KENOSHA — Take a look into the magical world of the Hundred Acre Wood Friday through Sunday, Sept. 23-25, as the Lakeside Players perform “Winnie the Pooh” at Rhode Center for the Arts, 514 56th St.
This weekend will be the last time to see Christopher Robin, Pooh, Piglet and the rest of the gang’s various adventures.
“It’s about friendship, loyalty and it’s role modeling for kids,” said Director Carol J. Larsen. “To me it represents a beautiful little way to escape your cares and pressures of the world and go off to a very simple escape into innocence.”
Larsen speculated that the play may have been chosen because it is a family-friendly classic that everyone loves.
“It’s a beautiful little story that everybody loves,” Larsen said. “We all grow up reading it, and then we read it to our children. It’s a classic.”
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The turnaround from rehearsals to performances was a quick four and a half weeks, but the opening weekend (Sept. 16-18) was everything the cast and crew could’ve asked for.
“It was wonderful,” Larsen said. “Opening night is always special, special magic excitement where everything comes together.”
Larsen described putting the show together as a “microcosm” of the story itself as there were troubles with cast members getting sick or backing out of the production due to nerves.
“Whenever animals in the forest get in trouble, they all come together and they help and that’s what happened with this cast,” Larsen said. “With the parents, with my assistant directors, everybody just pulled together and it was amazing. It just warms my heart.”
Larsen was also happy to witness the joy and camaraderie the play brought to the actors, who range in age from children to adults, involved.
“I also look at all the kids in the show and I just love how there are so many different variety of characters and people’s personalities, like Winnie the Pooh, but they all form deep friendships,” Larsen said. “They get to know each other, and then they get to support each other. They sing together and laugh together while we’re putting on makeup and getting ready and doing our warmups.”
The “Winnie the Pooh” book, written by A. A. Milne and published in 1926, features 10 stories of the honey-loving bear, his friends and their antics and adventures together. The stories are independent of each other, except for the last two.
The play put on by the Lakeside Players is an adaptation by Kristin Sergel.
“It just warms my heart to see how much fun we’re all having,” Larsen said. “I’m so grateful to my assistant director and director, stage manager, and the entire cast and crew and parents for making this such a fun experience as we met, challenges, develop and grow. That’s what community theater is all about sharing our talents, caring and giving.”
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. Go to rhodecenter.org or call 262-657-7529.