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YouTheatre kids taste the bigtime in 'Evita'

Children from YouTheatre are performing in 'Evita' Children from YouTheatre are performing in 'Evita'

YouTheatre kids from 8 to 18 are getting a taste of Broadway and contributing to the music and drama of Evita, the hit musical on stage through June 30 at the Flat Rock Playhouse.

The children, part of the YouTheatre program, perform alongside seasoned actors and Broadway veterans including Anna Eilinsfeld (Eva Peron) and Charlie Brady (Che).
Four actors are participating for the entirety of the show's four-week run: Louise Cummins and Margaret Butler, 18; Kaitlin Rose Jencks, 16; and Luke Umphlett.
Additionally, three children each week perform in one-week runs. Week One (June 5-9) featured Samantha Penny, 10; Lily Bates; and Clarke MacDonald, 9. Week Two, (June 12-16) features Clancy Penny, 10; Michelle Foster, 8; and
Alex Harrelson, 14. Week three (June 19-23), Kaia Sage Pelz; Sophie Bradshaw, 12; and Laura Packer, 8. Week Four (June 26-30) Ava Moss, 10; Ellie Stout, 10; and Emily Holbert, 16.
"I'm definitely learning a lot," says Butler, a new Hendersonville High School graduate, last year's Apple Ambassador and an aspiring actress who is headed for Shenandoah College. "YouTheatre really prepared me for this kind of work.
It made me responsible and gave me an understanding of all aspects of theatre. Evita is a great opportunity to get to learn from the older actors and apprentices, who are very professional."
The big moment for the children's choir's comes in the middle of Act II with "Santa Evita."
Louise Cummins, a YouTheatre veteran and the only child with a solo, has enjoyed the high-profile role.
"The way that we're included in the show, and the way that we get to interact with the other actors is different," she says. "Normally we're just sort of there for a scene and don't get to participate, but in this one, we have a lot more interaction."
Several aspects of the production process were new to the children, but imperative to their understanding of professional theatre. The speed at which the production comes together, for example, was an eye-opener.
"I've done a lot of community theatre and it usually takes so long to get done," Jencks says, "but a professional production like this gets done so quickly, and everyone is on top of everything. Everything gets done with incredible speed and precision."
Through Evita, the Flat Rock Playhouse is providing local child actors with the opportunity to participate in a professional production with actors who, in the words of Umphlett, "absolutely inspire" them.