Horizon Youth Theatre

Horizon Youth youngsters tune into absurd comedy with “Magic Harmonica”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The stage manager in Horizon Youth Theatre’s production of “The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales” has problems keeping her cast in line. They always want to veer away from the script. Officious, and controlling, the stage manager played Kaitlyn Valantine is not above yanking one narrator for another when they displease her. What she can’t control is the way the playwright Janet Layberry also has a mind of her own. These four one-act plays within a play all employ the tropes of fairy tales, but do so in absurd and comic ways. “The Magic Harmonica” is on stage at the Otsego High auditorium Thursday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5. Visit www.horizonyouththeatre.org/product/harmonica. The play uses the troupe’s younger cohort of actors, ages 6 through 12, but there seem few concessions to age. The humor is at times intentionally juvenile, often involving grade school word play. Nobody delivers those jokes better than an actual grade schooler. Sometimes the humor seems pitched to the parents, as when Michelle (Calista Wilkins) in “The Woobly Fiasco” tells the enchanted prince carrying an outsized sword: “People haven’t used swords for ages, now they have … lawyers.” And then there’s the jester played by Liam Rogel who trades in absurdist non-sequiturs. Each story has lessons here but they spare us the morals and never let messages get in the way of a good time. The first of the four plays, “You Call That a Bedmonster?” is a typical fairy tale set up. Here we have a princess (Addie Smith) upset by a…


Tickets Available for HYT’s “Magic Harmonica”

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to present their third annual fall production for younger actors aged 6 – 12, The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales. Directed by Keith Guion and featuring thirty children from many area schools, Magic Harmonica will be performed at Otsego High School (18505 Tontogany Creek Road) on Thursday, October 12 and Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday, October 15 at 2:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased online now at www.horizonyouththeatre.org/product/harmonica for just $5.00. The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales by Janet Layberry is a collection of four enchanting plays sparkling with charm, wit, imagination, and a quirky sense of humor. In You Call That a Bedmonster?, Princess Julia discovers that Humphrey, the monster under her bed, is missing, and sends her guard out to find him. The Magic Harmonica brings a bit of excitement and adventure into an otherwise dull kingdom. But Hoo Is It For? takes us through an enchanted forest where nothing is what it appears to be, and the party which is rumored to be happening is hard to find. The Woobly Fiasco is a play within a play about a Stage Manager having trouble with her actors, who are supposed to be narrating a play about Wooblies, mysterious creatures who have become the caretakers of the animals with whom they share a crowded forest.   The cast members all play at least two roles within the four mini-plays and are as follows: Simon Baney, Lauren Carmen, Arianna Chung, Greta Chung, Emily Coan, Brianna Dunham, Reece Hall,    Emma Kate Holbrook, Bindi Hoskay, Emma Montion, Kathryn Mullins,…


Horizon Youth Theatre’s ‘Kindergarten’ packed with lessons & laughter

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Horizon Youth Theatre’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” opens with a story about a kindergarten production of Cinderella. That’s interesting given just last spring many of these same young actors were performing “Cinderella.” That Rodgers and Hammerstein “Cinderella,” however, did not have a pig. Productions of the classic fairy tale usually don’t have pigs. But in this Robert Fulghum story, a pig is just what the thoughtful young Norman (Bella Truman) wants to play. When told there’s no pig in Cinderella, the youngster replies: “There is now!” And the fairy godmother in this tale, the kindergarten teacher, makes sure Norman’s dream comes true. From this kindergarten scene through a lecture by a Greek philosopher (Daniel Cagle) who’s not afraid to answer a question about the meaning of life, Fulghum’s play offers life lessons and uplift leavened by lots of laughter. Horizon Youth Theatre is staging the play opening tonight (Thursday, Sept. 14) at 7 p.m., continuing Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets, $5, will be sold at the door. Seating is limited. The show is being presented with the audience in the round on the stage. That puts the audience in the middle of the action as the young actors hustle making entrances and exits and wrestling oversized alphabet blocks onstage. There’s no place for the young thespians to hide with eyes all around and large mirrors on the back wall reflecting the action. Director Cassie Greenlee said she’s a fan of the show. She directed one scene of it with another troupe and wanted…


