Children’s theater company marks milestone

by Shawn Nowlin

Theater–Actors Akilah Ramsey and Craig Smith perform a scene from the Virginia Children’s Theater (VCT) production of Madagascar.

  With everything going on in the world today, levity is needed more than ever.

  Known for bringing professional education and touring productions to the community, the Virginia Children’s Theater (VCT) recently brought the popular DreamWorks movie, Madagascar, to life.

  After seeing the production with his children at the Tanglewood Barnes & Noble last month, Jermaine Marshall described the show as, “A musical adventure that features four animals that escape the zoo and end up on a journey in a foreign country. At least that is what my kids told me they took away from it.”

When it comes to putting on a quality live production, the VCT has an earned reputation for doing whatever is necessary to exceed the expectations of the audience. In addition to bookstores, the organization has expanded its reach to different school districts, libraries, community organizations, and performing arts centers.

  The VCT has partnerships with North Cross School, Citizens for the Arts in Richlands, the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia, and the Patriot Players at Patrick Henry Community College.

  Last year, the VCT was forced to do many virtual productions, primarily because of the pandemic. This year, they’ve produced two Broadway-style musicals – The Addams Family: A Musical Comedy and Cinderella: A Broadway Version – as well as other well-received programs such as Apologies, presented by Rebecca Schlossberg.

Theater– Actors Craig Smith, Jacob Tyler, Garret Gagnon, and Akilah Ramsey in a scene from the Virginia Children’s Theatre (VCT) production of Madagascar.

  VCT Director Brett Roden takes tremendous pride in providing an exceptional experience to all who attend a show. Every time he looks in the crowd and sees people laughing and singing along, it makes all the long hours and hard work worth it.

  “We offer year-round, high-quality music, theater, and dance instruction for students from Pre-K through 12th grade. Our website has a full listing of available classes and camps, including the Muppets, friendly ghost stories, and even songs from princesses and witches,” he said.

  Every time that Akilah Ramsey and her fellow VCT actors have a performance, her number one priority is ensuring that everyone has a great time. A natural-born entertainer, Ramsey says she never takes her platform for granted.

  Given all that she and her colleagues have been through over the years, Ramsey says she couldn’t be prouder of everything they’ve accomplished.

   “It wasn’t always easy, but we made it work. There’s a lot of movement behind the scenes that most people have no idea about. If just one thing is off, it can have a domino effect on everything else,” she said. “I absolutely love the people that I work with. From top to bottom, they are all class personified and just a great group of people to work with.”

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