A colorful cast took to the stage last weekend as Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre presented “Treasure Island.” After a short introduction, boys and girls dressed in sailor garb made a splashy entrance, trooping loudly through the audience before congregating on stage. Strong singing and acting was boosted by the sizable cast which consisted of 39 youths aged 8 through 15.
It was a varied group, coming from schools such as: Aquinas Montessori; Belle View ES; Burgundy Farm Country Day School; Carl Sandburg MS; Fort Hunt ES; George Washington MS; Gwynn Park MS; Hayfield High; Hayfield SS; Hollin Meadows ES; Mark Twain MS; New School of Northern Virginia; Olde Creek ES; Rose Hill ES; St. Louis Catholic School; St. Mary's Catholic School; Stratford Landing ES; Walt Whitman MS; and Waynewood ES.
This musical adventure based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel was directed by Christopher Wolfe and produced by Joe Carbone. Music direction was provided by Adam Levowitz and Eric Nance served as stage manager.
This is Wolfe’s first time directing a MVCCT performance, and he said, “Kids have a lot of energy and you don’t quite know if they’re getting everything. But when the show opens, they hunker down and wonderful things happen. They know their lines and they know their blocking. We had 40 kids of all ages and one high schooler, which gives this show a lift. The older kids modeled for the younger ones and it was a learning experience for everyone.”
In this director’s notes, Wolfe writes, “I feel honored and proud when I watch the children work hard and achieve their goals at each rehearsal, as well as a pleasure and a sense of personal accomplishment that is decidedly different from the satisfaction I receive when working with actors in high school or older. ... The children always come together in a dynamic way that I find hard to describe, yet I find easy to enjoy.”
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON wrote Treasure Island in 1881 while vacationing on the coast of Scotland with his stepson. Stevenson sketched a treasure map of buried gold to entertain the 12-year-old. This game led Stevenson to invent a story of pirates, mutiny, friendship and courage, the result being that Treasure Island is one of the most-read adventure stories of all times. Treasure Island has been performed on screen and on stage around the world.
The Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre is performing Jim Eiler’s musical adaptation of this classic story. In this version, familiar characters such as Jim Hawkins (Derek Farino), Long John Silver (DJ Coffey), and Ben Gunn (Ryan Tracey) once again set sail for buried treasure, however this time they are also accompanied by Meg (Kirsten Pfister) a barmaid from the Benbow Inn who boards the Hispaniola disguised as a cabin boy.
The show enjoyed a successful first run this past weekend and continues with three more performances this coming weekend. As a special treat, a band of professional singing pirates from Ship’s Company and Pyrates Royal will perform their chantey tunes prior to Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre’s final performance of “Treasure Island” on Sunday, November 20. Ship’s Company Chanteymen has performed along the east coast including local Baltimore, Alexandria, and Annapolis. In addition to performing at many festivals and historic sites, they have marched in Old Town Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day and George Washington’s Birthday Parades, sang at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., and performed aboard the USS Constellation in Baltimore and at Mount Vernon Estate’s Colonial Craft Fair.
In addition, the Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre will hold their third annual auction in the lobby of Carl Sandburg during Saturday and Sunday’s performances of “Treasure Island.” Some items up for auction include Potomac Riverboat Company cruises; dinner and a cruise courtesy of Dandy Cruises; theatre tickets to Ford’s Theatre, Metro Stage, Arena Stage, Imagination Stage, Signature Stage, and Little Theatre of Alexandria; gift certificates, children’s games and much more. Items are up for bid before each performance and during intermission. No ticket is necessary to attend the auction.