The Missoula Children's Theatre returns to WL for 'The Pied Piper' performance

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Cedaroak Park Primary second-grader Raiden Ray strikes his ending pose at 'The Pied Piper' auditions. This November, 60 children had one week to audition, memorize lines and rehearse a play for West Linn community members.

The performance of "The Pied Piper" — a fairytale about a rat-catcher who was hired by the town of Hamelin to lure rats away with his magic pipe — will open Saturday, Dec. 1.

Missoula Children's Theatre staff coordinated with Cedaroak Park, Bolton and Trillium primary schools, Three Rivers Charter School and Rosemont Ridge Middle School to bring the "The Pied Piper" to West Linn.

"It's a great program. They (the Missoula Children's Theatre) travel all over the United States; they actually go to other countries," said Molly Lallum, parent volunteer on the Missoula Children's Theatre volunteer committee. "It's a no-cut system but it's an opportunity for kids to have a theater experience involving memorizing lines, being on stage."

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Missoula Children's Theatre Director Billy Speed demonstrates a move before students give it a try.Lallum, who grew up in Missoula, performed in children's theatre plays growing up. When she moved to West Linn six years ago, her youngest daughter followed in her footsteps and started performing in the plays every year she could.

"It's been a great experience for her," Lallum said. "It's great for kids who are unfamiliar with what it's like to be in a theatrical production."

Last year, children who acted in the Missoula Children's Theatre play performed "Treasure Island."

"It was great," Lallum said. "The really little kids always steal the show. They have cute, funny, little costumes."

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - West Linn students audition for 'The Pied Piper' Nov. 26. The auditions are on a first-come, first-serve basis and children from kindergarten through middle school can sign up. Seventh- and eighth-graders can also sign up to assist the two directors.

Starting Monday, Nov. 26, students of five West Linn schools met after school to determine roles, start rehearsing and memorizing. The directors already had costumes, sets, make up and scripts on hand. "It's a pretty slick process," Lallum said.

But it's something that Lallum said strengthens the community.

"I think people should come because it's a great way to see how we are bringing a unique theater performance to the West Linn community," she said.

"I think just the fact that it's the 'The Pied Piper;' it's something that's a little less familiar," Lallum said. "It's fun to see how they take it and make it on their own."

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Missoula Children's Theatre Director Alicia Batterson works with students on their songs and dance moves. The performance will be at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Cedaroak Park Primary. Tickets are $5, for seniors, $8 for adults and $2 for students, and people can purchase tickets at the door.

"That tends to work the best," Lallum said. "It's homegrown in the sense that the majority of the people there know someone at the performance or they have gone in the past."

Lallum also said the Missoula Children's Theatre volunteer committee is looking for dedicated volunteers.

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Cedaroak Park Primary first-grader Arabel Weinham waits her turn while another group of students audition. "It's a great group of volunteers we work with," she said."(It's a) labor of love for the people who help bring it to the community. It's one of those things people look for it to come every year because their kids like participating. It's fun to watch what the kids put together."

West Linn Tidings reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281. TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Rosemont Ridge Middle School sixth-grader Nicholas Katko rehearses a dance shown by  Missoula Children's Theatre staff.

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