Horizon Youth Theatre

HYT musical looks back, but not far, at being 13

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Being 13 is hard. Maybe singing and dancing about it makes it better. The Horizon Youth Theatre is staging the Jason Robert Brown musical “13: The Musical” this weekend at the Otsego High auditorium, Thursday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.  and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. (http://bgindependentmedia.org/tickets-available-now-for-hyts-13-the-musical/) The cast of teen actors are not far removed from those troublesome years. The script by Dan Elish and Robert Horn plays heavily on the social aspects of being in junior high. There’s nary an adult mentioned, save for the lead character’s mother, and the off-stage voice of a rabbi. This is all about the kids, and their relationships with their peers and their own emerging personalities. The musical opens with Evan (Thomas Long) singing about turning 13, when everything changes. He’s looking forward to his bar mitzvah which he envisions as a wild party with the hottest DJ in the city and dancing. Then he learns his parents are divorcing, and he and his mother are moving to Appleton, Indiana, where he knows no one. Who will come to his bar mitzvah now? Certainly Patrice (Terra Sloane) his new neighbor who befriends him, and he wants the in-crowd led by quarterback Brett (Isaac Douglass). And there lies the conflict on which the whole plot hinges. Patrice, a girl who thinks for herself, is an outcast, and if she goes then none of the “cool” kids will attend, or at least so sayeth alpha boy-child Brett. All this leads to about 90 minutes of navigation through the circles of middle school hell. The hierarchy is familiar — the jocks and cheerleaders and the nerds. The script keeps the divisions simple and clear. Evan, who is both determined and quite confused, has to be on one side or the other, as much as he tries in his awkward almost 13-year-old way to straddle them. He ingratiates himself to Brett by suggesting how he can get close enough to Kendra (Anne Weaver) to get some “tongue.” The idea is to go to a horror movie, an R-rated horror movie, and that means getting Evan’s off-stage mom to buy the tickets. So he enlists Archie (M. Clifford). Archie has muscular dystrophy and walks using crutches, to ask his mother because “no one says ‘no’ to a boy with a terminal illness.”  Archie is the most interesting character. Archie understands his dilemma and that he must scheme to get anything. When he and Evan scheme together, though, things are bound to go awry. Throw into the mix another schemer Lucy (Scarlet Frishman) supposedly Kendra’s best friend, who really has her sights set on Brett. The fragility of these relationships plays out in the songs, which have a retro rock sound. “Hey Kendra” sung by Brett’s posse Malcolm (Gavin Miller) and Eddie (Bob Walters) sounds like a barbershop quartet singing on a corner. The lyrics are full of clever turns. Brett pondering when he’ll make his move on Kendra during the movie sings of how everyone “is immersed in all the blood vessels bursting” on the screen. Sloane’s Patrice gets to sing the heart-wrenching number about “What It Means To Be a Friend.” And then late in the show, she and Long’s Evan do that musical theater…

Horizon Youth Theatre’s ‘Kindergarten’ best of show at OCTA Jr.

The Horizon Youth Theatre’s production of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” scored best of show honors Saturday at the OCTA Jr. conference held at Owens Community College. Also receiving best of show recognition was the recent 3B Productions show “Hairspray.” “Kindergarten” was also honored for excellence in ensemble and its director Cassie Greenlee was honored for excellence in directing. Two cast members, Daniel Cagle and John Colvin, received excellence in acting recognition and were named to the All State cast. “Kindergarten” was staged last September.    

