If you’re ever in Monticello during June, during the time the Jefferson County Watermelon Festival is in full swing, one of the events that should be on your “to-do” list is to see the Children’s Company annual performance at the Monticello Opera House.
The children’s theatre performers are part of The Monticello Acting & Dance Co. (MADCo) and consists of actors, singers and dancers of all ages. MADCo is under the direction of local resident, Melanie Mays, who produces, directs and choreographs all of MADCo’s productions, from children’s theatre to Broadway-style musicals to comedies. Mays has performed professionally as an actor, singer, dancer and choreographer and passes her experience onto her students by teaching dance, piano and accordion; she gives workshops on auditioning for musical theatre and does acting lessons and vocal coaching to ensure young performers are ready to take the stage.
Members of the company (sometimes adults, sometimes teens) write and compose the book, music, and lyrics for the children’s shows. Not only are the shows a big hit at the local summer festival, but summer camps from Tallahassee book in early January each year to be able to attend the children’s theatre. This usually adds an additional week of sold out performances to the schedule. This year’s production, 2014: A Space Oddity, was written by one of MADCo’s adult performers, Judi Persons, who had help from her granddaughter, Kaya Dungey. 2014: A Space Oddity was a science-fiction extravaganza that included a comedic robot as narrator, colorful costumes, space-related trivia segments, singing and dancing worthy of Broadway and ending with a message, good for not only children but adults as well: the message of learning to accept others, even if they are different from ourselves.
Past offerings include original works such as:
Don’t Trash Your Mother Earth,
Hot Dogs, Cool Cats,
The Unhappy Hippopotamus,
and High Tide: A Pirate’s Tale