JCYAT to present “Finding Nemo Jr.”


BROWNSTOWN — It’s oh-fish-ial! Disney’s musical adaptation of the Oscar winning 2003 Pixar movie “Finding Nemo” is making its debut in Jackson County at the Royal-Off-the-Square Theatre in Brownstown.

Winning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2004, “Finding Nemo” has become a classic film for families and Disney fans alike. Now with songs, lessons and laughter Jackson County will debut a musical adaptation performed by kids as “Finding Nemo Jr.”

This show follows Marlin, an anxious and overprotective Clownfish who lives in the Great Barrier Reef with his kid, Nemo, who longs to explore the world beyond their anemone home.

But when Nemo is captured and taken to Sydney, Australia, Marlin faces his fears and sets off on an epic adventure across the ocean. With the help of unique characters such as optimistic Dory, laid-back sea turtle Crush and the supportive Tank Gang, Marlin and Nemo both overcome challenges on their journey to find each other and themselves.

Featuring popular songs — composed by the award-winning songwriting team of Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez — such as “Just Keep Swimming,” “Fish Are Friends Not Food” and “Go With the Flow,” “Finding Nemo Jr.” brings an underwater world to life on stage in a story filled with family, friendship and adventure.

The Jackson County Young Artists’ Theatre is presenting the show at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and July 28-29 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday and July 30.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children, students and senior citizens and may be purchased online at jcct.org.

“We have always been a big Disney family and I saw a similar show performed in Florida,” Director Kristina Charlton said. “We knew the musical and the songs so, it was just an obvious choice. Plus, we have a really large cast this year from ages five to 18.”

Charlton said the play is mostly run by kids as they practice backstage management, props and running sound effects.

“These kids have really worked hard all summer and with this musical they will learn work ethic, how to rely on each other as a team and overall confidence,” she said. “We have a lot of first-timers this year.”

Ninety-seven kids joined this summer’s annual workshop which ended with auditions for the summer’s musical and from there, 41 kids joined the cast.

“I always tell the kids that talent doesn’t mean anything if you are a jerk,” Assistant Director Shawn Charlton said.

The Charltons said the challenges they have faced in production of the musical is dealing with the large cast size in a small venue and figuring out schedules for all 41 cast members.

“While we have some challenges we have such a great team of adults helping out in production from props to costumes,” Kristina said. “It really is a team effort here.”

Jackson County Community Theatre recently received a $4,250 grant from the Indiana Arts Commission that will go to support the organization’s local art projects.

Kristina said she is most looking forward to seeing the kids have their moment in the spotlight.

“They deserve all the love and support we get from the community,” she said.

Jack Charlton, who is playing the lead role of Marlin, is excited to get into his character.

“Marlin is like an overprotective dad and I like that he cares about the people around him,” the 14-year-old said.

Charlton said while he is both excited and nervous playing the lead, he knew he wanted to audition.

“I have been in the theatre since I was 5 and I have always liked getting on stage and playing a character,” he said.

Sophomore Emily Keller, who is playing a Blue tang fish with a sunny personality, said she is excited to make people laugh and looks forward to keep acting as a hobby.

Seventh-grader Gabby Hall, playing the adventurous Nemo, said when she first auditioned she didn’t think she would get the part as Nemo.

“I have always loved musical theatre camp and when I found out that Nemo could be played by a girl I knew I wanted to be Nemo,” she said. “I am excited to be on stage in front of everybody and do this with my friends.”

Tickets may be purchased online at jcct.org or by calling 812-358-5228.

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