Children's theater normally means shows performed by kids or child-oriented shows performed by adults. Li'l Buds Theatre combines professional adult actors with children in plays to delight families.
Founded by J. Preddie Predmore, Jenny Lamb and Maggie Portman as a summer camp five years ago, Li'l Buds has been producing two shows a year ever since.
"As teachers and actors with experience working with children, we were in the position to combine those talents in a creative environment," explains Predmore. The founders believed in the ability of children to work with adults to create plays and musicals. Their original musicals include plenty of humor that appeals to both mature and immature intellects.
THOSE SILLY REINDEER
Kids may not understand the specific political and cultural references the way adults do, but they get that the characters and situations are funny. Many of the child actors work with the company through its Training Academy classes and summer camps, but Li'l Buds also holds open auditions for all parts.
"It's great to have a variety of ages and experience levels," says Predmore. "I've learned so much from the kids who are able to just live the moment instead of working at the process. In the end, kids gain a sense of responsibility and self-esteem. When they get their paycheck at the end of the run, it's like a boost of confidence."
The current production, "Those Silly Reindeer," was written as a collaborative effort by the theater's company members. It's set at the North Pole just before Christmas when everything is going wrong. While professional actors play most of the main roles, children in fourth through seventh grades act as reindeer and in at least one lead role. They even developed their own "Reindeer Rap," which is a real show-stopper.
Performances take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m., Nov. 28-Dec. 27 at the Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. At under an hour, the show is perfect for all ages. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Reservations are recommended. Call (773) 371-1810.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.