Summer Production

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

     It’s a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme: teenagers long for summer to get here, but then soon become bored with the lack of activity.

     Several years ago, the Brookhaven Little Theatre group decided to help provide an alternative to summertime boredom. Now in its fourth year, the BLTeens will be doing a performance of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” June 28, 29 and 30.

     Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door. The play will begin at 7:30 p.m. on June 28 and 29 and at 2 p.m. on June 30. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to show times.

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     Jana Russell, executive director of the BLT and director and music director for this year’s BLTeens production, said the subgroup was created to provide another option for teenagers during the summer.

     “Not everybody is an athlete,” she said. “Not everyone is going to be involved with the summer sports. This is an alternative.”

     JoAnna Sproles, BLT president, said the program was also formed to introduce a new generation to the theater. She said she hopes that many of the students participating in the BLTeens will come back and join the BLT when they are older.

     Both Russell and Sproles agree that the most important aspect of the Little Theatre is helping those who participate feel comfortable in their own skin. The ability to maintain composure and conduct oneself in situations that may be uncomfortable becomes important in life outside the theater, especially in scenarios like job interviews.

     The cast for this year’s performance came together on May 30 and, in about four weeks, has put together an entire show. Russell said working with students in the summer allows the quick turnaround because they do not have to schedule practices around work and most cast members are free every night.

     “They step up to the challenge,” she said.

     This year’s cast consists of approximately 30 teenagers from Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin, Copiah and Pike counties.

     “It always amazes me, the talent these kids have,” Russell said. “These teenagers are just amazingly talented.”

     The cast is made up of a mix of veterans and newcomers ranging in age from 13 to 19. Russell said sometimes the cast will have students who are 12, about to turn 13, and others who just turned 20, but generally they like to keep it in that age range.

     BLTeens’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” is part of the Music Theatre International Junior licensing company.