Bedecked in pleather pants, Mardi Gras beads and Day-Glo bell bottoms, the kids spar with the town sheriff and the orchard’s crab-apple owner, while finding plenty of opportunities to break out into “spontaneous” song and dance.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley’s ClubHouse Theatre this weekend will present “Groovy!,” a musical celebrating the hippies and flower children of the 1960s.
The ClubHouse Theatre program recently ranked among the top five arts programs offered by Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide, club chief executive Tanya Hoxsie said.
At their rehearsals, the kids don’t just learn their lines; they help with costume and set creation, block scenes and work on song and dance routines.
Established in 1967, the Huntington Valley club had more than 7,600 members last year; in May, it was ranked among the top four clubs in the nation.
Its ClubHouse Academy Center for the Arts includes dance, gymnastics, martial arts and more; the ClubHouse Theatre has produced dozens of shows, with Hoxsie’s husband, Bob, directing.
“What I think is the neatest is that they all become like a little family,” Tanya Hoxsie said.
Before shows, Bob Hoxsie gathers his young actors and crew together in a circle.
After linking arms, the kids listen to advice and notes for their upcoming performance: reminders to pick up after themselves backstage, smile onstage, and not turn their backs to the audience.
After this, they squeeze each other’s hand, one by one, in a good-luck chain. When the final hand is squeezed, the kids twist out of the chain with a call to break a leg.
“We do a circle before every show,” Hoxsie told them. “That way, everyone’s equal. Everyone’s important. There are no stars.”
For instance, the play’s stagers were struck by a 5-year-old who sat and watched rehearsals for weeks.