Where can you go and see a musical where 60 kids from the entire area work together to present a show? The PAAC(Portsmouth Area Arts Council Children Theater) group is doing just that this weekend, they are presenting Disney’s Frozen Jr. at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
Emily Clausing is starring in the role of Elsa, she is a junior at Clay High School. Clausing said of playing Elsa, “I am very excited, slightly nervous, but that’s just show jitters, but otherwise very excited. Some other kids and me were on a group call we were on the call when they posted the cast list and my sister and me came out of our rooms just screaming at each other because she plays Anna. It’s been pretty amazing working with a new director, but Caroline’s work ethic and how she thinks is creative and cool and amazing to work with. I have two big songs and little bits and pieces in other songs. I did a role over the summer with a touring group and I had pages and pages of lines, so this was kind of an easy thing to adapt to. I have been involved with PAAC since the summer before my fifth grade year. I would love to do something with theatre when I graduate high school, obviously, that would be the dream.” Not to put her under pressure, but her school (Clay) was to be the first group for her to perform in front of Thursday, but she said she felt that she was ready. She concluded with she hopes everyone enjoys the show and she hopes everyone comes to see it.
Ironically, Clausing’s younger sister, Abby is starring in the role of Anna, and Abby said of being cast with her sister, “It’s great because I love my sister and I love doing things with her. It does get a little hard sometimes because we’re sisters.” Abby Clausing also attends Clay and is an eighth-grader there. ” I don’t really have a song by myself, but I have a duet with the guy who plays Hans and it’s fun because he is my best friend. There are abunch of lifts and choregraphy. This is my first lead role. I really wanted it, but there’s so many other talented people in the cast, but it was great. It’s not terribly hard to learn my lines, because we have rehersal every single day. I was seven when I did my first show. I love everybody here, Caroline is amazing she is like so good the choregraphy is magnificent and she like shows us how we are supposed to do everything and how we are supposed to look. She tells us what we are suppose to be feeling and I love that about her. Caroline, she’s one of those people you feel like you have known for years, when you first meet her. I’m very nervous, but I am so excited. I hope it will be okay this show is amazing and I have no doubt that everybody in the cast is going to be amazing.”
Finally, talking with Caroline Clay, the director, she is a professional actress from Greenup County and she graduated from Russell, she said, “When you are an actor, you go contract to contract, show to show and I just had September and October and the first of November free and the contract here couldn’t have worked out any better. I am also very good friends with Sam (Fowler)who called me and asked me if I could do this. I have worked with the National Theatre for Children in Minniapolis, Mazoola Children’s Theatre in Mazoola, Montana so I’m pretty accustumed to children’s theatre and Frozen what a cool opportunity, the very last day of this show I have a contract, I don’t even get a day off. That’s why I’m here and I get to be with my parents who live in Flatwoods and that’s really nice.” She said that the Clausing girls work very hard for her and that the other kids in the cast, have adapted to the change with her being the new director. “Things are going great, we are doing our final dress tech tonight and tomorrow we have two school shows, I’m not nervous, I’m not worried I know these kids are ready to go they just need a crowd here to give them the energy. I’ve given them difficult stuff and detailed stuff and they have taken everything I’ve given them and ran with it. I couldn’t be happier with the work they have put in, all of them from ages seven to 17.”
Looking for something to take the kids to or just for anyone, come out and see Frozen Jr. this weekend, you won’t be disappointed.
The cast of the show: Emily Clausing- Elsa Savannah Davis- Middle Elsa Ella Thompson- Young Elsa Abby Clausing- Anna Faith Claypool- Middle Anna Bentlee Dowdy- Young Anna Carson Nickell- Hans Luke Stine- Kristoff Alex Stump – Sven Trenton Banks- Olaf Andrew Sessor – King Agnarr Jalynn Hoskins- Queen Iduna Nathan Hughes- Duke of Weselton Jeffrey Keaton-Guard Tad Coriell- Guard Nicole Hughes- Oaken Alexis Tackett- Pabbie McKenna Howard- Bulda Abbi Sessor- Bishop Abby King- Steward
Ice Powers: Ian Skeens(Dance Captain), Leah Barnhart, Abyghale Jones, Emma Whitely, Sarah Sininger, Kyra Warren, Kami Hammond
Summer Chorus: Ava Klaiber, Kamryn Billiter, Duncan McCleese, Mila Hammond, Avalei Ehrhart, Keaton Ferguson-Goodman, Keira Hicks, Salem Rachford
Oaken Family: Lillie Wolfenbarker, Abby King, Brooklyn Tackett, Natalie Angus, Lily Kielmar, Bella Dotson, Karley Frantz, Jeffrey Keaton, Luke Brumfield
Hidden Folk: Haven Davis, Jalynn Hoskins, Reagan Rolfe, Kerstin Collins, Gracie Thompson, Addee Sandlin, Ava Lilly, Kyra Stump
Castle Staff: Angel Stump, Grace Barber, Marilyn Colley, Laurianne DeAtley, Macyn Johnson, Andrea Lott, Alexis Whitley
Citizens of Arendelle: Emma Colley, Maria Stiles, Luke Brumfield, Anna Lott, Alyson Cline
Along with the 60 kids, Emily Sessor and Kaitlyn Angus are stage managers. Sam Fowler is the executive director, and Bailey Hartlage is the business manager. Keri Kelley is the props mistress and in charge of hair. Jeanne Nickell helps with props and hair. Drea Perkins is in charge of make-up. Sammy Young is in charge of costumes. Kathy Thompson is the volunteer coordinator. Amy Barnhart and Brenda Willis are doing lights and Scott Williams is doing sound. The mission of the Portsmouth Area Arts Council is to integrate the arts into the lives of children and families and to encourage the appreciation of the arts and cultural heritage of the region. They have been presenting shows with the children in our area for many years and the shows are talked about in the public for how great they are.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
© 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights