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'The show must go on': Colstrip kids push through cold weather for annual MCT play

MCT Red Truck
Posted at 6:36 AM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 13:32:13-05

COLSTRIP — The extreme cold weather brought challenges across the state, but Montana kids persevere, especially when a special opportunity is on the line.

Such was the case in Colstrip on Tuesday, when about 50 kids came out to audition for the annual Missoula Children's Theatre production done in Colstrip, despite two days of school cancellations forced by subzero temperatures.

“These kids look forward to this all year long so they were bound and determined to be here," said Earline Roseander, the MCT Community Coordinator for Colstrip.

School in Colstrip was canceled Monday due to extreme cold and then again Tuesday because of burst sprinkler lines and electrical issues at the high school. Auditions for MCT's production of "Treasure Island" had to be rescheduled and relocated due to the closures.

"With the cold weather is fine, it wasn’t until this week when we have school closing that we had to adjust our schedule and make changes that way," said Fiona Lazzari.

Lazzari and Andrew Mozingo are two tour actors and directors with Missoula Children's Theatre who are traveling together around Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington this spring and summer to put on a play in local schools. After Colstrip, the pair will travel to Greybull, Wyo.

“On Monday we cast all the kids in it and by Friday or Saturday, we put on the show and it is an hour-long musical with a full cast of characters, with singing and dancing, and that’s what we do every week," Lazzari said.

MCT has been putting on traveling productions in schools for more than 30 years and currently serves all 50 states and 17 countries. Lazzari and Mozingo's team is one of several MCT has traveling during its current winter-spring season.

This week, MCT's iconic red trucks packed with sets, scripts, costumes, and more, pulled into Colstrip.

"The theatre is something that kids growing up in Eastern Montana would never experience if we didn’t bring it here," said Roseander, who along with coordinating MCT plays, taught in the Colstrip school district for more than 30 years.

For Colstrip kids, it's a rare chance to try out show business.

"I just really want to be an actor when I grow up, so I’m auditioning for this play," said Logan Skilles, a 5th grader at Pinebutte Elementary School.

Treasure Island can fit up to 64 roles for kids, meaning every kid who tried out in Colstrip this year, will get a part.

The Colstrip production of Treasure Island will have two performances this Saturday in the high school auditorium.