7 p.m.; tomorrow afternoon, Feb. 19 starting at 1 p.m. and Saturday evening Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. s at 7 p.m. and for a Saturday matinee at 1 p.m.

Tickets are available at About Face Photography.