Kids theatre company marks 17 years

September 16, 2008 4:16:06 PM PDT
Seventeen years ago, the Chicago Kids Company held its first performance. This past year alone, the theatre group has put on 400 performances in the city and suburbs.

Co-founder and artistic director of the Chicago Kids Company Theatre for Children, Jesus Perez, is a Jefferson Award-winning costume designer. He has created and made the more than 1,000 costumes in the wardrobe room for the musical adaptations of fairytales.

"Cinderella, "Sleeping Beauty," we have a wig room. We have a shoe room. We have fabric," Perez said.

For 17 seasons, the non-for-profit theatre company has been dedicated to introducing children to the magic of live theatre, bringing to life such great fairytales as "Sleeping Beauty," "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Mrs. Claus," "Cinderella" and many more.

All shows are produced by the company's founders, Jesus Perez and Paige Coffman. The shows are full of sing-along songs, colorful costumes and beautiful sets. Perez creates all of the set designs.

"For outside (scenes), we have little stores like the candy store, flower shop, and then we turn it around and then we get to be in the red house. It opens up such a world of imagination and creativity for the kids and makes them more confident," he said.

Professional actors work with the company each season. What makes them unique is they love working in live theater and children's theater. The productions can be seen at six theaters throughout the city and the suburbs More than 80,000 saw them perform this year.

Perez says his Puerto Rican background helps him in creating the costumes and sets.

"Being able to find your passion, especially as a Latino, and being able to express it and do it, it is a dream come true," Perez said.

In May, the company will produce the first all-Spanish production of Cinderella at the Beverly Arts Center .

The company offers a performing arts academy for children featuring weekly classes throughout the school year, teaching movement, acting, singing, dancing and improv. During the summer, they offer a two-week musical theatre camp.

For more information visit: http://chicagokidscompany.com


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