Future camps could bring more fine arts to Sebastian
By Jessica Tuggle
SEBASTIAN -- Last week with just five intensive rehearsals, more than 40 children and teens learned and performed an entire musical production in Sebastian.
Businesswoman, former actress and children's theater director Jennifer Patty directed a one-week summer camp at St. Sebastian Catholic Church for children that culminated in a presentation of "Ever After-The Musical," a musical stage production with familiar fairytale characters in the format of a daytime talk show.
The Two Ugly Stepsisters, Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket, Snow White and the Wicked Queen are just a few of the characters that appear on the talk show, bringing chuckles and smiles to people in the audience.
"Ever After" is the first production for The Sebastian Repertory Theatre, a group Ms. Patty has started to help fill the void of arts programs available for children and teens in Sebastian and Fellsmere.
"There's nothing for kids up here in the arts area, and kids here are really wanting something," Ms. Patty said.
Julianna Hall, 9, of Sebastian said she has participated in drama camps before, but this one had a lot more songs, which was very appealing to her.
"My favorite was 'The Dainty Do-Gooder,' and it was about the Wicked Queen chasing Snow White," Julianna said.
The students had a fun time taking the stereotypes of each character and playing them out to the extreme end with much hilarity.
The Ugly Stepsisters were played by two young boys who definitely had funny bones to spare, Graham Oberlink, 12, of Vero Beach, and Bryce Roux, 9, of Sebastian.
Graham has participated in quite a few musicals and plays before, and simply can't enough.
"I just think the theater is amazing and I love musicals," Graham said.
Ms. Patty said she would like to put together four one-week camps each year to provide students an opportunity to do a little more performing than what is available locally, even at the high school level.
Budget cuts have led to the Sebastian River High School theater productions to be dramas or other productions without much music or choreography, which is sad, Ms. Patty said.
"They aren't able to do all of those classics that I was able to do in school," she said.
Arts opportunities abound in Vero Beach with dance studios, Riverside Theatre and the Vero Beach Theatre Guild, but for middle-class working parents, driving down for regular rehearsals can be difficult because of the time taken up in just driving, the cost of the gas, and the cost of the class, Ms. Patty said.
St. Sebastian Catholic Church graciously allowed Ms. Patty to use the space rent-free for the camp and hosted the performance which was a huge benefit and helped keep the cost of the camp down, she said.
Ms. Patty was thrilled at the number of attendees and is excited for future productions.
"I know it's going to keep growing. I eventually want to do one for all high-schoolers, and eventually one with adults and kids," she said.
Ms. Patty was formerly a children's theater director at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach and the administrator and director for the Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts at Saint Edward's School in Vero Beach.
For more information about potential dates for future productions, contact Ms. Patty at firstname.lastname@example.org.