Festival of Shorts brings out the best in Horizon Youth Theatre

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Those who want to know what the Horizon Youth Theatre is all about need only make their way to the Otsego Elementary School this weekend. The youth troupe is staging its annual Festival of Shorts Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Everything is the work of the kids, 7-17. They wrote the scripts and act them out, and with one exception students are directing. This is where Horizon’s mission to educate young people in all aspects of theater shines. The goal, said Cassie Greenlee, artistic director of the troupe, is for students to learn “about every step of what’s required to put on theatre.” “What I love about this year is that for the first time every single thing was created by students. That’s really impressive and something that I’m really proud of. It’s more for them to hang their hats on.” The program includes six plays, four written by students and the fifth created collaboratively by youngsters in the Devising Class taught by Keith Guion, who directs. Four of the plays will be staged during each performance. Admission is free, but donations are requested. Scarlet Frishman, a 17-year-old junior from the Toledo School for the Arts, and Terra Sloane, a 15-year-old freshman from Bowling Green High, are among the student directors. This is Frishman’s third time directing. “I wanted to direct in the first place because of the biggest influence in my life outside of my immediate family has been Cassie Greenlee.” They first worked together in 2009, when both were new to the company. “Who I am as a person is completely different because of who she is,” Frishman said, “and I really want to be that influence on another young person’s life because it was extremely valuable for me.” She’s set her sights on studying theatre at Yale University. Sloane has also directed before. “It helps me as an actor,” she said of directing. “I see so much more now because I’ve been a director. It helps me perform better.” She’s also looking to studying education and theatre. “I love working with children. I love seeing things come together.” The scripts were written last fall as part of an HYT program. The 10 plays then were reviewed by Greenlee and a couple other adults for originality and how feasible they were to be staged. The young directors got the most say, though, said Greenlee.  They were given the scripts and asked to rank them in order of how interested they were in directing them. Sloane and Frishman each selected the same play, “Mountains” by Sophi Hachtel and Anne Weaver, as their top choice. “The thing we really liked about it,” Frishman said, “is the message is beautiful and something young kids need to hear. It deals with bullying and schools and anxiety. The main character Audrey has a physical representation of her anxiety on stage with her the whole time.” Selecting wasn’t easy, though. All the scripts were “fantastic,” she said, and they would have been happy to direct any of their top three choices. Sloane is also one of the playwrights. This festival will include her “Poppy Meadow,” written with Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel. This is the fourth script she has written. Roberts-Zibbel said the play was inspired by…

Horizon Youth Theatre staging Festival of Shorts

Provided by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre’s Festival of Shorts will take place this weekend at Otsego Elementary School. Each performance will feature four one-acts, with six different shows being featured over the course of the weekend. Five of the one-acts were written by students; the sixth was created by our Devising Class under the direction of Keith Guion. Cassie Greenlee oversaw the mentoring program with our student writers last fall. In all, ten scripts were submitted for consideration, with the top five being performed this weekend. Ms. Greenlee also oversaw our directing workshop this winter. Those five student shows are being directed by high school students in HYT. Performances are April 13 and 14 at 7 p.m.and April 15 at 2 p.m. Admission is by donation at the door. We are pleased to thank the Wood County Historical Center and Museum for the season sponsorship of HYT. The Bowling Green Community Foundation provided significant financial support for both the Winter Workshops and the 2018 Festival of Shorts. Additional thanks to the families of all our students, Woodland Mall, First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, First Baptist Church, The Vineyard Church, Otsego Elementary SChool, and the Toledo School for the Arts for rehearsal spaces and other support.   Stigma Written by the 2018 HYT Devising Class Led and directed by Keith Guion Dawn – Riley Rader Moon – Isobel Roberts-Zibbel Chrissie – Ligaya Edge Bella – Clara Burkin Carrie – Grace Holbrook Jade – Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel Josie – Emma Kate Holbrook Eric – Isaac Burkin   The Death of Charlie Allen  Written by Katie Partlow and Lola Truman Directed by Annie Valantine Charlie – Eli Marx Jordan – Kathryn Mullins Young Charlie – Aidan Thomas Young Jordan – Greta Chung Friend 1 – Izzy Douglass Friend 2 – Alice Walters Friend 3 – Amelia Mazzarella Teacher/Mom – Stacey Anderson   Flying Solo  Written by Libby Barnett and Paige Suelzer Directed by Katie Partlow Meg – Rose Walters Mr. Ritter – Drew Thomas Dr. Curtis – Amalia Cloeter Mrs. Reynolds – Bella Truman Ms. Applebee – Aria Weaver Ms. Turner – Lila Stover Ms. Perlabo – Neveah Martinez Ms. Robinson – Madison Kline   iPhone Monster  Written by Simran Gandhi Directed by Anne Weaver Kid – Nash Valantine iPhone monster – Liam Rogel Siri – Daisy Brown Mom – Paige Suelzer Teacher – RJ Agosti   Mountains  Written by Sophi Hachtel and Anne Weaver Directed by Scarlet Frishman and Terra Sloane Audrey – Lola Truman Andrea – Kaitlyn Valantine McKenna – Emy Wilkins Wallace – Maddox Brosius Mom – Fran Flores Mrs. Warbler – M Clifford   Poppy Meadow  by Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel and Terra Sloane Directed by Daniel Cagle Poppy – Lauren Clifford Casey – Angie Ruiz Grandpa – Isaac Douglass Peter – Matthew Bowlus Violet – Libby Barnett Cordelia – Calista Wilkins Henrietta – Reece Hall  

