“I love getting the opportunity to have them all day and really, really rehearse things, even though its an abbreviated time schedule as far as this is just two weeks of rehearsal for them,” Brooks said. “Having them all day really gives us the opportunity to work on some things that we don’t necessarily get to like when we have them in the fall shows, where we just have evening rehearsals a couple of times a week. So it’s good to get to push them a little bit more than I normally do.
“[During the summer camps], they get more comfortable with each other because they spend so much time with each other and me, and that means that they are that much more willing to try new things. And they’re not so much worried about what their friends are going to think because they know each other so well that they trust each other so much more.”
Open to the public, “Kamp KAOS” will be presented by the Middle School Camp at 7 p.m. both nights at The Grand Theatre, 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville. Under Brooks’ guidance and the musical direction of Kaye Compton, the production will feature a cast of 24: Wally — Ethan Ladwig; camp counselors — Jackson Abernathy, Emily Butterworth, Emily Conlin, Ally Jett, Charli Ann Shane, Elizabeth Sigman and McKenna Trapheagen; campers — Victoria Boulier, Juliana Choate, Logan Gibson, Grace Hamner, Erin Kilpatrick, Anna Matherne, Reece McCamy, Amber Muntz, Lainey Nielsen, Madison Philpott, Anna Catherine Womack and Alexis Wood; health inspector Agnes Stonebottom — Sarah Schubert; Lucinda Scorch — Madison Ricci; and Lucinda’s bodyguards, Helga and Olga — Jessica Crowe and Alina Hall.
Tickets for “Kamp KAOS” are $5 and are available at the door or in advance by calling 770-386-7343.
“The general plot sort of summarized is that there is a summer camp that is in trouble,” Brooks said. “The mortgage is due and their fearless leader is out of commission. So the campers have to kind of rally together to save the camp in his absence.
“So it’s kind of a classic Mickey Rooney-type plot line, where it’s ‘let’s get together and save the day.’ So I think it appeals to people who are not necessarily related to the campers just because it’s such a familiar, entertaining plot line. The kids are really talented. They’re a lot of fun to watch.”
The Middle School Camp is the first offering in The Grand’s Summer Music Theatre Camps program. While the Senior High Camp is at capacity, there still are openings for the two Elementary Camp sessions for students who have completed grades two through four. Following “Kamp KAOS,” the productions will include the elementary students’ “Get in the Game” on June 22 and 29 at 7 p.m. and the senior high musical “Beauty and the Beast” July 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. and July 28 at 2:30 p.m.
“The program was started in 1989 by Jonalyn Bew and Don Kordecki,” said Terri Cox, program director for The Grand Theatre. “They just wanted to give young people in our community a chance to experience dramatic arts and music [by participating in] musical theater. ... In the elementary group, they learn just basic skills about how to project their voice singing and doing easier choreography. They have a few lines during that time. It’s more of a musical performance. And then when they advance to middle school, they perform a play that has more of a plot line to it with characters that they each can develop. Then they continue honing their skills in singing and dancing and acting. Then for the high school camp, we do a full-blown Broadway show.
“[Through the years], I certainly have seen a lot of growth,” she said, referring to repeat campers. “We have students who have learned to be confident in themselves when they present themselves to the public. They also learn a lot about teamwork, responsibility. They learn how to depend on one another and to value each person’s contribution to a group project.”
For more information about The Grand Theatre’s Summer Music Theatre Camps, visit www.thegrandtheatre.org or call 770-386-7343.