Tickets for HYT’s “Kindergarten” now available

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2017 fall production, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, written by Robert Fulghum and directed by Cassie Greenlee. Performances are at Otsego High School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 pm; Saturday, September 16 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday, September 17 at 2:00 pm. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten brings life to several of Robert Fulghum’s wonderfully told stories from his collected writings. Composed of around twenty short, inter-connected scenes, the play explores important life lessons learned at every age, through stories that are funny, engaging, impactful, and thought-provoking. From a kindergarten class’s highly unusual production of Cinderella, to an over-the-top wedding gone horribly wrong, to a young girl going up against her father in the ultimate familial showdown, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten will keep you laughing and keep you thinking. HYT’s production is staged in the round, a style of performance that places the audience on all sides of the actors, creating an intimate atmosphere that invites the audience to more actively experience the power of these stories and lessons.  Due to the unique in the round seating which is directly on the stage, tickets are limited for each show and it is highly recommended that they purchased in advance at this link: www.horizonyouththeatre.org.  From Thursday (9/14) on, if tickets are not sold out they can be purchased at the door. Tickets are still just $5.00. Raffle prizes, tumblers, and t-shirts will also be available for purchase to show your support for…


Horizon Youth Theatre marks 20 years of acting up at gala

By TESSA PHILLIPS BG Independent Contributor The excitement was palpable as community members of all ages began to fill the Simpson Garden Banquet Room last night for the Horizon Youth Theatre’s 20th anniversary gala. Kids sat at tables decorated with photos from past HYT performances and reminisced on favorite stage memories. Genevieve Simon, one of the guest speakers at the gala, spotted a scrapbook and sat down to look through it with her brother, Martin. “Martin was part of Horizon for about two years, maybe longer,” Genevieve said. “Our whole family was involved, and that’s kind of how I was roped into it,” Martin added, grinning at his sister. Martin, a senior in high school, has plans to study theater in college, like his sister before him. “Horizon definitely encouraged me to pursue theatre as a career. It inspired me,” he said. After an hour of hors d’oeuvres, HYT members began doing what they do best—entertaining the audience. Scott Regan took the stage with co-founder Jo Beth Gonzalez and spoke about the importance of history and storytelling. “These two things separate us from the animals,” Regan said. Regan became emotional as he shared a story about a child who had become ill and had been sent to the hospital around the time of an HYT production of “Winnie the Pooh.” Before a painful procedure, she had told her mom that she wished she was “back in the Hundred Acre Wood.” “What does this tell us? To me, it proves that theatre gives kids something to hold on to during hard times,” Regan said. “Horizon Youth Theatre came from a place of…


BG native Genevieve Simon returns for HYT 20th anniversary

SUBMITTED BY HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE When HYT’s board of directors decided to ask a theatre professional alum to speak at the 20th Anniversary Gala and teach a master class, they ran into some brick walls. Sometimes, things work out exactly the way they are supposed to. Genevieve Simon, New York-based professional actor and playwright, and daughter of Wood County children’s librarian Maria Simon, turned out to be more than up to the task. This afternoon, she seemed almost giddy as she prepared to workshop with eleven students at the drama club master class held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. “It’s so amazing, being back here where it all began for me,” she said. Simon is involved in many projects, including leading workshops for kids on the autism spectrum using Shakespeare. The therapy, developed by a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, uses drama games and play; she also hosts other workshops in New York. Simon’s latest project was “Romeo + Juliet + Anybodys” which she authored, and was performed at the Cinci Fringe Festival in June. In his coverage of that event, David Dupont wrote of how much Simon was influenced by HYT. “She credits the troupe’s founder Scott Regan and Gonzalez, who was involved with HYT, with empowering the young actors. ‘It was so important to us having authority and some sort of control over the stories we were telling,’ Simon said. ‘Scott was so good about taking our ideas very seriously.’” Simon appeared to be passing those same techniques on to a new generation of actors today in activities that were filled with fun and laughter. Genevieve Simon…


