Ten Years of Play

Red Cedar Youth Stage celebrates with original musical

Caitlin Boyle, photos by Andrea Paulseth

DANCE, DANCE, THEATER REVOLUTION! Blaine Halverson founded the Red Cedar Youth Stage in the spring of 2009, devoting the company to young people.
DANCE, DANCE, THEATER REVOLUTION! Blaine Halverson founded the Red Cedar Youth Stage in the spring of 2009, devoting the company to young people.

“For these kids, it’s NOT just a stage!” That is the motto for the Red Cedar Youth Stage company in Menomonie. For the past 10 years, the company has offered area young people a chance to tap into their artistic side by offering a day summer camp for kids who want to express themselves on stage for their family and friends.

“Cinderella (Cindy) isn’t some poor, put-upon girl who needs a prince to rescue her. The idea is that she’s this really original person who gets a lot of flack, but doesn’t care. She knows who she is and she’s comfortable.” – Blaine Halverson, Red Cedar Youth Stage

Blaine Halverson founded the Red Cedar Youth Stage in the spring of 2009, devoting the company to young people, from preschool through college age, who want to be involved in the theater arts as performers, participants, and patrons. Halverson sets three goals for everyone who attends camp. The first is for kids to learn something, whatever that may be. The second is to have fun. Halverson said while everyone works hard, he wants the work to be fun and offers a variety of activities for kids to participate in to find their niche. The third and final goal is to perform with passion, which will teach the campers to give everything they have got on stage for the final performance, which will celebrate the company’s 10th year.

More than 70 campers are registered for the “Summer Stage” camp, and there is a big reason why: the final stage performance of Halverson’s original musical, “Cinderella! (If the Shoe Fits).” The show is an ’80s pop parody musical about self-respect, which spoofs songs by John Mellencamp, Madonna, and Queen – just to name a few. The show turns the traditional Cinderella story on its head, Halverson said. 

“Cinderella (Cindy) isn’t some poor, put-upon girl who needs a prince to rescue her,” Halverson said. “The idea is that she’s this really original person who gets a lot of flack but doesn’t care. She knows who she is and she’s comfortable.”  

Along with the campers, a staff of four adults and a dozen teen mentors have been working hard to get the show ready for an audience. 

“Over the years we’ve had about 400 different kids in our camp and probably about 40 to 50 different teen mentors,” Halverson said. “Many of them have gone on to continue working with kids in theater.”

Kids, teens, and young adults will love the music, color, energy and humor, Halverson said, while anyone age 30 or over will know enough about ’80s pop culture to absolutely love it.

This year is the fourth time the company has done an original production. Halverson chose the musical because a number of teen mentors presented it for the first time in 2015, and he liked the idea of doing an original production for the 10th year anniversary.

Red Cedar Youth Stage will present “Cinderella! (If the Shoe Fits)” Aug. 1-3 at Cedarbrook Church on Highway 25, just north of Menomonie. Show times are 7pm all three days plus a 1pm matinee on Aug. 3. Tickets are $12 for adults and teens and $8 for kids 12 and younger. They can be purchased online at recys.org.

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