“Look for the Bare Necessities!”

Here at North Star, it’s “all hands on deck” as we are busy getting ready for our musical, which is four weeks from tomorrow!  Instead of the usual post, this time I am talking a little about our special inclusive community theatre project.

Lee Robinson & Mike Roskamp prepare for their roles as Tailorbirds!

Lee Robinson & Mike Roskamp prepare for their roles as Tailorbirds!

On Wednesday, June 3rd at 7:00 p.m. the stage at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa will come alive with the wild jungle antics of Mowgli, Baloo, and the rest of the characters of one of Disney’s enduring favorites, “The Jungle Book.”

North Star Community Services’ inclusive community theatre production of “The Jungle Book” is the fifth musical for the agency.  Directed by Mr. Greg Holt, the show features an ensemble cast of actors with a wide range of abilities, including 80 participants from North Star.

The play is based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1893 collection of short stories set in the heart of the Indian jungle and Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film.

Leading the cast is Tristan Holt as Mowgli, the young, spunky orphan boy who is raised by a family of wolves; Brian John McCarty as Bagheera, the wise black panther; Chelsey Linza as Baloo, the carefree, fun-loving bear; Chad Hackenmiller as King Louie, an ambitious, scheming orangutan; Russell Hamilton as Shere Khan, a man-eating Bengal tiger and the crafty, dangerous, arch-villain; and Kaa, the hungry, s-s-s-slithering Indian python played by Kylie Paton and the “Coils,” (Luke George, Blaine Johnson, Wendy Moore, LaShunda Wilson, and Wendy Moore).  Carrie Rhode is playing the beautiful young village girl, Shanti.  A complete cast list will be available on North Star’s website, www.northstarcs.org

Production coordinator for this show is Haley Krall and the sets are being created in a collaborative effort led by Kate Fineran and Mr. Bill Close.  Costumes are being designed and sewn by Diane Fineran and Haley Krall.  Musical direction is being led by Chelsey Linza, Amanda Spencer, and Chad Hackenmiller.

North Star has some wonderful supporters and sponsors for this theatrical production.  Special thanks for grants from the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, the Iowa Arts Council (a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts), the U.S. Bank Foundation, Teen Trust (a program of the Community Foundation of NEIA), and Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation.  We are so grateful for the generosity of these sponsors:  Veridian Credit Union, Quota Club of Waterloo, Ms. Jean M. Trainor, HGS (Hinduja Global Solutions), Designer Genes Down Syndrome Group, Joint Volunteer’s Arc of Cedar Valley, AHTS Architects, Aspro, Inc., Greenwood Pharmacy and Compounding Center, Magee Construction Company, The Pump Haus Pub & Grill, and Standard Golf Company. Special thanks also to Memory Makers’ Photography by Eileen Crotty and Pioneer Graphics.

North Star’s inclusive community theatre projects were first created in 2008 as a special opportunity for people with disabilities and non-disabled volunteers to learn and work together in a collaborative effort to create amazing costumes, wonderful sets and props, and produce a fantastic, full-scale musical production for the public.  The project allows participants to use the process as a meaningful form of personal expression and growth, as well as provide a valuable life experience – promoting teamwork, responsibility, collaboration, leadership, and communication skills.  The project creates a community presence, builds relationships, and serves as an inclusive experience for the community as a whole.  And, besides that, it’s really fun!

For more information, visit North Star’s website:  www.northstarcs.org

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