HYT Presents Winter Workshops

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce our 2018 Winter Workshops. Registration is open for the following three classes, the first of which begins January 6. Cassie Greenlee’s Directing Workshop, which will guide high schoolers through directing the panel-chosen one act plays written by students and their mentors, is full. The Festival of Shorts will be performed at Otsego Elementary School April 13-15. DEVISING Cost: $75.00 Ages: 10-18 Years Old Dates and Times: Saturdays, January 6, 2018 to April 15, 2018,  9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Place: First Presbyterian Church, 126 S. Church Street, 2nd floor classroom Instructor: Keith Guion Description: Students will create their own characters and craft a one-act play from the original idea through performance in April with the guidance and direction of instructor Keith Guion. Participants in the devising workshop are guaranteed a spot in completed play which will be performed at HYT’s Festival of Shorts, April 13-15, 2018 at Otsego Elementary School.  The class will span 15 weeks and has two sections. The creating portion of the class will last approximately eight or nine weeks, meeting each Saturday. When the play is finished, the rehearsal portion of the class will meet more than once a week. This is a wonderful opportunity for students interested in multiple aspects of theatre, including writing. To register for the Devising Workshop, click here. INTRO TO THEATRE Cost: $40.00 Ages: 6-12 Years Old Dates and Times: Saturdays, January 13th through March 17th (nine weeks – no class March 3rd), 2:00 to 3:30 pm Place: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Bowling Green (2nd floor classroom) Instructor: Haven Bradam is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she received her Bachelors degree in Communications with a major in Theatre and a double specialization in Youth Theatre / Puppetry and Acting / Directing. She has extensive experience with youth theatre through the Toledo Repertoire, the Children’s Theatre Workshop, and the Treehouse Troupe. Through her work with the CTW, Haven tours area schools as a member of The Imaginators. Description: This workshop is perfect for newcomers to Horizon Youth Theatre or for young performers who want to further hone their skills. Participants will focus on a range of exercises to help them feel comfortable acting with others. Topics will include improvisation; stage directions and other technical terms; theatre games; and even auditioning for shows. Haven’s experience with kids and theatre education will provide a great all-around experience for any youngster. To register for Intro to Theatre, click here. MUSICAL THEATRE Cost: $40.00 Ages: 6-12 years old Dates and Times: Saturdays, January 20 to February 24, 2018 (six weeks) 9:00 to 11:00 am Place: First Presbyterian Church, Bowling Green, 2nd floor Instructor: Jackie Burns Description: Instructor Jackie Burns returns to teach our younger students the basics of musical theatre. Each class session will feature a different performer from BGSU, helping to introduce students to a variety of age-appropriate songs, monologues, and dance routines to expand their understanding of everything musical theatre encompasses. The students will receive one-on-one attention to help foster confidence and performance ability while also collaborating with each other and Ms. Burns on their own 20-minute musical, which will be presented to families and friends at the last session. To register for Musical Theatre, click here. For more information about Horizon Youth Theatre, please visit our website at www.horizonyouththeatre.org. As always we would like…

