Children are practicing their lines, crafting their props and painting their faces as they gear up to perform in "Shrek the Musical Jr." this week as part of Capital City Productions camp.
The two-week camp gives children hands-on learning experiences in every aspect of theater, as well as building friendships and learning to give back to the community.
"They get to do the whole thing, which I think is important because it allows them to say next year, 'You know I like lighting so now I want to do sound.' Then they can try out sound and so that when they leave here they might go to college and be like, 'I want to do this, this, this and I've done this and I want to do it further,' where they don't have to wait as long as I did to get into theater," Capital City Productions President Nate Grey said.
"I hope they form a team, that they form theater friends and learn that's it's OK to be cooky and kid around and just those alliances that it's OK to be you," he added.
Campers will portray scenes from the popular animated movie "Shrek," a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure featuring songs from Jeanine Tesori and the book by David Lindsay-Abaire.
'"Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek ' and thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue," Capital City Productions describes on their Facebook event page.
This is the second year Capital City Productions has hosted the theater camp that was made possible in part by their long list of volunteers such as music director Marcia Ramatowski, who worked for several years a local music teacher, choreographer Luann Madsen, a lawyer and lobbyist who in her spare time teaches professional dance and tap, and camp director Troy Donehue, whose wife and children also volunteered to help campers become show ready.
The camp also encourages parents to get involved as well. By using the app "Track it Forward," parents can track their hours of volunteering time and then translate those hours into theater tickets or money toward the cost of their child attending the camp.
"Our slogan is putting community back in community theater so we're getting people involved," Grey said.
Campers are also getting involved with giving back to the community. Started in 2016, Capital City Productions has asked for donations at each of their productions that go toward other not-for-profit organizations.
"Last year, we raised at little over $7,200 for 19 different groups, so we're really proud and the kids get to see that and they get to pick which group we're going to give toward for that production," Grey said.
This year, campers have chosen to collect diapers for Capital City Diaper Bank. Audience members who attend "Shrek the Musical Jr." and "Shrek, the Musical," an upcoming extended version played performed by adults, are encouraged to donate diapers at Shikles Auditorium before the performances begin.
Campers will take the stage to perform "Shrek the Musical Jr." at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at Shikles Auditorium.
Find more information about "Shrek the Musical Jr." "Shrek, the Musical" and Capital City Productions Camp at www.capitalcityproductions.org. Auditions for next year's children's theater camp, "Cinderella Jr." will take place in June 2019.