Horizon Youth Theatre marks 20th year with gala

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The seed for Horizon Youth theatre was planted in the dead of winter. One February night in 1997, Scott Regan, a Bowling Green State University professor of theatre and director of its Treehouse Troupe, gathered more than a dozen people involved in the arts to discuss a dream: the creation of a theater troupe for young people. The attendees didn’t need to be convinced of the value of theater for kids. The only question is whether such a troupe could take root in Bowling Green. Now more than 20 years later, Horizon Youth Theatre is blossoming. Approximately 1000 people attended the four performances of its recent musical “Cinderella.” Throughout the year it offers workshops for kids of all ages. Horizon Youth theatre will celebrate its 20th anniversary Saturday, July 15, 6-9 p.m. in the Simpson Building Banquet room. Tickets are $15. Visit http://horizonyouththeatre.org/2017/05/20-anniversary-gala/. The gala opens with a red carpet extravaganza with heavy hors d’oeuvres and music by the GRUBS. A program will follow at 7 featuring five short performances interspersed by testimonials by three alumni: Genevieve Simon, an actress now in New York; Grace Easterly; and Brittany Albrecht. (Simon will also present a workshop on Shakespeare and autism earlier in the day from 2 to 3:30p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church for actors 8-18. Cost $10.) The troupe will also honor its founders Scott Regan and Jo Beth Gonzales, the high school drama teacher. Regan said that the idea for the troupe came after a BGSU production of “A Christmas Carol,” which he had directed. The production used a lot of children, and…


Horizon Youth Theatre celebrating its 20th anniversary, July 15

From HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre will celebrate at its 20th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, July 15,  6-9 p.m. at the Simpson Building Banquet Room 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. Join past and present members of Horizon Youth Theatre as they celebrate the troupe’s 20th anniversary. The evening will include performances, food, door prizes, and special guests. Tickets are available online now at horizonyouththeatre.org. Purchase tickets before Saturday July 1 at only $10 apiece. Starting July 1, ticket prices increase to $15 per person. Only 180 are available and this event is expected to sell out. Schedule of events: 6 p.m. Red Carpet Extravaganza (Heavy hors d’ouevres will be served) 7 p.m. Entertainment and Awards 8 p.m. Post-Party (Dessert reception) Door prizes include 2017-2018 HYT season tickets and many other theater-related gifts. For information and tickets: http://horizonyouththeatre.org/2017/05/20-anniversary-gala/


Dream comes true in Horizon Youth Theatre’s “Cinderella”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sky Frishman is an old hand at playing Cinderella. The 2017 graduate of the Toledo School for the Arts first played Cinderella when was 9 in the Horizon Youth Theatre’s “Cinderella, the World’s Favorite Fairy Tale.” “In My Own Little Corner” from the score of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” has even been her go-to song for showcases and auditions. Now Frishman gets to put that favorite tune in context as the lead in Horizon Youth Theatre’s production of “Cinderella.” The musical runs June 22, 23, and 24 at 7 p.m. at Otsego High School. “Cinderella has always been one of my dream roles,” she said. Director Cassie Greenlee said the familiarity of the story is part of the attraction. Everyone knows the tale. That allows room for interpretation. The tale has lessons to teach. The story is about choice, she said, about how people choose to act toward others, talk to others, “and what happens when the choice is taken away from them.” The show’s featured bullies are the stepmother and two stepsisters. As the stepmother, Narnia Rieske is comically haughty. But the script explains that she’s anxious to marry off one of her daughters to the prince because they are running through the money left by Cinderella’s father. Not that the stepsisters (Terra Sloane and Melissa Mintz) are concerned. They are too self-involved, two brats who are always bickering with each other when not joining forces to bully Cinderella. The pair do a great job on one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s funniest songs “Stepsisters’ Lament,” a deliciously comic number. Thomas Long’s prince also gets fleshed…


Tickets available now for HYT’s “Cinderella”