Players and Horizon revive “Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As an exasperated father observes early in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” there’s never anything different in the church’s Christmas pageant. Just the usual shepherds in bathrobes, endearingly oblivious baby angels, and the usual characters playing Mary and Joseph. Staging Barbara Robinson’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” again may seem to risk lapsing into familiarity. The Black Swamp Players in collaboration with the Horizon Youth Theatre bring the holiday classic back after an absence of two years. But with a new director, Keith Guion, at the helm, and some new faces in the cast, and familiar faces in different roles, the audience doesn’t need to worry about being lulled into complacency. The show is on stage at the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster, Bowling Green, Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at blackswampplayers.org and at the door. What’s intact is the play’s message – that the most unlikely people can teach the most profound lessons. There is something comforting in the ritual though. Just as the Christmas pageant opens with “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a degree,” “The Best Christmas Pageant,” opens with Beth Bradley (Calista Wilkins) declaring: “The Herdmans were the worst kids in the whole history of the world.” It’s the play’s “Marley was dead,” to cite another Christmas classic, nothing good can come from the fable unless that fact is believed and understood. The Herdmans are pint-sized arsonists, cigar chomping, doughnut stealing, bullys in what appears to be an otherwise tranquil, small town, maybe not so unlike Bowling Green. That makes this comic morality tale a perfect fit for our community troupes. We get to see folks we know take on these roles. Like the Christmas story, this centers on family. Beth Bradley is our guide. She’s observant and just questioning enough of the town’s mores to serve as the lens through which to see the story. Her brother Charlie (Eli Marx) gets to express much more boldly what Beth implies. We see where the kids get their sass when we meet their father (Thomas Edge), who cast a jaundiced eye on the whole church pageant hullabaloo. Grace Bradley (Cassie Greenlee) is the put-upon mom called in when the long-time director and church control freak Mrs. Armstrong (Linda Lee) is laid up and cannot perform all her usual holiday functions. For Grace having to live up to tradition is bad enough. Then the Herdmans arrive trolling for dessert. The six Herdmans are led by Imogene (Maggie Titus) who is probably as much a mother figure as this brood has. Then there’s Ralph (Vance Weaver), Ollie (Bella Truman), Claude (Jonah Truman), Leroy (Drew Thomas), and Gladys (Emy Wilkins), the smallest but most feared. She hits hard and bites. The brood takes over the pageant assuming all the best parts, from Imogene as Mary through Gladys as the angel of the Lord. They certainly have their own way with these roles. The church ladies complain that Imogene was found in costume smoking a cigar in the church rest room, and Gladys wants nothing to do with the “unto you” lines, she’d rather greet the shepherds with “Shazaam!” Yet beauty emerges from the chaos. This forces the…

The Kids and Families of BSP’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

By Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel HYT Board Member BG Independent News contributor At a Horizon Youth Theatre board meeting over the summer, someone casually mentioned that Black Swamp Players would once again be producing the one act holiday play The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, based on the children’s novel of the same name by Barbara Robinson. There were excited gasps and clapping, and I believe I may have squealed. Full disclosure: yes, I am on the HYT Board. Yes, I am an occasional contributor and ad manager for BG Independent News. And yes, I did get a role in the play, along with the rest of my family. In 2013 and 2014, Guy and Janet Zimmerman directed the play, and the two productions had many repeat actors, though only Bob Walters kept the same role (Charlie) both years. Johanna Slembarski played the narrator and wise young protagonist Beth, and the next year played the antagonist, bossy cigar-smoking Imogene Herdman. Stephanie Truman had the role of adult protagonist Grace Bradley in 2013, and the next year played the antagonist Helen Armstrong. My entire family was in the 2014 production as well. For many of us, Pageant was our kids’ first theatre experience, a sort of “gateway play” to a happy, creative future of being thoroughly immersed in children’s theatre. The Players decided to take a break from Pageant for a few years, so as to not over saturate the Christmas play market which would surely cause attendance to dwindle. But three years have passed, so the time for this spirited family friendly comedy has come around again. This year it is being helmed by Keith Guion, who often directs and leads workshops for Horizon Youth Theatre. Stage Manager is Macey Bradam, Wendy Guion is Queen of Props, and Producer is BSP regular Melissa Kidder. Most of the adult actors happen to be HYT board members as well as parents of children who were cast (the exception being Linda Lee who has the role of Helen Armstrong). New HYT Board President Thomas Edge was given the role of Bob Bradley and his wife Trinidad Linares gets a line as Mrs. Clausing (their daughter Ligaya is in the Angel Choir). Everyone’s favorite director Cassie Greenlee, whose last HYT production was the wonderfully received All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, is playing overwhelmed first time Pageant director Grace Bradley (Cassie will also be directing the upcoming BSP musical Secret Garden). As I did in 2014, I get to play gossipy Edna McCarthy, who seems to have some competitive envy of Grace and causes major chaos in a particularly fun and raucous scene. Keith gave me permission to play her younger and hipper this time, and we changed her first name to Edie. My bio even states “I will be the best tattooed and pierced church lady ever.” John Roberts-Zibbel, who played Bob in the 2014 production, is Reverend Hopkins this time around, and our daughters Alexandra and Isobel play Lily in the Angel Choir and Hobie Clark, respectively. Michael Walters is playing a fire fighter and his wife Karen is providing piano accompaniment and nursing duty for wheelchair-bound Helen Armstrong (their daughters Rose and Alice are in the Angel Choir). Haley Wilkins, mom of Calista and Emy, is enjoying her first time on…

