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By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — A cast of 26, most of them youngsters, is prepping for the opening of Curiosity Cat next week.
Forest Moon Theater Company’s first youth production tells the tale of Curiosity, a talking house cat who seeks out strays to find them a home, and the humans who go looking for her.
It’s a fun-filled romp reminiscent of 101 Dalmatians and other Disney flix, imbued with some dastardly, but not too dramatic, deeds thrown in.
“Y’all gotta see this show! Fun and family-friendly,” Mitzi Bissette posted to Facebook after seeing a Wake Weekly photo from a rehearsal Saturday.
The cast consists of several adults playing humans; teenagers playing older cats and a dog; and a horde of children who play the stray cats — and one squirrel.
One dedicated youth, Amelia Gutherie, 10, who plays the title character, lives in Siler City.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” she said about choosing to commute to play the lead. “I was very excited.”
“I think it’s an amazing play, very funny, well put together,” she added.
Two youths also play human children. One is 9-year-old Drew Cady of Wake Forest, a Thales fourth-grader, who plays Charlie.
“It’s pretty fun,” said Drew, who had never acted before his mom, Kasey, encouraged him to audition. “I didn’t even know I was going to try out until the day of the audition.”
The play was written by award-winning young adult author and playwright Chris Grabenstein and it is directed by Heather Snow Clark.
As of Saturday’s rehearsal, the young actors all seemed to know their lines and the scenes were being tweaked to include better body language and enunciation.
Special to this performance, Forest Moon has teamed up with Safe Haven for Cats, a no-kill shelter off Durant Road that has found homes for more than 6,000 cats since 1994.
Each actor is teamed with one or more Safe Haven felines, with the goal of adopting them all out by the show’s end. Several actors have already taken their cats home, Clark noted.
The catvocacy is the most fun for 9-year-old Chiara Gibboney, who plays a stray named Scamp.
“I like that at the end of the play we’re going to sponsor cats. I chose two cats,” she said. “We took notes on them. I’m going to memorize the notes and tell the people (in the audience) about the cats.”
The play will be performed set on the stage at Franklin Academy Middle School, 1127 Chalk Road. Though several Franklin Academy youths auditioned and have roles, it is not a school play.
Show times are March 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7 p.m.; March 23 at 3 p.m. and a special performance for school groups will be held March 27 at 10 a.m.
Tickets are $15, adults; $13, seniors and $11, students. Add $3 to the price if purchasing at the door. To purchase tickets or for more information about the play and cast, see forestmoontheater.org.
Formed in 2012, Forest Moon Theater is a non-profit community theater supported by the people and businesses of Wake Forest and surrounding areas. With no permanent play space, the venue for the performances varies.
In the upcoming year Forest Moon will begin offering improvisational theater programming, workshops and theater camps. See the website for more information.