Missoula party could be big

After a year away because of the pandemic, auditions for an annual Missoula Children's Theatre production in Pauls Valley are set to return Jan. 24. (PV Democrat photo)

The return of a Pauls Valley tradition on stage could get a whole lot bigger as a bunch more kids look to be invited to the party.

In these parts it only takes one word – Missoula – for many folks to know it's an on-stage production with a little expert direction that brings together a whole lot of local kids.

After it was canceled last year because of the virus pandemic, this next round of the Missoula Children's Theatre now has an open invitation for any kids in Garvin County to come be a part of the week-long event Jan. 24-29.

In recent years the Missoula participation has only been for students in Pauls Valley and Whitebead, along with those home-schooled in this area.

During a meeting last week members of the Pauls Valley Tourism Board agreed the Missoula event should be supported and opened to include any school children in the county.

“Right now this is a school function and I don't see tourism as having a role,” Randy McGee said.

“I didn't used to see it that way. I'm 100 percent for it, but tourism has kind of changed and looked at ways to bring tourists to Pauls Valley.”

McGee didn't hesitate to show his personal support as he literally wrote out a check and made a $100 donation during the Jan. 4 meeting.

“I just think it's good to make it available to as many kids as possible. I could see it working if it was open to other kids to come here. I see tourism as a way to bring people to Pauls Valley.

“I like the idea if we could see little kids from Elmore City, Wynnewood, Stratford, Paoli, Maysville who would like to be in the theater and come over and be in it.

“Let's include everybody in this.”

Jesse Alvarado agreed with the notion of the more the better.

“If we could look at opening it up I see it as very beneficial to building a drama program. Let's let everybody be in it. That's just my opinion,” Alvarado said.

“I make a motion to approve $3,100 but we must open it up to other towns.”

The specific amount of the approved motion was due to McGee's earlier donation to the Missoula cause. The city council must approve the recommendation to make it official.

Local Missoula director Fawn Riddle said she has no doubts about other schools outside of Pauls Valley and Whitebead being interested in having their kids involved in the auditions and production.

She's quick to add it's been limited because of time restraints for school kids in the county not able to make practices that usually start at 3:15 p.m. and go throughout the week up to 8 p.m.

“Our challenges would be getting those kids here on time for the practices,” Riddle said.

Auditions for the Missoula production of “Johnny Appleseed” are planned for 3:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24 at the Bosa Community Center in Pauls Valley.

Show times will come Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, Jan. 28-29.

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