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 monster, except what troubles her is that this monster, Humphrey (Jonah Truman), has disappeared. She dispatches her guards (Cordelia Webber, Emily Coan, Calista Wilkins, and Paige Suelzer) to find him. They return with all manner of beasts but not Humphrey. Though the animals sometimes stick around to entertain her, Princess Julia will not be pleased until Humphrey is back at home under her bed, grabbing her ankles. The second play, “The Magic Harmonica,” takes place outside a castle and revolves around two bored guards (Brianna Dunham and Drew Thomas), who long for a break in their dull routine. The harmonica given to one guard by a peddler (Emma Kate Holbrook) grants their wish, though, one sleeps through the whole adventure. So we get a wizard (Nash Valantine) and sorcerer (Liam Rogel), a dragon, soldiers, and a cowardly general (Yelia Xu). The dragon stays off stage, though – budget constraints, narrator Emma Montion and stage manager decide. The last two plays are set in enchanted woods. In “But Hoo Is It For?” is about “just a little girl looking for a party,” the narrator (Paige Suelzer) tells us. She persists despite continued frustrations. “The Woobly Fiasco” is a gentle story of the Wooblies, helpful woodland creatures who are easier to control than the cast apparently. Kaitlyn Valantine’s stage manager asserts herself consistently to try to get the narrators not to insert themselves into the story they are telling. The Wooblies take care of all the forest animals’ needs until they realize that there’s not enough room for everyone to continue living in the forest. This is resolved quietly and in everyone’s best interest with the animals discovering “there’s a little Woobly…

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, Lauren Peppers, Lee Ann Polinsky, Adam Proulx, Isobel Roberts-Zibbel, Liam Rogel, Addie Smith, Olivia Stutzman, Paige Suelzer, Aidan Thomas, Drew Thomas, Jonah Truman, Kaitlyn Valantine, Nash Valantine, Alice Walters, Aria Weaver, Cordelia Webber, Calista Wilkins, Emy Wilkins, and Yelia Xu. The production team is rounded out by student stage manager Olivia Strang; costumer Christina Hoekstra; and Wendy Guion who is assisting with props. As always, HYT thanks Otsego Schools for providing a home for the productions of this nomadic non-profit.

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 to direct the entire play. Fulghum is, she said, “a wonderful storyteller and has a lot of important things to say. I feel like a lot of the messages in the show, exercising empathy and things like that, are particularly timely now given the state of the world.” The show lends itself to a teaching troupe. The 20 scenes give every one of the 22 members of the cast, age 12 to 17, a chance to shine. Greenlee said that all of them had a say in the production. The scenes are a series vignettes tied together by a narrative voice. While that voice represents one point of view, many people speak those lines. Other actors play out the action.  Each member of the cast gets a chance to play many roles. These are contemporary parables. Being true to yourself like the guy, played by Bob Walters, who takes flight in a lawn chair lifted by balloons, is a recurring theme. But just as important is learning get over yourself and see the world from different eyes. Sometimes characters are too full of themselves to to notice the world around them, like the woman (Grace Holbrook) who is in such a rush to get to work she runs smack into a spider’s web. The hero of the story is the poor, industrious spider Sophi Hachtel, whose web is ruined. The scene ends with the audience joining in singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Or there’s the story of another industrious soul, a deaf boy played by Maddox Brosius who just wants to earn a few dollars raking lawns. The narrator (John Colvin) actually is philosophical about lawns, believing the leaves and seedpods…

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 HYT. The ensemble, appearing as themselves, is as follows: Maddox Brosius Daniel Cagle Megan Carmen Anjalie Coates John Colvin Megan Clifford Isaac Douglass Ligaya Edge Scarlet Frishman Sophi Hachtel Grace Holbrook Eli Marx Gavin Miller Katie Partlow Narnia Rieske Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel Terra Sloane Bella Truman Lola Truman Annie Valantine Bob Walters Rose Walters Anne Weaver The Production Team: Director – Cassie Greenlee Assistant Director – Alli Kulbago Stage Manager – Lynette Cooley Set Crew – Thomas Long As always HYT would like to thank Otsego Schools for generously hosting us for all of our productions. 

