Moms and Money: Springfield Little Theater

July 15, 2021--Young performers take the stage in the Springfield Little Theater's production of Jingle in July, part of their Summer Stages program.
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:37 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - While many families are spending the summer by the lake or pool, there are a group of kids who are working very hard, under the stage lights.

“We have a lot of programs for the early beginner at any stage, whether it’s a kid or an adult” said Eli Cunningham, the Artistic Director of Springfield Little Theater.

Kids ages 4 to 18 are taking part in “Jingle All July,” a week-long camp to introduce kids to the basics of performing arts.

“It’s a really great way to come in and get introduced to the space, introduced to acting and all that stuff” said Cunningham.

According to Cunningham, many of their alumni go on to jobs that have nothing to do with theater but the skills they learned remain.

“You gain public speaking, you gain confidence, you gain the ability to know when to lead and when to support, you gain the ability to listen, to think on the spot, to the read the room, skills that through theater apply to your life no matter where you end up” said Cunningham.

Meanwhile, while some kids are just starting their journey into theater, others are coming to the end of their time with Springfield Little Theater.

“We’re in the middle of our first Summer Institute Production, which is a two week rehearsal process culminating in a full show. We’re doing “Grease the Musical,” which is a lot of fun. It’s a cast of kids 10-18 (years old)″ said Zoe Zelonky, Youth Program Director of Springfield Little Theater.

Zelonky says it’s a great way to see how far the kids have come since they began with Springfield Little Theater.

“I think this is a really great example, particularly with Grease, to see how kids grow through our program,. Almost all of our leading people in recent musicals have grown up in our program, from being elementary kids to small summer camps , all the way to being stars on the Landers Stage” said Zelonky.

For Cunningham, he says it’s the journey that makes it all worthwhile.

“Just being able to be part of that growth for these kids, watching them have these “aha” moments where it just clicks into place for them and they say “”I can do this”” and they go for it, that fearlessness, that audacity to try is so enviable and I love to witness that every day of the week” said Cunningham.

There are many educational classes and programs available at Springfield little theater. If your child just wants to dip their toe in the performing arts pool, they have School’s Out Workshops where they learn a play in a day for $35 dollars or six week sessions for $75. There are many more options depending on their interest level.

Sadly Grease has already wrapped but you can catch their second Summer Institute’s production of Disney’s Descendant’s the Musical on Friday and Saturday July 30th and 31st. For more information click here.

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