A diverse cast of 33 individuals with disabilities will take the stage at St. Charles West High School on Saturday, May 4, for a pair of performances, as Community Living, Inc. presents its 2013 client theatrical production of Annie Junior.
Led by CLI’s Recreation Services department, the eighth-annual performance will feature a number of returning cast members from past productions, as well as some new client actors who will have their first opportunities to exercise their acting skills.
“Rehearsals began in January, and things are progressing great,” said Jodi Darrohn, CLI’s Director of Adult Recreation Services. “It is amazing to see so many of the actors who come back year after year become more and more comfortable on stage and with their ability to act. It’s an amazing transformation to watch! Many of our clients love the theater but were never given the chance to shine in their high school or church performances because of their disabilities. Our client productions give them a chance to be center stage and really show people what they are capable of.”
Each production is a team effort between the client actors, members of CLI’s Recreation Services department and CLI volunteers who work together to construct and design props, sets, scenery and costumes. To accommodate the needs of the clients, a junior version of the original script is used, and recreation staff members read through the script in advance to adjust lines and make the material easier for clients to memorize and deliver on stage. During rehearsals, staff members and volunteers are on hand to run lines with actors to help them memorize their parts.
When the clients take the stage for their pair of performances on May 4, Darrohn notes that hundreds of family members, friends and supporters will be present to cheer on their loved ones.
“On performance day, we can bring in as many as 550 people, and it’s common for both the client actors and their families to be a little nervous,” said Darrohn. “However, the clients are always excited and eager to perform, and we rarely see stage fright. They are all amazing. It’s also a very special night for the parents and families.
They get so excited that their child has been given an opportunity like this, and they often watch the performance with tears in their eyes because they never thought they’d see their son or daughter performing on a stage in this way. It’s just a really incredible night that has to be experienced firsthand to be understood.”
The upcoming May 4 performances are open to the public and will take place at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at St. Charles West High School. Tickets are available for $5, and those interested in attending are encouraged to reserve their seats in advance by calling (636) 614-1325. For more information on the production or CLI’s Recreation Services department, individuals can visit Community Living’s website at www.cliservices.org, or call (636) 970-2800.
Enriching the lives of people with disabilities. This mission has guided Community Living, Inc. to be a premier provider of programs and services for people with disabilities in St. Charles County. Family Support Services merged with Community Living in 2010, and now the agency’s mission and programs reach over 800 individuals and their families. From children to seniors, Community Living provides people with disabilities the opportunity to learn, live, grow, and play in the community, which makes the community inclusive, diverse and a better place to live. For more information about Community Living, visit www.cliservices.org.