Every actor and actress dreams of performing for the perfect audience.
For the seven Annapolis-area children who have spent the past two months sharing the musical "Six Kids and a Little Brother" with the county's senior centers and nursing homes, the dream came true.
"I told (the children), 'This is probably the most appreciative audience you'll ever have,' and it's true," said Kathy Nolet, who cameup with the idea for the play.
Nolet's two children, Corey, 7, and Cameron, 12, joined fellow cast members Jessica MacMillan, 9, Erin Book, 12, and Jason Whittle, 11, during Monday's performance at Chesapeake Manor Nursing Home in Arnold. The other two members are John MacMillan, 13, who acts as "sound man," and Rebecca Price, 11.
Although the performers all agreed they had been nervous before their first show, at Fairfield Nursing Home in Crownsville in July, no pre-showjitters were evident this time.
"The response has been so positive," Nolet said. "After the first show, (we) were so excited because we were so well-received. We were told (the residents) might not clap,but they clapped for every song." The production began with the fiveperformers singing, "Hey Look Me Over," followed by their gathering around a treasure chest to pull out various props. Each actor, responsible for choreographing the moves to his or her song, had the opportunity to sing a solo.
After a repertoire of 14 songs, including "You're a Grand Old Flag," and "Give My Regards to Broadway," the cast sauntered through the delighted audience, shaking hands and acceptingpraise.
"I just loved it. 'Give My Regards to Broadway' was my favorite," said resident Bethel Sexton, who sang along and clapped her hands throughout the performance.
Nolet, a teacher for deaf children at Shipley's Choice Elementary, says the favorite part for the kids, particularly the youngest, Corey, occurred after the play.
"Therapport between the kids and seniors is amazing," said Nolet, who ismusical director of Merely Players, a new theater group for childrenand adults.
"I thought it was great. The children seemed to be sohappy with it,and they could not have put on a better show," said resident Gertrude McClellan.
"And the children seemed so eager to display their patriotism," she added, referring to the last three songs. In one of them, Whittle donned an Uncle Sam jacket and hat, and in another, Corey held a U.S. flag as the cast sang "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
For the majority of the performers, this is not the first crackat acting. Past experience has included such plays as "How to Eat Like a Child" with the Children's Theater of Annapolis and "Robin Hood"at Annapolis Dinner Theater.