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is proud to present Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA June 22, 23, and 24th at 7:00 pm at Otsego High School. The timeless enchantment of a magical fairy tale is reborn with the Rodgers & Hammerstein hallmarks of originality, charm and elegance. Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA was the most widely viewed program in the history of the medium. It was recreated in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren, and again in 1997 with Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother; both were no less successful in transporting a new generation to the miraculous kingdom of dreams-come-true. As adapted for the stage, with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, the hearts of children and adults alike still soar when the slipper fits. This Enchanted Edition is based on the 1997 teleplay. Songs include “The Prince Is Giving A Ball,” “My Little Corner,” and “Impossible.” Directed by Cassie Greenlee, the musical features 55 students age 8 – 18 from many area schools including Bowling Green. The rest of the production team: Brittany Albrecht, stage manager; Tim Barker, choreographer; Kelly Frailly, music director; Christina Hoekstra, costuming; and Scarlet Frishman, assistant director. Stars are Skylar Frishman in the title role and Thomas Long as Prince Christopher; Olivia Strang and Narnia Rieske play Fairy Godmother and Stepmother. Other cast: Stepsisters are Terra Sloane and Melissa Mintz; King and Queen are Alex Evans and Anne Weaver; Lionel and Leo (Royal Stewards) are Bob Walters and Bella Truman. Understudies for the…


Pemberville teen Isaac Douglass headed to Sumatra to commune with orangutans

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The fantastic worlds of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and others fictional heroes weren’t enough for the Isaac Douglass. “I used to read a lot of fantasy books,” Douglass, 14, said. “I enjoyed having little adventures, and I wanted it to happen in real life.” Two years ago the Pemberville teen returned from a Winter Jam concert with a brochure and an idea. He wanted to take a 30-day trip to Australia. His parents, Shawn and Maria Douglass, weren’t ready for that, but as people who traveled themselves when they were young, they wanted their son to have the same opportunity. “We want him to see the world as much bigger than the microcosm of Wood County,” his father said. They found a shorter trip. So at 12 he ventured to Costa Rica where he helped build a road to a farm and painted the house the farmers lived in, and swam and hiked. That’s what he did at 12, now at 14, Isaac is ready to venture further, to Sumatra and Bali. Like the trip to Costa Rica, this trip, offered by ARCC Programs, is both a service trip and a recreational venture. The largest part of the 18-day trip will be working to restore orangutan habitat in Sumatra. The orangutan is the most endangered primate in the world, Shawn Douglass said. Afterward the teens will venture to Bali for some surfing. Isaac will be leaving in late June. Originally the family had looked at the trip, but decided it was financially prohibitive. Then the price was cut because they needed more teenage boys….


Horizon Youth Theatre presents 2017 Festival of Shorts

Submitted by Horizon Youth Theatre Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2017 Festival of Shorts. Three different shows will consist of one act plays written and acted by students; monologues by students from Cassie Greenlee’s Character Acting & Monologue workshop; and the emcee talents of Scarlet Frishman and Katie Partlow. Performances are at Otsego Elementary School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Friday March 31 and Saturday April 1 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday April 2 at 2:00 pm. Admission is by donation. The plays, with their performance days and cast lists, are as follows: Featherwary by The 2017 Devising Class, directed by Keith Guion Performing Friday and Sunday Cast: Firecloud, an elf-dragon thief – Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel Lainey, a mushroom fairy – Paige Suelzer Penny, a bewildered sudden visitor – Katie Partlow Tim Brown II, a squatter and housekeeper – Eli Marx Vanessa West, a spoiled, rich brat – Emma Kate Holbrook Dr. Cecilia Goldberg, a medical prodigy – Grace Holbrook Greenhouse by Bindi Hoskay, directed by Terra Sloane with mentor Brittany Albrecht Performing Friday and Saturday Cast: Gardener – Ethan Headley Daisy – Isobel Roberts-Zibbel Sunflower – Scarlett Strausbaugh Rose – Calista Wilkins Primrose – Alice Walters Shopper 1 – Noah Carpenter Shopper 2 – Lydia Korzeniewski Shopper 3 – Elise Allen Gwen – Izzy Douglass Home? by Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel & Rose Walters, directed by Alli Kulbago Performing Friday and Saturday Cast: Mom – Sasha Meade Karsyn – Lydia Mackiewicz Cassidy – Lauren Clifford Penny – Bindi Hoskay Peyton – Gray Frishman The Secret Alliance for Lonely Kids by Terra Sloane, directed by Kelly Frailly Performing Friday and…


