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posted: 10/22/2013 1:09 PM

Children's Theatre of Elgin to stage 'Mulan Jr.'

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  • The Fa family, is played by Haley Dulabaum, from left, Emilie Knieriemen, Elizabeth McKay and Braedon Harder in the Children's Theatre of Elgin production of "Mulan Jr."

      The Fa family, is played by Haley Dulabaum, from left, Emilie Knieriemen, Elizabeth McKay and Braedon Harder in the Children's Theatre of Elgin production of "Mulan Jr."
    Courtesy of Children's Theatre of Elgin

  • Members of the mother's chorus rehearse for the Children's Theatre of Elgin's production of "Mulan Jr."

      Members of the mother's chorus rehearse for the Children's Theatre of Elgin's production of "Mulan Jr."
    Courtesy of Children's Theatre of Elgin

 
Children’s Theatre of Elgin

Travel back in time to exotic and dangerous third century China as Children's Theatre of Elgin presents its debut production of Disney's "Mulan Jr.," on the Hemmens Cultural Center stage this weekend in Elgin.

Eighty-five students from the Fox Valley area ranging in age from 7 to 15 have been cast in the production, which features many favorite songs from the Disney movie including "Reflection," "Honor to Us All" and "I'll Make a Man out of You," as well as new songs that are sure to have audience members dancing in their seats.

The story of Mulan is set in the days of China's Han Dynasty, and when the musical opens, the Huns have invaded the area where Mulan and her family live. Defying the village matchmaker, Mulan takes up arms and disguises as a boy in order to spare her father from having to serve in the army. As the Huns threaten the emperor, it's up to Mulan and her mischievous sidekick Mushu to save him.

"Mulan is an inspirational story about staying true to yourself and standing up for what you believe in." producer Amy Zapata said.

"Mulan Jr." is directed by first-time CTE director Catie Early, who also appeared with CTE as a performer. She performed her first show,"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," at the age of 7.

"I can't say enough good things about my experience directing with CTE," Early said. "The kids in the cast are so talented and focused. The parent volunteers have consistently gone above and beyond any expectations I might have had coming in. I can't wait to show off everyone's hard work."

Early said the play's theme mirrors the cast's experience in preparing for the show.

"The five ancestors in Mulan open the show by telling the audience that the play is about honor, loyalty, strength, destiny, and love," she said. "If the audience could take away just one of those ideas after seeing the show, I'd love for it to be loyalty. This cast has been so willing to step up and help each other -- groups running through choreography in their downtime or the older kids stepping up to make sure the younger kids are singing the right part.

"Beyond my pride as a director in seeing how much all of the kids have grown as actors throughout this experience, I'm amazed at how loyal they are to each other. I feel very lucky to have witnessed this small part of their lives."

"Mulan Jr." performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

The group will present a special school matinee at 9:45 a.m. Friday that is also open to the public. There is no intermission during Friday's matinee, and tickets are only $8 for everyone who attends. To purchase tickets, visit ticketpeak.com/CTESHOWS. For details, see CTE's website at CTEelgin.com.

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