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BWW Feature: DISNEY'S NEWSIES THE MUSICAL at Ignite Theater Company

Two Area Theater Groups Unite Teens with a Love for The Theater

BWW Feature: DISNEY'S NEWSIES THE MUSICAL at Ignite Theater Company

Two theater companies in St. Louis Metropolitan Area, Ignite Theater Company and Grace Beyond Gravity, are working with area youth to help them gain theater experience in a community based theater setting. Tonight, Ignite Theater company opened Disney's NEWSIES THE MUSICAL. Late last year Grace Beyond Gravity produced LEGALLY BLONDE JUNIOR. Both companies feature area high-school and middle school performers and crew members to bring together teens with a passion for the arts in a place to learn the craft.

Ignite Theater Company has a mission to creat great people first and great performers second. Managing Director, Kimberly Kavanaugh says, "We are the only kids theatrical company in the city of St. Louis. We bring together kids who love theater from all over the St. Louis Area." Using theater as a platform, Ignite sets out on its mission of service, performance, opportunities in the arts, real life experience and initiatives in kindness. Each year Ignite produces four main stage productions and the 2022 season will include DISNEY'S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL ON STAGE!, THE MUSIC MAN, HEATHERS THE MUSICAL HIGH SCHOOL EDITON and ELF THE MUSICAL.

In addition to giving teens opportunities to learn, Ignite Theater Group produces one of their shows in a sensory friendly production, making theater accessible to audience members on the autism spectrum. The theater company provides a supportive and welcoming environment for autistic children and their families. These performances include a reduction of loud and jarring sound effects, reductions in flashing or strobe lights, and modification of house lights during the performance. Audience members are free to roam, move or talk during the performance. The production is supported with extra staff and volunteer support for the audience members. Extra sensory support devices such as fidgets, earplugs, and noise cancelling headphones are available in the lobby before the show. NEWSIES THE MUSICAL runs through January 23, 2022.

Grace Beyond Gravity was founded in 2020 as an offshoot from a Catholic parish musical ministry in St. Charles County that was no longer going to be funded by the church. The Christian theater company's mission is to lead youth to Christ though the arts. As a result of the COVID pandemic, the decision was made to produce an outdoor presentation of INTO THE WOODS JUNIOR in 2020 followed by SHREK THE MUSICAL. This past November Grace Beyond Gravity produced their third show, LEGALLY BLONDE JUNIOR THE MUSICAL. Director and Founder Cathy Pescarino said, "The number of teenagers who turned out to audition resulted in the casting of two actors in each of the principle roles. Each cast performed the show twice, thereby doubling the number of acting opportunities for the teens." Grace Beyond Gravity has yet to announce their plans for their next show.

Ignite Theater Group's production of NEWSIES will enjoy a sold-out run this weekend. Grace Beyond Gravity's LEGALLY BLONDE enjoyed a sold-out run as well. Both productions were presented in socially distanced theaters settings to ensure the safety of their cast, crew and audience members.

For more information about these two theater companies, visit their web sites at and

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From This Author - James Lindhorst