Horizon kids play out Aesop’s immortal lessons

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Horizon Youth Theatre’s production “The Fabulous Fables of Aesop” begins in chaos. We have 10 kids talking at once, as fast as they can. They are trying to tell all of Aesop’s fables, and this is the only way they think that they can accomplish the feat. That’s a hilariously real moment. Kids acting like kids. They do realize telling all the tales, about 600 at last count, even in that chaotic way would be impossible. What the Horizon Troupe does, using director Keith Guion’s script, is introduce us to the ancient fabulist’s world with a handful of those tales, little more than anecdotes, that continue to resonate to this day. Our language is spiked with phrases and lessons from the Greek storyteller’s fables, standing with Shakespeare and the Bible as a source for aphorisms and turns of phrase. Horizon Youth Theatre is staging “The Fabulous Fables of Aesop” tonight (Nov. 11) and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the auditorium for Otsego High School. Tickets are $5. Visit horizonyouththeatre.org. Beside its exploration of the tales of Aesop, the script offers a look into what it’s like to stage a youth theater production. Starting with chaos, the actors go through all the various chores they need to right on stage. The setting is simple a few blocks that the actors themselves mostly move into place from tale to tale. A table is located at the rear of the stage where they collect props and the costumes. The opening dialogue even talks about scripting, how Aesop’s large output of fables…


Keith Guion is a master of family entertainment

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Keith Guion wryly admits to being a bad influence on his three children. Guion is a theater devotee, as a director and writer, especially children’s theater. And all three of his children have followed his footsteps, and the Horizon Youth theatre and other troupes have been the beneficiaries. His daughter, Cassie Greenlee of Bowling Green, remembers when she was in fourth grade and had been offered the part of Annie in “Annie Warbucks.” She was concerned about taking the part, so she discussed it with her father and mother, Wendy Guion. They didn’t push her, rather discussed the pros and cons. She took the part. “That was the beginning of the end,” she said while waiting for a preview of her father’s current show, “The Fabulous Fables of Aesop.” Horizon Youth Theatre will stage the show Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Otsego High School. Tickets are $5 and available at the door and at horizonyouththeatre.org. Guion wrote the “Fabulous Aesop” script a number of years ago while working in the Ashland area. That’s where his children, including two sons Matthew and Jeffrey Guion, grew up and picked up the love of all aspects of theater. “I never really encouraged them to get involved,” their father said, “they just sort of did.” That included acting, all the theater crafts and writing. The play references 21 of the more than 600 fables attributed to Aesop, the storytelling slave from ancient Greece. Eight of them are acted out, while the rest are mentioned in passing. “The fables are about universal…


Horizon Youth Theatre presents ‘The Fabulous Fables of Aesop’

Submitted by Horizon Youth Theatre Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2016 winter production, The Fabulous Fables of Aesop, adapted and directed by Keith Guion. Performances are at Otsego High School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Friday November 11 and Saturday November 12 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday November 13 at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are $5.00 and will be available at HorizonYouthTheatre.org or at the door. There will also be a preview at Wood County District Public Library on Saturday, November 5 at 10:30 am, which is free and open to the public. An excerpt will also be performed for John Zibbel’s Foundations of Inclusive Early Childhood class at BGSU on Tuesday evening to help demonstrate the benefits of theatre for elementary-age children. Actors aged 6 to 12 from six area schools are featured, as well as online / home schooled: BG Middle School, Conneaut Elementary, Otsego Elementary, Montessori School of Bowling Green, Maumee Valley Country Day School, and Ohio Virtual Academy.  The play involves a company of twelve young players who arrive to share the fables of Aesop. Since Aesop wrote as many as 600 fables, this is an enormous undertaking. Several players try to accomplish this challenging task by sharing different fables at the same time, speaking over one another to be heard. When this method isn’t effective, the remaining players explain, through one of Aesop’s fables, exactly why it didn’t work. Then all the players collaborate to share several additional fables, some of them familiar, others not as well known. By using very simple costumes and set pieces, and the players themselves in multiple roles as…