PARKERSBURG - The Guild Builders Youth Theater Program will present the comedy "Kilroy Was Here!" starting this weekend at the Guild Playhouse at 724 Market St. in downtown Parkersburg.
The show will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and March 9 and at 2:30 p.m. March 10 and 11.
Tickets are $7 for adults and seniors and $5 for children and are available by calling 304-485-1300 or visiting www.actorsguildonline.org.
"Kilroy Was Here!" is a comedy set in a Brooklyn U.S.O. Club in 1942. Ships leaving the nearby Navy yard are being sunk by enemy U-boats, leading Allied intelligence to suspect the club is unknowingly harboring Axis spies. Enter Private Joe Kilroy, a young soldier who draws a curious cartoon face everywhere he goes. He's the only one who knows where the next Allied convoy will converge and the enemy agents will stop at nothing to learn his secret. The action builds to an exciting finale during a wild radio broadcast.
More than 50 children from throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley have been working on the comedy musical since October, learning not only performance, but also the backstage jobs of costume design and production, said Barbara Ream, organizer of the program.
The free six-month Saturday morning program offers weekly instruction and participation in all facets of theater arts, including: acting; singing; movement and dance; set, props and costume design and construction; lighting and sound; marketing art design; makeup; directing; stage management and playwriting.
At the end of the six-month program, students use all the theater skills they have learned to present five performances of a full-length musical production. The entire cast and crew of the production is comprised of Guild Builders students.
The title role of Pvt. Joe Kilroy is being played by Sam Miser, 15, of Parkersburg.
Miser has been involved in Guild Builders for three years and "it's still amazing," he said.
He was in a previous Guild production before he decided to join the youth theater program.
"I decided that I wanted to do it, to keep going and try to learn about theater," he said. "You always learn something every year. You think you know everything, but then you learn something new."
At age 15, Miser is in his final year with Guild Builders but wants to continue in theater, either as a profession or a hobby.
Haley Matthews, 15, of Parkersburg, is in her sixth year after getting involved through family who are active in the Guild. She has performed on-stage and also worked behind the scenes on the technical crew, but "I definitely like being on stage. It's thrilling to be in front of an audience and it makes me happy," she said.
Abigail Tennant, 13, of Parkersburg, is in her fourth year with the program.
"My favorite part is doing the shows. It's just really fun to be in costume and all of the songs and plays are just really fun to do on stage," she said.
Daisy Lawrence, 11, of Parkersburg, is participating for the first time in Guild Builders this year. She started doing Missoula Children's Theater at her hometown in Virginia and continued at the Smoot. She has enjoyed participating in Guild Builders this year, especially the songs and singing.
Lakeyn Chavez, 13, of Parkersburg, is in her second year. She was on stage last year but wanted to work on the technical crew this year and will be operating the soundboard during the shows.
"The tech is really fun," she said, adding she plans to come back next year, but is not sure which side of the stage she wants to come back on.
Ryan Hannus, 14, of Vienna, is in his fifth year with Guild Builders. He likes being in the play, acting and socializing with the other Guild Builders.
"I just like being able to be somebody you're not. I find that is something I really enjoy, being able to get out there and you can be goofy when you're not actually goofy and act different," he said.