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 love,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez, who has been a teacher at Bowling Green High School for the past 19 years and who also directs the school’s theater program, reflected on the impact theater has had on her students throughout the years. “Always know you have a voice—theater is a place you can find that voice,” she told audience members. On behalf of the HYT community, Vice President Keith Guion presented Regan and Gonzales with gifts to thank them for their years of service, custom-made plaques reading “20 years later, your vision remains our mission,” as well as framed artwork containing the thoughts of current HYT students made by Melissa Mintz and Anne Weaver. The night’s performances were varied, and included excerpts from performances such as “The Three Little Pigs” and “Southpaw” as well as heartfelt speeches from selected Horizon Youth Theatre alumni. Genevieve Simon, who had been with Horizon from its first production and now lives in New York and runs a workshop using Shakespeare to help kids with autism, shared with the audience some of the many lessons she learned during her time with Horizon. “Theatre taught me over time the power of saying yes to complexities, the power of saying yes to the unknown,” Simon said. “This is a place where kids are listened to—the show was always on our shoulders. ”  (She presented a workshop earlier in the day. See http://bgindependentmedia.org/bg-native-genevieve-simon-returns-for-hyt-20th-anniversary/) The program ended when Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards declared July 15, 2017 as Horizon Youth Theatre day, eliciting raucous applause and cheers from the audience. “There’s something special in this room,” Edwards said. “Whatever we can do to support and promote the arts is terribly important.”  Keith…

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 will be speaking tonight at the 20th Anniversary Gala, as well as current HYT and Toledo School for the Arts student Scarlet Frishman, rounded out by teacher, stage manager and board member Brittany Albrecht. Dr. Scott Regan and Dr. JoBeth Gonzalez will be honored and plan to say a few words, Mayor Edwards will make a proclamation, and there will also be short skits and monologues by current HYT students. To add to the pomp of the Gala, which takes place tonight at Simpson Garden Park’s banquet room from 6-9 pm, there will be a red carpet, costume photo booth, finger foods and desserts as well as door prizes and a silent auction with all profits funding the future of the troupe. Being nomadic by necessity, they have no permanent home for rehearsals and performances, and rely on the generosity of Otsego Schools, the Woodland Mall, and churches such as St. Mark’s and First Presbyterian. HYT’s long term goal is to find a home of their own. Tickets for the gala may still be purchased at the door for a $15 suggested donation.

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 once Scrooge took his final bow, the young thespians wanted to know, what can we do next? Gonzalez had just finished her doctoral studies and was ready for a new venture. The troupe started by offering summer workshops at the university. Its first production was “Charlotte’s Web.” In its first decade or so, the troupe had a connection with BGSU through Regan. When he retired in 2006, the troupe reorganized as an independent entity. In 2010 HYT linked up with the Black Swamp Players. As with other troupes in Bowling Green, HYT  finds itself bouncing from stage to stage – the Woodland Mall, St. Mark’s and the First United Presbyterian, the Wolfe Center on campus, and now Otsego High School. HYT has become an integral link in the local theatrical scene. They’ve sent actors and crew members onto the high school program and to the Toledo School for the Arts. They’ve shared their talents with other community theater companies. In addition to the troupe’s formal relationship with Black Swamp Players, they also have ties to Lionface Productions, with several of their directors and teachers connected to that troupe. HYT members have gone on to study theater in college at institutions including BGSU, Ohio State, Wright State, Baldwin-Wallace, and Amherst College. And while former members have received raves for their appearances on stages far from Bowling Green, giving birth to stars is not the troupe’s prime mission. HYT is an educational venture. Learning to stage a production is part of that, but so is learning to write a play, getting tips on how to audition, or delving into the subtleties of Shakespeare. And so is learning to work together and the…

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/