Theatre camps take stage at Ritz

Summer Theatre Camps at The Ritz Theatre began Monday with more than 60 campers in grades 1-12.

The camps are in their 15th year and will run 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. through Thursday and are to repeat next week, June 17-20, with 56 campers.

This year, the campers are to perform an adaptation of “The Tortoise Versus the Hare” by Michael McGill. The play this year is based on the original story, but is changed, said Diane Pytell, education director for The Ritz.

“The play will have the original race, but will also incorporate ‘race,’ between green and brown animals,” Pytell said.

As for the last 15 years, The Ritz is partnering with Missoula Children’s Theatre from Montana, Pytell said. The theater has 45 touring teams that visit all of the 50 states and 16 foreign countries.

“The play is based on that the inside matters and not what people look like,” Dory Lerew, tour actor/director of Missoula, said.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, campers were divided to age groups and auditioned, and assigned parts. Throughout the week, the campers will take part in “age-appropriate workshops when they are not rehearsing,” Pytell said.

Workshops will include dance and movement, make-up, making puppets and story telling, all related to the performing arts, Pytell said.

Friday, the campers are to take part in a camouflage-themed party, in which they will wear either green or brown, “to blend in (together),” Pytell said.

“This is a great experience for them,” Pytell said. “Many of the campers have come throughout their 12 years. They are excited to be hear and look forward to their friendships.”