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Welcome to the 'Hood'

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | November 11, 2011 8:15 PM

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<p>Joy Weadick, playing Maid Marian, looks back as Andrew Steiner, as Robin Hood, swings in from backstage behind her while rehearsing a scene.</p>

He was the lion in "Wizard of Oz."

He was the grandfather in "Willy Wonka."

He's been an intern director.

He's been an assistant director.

Time for Daniel Connelly to take another step up in the world of theater.

The 20-year-old is directing "Robin Hood the Musical" being put on by Christian Youth Theater-North Idaho.

The play opens tonight.

It's his first time being the one in charge and yes, a little pressure comes with the responsibility.

"I do want to live up to expectations," he said Wednesday shortly before a rehearsal at the Kroc Center.

No problem, said Bliss Lanier, executive director of CYT-North Idaho.

Connelly was involved in CYT from 2007 until 2010, when he graduated. The 20-year-old from Rathdrum has been a stage manager and is teaching beginning drama classes, too.

"He's going to do great," Lanier said. "He knows from the actor's perspective what the kids like and what works well."

"Robin Hood the Musical" will run Nov. 11-20 at the Kroc Center. About 100 local school children ages 8-18 comprise the cast and crew. All are students in CYT-North Idaho's fall session of theater arts classes.

"This musical telling of the tales of Robin Hood has comedy, memorable songs, rompin', fun- loving dances and stories about all of your favorite Robin Hood characters," according to a press release.

Andrew Steiner plays Robin Hood, Joy Weadick plays Maid Marian, Loryn Seidl plays Little John and Presley DuTuis plays the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Connelly said Robin Hood has long been one of his favorites. When he was asked to direct, he didn't hesitate.

He considers himself a "medieval kind of guy," and is a giant fan of "Lord of the Rings."

"Anything with swords in it is going to be my favorite, and there's lot of sword fighting," he said, smiling.

Swords, daggers, staffs and bow and arrows, too, as Connelly, cast and crew recount the story of Robin, the hero who stays one step ahead of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in his quest to right the wrongs of the greedy Prince John.

"He must stop the prince from marrying his love, the beautiful Maid Marian, before time runs out to find the missing King Richard," said a press release.

To prepare for directing, Connelly studied this summer, reading books and scripts on Robin Hood and watching movies, too.

"I really really tried to stay true to the original story of Robin Hood," he said.

"And I'm also trying to keep it a good experience for the kids," he added. "That's my No. 1 goal, help them have fun through the process."

Because he intern directed "Aladdin," and assistant directed "Tom Sawyer," the transition to directing wasn't too difficult.

"I came into it so gradually, it doesn't feel too new," he said.

Connelly, a North Idaho College student, recalled that he served on the stage crew in "Snow White," his first show with CYT-North Idaho. He had, he said, a blast

"I didn't miss a show since," he said.

He loves performing for the audience, and eliciting reactions to the drama, fear or humor unfolding on stage.

"I liked being in the shows. I like this side of it, too. I'm not sure which one I like better," he said.

Directing, he has found, can be daunting. Sound cues, staging, lighting, props, costumes, all ultimately fall to him for final decisions.

"Everybody always has a question for you," Connelly said, smiling. "There's a lot more to directing than I actually thought."

Still, he welcomes the commitments.

"My favorite part about it, though is working with the kids," he said. "As long as you bring the excitement, they give it back."

Lanier said Connelly is working with an experienced musical director in Dorene Dundas, and an experienced choreographer in Stacey Berger.

CYT-North Idaho, Lanier added, is an educational program that gives students more opportunities as they continue through it.

Connelly, she said, was a logical choice to direct "Robin Hood the Musical."

"The show is a good match for him," she said.

Connelly appreciates the support of Lanier and others.

"They have a lot of faith in me as a director," he said.

Show date and times for "Robin Hood the Musical" are Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 3 p.m.

The two-hour show includes a 20-minute intermission.

Tickets are $9 for seniors and children 12 and under; $10 for adults and $12 at the door. There is a discount matinee at 3 p.m. Saturday, where tickets are $7.

Tickets may be purchased online at the CYT-North Idaho website: www.cytnorthidaho.org or by phoning the Box Office at (208) 277-5727. For more information about CYT-North Idaho and their upcoming theater arts classes and winter show, "Annie," please call the CYT office at (208) 765-8600.

"Robin Hood the Musical," is CYT-North Idaho's eighth show in the Kroc Center.

If you go

Christian Youth Theater-North Idaho is honoring veterans by offering them discounted tickets to the musical, "Robin Hood," today, Veterans Day.

The show will be staged at the Kroc Center. All veterans, active and retired, can purchase tickets at the door for $7, a discount of $5 per ticket. Military ID must be shown.