Krayon Kids, the nonprofit children’s theater group based in Oregon City, will celebrate its 20th season with an original production of “Dreamweavers,” a musical about making good choices, learning about who you are, and believing in the magic of all that life offers.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: KIM GRENFELL - Oregon City High School freshman Ellie Grenfell and Taylor Miller as The Weaver in Krayon Kids 20th anniversary production of the original play DreamWeavers, opening Nov. 1 and continuing through Nov. 24 at the Barclay Theatre in Oregon City.“All of us need to believe because we want to be weavers of dreams ourselves,” said Dianne Kohlmeier, creator and artistic director of the theater group. “For me, Krayon Kids has been a dream fulfilled, and I’ve had the distinct privilege of watching kids weave their own dreams into reality. I’ve always said, when you get in the kid business and see lives change, it’s awfully hard to ever leave it. Seeing young people thrive in their real lives has been our greatest reward.”

She said that talents and skills the children possess, such as playing the guitar or dancing, are written into the script to give the child an avenue to showcase his or her special talent.

In this story, a young girl becomes frustrated with her family and decides to leave home, only to find herself alone in a strange new world. An unexpected encounter with a mysterious character, named The Weaver, takes her on an enchanted journey of epic proportions.

Local children involved in the production include Oregon City High School junior Grayson Gilstrap, OCHS freshman Ellie Grenfell, Rex Putnam High School sophomore Taylor Dodson, St. John the Baptist eighth grader Micheal Meier, LaSalle sophomore Nick Boeh, LaSalle freshman Kati Busch, LaSalle freshman Eva Busch, West Hills Christian School eighth grader Ashlyn Carlisle of the Clackamas area, Cascade Heights Charter School fourth grader Abigail Coburn, Ogden Middle School eighth grader Alexis Davis, Clackamas Middle College junior Sonya Hungerford, CMC sophomore Jacob Hungerford, Kraxberger Middle School sixth grader Skye Palacios and Gardiner Middle School eighth grader Brooklyn Rounsavell.

Kohlmeier said a few former Krayon Kids are back to help celebrate the milestone season and that many new effects will be presented in this year’s production, including a 1930s silent film cartoon to which a graduate has written background music and actors provide the voices.

Kohlmeier said the Krayon Kids formula usually takes audiences on a new adventure in every scene, and this year’s show is no exception. Audiences will be transported from Greece to an old toy museum, to a dark space beneath a subway, and then to a birthday party for Wednesday Addams at the Addams Family Garden.

“I know people will love it,” said Calais Radcliffe, who is performing with Krayon Kids for the first time. “There are so many talented kids. I think people will be surprised that there is so much to see. Lots of action and a good story with beautiful singing and dancing.”

For the past two months, the cast has been rehearsing Friday evenings, all day Saturdays and most Sundays to prepare for the 18-show run.

“The time commitment is hard because it doesn’t leave much time for anything else on the weekends, but I love it. It’s been really fun meeting kids from other schools who like to do what I like — perform! We all get along so well, so that makes it fun,” Radcliffe said.

Twins Ashley and Briana Alexander are in their fourth season as Krayon Kids. Ashley Alexander said the biggest challenge in this production for her was learning the marionette dance with strings attached to her arms. Briana Alexander said remembering her cues was her biggest challenge.

“The hardest thing for me was getting to know all the dances and songs in such a little time,” said Bethan Cleminson, who has two years as a Krayon Kid under her belt.

“We really stepped it up this year from tangos to swing dances,” said Natalie Scott, who has been a member for four years. She, along with the Alexander twins and Cleminson, all said they knew audiences would enjoy the song and dance numbers as well as the “crazy themes and fun acts.”

To be involved with Krayon Kids, parents commit to the process, too.

“We don’t charge participants, and, in turn, expect parents to compensate with their time, the hardest gift to give,” Kohlmeier said. “Seeing parents working side by side with their kids is one of the most gratifying things we do, and it benefits everyone. The time between childhood and adult is very short, so I know this time together is more precious than gold.”

She encouraged all to attend the show.

“Being part of Krayon Kids is awesome!” said Ashley Alexander.

“Dreamweavers” runs Nov. 1-24 with Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children under 18 and seniors. Order online at The Barclay Theatre is located at 817 Twelfth St. in Oregon City.

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