“Reading a Book"

During the song “Reading a Book,” Cassie Sandmeier as Annie, left, and Camden Courson as Jack, right, show pirate Jonah, played by Josie Puckett, the wonders of reading.

High Country Fine Arts Association will present a magical and musical double feature on Leap Year Day.

Don’t miss “Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS” and “Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon KIDS” at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Darren Patterson Christian Academy, 518 S. San Juan Ave. in Buena Vista.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Based on the “Magic Tree House” series written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Sal Murdocca, the musicals focus on brother and sister Jack and Annie, who through their love of reading are able to travel to amazing places.

In “Dinosaurs Before Dark,” Jack and Annie come across a mysterious tree house filled with a vast selection of books.

The two find a book on dinosaurs, and after Jack wishes they could see the dinosaurs in person, they are magically transported to a land inhabited by the wondrous beasts. Jack and Annie must then rely on their wits to unravel the mystery of how they can return home.

Following their adventure with the dinosaurs, Jack and Annie return to the magic tree house in “Pirates Past Noon,” where they find a book left open to reveal a tropical island.

They magically travel to the island, finding themselves in the 18th century – and greeted by pirates. Captured and at the mercy of Captain Bones, the “dirtiest, scurviest, most evil-eyed, nefarious, rottenest rat on the sea,” the brother and sister team must escape back to the tree house. But before they can, they unearth a treasure more valuable than gold.

“The ‘Magic Tree House’ books are a very popular series and we loved the idea of doing a play based on the concept of being able to go on a variety of adventures through reading,” HCFAA director Lindsey Mueller said. “This series also makes for a very fun double feature scenario where Jack and Annie can have a different adventure in a different time period in each show.”

HCFAA has partnered with 42 local elementary school students, many of them veterans in HCFAA plays, to produce these family-friendly musicals.

“I’ve been wanting a main character for a long time and finally my dream came true,” said fifth-grader Finn Angle, who plays Jack in “Dinosaurs Before Dark.”

“I feel great and I love it,” he said.

Even with so many students on board, several play multiple roles, such as fifth-grader Sully Angle, who portrays three different characters in “Dinosaurs Before Dark”: Otto, Gary and Dino 1.

“I feel really great,” Sully said. “I wanted a really good part and I got a really good part. I was so excited to do it because I’m three characters.”

“It’s a lot of fun, and I get to sing a lot of songs,” said fifth-grader Maya Lyle, who plays Slinky the pirate in “Pirates Past Noon.”

Lyle said she looks forward to the performance nights and most enjoys singing “Reading a Book” and “Every Pirate Needs a Parrot.”

Playing Captain Bones in “Pirates Past Noon,” fourth-grader Mia Flowers likes all of the songs in this musical, but she admits her favorite would probably be “Row, Dogs, Row.”

“It’s probably one of the biggest roles I’ve ever gotten,” Flowers said. “It’s a really fun play.”

“These students have been working very hard during our rehearsals while having a lot of fun. It is a joy to watch them come together as a team and improve with each practice,” Mueller said.

The feeling is mutual for the cast. “I think everyone is doing really good, and it’s going to be great,” said fifth-grader Marley Krasnow, who plays Natty, Stump and Dino 2.

“It’s really fun working with the cast,” Flowers added. “I just want to thank High Country Fine Arts because they always put on a really great show, and I can’t wait for opening night.”

Tickets may be bought at the door and are $10 per adult, $5 per student and free for children 3 or younger.

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