Sierra Rep Launches New Youth Program with JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS

Sierra Rep Launches New Youth Program with JASON AND THE ARGONAUTSSierra Repertory Theatre is giving a sneak preview of its new youth theatre program with its production of Jason and the Argonauts, a 45-minute musical comedy written by new SRT Education Director Ralph Krumins (Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story). Based on the ancient Greek hero, the fast paced show for children will feature three actors playing over 20 roles and will play at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Fallon House Theatre in Columbia on December 7, 8, 14 and 15. Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults.

Travel back in time to days when gods rules the sky, monsters roamed the earth and every warrior was a brand new hero. Jason goes on a quest to bring home the legendary Golden Fleece. With the help of the audience and brave Argonauts such as Orpheus and Hercules, he will conquer many dangers before he claims his prize. An abundance of audience participation makes Jason and the Argonauts fun for all ages.

Creator, actor and director, Krumins holds a degree in integrated studies in music and theater and recently returned from South Korea, where he developed youth programming as part of a language school. Before that, he played Buddy in Sierra Rep's Buddy Holly Story and spent three years creating and running a very successful children's program for Great Plans Theatre in his native Kansas. He is eager to build SRT's first children's program, a new initiative part of Sierra Rep's upcoming 35th Anniversary season.

"I love working with kids because they are the most honest audience and actors you'll meet," Krumins said. "Also, they have the best sense of imagination."

Krumins believes youth actors are the most entertaining and rewarding type of performers to work with.

"With actors of any age, you will see growth and confidence throughout time, but with children it's an explosion. The shy kid who could barely get through introducing himself at the first audition is now belting to the back row by the end of a run. Confidence and skill go and I hand and it's remarkable to see a child become something they didn't even know they could be.

"Also, when you have adults performing children's shows, kids get introduced to theater at even younger ages. After performing for a young kindergarten class, a little girl stomped up to me and said, 'Hey, I want to do this stuff. Tell me how.' Everyone wins with this new program, especially our community kids!"

Sierra Rep Artistic Director Scott Viets said he is excited to take the steps for the new program as the theatre moves into its 35th Anniversary season. The plans for the program include musical theater workshops, touring school performances and more, all with the goal of meeting community needs and connecting local youth with Sierra Rep main stage productions.

"It's something Sierra Rep has wanted to add for many years," Viets said. "We're delighted to have a professional with such skills and energy to take the lead. We know local families and educators in our region have a continued desire for quality children's programming both for young audiences and young artists. Our plan is to start slowly and develop elements that make sense for the community, complement what is now available and give talented youth a place to grow, build experience and polish their skills.

"We had a great experience with Ralph as a performer, and were thrilled when he proposed this partnership. Ralph is a creative and collaborative co-worker. We love his approach to children's programming and youth training and we know he's just the right person for this new venture."

Jason and the Argonauts plays December 7, 8, 14, and 15 at the Fallon House Theatre in Historic Columbia State Park. Performances are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults. For more information or reservations, call Sierra Rep's box office at (209) 532-3120 or visit Sierra Rep at www.sierrarep.org.

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