The Grand Rapids Players return for the 15th year of summer drama camp and will perform the junior Broadway adaptation of the classic novel and award-winning musical “Oliver, Jr.” and “10 Ways To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse,” written by Don Zolidis. After a pandemic break, the curtains are ready to be reopened! The cast includes students from grades 2 and up who will rock the house with their songs, dance, characters, talent and wit.

With “Oliver, Jr.” you will return to the City of London and to a 19th century workshop run by Mr. Bumble (Hunter Hemmila) and Widow Corney (Avery Schultz) where poor, hungry and shrewd Oliver Twist (Molly Dick) and other orphaned children (Kinsley Lacek, Lucie Jackson, Violet Wilson, Millie Koscielniak, Ella Dick, Mabel Dick, Olia Jorgensen, Violet Kastendick) live in the work house. Bumble tries to sell Oliver to the Undertaker Sowerberry and his wife (Izabel Dalziel) and their incorrigible daughter Charlotte (Natalie Youngren), but when the boy decides to run away he joins a group of street kid pickpockets (Paul Davis, Clara Kastendick, Helen Koscielniak, Lauren Kostiuk, Sophie Kostiuk) directed by the infamous Fagin (Anna Kopacek) who, along with her two loyal friends Nancy (Riley Stovall) and Bet (Emily Sonder) and the dishonorable Bill Sikes (Asa Dockter) who all live dangerous lives of crime. When the truth comes out about the identity of Oliver’s mother, he is taken in by his wealthy grandfather, Mr. Brownlow (Bradley Hewitt). But the secret leaks to Sikes and Fagin who see Oliver as an opportunity to make money, and a night of terror ensues. Where will Oliver end up?

Program coordinator Sharon Marty said, “I have to come see the show! Some of the better known songs include “Food, Glorious Food”, “Consider Yourself One of the Family” and “It’s a Fine, Fine Life”.

Marty continued, “Everyone in the cast of ’10 Ways To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse’ has two roles: one as a zombie and one as a ‘regular’ character. Everyone has created their own costume. zombie costume using stage blood, twigs, leaves, dirt, rags and more! These costumes had to be built in a quick change mode as kids move back and forth between roles of real people and zombie ones They had a great time and did a great job!

“This play consists of 10 small sketches each demonstrating a unique way of surviving the apocalypse, when it comes. Because, you know… it’s going to come, ”Marty reported.

Some of the strategies that will be featured include Romance the Zombies, Kung Fu Fighting, Reason with the Zombies and Attack with Genetically Modified Fighting Dogs and will include actors Brayden Meyer, DeShawn Nason, Precious Nason, Brody Wilson, Hadley Erickson, Maddelyn Saarela, Abbigail Saarela , Elsa Schiller, Shelby Dockendorf, James Gutoski, Levi Fischer, Grady Dockter, Emily Sonder, Asa Dockter, Kinsley Lacek, Hunter Hemmila, Riley Stovall, Emma Lindgren and Lucie Jackson.

Marty explained, “The peculiarity of our summer camp is that these kids go from script to stage in forty hours. Everyone has a big role on stage as well as extra roles and does all the behind-the-scenes work. They helped. set design and wardrobe, as well as mastery of certain theater techniques, including directing, character development, voice projection and stage presence, all while having fun , gaining confidence, cooperating and creating friendships.

“We’ve been doing this for 15 years now,” Marty continued. “And every year it becomes more and more popular with a number of our children who join us because they are on summer vacation in our area. It has become an annual tradition for many of our families and some even plan their summer vacations around the dates so that their children can have this opportunity.

Directed by Sharon Marty, Jean Goad, Amy Stovall and Grand Rapids High School grad and Sarah Mason, Music Director of Ely, Grand Rapids Players invites you to performances on Friday July 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday July 10 at 2 p.m. at Reif Performing Arts Center, Wilcox Stage. General Admission $ 8 tickets go on sale one hour before each performance. This family-friendly show includes a 20-minute intermission with concessions available. “Olivier, Jr.” book music and lyrics for “Oliver, Jr.” are written by Lionel Bart and produced with permission from Music Theater International (MTI), New York, New York.

This activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, with appropriations from the General Fund for Arts and Cultural Heritage of the State Legislature of Minnesota.

“On behalf of the Grand Rapids players,” Marty concluded, “I would like to thank you and recognize Lake States Tree Service, Lake States Construction and Operation Round Up for their generous financial donations to support our project. Their belief in what we bring to the community is fuel for our fire in the world of community theater. ”