Emily Malone, president of Encore Musicals, was starring in Bluegrass Children’s Theatre production of “A Christmas Carol” in December 2019, and it was during a quick walk by that BCT’s Founder and Director Grae Greer told Malone that Encore really needed to do “Frozen, Jr.” and that Greer would help direct it.
Malone said she had wanted to create a musical theatre option for children — even when she was with Back Alley Musicals seven years ago.
“It’s been a dream of mine, but I wasn’t sure who was going to head it up,” Malone said.
Greer knew how Malone felt about starting a musical theatre company for children, so when she mentioned “Frozen, Jr.” to Malone, Malone said she took it back to another board member and they felt this would be a good time to start Encore Kids.
The show, Disney’s “Frozen, Jr.” based on the 2018 Broadway musical, will be a collaboration between Bluegrass Children’s Theatre and Encore Kids, and Malone said this is a win-win.
“I just didn’t want to do it as an Encore Musicals production with Grae directing,” Malone said. “We bring the musical part [to the collaboration] and we have the financial backing.”
The newly founded children’s company is not in competition with BCT, since Greer’s company is an educational touring company that produced four touring productions and two stationary plays in its first year.
“I’m excited about this new program Encore has created,” Greer said. “I love that the focus is purely on children’s musicals and giving the younger actors an opportunity to ignite that spark for theatre.”
With the talented kids Malone said she has worked with through roles in Bluegrass Children’s theatre and the community interest in all things “Frozen,” the reception of the new theatre group and the collaboration has been positive.
Malone said that the company currently plans to do one show per year, and since none of the other local children’s theatre groups had announced a summer show, she said the window was “wide open.”
“There are so many kids in the community involved in theatre,” Malone said while mentioning that even though Encore is presenting “Beauty and the Beast” this summer, they are not planning on many — if any children’s roles.
Greer believes that there are more than enough children in the community to support three companies.
“There is a strong need for the arts in the tri-state area and more than enough support to back it up,” Greer said. “Each company [Theatre Workshop of Owensboro, BCT and Encore] has something special to offer young actors in the community.”
With roles for ages 6 to 16, Encore Kids’ first musical will be headed by Malone and Greer and will include Kevin Brown, Emmy Woosley and Rebecca Volk, all of whom bring something different to the table, according to Greer.
“[Encore Kids] will give older and younger kids a greater opportunity [to be involved in musical theatre,” Malone said.
Information for those interested in auditioning for the musical can be found on Encore Kids Facebook page.