GO TO iMesh and type in either Laurie Perry or Cedar Children's Theater for 50 other photos...and a list of the Jungle Book songs for audition.
The path leading to the formation of the Cedar Children's Theater began in 1995 when Laurie Perry moved from Salt Lake City to Cedar City. She had worked at the University of Utah's youth theater program under the direction of Dr. Xan Johnson. The University of Utah has a youth theater program now that is 25 years old . But back in 1985 there were only three teachers during the year. Mrs. Perry was one of them for six quarters. In 1987 she administrated the elementary and teen sessions. This consisted of 85 children, 140 teens and 45 artist/teachers. She very much enjoyed her experiences in child drama there and actually got to meet Nellie McCaslin , a pioneer in children's theater who was once a guest speaker. This person said she got interested in theater because her brothers and sisters used to put on plays in the basement for the neighbor children.
Laurie called them the Utah Shakespeare Festival and asked if she could hold a Theater School at SUU campus in June of 1995 to do a workshop for kids. They said yes because they were looking for a way to do a youth program themselves. They let us use the old art studio, the general classroom building, and Thorley Recital Hall where we performed scenes from Shakespeare. Sandra Stiglinski taught the art class and they made banners, and masks. Adrian Tawaw taught the music class. We had SUU students who helped the children in archery, and other medieval arts. We visited the "Queen" who wore a Calvacade dress from the USF. "Stig" was a costume designer at SUU for 25 years and made many of these dresses.
In 1996 we decided to do a "real " play rather than scenes and performed the Orff musical the Princeless Princess with director Mindy Young again in the Thorley Recital Hall. Lee Montgomery as a parent built a wonderful 12 foot high castle. In 1997 we did Legends and Tales of the Southwest taken from the BYU bicentennial photo exhibit of the petroglyphs. Wendy Turner joined us as choreographer. We took this to the Utah Children's Festival in Logan. We performed in 1997-1998 Tales from Judith Viorst where each of us did one of the stories such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad day. Stig acted as the producer. That performance was followed by Lee Montgomery directing Your're A Good Man Charlie Brown, Mindy Young directing the Pirates of Penzance, Stig directing Japanese Kabuki theater, and Laurie directing a Pioneer play as a benefit for the Iron Mission. Laurie also did Really Rosie by Maurice Sendak, the Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, Where the Wild Things Are (a dance) and Androcles & the Lion at the Renaissance Fair through 2000.
In 2001 Stig died and we lost a wonderful friend. Mindy and Melanie moved to Salt Lake and Wendy became a dance teacher for the Utah State board of education. In 2002 we found Harry Bonner and his musical theater family who had directed The Wiz at SUU with 300 cast members.He and his children acted in the play we produced for Theater School in June under the theme New Orleans Jazz and Carnival. Wendy Turner choreographed a Big River number and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's ears. Michael Bahr taught the 8 year olds Three Little Kittens and taught us all theater games. He offered to help because he was thinking of starting a youth program for USF and we had been around 6 years. He started Playmakers the following year which has grown by leaps and bounds. We have always paid the artists who have helped us but it was really not much for the type of people who contributed their time and skill. During intermission we enjoyed some jambalaya and sea food from Mrs. Bonner and Kim Montgomery. In 2003 we did the Masque of Beauty and the Beast at the Randall Theater with all the bells and whistles directed by Natalya Milne and sponsored by the USF who was featuring community arts groups. It was fun to see the lighting changes, the wonderful castle we again got from Lee. A special effect happened when the Beast disappeared in a puff of smoke to become the prince. It was great fun. In 2004 we found Kris Coolee and later Ben Sowards, artist and author of the Christmas Oranges. He contributed money to help us pay the stage fee so we could perform during the Cedar Children's Art Festival at the Heritage center with Jack & the Beanstalk. His wife made the costumes for the starlight dancers with the man in the moon.
Then Laurie left for 7 years to teach school and to become a reading specialist up in Salt Lake City. She most recently taught at Gateway Preparatory Academy where she worked as a Montessori teacher for two years. She is the grandmother of two boys, and a mother of two grown sons and feels this is her highest job yet. We look forward to seeing the wonderful talents of your children as well.