Krayon Kids to present 'Inside the Mind of Artekus Krumbe'
When a writer needs inspiration, who better to turn to than William Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austen? That's what literally happens when an author seeks ideas for a new book in the Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company's "Inside the Mind of Artekus Krumbe."
The musical opens Nov. 3 and continues through Nov. 19 at the Barclay Theater, 817 12th St., in Oregon City.
In the course of the story, famous authors and others tell Artekus Krumbe "to write about what he knows best from his own life experiences," said Dianne Kohlmeier, Krayon Kids executive artistic director.
"Along the way, Krumbe encounters Shakespeare's world, then moves into a world full of gangsters in the roaring '20s," Kohlmeier said. "In between, the subjects continue to be varied and familiar, but with that Krayon touch where nothing is as it seems.
"We always want the audiences to be in awe over how we present the choreography and include the skills of the cast of 61 kids," she said. "We want them to feel uplifted; the show will touch each person in a way they'll remember, maybe [through] the element of surprise. For each viewer that experience will be different.
"Our audiences expect outstanding costuming and characters that not only can knock your socks off with a great song but can also make you laugh uncontrollably with silly antics," Kohlmeier said.
"We re-create some bedtime stories for Artekus' two young children, visit a library with an enchanting and fantasy-driven story, and see what Artekus can create for his new best-selling book," said Taylor Miller, the director of the musical and a past Krayon Kid.
"There are all sorts of musical numbers in the show, from fast-paced superhero dance routines to tapping cows, ballet and even heart-warming vocal numbers to tug at the heartstrings," he said.
"I think our audiences will love that we have touched upon a multitude of book genres, and there really is something for every age and every personality. Of course, the bright costumes and exciting dance routines will keep people wanting more."
"A great deal of our success for every show is the fact that our team is creative and talented and each person brings so much to the table," Kohlmeier said.
The group goes on a retreat every year and works together to come up with an original script for each show.
"We all contribute, no matter who comes up with what. We feed well off each other and have become a well-oiled, finely tuned machine," she said.
"It was definitely a group effort in coming up with the storyline," Miller said.
"The script also goes through major changes before it's handed out to the cast members. We even make changes up to tech week because we learn as we go, and things always adapt as the kids hit the stage and we as directors visually experience the show," he said.
"We always try to find different ways to try something that has inevitably been recycled through past shows or things that have inspired all of us," Miller said. "When I say there is something for every age, and everyone in the audience will find that one moment, I truly mean that."
"We are gearing up for our 25th anniversary next year, and we're all very excited to celebrate such an accomplishment," Miller said.
"We also have the opportunity to take about 20 of our cast members to Peru this summer for a cultural exchange with the American School of Lima. We have a family in Krayon Kids with ties to Peru, and [we] jumped on the chance to take our Elite Travel Troupe abroad for another trip."
As Kohlmeier looks back over the years of working with Krayon Kids, she said there have been too many special moments to count.
It is still a family affair for her, with her daughter, Kamala, acting as choreographer and Kadyn, her granddaughter, performing with the troupe.
Recently, two adult cast members announced their engagement onstage.
"The wedding date's in August; now that really was a real-life favorite moment. There are so many, yet the personal moments of triumph and reward for me are seeing cast members achieve their own success," Kohlmeier said.
Miller said his favorite thing about theater is how it affects both the audience and the people performing.
"I love sitting in the light booth and watching how the audience reacts to each dance, joke or heartfelt moment," he said.
As a director, he tries "to create moments that get people thinking or remind them of something in their life."
Kohlmeier added: "Krayon Kids Musical Theater Company has been lucky enough to have touched and changed many lives. We're unique in what we give to each child that walks down our hallways onto the Barclay stage."
What: Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company presents "Inside the Mind of Artekus Krumbe" When: 7 p.m. Nov. 3, 10 and 17; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 4, 11 and 18; and 2 p.m. Nov. 5, 12 and 19
Where: The Barclay Theater, 817 12th St., Oregon City
More: For tickets and information, visit krayonkids.org