How does a desperate mother help her dysfunctional royal family? She needs supplies from the Enchanted Depot, of course. Audience members can watch the ensuing chaos as the Hutchinson Theatre Company’s YoungStars perform their summer production, “Haphazardly Ever After,” by Jeff Fluharty.
The show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, July 1, and 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, at New Discoveries Montessori Academy.
This play isn’t like any fairy tale you’ve seen. The show tells the story of a royal family and its cast of eccentric personalities who struggle to get along. After trying everything from a fairy godmother to marrying the children off, the family can’t seem to find a solution. Taking matters into her own hands, the queen crafts a do-it-yourself fairytale but finds out not all problems can be solved with magic potions.
And doing it herself for the first time is director Cassie Jurgenson, a longtime member of YoungStars and previous assistant director. Taking the place of longtime youngstars director Mary Haugen, Jurgenson now oversees the program and directs everything from blocking scenes to characterizing an actor.
“Two years ago I applied as an assistant director to eventually take over, and that was where I was able to shadow Mary first,” Jurgenson said. “And last year I co-directed with her (Haugen), and she passed it onto me.”
Before, Jurgenson managed the educational side of the program and taught the young actors.
“I really enjoy the teaching aspect of it,” she said. “I love teaching about acting and theater in general.”
Jurgenson’s new position was a large undertaking, and it definitely wasn’t always easy.
“I think it’s really hard to also be in charge of everything else ... from the costumes to the props to registration and everything,” she said.
A lot of this year’s actors appreciate the opportunities they receive through YoungStars.
“I really like that we get to perform in a play, that’s really cool.” said Lydia Kuenzi, who is in her third year of the program. “We don’t really get that opportunity a lot, especially for people our age”
Arthur Gonzalez, who is in his second year of the program, said that “getting to express myself and get myself out there” is the best part.
“I’m pretty outgoing and I like to be loud,” Gonzalez said. “I love entertaining people.”
The theater isn’t just what the students show up for. Kuenzi said the best part about YoungStars is the chance to meet new people.
“I normally don’t do that a lot,” she said. “I’ve learned to go out there and be the biggest you can.”
“The people you meet here are very cool,” Gonzalez said.
YoungStars teen mentors Libby Carlo and Landon Butler also see how the program benefits kids. After both completed their final year of the program, they now help Jurgenson with the production.
“Getting to work with the kids is fun,” Carlo said. “They’re all really silly and have funny personalities.”
“Seeing the kids grow and develop their acting skills” was the most enjoyable part, according to Butler.
For Jurgenson, the most rewarding part is creating a safe space for kids to be themselves.
“And also just the fact that, for a lot of these kids, it’s their first time on stage,” she said, “and this is the first time we can instill theater in them.”