The Rainbow Company Youth Theater’s 2013-14 season features shows so old the original author is unknown and shows so new that they haven’t been written yet.
“We’re doing four shows,” company artistic director Karen McKenney-Dyer said. “Three have seven-performance runs and include both child and adult actors and one that is part of our Nevada series that will be performed one weekend at the Fifth Street School and then go on tour to elementary schools.”
The company has three full-time staff members. In addition to McKenney-Dyer, the company employs education director Toni Molloy Tudor and resident designer and technical director Kristopher Shepherd. McKenney-Dyer said there are a few hourly employees who help fill in the gaps.
It’s the Nevada series show that is still being written. McKenney-Dyer, who is penning it, hasn’t decided on the subject.
“They’re always about Nevada history,” McKenney-Dyer said. “I wrote 19 of them with J. Neal, but he passed away, and last year was the first one I wrote without him.”
Neal was a musician who wrote the music and lyrics for the shows while McKenney-Dyer wrote the story. without Neal she has changed the format. The works are no longer musicals, but have music in them.
“Last year we wrote a bunch of commercials for products that were popular in the time of the people in the story,” McKenney-Dyer said. “We set them to traditional tunes. We had commercials for a carpet sweeper, a sewing machine, Necco Wafers and toilet paper. The kids loved the toilet paper one.”
The subjects of past shows in the Nevada series have included explorer Kit Carson, early Las Vegas settler Octavius Gass, Mark Twain and archaeologist Mark Harrington.
The 37th season is set to open at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 with “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers.”
“It’s an old Grimm’s folk tale about a boy who decides to stay three nights in a haunted castle because if he does, he’ll find out what fear is, and he has no concept of fear,” said Tudor, who is directing the show. “There is treasure involved, of course, and the hand of the princess in marriage.”
Tudor described the show as bizarre and a lot of fun. She is working with a cast of 23 people, about two-thirds of whom are children.
“Working with kids and adults together is great,” McKenney-Dyer said. “We work with kids like they’re adults, and we treat everyone as a professional.”
The opening show is set to run through Oct. 13 and be followed by “Scrooge: the Musical,” Dec. 6-15; the yet-to-be-named show, Feb. 14-16; and “Ozma of Oz,” April 25-27 and May 2-4.
“We try to make a balanced season with shows the whole family can enjoy, shows the younger kids can enjoy and something for the older kids,” McKenney-Dyer said. “We believe that good youth theater is good theater. Everyone can enjoy it on their level.”
Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4532.