Kids are putting on musicals at Performing Arts Center

HARLINGEN — Jungle Book?

Right this way.

Willy Wonka?

Coming right up.

And if you want to see “Seussical” or “Matilda the Musical” you can view those performances too, thanks to the ambitious talent of about 150 kids participating in this year’s “Summer on Stage.”

“The kids really enjoy the singing aspect and the dancing so we decided to go with musicals,” said Sally Navarro, director.

Summer on Stage, she said, is a camp the Harlingen school district has designed for students who have an interest in the fine arts such as music, dance, art and theater.

“Our theme is ‘From Page to Stage,’” she said.

Aaron Blount has enjoyed bringing Amazing Mayzie from Dr. Seuss’s “Horton Hears a Who” onto the stage.

“She has so much life, she’s so vivacious,” said Aaron, 13, dressed in a purple feathery costume.

She was preparing to rehearse the play “Seussical” at the HCISD Performing Arts Center.

“She always tries to get everyone’s attention,” she said.

Aaron and the other characters in “Seussical” were definitely attention getters as they danced about the stage in their colorful costumes Wednesday during the rehearsal. They were an amalgam of characters which also included the “Cat in the Hat” played by Jorge Gonzales, 15.

“I like working with so many other people,” he said. “They are just really dedicated to theater like I am. They know what they are doing. I know what I’m doing.”

Right down the hall, a group of third and fourth graders prepared to tell the story of Matilda.

“I am playing Matilda,” said Bianca Mattysyn, 9, as she and her fellow cast members prepared to rehearse a dance and singing routine for “Matilda the Musical.”

Bianca appeared to be very much in character.

“She has a family that’s very mean to her,” she said. “She likes to read, she wants to learn, but her family doesn’t take care of her.”

Bianca’s further description of the story revealed a sort of rags to riches tale in which a kind teacher adopts Matilda and they both form the family they always wanted. Bianca seemed to slip into the character with ease, but it has come with its challenges.

“It’s hard remembering some of the lines,” she said. “I like all the lyrics.”

A variety of stories will present themselves through the hearts and minds of young talent later this month.

Whether you want to visit a chocolate factory, watch Mowgli dance through the “Jungle Book,” view Dr. Seuss characters coming alive, or watch an impoverished young girl find love in the world, the kids at the PAC will present it to you.

If You Go

WHAT: Summer on Stage

WHERE: HCISD Performing Arts Center

3217 Wilson Road

Jungle Book and Willy Wonka: June 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Matilda and Seussical: June 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.