By MaryAnne Andersen
Cedar City Arts Council
We went to see the “The Lion King,” as presented by the Cedar City Children’s Musical Theater, and were amazed at the sight of 200 kids (and a few adults) singing and dancing in really elaborate costumes. There were so many of them that they had to put singers and dancers in the aisles. Now we know about children’s theater, and are well aware that such productions take a lot of adult back-up.
Consider: the costumes for this show were quite elaborate. Each outfit had several pieces—pants/skirt, scarves, headdress, sash. And there were many really elaborate masks. Huge puppets crossed the stage as giraffes, elephants, zebras, and birds. All of these items had to be designed, built, and maintained during rehearsal and performance.
And what I thought of with some awe was the process of undressing. At the end of each show, 200 or so kids were eager to get to their families in the lobby, and in typical kids fashion, were probably ready to fling their costumes onto the floor and take off. Think how many adults it would take to monitor the disrobing: maintaining the integrity of each multi-pieced costume, labeling, and storing each child’s costume in readiness for the next show. The masks and headdresses would be fragile and needed to be carefully handled.
Over-dressing—putting costumes over shorts and tees—was probably the routine, but getting the right outfit on the right kid and then collected again after the show….! Chaos. There must have been numerous adults supervising the clothing exchange, keeping things from being damaged or lost, seeing that the costumes were properly stored and easily accessible for the next performance.
That is the point of this. For that many children to have such a fabulous theatrical experience, there would have to have been dozens of adult volunteers. And it is like anything else: the kids were probably oblivious to the effort involved.
Consider this: in answer to a query from the state PTA, the list of artistic activities available to children in Cedar City was two pages long. Don’t get bored as I show you.
Theater: Four theaters or workshop offerings in which kids could be on stage, including some using the resources of our professional theater company.
Art: Strong visual arts programs in all schools, plus some after-school offerings and family art activities in our new world-class SUMA gallery.
Music: Music programs in all public schools, plus an outstanding community string program, and community choirs; a yearly piano-ensemble concert
Dance: At least six dance studios, including a junior ballet that does a full-length production each year.
Community outreach: Our local orchestra presentation of a unique children’s jubilee each February, featuring a live orchestra performance and hands-on activities.
Whatever your child’s artistic interest, there is something available in this town to feed that interest. And hundreds of adults give of their time and means to make all this happen. We are so lucky to live in this culture-rich place.