Step right up and get a look at Zuckerman’s famous pig this weekend at the Rochester Civic Theatre.
Immersion Youth Repertory is bringing the children’s classic to the live stage with the two performances — each by a different cast of young performers.
Each year since Immersion Youth Repertory was established in 2016, students in third through seventh grade attend Immersion Youth Theatre’s “boot camp” to produce a play with a week of rehearsals and hands-on backstage technical training.
Usually the camps culminate with a musical performance from a cast of about 40.
This year, the size of the show was limited to a cast of about a dozen children each due to precautions to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, the immersive experience is still an intensive introduction to stage theater. Actors will be masked, because most of them are too young to receive a vaccine for the virus.
The production comes together over one week of rehearsals and work. Most community theater shows come together in four to six weeks.
“That’s a lot of time to devote over a summer break,” said Misha Johnson, Rochester Civic Theatre interim managing director. “They really thrive under that one-week push.”
The show always comes together in the end, she said.
“I’m never surprised, but I’m always amazed,” she added.
Johnson is directing one of the casts performing this weekend. Kami Sim, who is heading the Civic’s youth theater department, is directing the other.
Johnson said the week of preparation works to focus the kids on getting the show ready. For first-time performers, that mindset can be helpful.
“They almost don’t have time to be scared or freaked out,” she said.
Johnson established Immersion Youth Repertory after heading a similar organization in Denver.
The two “Charlotte’s Web” performances this weekend, another in August, and performances of the satirical musical “Urinetown” July 23 and 24 will be the last performances under the Immersion Repertory banner. Sim is heading the Civic’s new children’s theater program, which will include similar summer camps and performances, along with about four children’s theater shows each season with the Civic.
“There will be plenty of opportunities for newcomers,” Johnson said.
If you go
What: Immersion Youth Repertory’s "Charlotte's Web"
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 11-12
Where: Civic Theater, 20 Civic Center Drive