A handful of kids investigate monsters at Indiana University Kokomo this weekend.
Naturally, there aren’t any real monsters lurking around campus. The inquest will be held onstage at Havens Auditorium for Kokomo Curtain Call Theater’s children’s production of There’s a Monster in my Closet.
Susie Reagle, director of the weekend musical, explained that “There’s a Monster in My Closet” turns children’s fears on its head as children learn that monsters protect them in their sleep.
During the show, she explained that a girl discovers that there is a monster in her closet. She decides to capture him and learns that the monsters are actually guardians.
“I like that it’s weird,” Riggle said. “I like something that’s kind of fabulous.”
The show will feature both live and pre-recorded music. There’s a lot of singing and dancing, Riegel said, as well as a bit of mayhem during some moments of the show.
The weekend production marks the first time Reagle has directed a Curtain Call show in more than a decade.
“I love it. I love working with the younger kids. I love watching them learn the scene and learn their character and get into it,” Riegel said.
The Curtain Call production is also the first time Reagle has presented a show at Havens Auditorium.
After months of training in the Curtain Call studio, Monday afternoon was the first time the cast and crew got to go through rehearsals on the IUK stage.
Since students were out on spring break, the campus was pretty empty. Huddled around the stage – which was complete with a makeshift bedroom, living room and throne for the Queen of Dreams – cast members got a pep talk and learned a few rules to follow during rehearsals.
Riegel said she paid as much attention to the lecture by Jeremy Lisenby Bruce, executive director of Curtain Call, as the children.
Many cast members, who range from elementary to middle school age, will be in their first production this weekend, Riegel said. She sympathized with the children who were frightened by the big stage.
If Sadie Weeks, 8, was one of the nervous performers, she didn’t show it Monday. Instead, she said she’s excited for people to see the show.
Sadie, who plays the Queen of Dreams, said she enjoyed playing the “wacky wizard” who rules Dreamland. This is her first wacky role.
While making friends during rehearsals, Sadie explained that she also learned to be cheerful and patient.
Alaina Mast, 11, said she was a little nervous about the production. The show will feature her first supporting role, not a supporting character.
Alaina introduces herself as Stephanie, one of the main character’s best friends. She said she enjoyed the role – her character has similar interests and they share the same favorite color which is blue. She also learned how to memorize lines and developed her singing range with the character.
12-year-old Carly Petrie also ventures into uncharted territory for There’s a Monster in My Closet. She explained that Wanda — one of the monsters on the show — has a motherly tone that she’s not used to playing. Usually, Carly explained, she’s given more childish roles.
Carly said she hopes the show will inspire other young people to get into theatre.
“It would be so much fun to have other friends and more people in the community,” Carly said. “I feel like theater is a way to overcome stage fright and shyness.”
The actress explained that she was shy until her mother encouraged her to join a production of The Snow Queen when she was in first grade.
Reagle also had hopes for audience members going to see the show.
“I hope they like it,” the director said. “I hope they laugh with the kids.”