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Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News
Youngsters rehearse the "Doctors" segment in Draper Historic Theatre's ninth annual "Broadway Kidz" revue.

For the past nine years, Draper Historic Theatre has been producing an ongoing series of musical revues called "Broadway Kidz."

What sets DHT's "Broadway Kidz" apart from other revues is the general concept behind the theater's bottom line — not just producing family entertainment or raking in bucks at the box office, but building self-esteem in young people.

Nearly 190 youngsters turned out for the auditions this year, and 130 — ages 5 to 18 — were chosen for the mostly double-cast performances, according to artistic director Kevin McClellan, who is one of five involved in directing, choreographing and producing the 2006 production.

"Eighty-five kids can fit on our limited stage — not comfortably, but OK," McClellan said in a telephone interview.

For the first couple of years, the theater just numbered the show's sequels, but the third one — in 2000 — was called "Broadway Kidz: Time Machine," followed by "Hooray for Hollywood" in 2001, "Broadway Kidz: School Daze" (2002), "Heroes and Legends" (2003), "Curtain Up!" (2004) and "Broadway Kidz: Hit the Books" (2005, touted as "classic literature meets classic rock").

"This year it's all about what kids want to be when they grow up," McClellan said.

There's a cops-and-robbers segment set to Blondie's "One Way or Another" (with its chorus, "I'm Gonna Getcha, Getcha, Getcha"), and a segment about race-car driving is set to Queen's "Please Don't Stop Me Now."

"We have a little bit of everything in the music," McClellan, said. "There's some pop music, musical-theater songs and dances set to movie soundtracks. The choice of music makes it fun and unique. We take songs out of context, and that makes it fun for the audience. Sometimes just the titles are the joke of the piece."

Audiences will find an undersea diver performing to Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe," a lawyer doing Billy Joel's "An Innocent Man" in a courtroom setting, and youngsters dreaming of becoming a U.S. president to Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."

And the Keystone Kops are the inspiration for a scene built around an attempt to rescue a kitty from a tree.

McClellan and his team don't have a complete "double-cast" ensemble. "It's more like 1 1/2 casts," he said.

Assisting McClellan in putting the revue together are director Marc Navez, choreographers Julie Archer and Christa Forrest, and producer Beth Barrett.

"Marc was in 'Broadway Kidz' when he was 17. Now he's 26. He's been a cheerleader at Snow College, studied at Weber State and will be directing 'Joseph' for us this summer," McClellan said.

"Two couples met in 'Broadway Kidz' as teenagers and are now married," McClellan said, adding, "We also have two kids — now both 18 — who were in the first one nine years ago. They are Chloe Wood, who has been in every single one, and Audrey Collier, who missed one year."

If you go

What: "Broadway Kidz: Dream Big"

Where: Draper Historic Theatre, 12366 S. 900 East, Draper

When: Today through May 13

How much: $6-$10

Phone: 572-4144

Web site: www.drapertheatre.org


E-mail: ivan@desnews.com