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Jen Kroff said having an opportunity for children to be involved in theater locally is important for a community. It was something she didn’t have as a child, and she’s enjoying her part …
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Jen Kroff said having an opportunity for children to be involved in theater locally is important for a community. It was something she didn’t have as a child, and she’s enjoying her part in helping bring that opportunity to local kids.
The Brighton resident is directing “101 Dalmatians,” Prairie Playhouse’s family performance at Prairie View High School Nov. 20 and 21.
“It’s just been a wonderful experience,” Kroff said. “It’s been great to work with the kids and to know that it’s going to be good quality fun for families. It’s awesome.
“It’s been a really great experience working with people from the very beginning,” she continued. “It’s such a good opportunity for kids in Brighton and the surrounding area. Providing an opportunity for kids to do this is just a great thing. It’s enjoyable working with the kids and helping them to learn at an earlier age, to get a little boost up early on in life.”
Working with the cast of 54, 7- to 14-year-olds has been a joy, Kroff said.
“It’s been fun, and crazy, and fun,” she said. “It’s been chaotic at times. But it’s fun to give so many kids an opportunity for the first time to perform and continue their learning experience and watching them progress and learn. It’s been fun working with kids in that regard.”
Disney’s classic story, performed by the young Prairie Playhouse cast for its family performance, finds the villainous Cruella De Vil capturing dalmatians Pongo, Perdita and their pups. The canine family bands together, helped by furry friends who reunite the puppies with several extra playmates. This one-act musical is perfect for all ages, Kroff said.
“Working with the junior show is always fun and a challenge,” Kroff said. “I also really liked the music for Dalmatians. It was fun and quite catchy. Not to mention that ‘101 Dalmatians’ was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up.
“This show is fast-paced with a lot of fun music--some familiar and some new,” she added. “It’s a shorter show, which makes it ideal for bringing children of all ages. And a great introduction to live theatre for the young people. And who doesn’t like seeing Cruella get it in the end? Oops – did I give something away?”
A Brighton resident since 2001, Kroff performed most recently in Prairie Playhouse’s “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” Kroff started performing solos in church and dance recitals around the age of 6. It wasn’t until ninth grade that she started doing musicals, her first being “Annie.” She continued performing in high school and went on to major in music/dance/theatre in college earning her associates and bachelor’s degrees. After college, she continued to perform in various venues and, thanks to Prairie Playhouse Director Shauna Dunlap, Kroff said she’s been able to continue her love of theater here with Prairie Playhouse. Some of her favorite roles have been Polly in “Crazy for You” and Sarah in “Guys and Dolls.”
Kroff lends some advice for kids who also want to be on stage some day: “Take any and all opportunities that you can,” she said. “Sing in church, take lessons and classes, involve yourself in the school talent show, and audition for Prairie Playhouse’s junior shows.”
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