TYA opens with favorite children’s story

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By Bob Evans

A favorite children’s story, “Chicken Little” comes to life as a musical at Union Station on City Stage, presented by Theatre for Young America– a production starring adult actors doing their most charming best to perform and delight younger audiences.

TYA produces hour long songs full of music, dancing, bright costumes, audience involvement, and a Q&A session after each show to help acquaint youngsters to the world of theatre and explain aspects of the production. In this case, “Chicken Little,” comes to the stage in a new version of the story crafted by TYA founder Gene Mackey.

In this show, Chicken Little performs with her band (which includes Foxy Woxy, Cocky Locky, Goosey Poosey and Henny Penny). And there needs to be a villain, so Foxy Moxy enters the picture, dead-set on a chicken dinner with a side of goose.

The songs and dances charm the younger audience, and the chase scene breaks the fourth wall as the cast asks the audience “Which way did he go?”, providing a chance for some audience participation. The show runs about 50 minutes and then the cast introduces themselves, fields questions, and explains the parts theatre art.

After the show, the cast awaits in the lobby to wave, visit, hug, and get photos taken with the audience as they leave. The event gives students (or preschoolers) a nice introduction to live performances. TYA provides a great opportunity to get children away from TV, videos, games, and movies.

As for the cast, TYA performers develop exaggerated characters, movements, and facial expressions geared specifically for younger audiences. For actors, TYA offers some of the best opportunities for character development and presentation for specific audiences.

“Chicken Little” cast: Kyra Weinberger, Franci Talamantez-Witte, Mikala Sullivan , J. Will Fritz, Eric Johansen. The production staff is: Valerie Mackey, director/choreographer; Alexandra Pilley, stage manager; Lacey Pacheco, technical director/set designer; Valerie Mackey, costume designer; Sarah Nickerson, scenic artist; Kylor Greene, lighting designer; Zach Hampton, costume assistant.

“Chicken Little” runs through Nov. 10 on the lower level of Union Station. The show is appropriate for all age levels but are targeted to the younger ages. Tickets can be purchased through the TYA website.

Upcoming productions are “Junie B. Jones–Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”; “The Toughest Kid in the World”; “Polka Dots: The Cool Kids Musical”; “Go, Dog. Go!”; “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Tags: Theatre for Young America, TYA, Chicken Little–The Musical, Union Station, City Stage, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment

Image courtesy of Theatre for Young America

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