The sun shone on a long line of yellow buses Wednesday morning at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Nearly 1800 students and their teachers were invited by the Alliance for the Arts to see a special school-only production of Cabrillo Music Theatre's "Mary Poppins".
The majority of these students were from Title 1 schools throughout Ventura County. Many of them had never been to any live performance, and this was every student's first Broadway Musical.
"Seeing the kids walk into the theatre is amazing, of course" said Sweta Patel, Director of the Kids and the Arts program. "But my favorite part is hearing the stories about what happens after." Patel receives thank you cards from hundreds of students, and teachers tell her about the amazing changes they see in some of their classrooms.
"One of them burst into song," said Joy Livingstone of Haydock Intermediate. "It is amazing to see your students connect. He had perfect pitch and knew all the words."
Cabrillo Music Theatre presented a special abridged version of the show, and revealed some of the behind the scenes magic during the intermission. With the curtain raised, the candy shop set was replaced with the "Step in Time" rooftop set, all in front of the students' eyes. Two young performers, Brekkan Spens and Maguire Balleweg, taught the entire theatre the dance moves from the "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" scene. Every teacher and student was standing and singing along.
The Alliance for the Arts provides children from underserved schools with transportation and tickets to productions at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. The next Kids and the Arts performance will be Pacific Festival Ballet's "Cinderella" in May.