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Pleasanton: City launches Youth Theater Company

'Urinetown the Musical' onstage this weekend

Performances on local stages have been the culmination of programs offered by the newly launched Pleasanton Youth Theater Company, including one this weekend of the satire, "Urinetown the Musical."

The 17 performing arts camps, with more than 200 attending, included Technical Theater Camp for high school students, five different Musical Theater Camps for ages 5-17, Theater Arts Intensives, Improv Camps and more, according to Mark Duncanson, the company's visionary director.

The new programs had their roots in the city's award-winning youth programs, which include Creatures of Impulse improv group, Civic Arts Stage Company, Youth Music Festivals and High School Music Collaborative.

"A theater program provides transferable life-skills such as public speaking, conversation and creative problem-solving, while teaching dedication and commitment to a production," noted recreation manager Tamara Whitney. "PYTC is a full-circle program for young children through to teens."

Last weekend the program offered productions of Disney's "Aristocats KIDS" and "Shrek the Musical JR." Remaining performances are as follows:

* "Urinetown the Musical" -- 7 p.m., this Thursday through Saturday, plus at 2 p.m. Saturday, at the Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Road. Actors ages 12-17; directed by Bay Area actor, Amador Valley High and UC Irvine graduate Andrew Mondello.

This irreverent satire, which won three Tonys, takes place during a terrible water shortage caused by a 20-year drought that has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company -- and one guy plans a revolt.

Tickets are $5 for students, and $10 for adults, available at the door, at the Firehouse Box Office, or online at www.firehousearts.org.

* Creatures of Impulse Teen Improv Show -- 5 p.m. next Friday (Aug. 2) at the Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave. This free performance will be the final of the troupe's summer camp.

The program also had a Teen Playwrights' Summer Workshop where participants ages 11-14 wrote their own one-act musical directed by Sabrina Finke, a Creatures of Impulse alum. Songwriter and vocal director was Lauryn Hedges, a current member of High School Music Collaborative and a prolific songwriter.

Next year, the Pleasanton Youth Theater Company is planning two main-stage productions, "Frozen JR" and "Honk JR," a musical story of "The Ugly Duckling." It will also offer Sparks, a theater program for ages 7-11; Lil Sparks, for ages 5-6; College Theater Prep for Teens; and Improv for Theater Parents.

For more information, visit www.firehousearts.org/progras/pytc.

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