Every year, Variety Theatre brings together kids and teens of all abilities to form an inclusive Children’s Ensemble to perform alongside a professional cast for a magical and inspiring production. Our “Why Variety Theatre” blog series highlights the stories of some of the fantastic Variety Kids and Teens at the heart of the show.
When the curtain falls at Variety Theatre, all those involved – whether on stage or in the audience – are changed.
That was truly the case for Variety Teen Phoebe, who has now been a part of the Variety Theatre Children’s Ensemble for five years.
Before joining Variety Theatre, Phoebe often relied on her family members for help. Her mom, Becky, shares a heartwarming story about a time when Phoebe really stepped into her own.
“I remember the first time Phoebe went backstage to practice and told me that she didn’t need my help,” says Becky. “I was in a little bit of a shock, and the teens we were walking with said, ‘Yeah, we’re good! We can help her!’ That was it – in that very moment, she was instantly more independent.”
“It was a huge step towards her not needing me as much,” Becky continues. “As the mom of a child with special needs, it was both exhilarating and humbling.”
Phoebe’s new independence shines through every time she is on stage, and it has led to increased confidence in her abilities as well. In turn, this self-esteem has also helped Phoebe improve her singing, acting and dancing skills.
This summer, Phoebe showed off her new independence, confidence and skills in a big way by taking on a major role in Variety Theatre’s Curtain Up Showcase for the first time. She played Mary Poppins for one of the scenes, perfectly belting out a solo number that brought big rounds of applause.
Phoebe has also made many friends through Variety Theatre, and shares that she enjoys helping them like she has been helped before.
“Last year, I helped my friend Aryana (a Variety Teen with a vision impairment) navigate the stage during the show,” says Phoebe. “It made me feel happy that I was able to help.”
And what is she looking forward to most this year? “Tap dancing,” says Phoebe – yet another skill to add to her repertoire.
“As her mother, I have noticed a tremendous difference in Phoebe’s maturity, confidence and ability, on and off the stage,” says Becky. “Variety Theatre has helped shape her into an amazing young woman.”
You can catch Phoebe and her friends on stage in Variety Theatre’s 2019 production, Disney’s Mary Poppins, coming to the Touhill Performing Arts Center October 18 – 27, 2019. Get your tickets now and check back here throughout the coming weeks for more “Why Variety Theatre” stories.