Camp Vaudeville kicks off

Photo by Wayne Towner Children in the Camp Vaudeville program at the Smoot Theatre practice their lines this week. The week-long theatre camp will culminate with a performance at 7 p.m. Tuesday put on by the students.

PARKERSBURG — About 40 local children are working through the week to learn about theatrical history and the days of Vaudeville at the historic Smoot Theatre in downtown Parkersburg.

The annual Camp Vaudeville program at the Smoot kicked off Monday and continues through this week and into next week before culminating in a live show presented by the children.

The show will be 7 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children.

This year’s theme is “Immigration Nation: Vaudeville, America’s Melting Pot.” The camp is for children who will be in second through ninth grades and runs each morning through next Tuesday at the Smoot at 213 Fifth St. in downtown Parkersburg. This week’s classes include acting, art, dance, history, music and technical theatre.

Smoot director Felice Jorgeson said the theme of immigration and the contributions made by immigrants is especially timely this year, but was chosen by coincidence.

Photo by Wayne Towner Instructor Alison Cressy, center, leads students in a dance rehearsal during the Camp Vaudeville program at the Smoot Theatre in downtown Parkersburg.

“Each year on the day following our camp’s final show, we the staff have our follow-up meeting. In this meeting, we discuss the good things, the things that we can certainly improve upon and we pick a theme for the following year. It was last July, in 2017, that we chose this theme. Who would have guessed that immigration would be such a hot topic? We hope this is a week filled with fun and learning as we explore our ‘Immigration Nation’ as it happened on the Vaudeville stage way back at the beginning of the 20th century,” Jorgeson said.

Lyla Davis, 8, of Parkersburg, is in her second year at Camp Vaudeville.

“I love this program, it’s so much fun. When I grow up, I want to be a singer so this is so much fun for me,” Davis said.

Sophia D’Eramo, 10, of Vienna, is in her first year at Camp Vaudeville, although she knew about the program earlier and was interested in giving it a try. She has been in plays, choir and also participated in the annual Missoula Children’s Theatre program each spring at the Smoot

“I really like it, I kind of like the whole experience,” D’Eramo said, adding she hopes to come back in the future.

“I really like both acting and singing,” she said.

Kaleb Windland, 12, of Parkersburg, is in his second year with the program. Windland said he wants to be a “triple threat” and is interested in singing, dancing and acting.

He learned about Camp Vaudeville during a school field trip to the Smoot and won a scholarship covering the cost of last year’s camp program.

“I enjoyed it and kept coming back and torturing Miss Felice,” he said.

“I just love everything here,” Windland said, adding he has a goal of one day performing on Broadway in “Jersey Boys.”

“That’s my favorite Broadway musical,” he said

The camp participants include: Miles Ray, Maddox Reynolds, Jason Skidmore, Audrey Smith, Jackson Whited, Emma Withrow, Sophia D’Eramo, Zoe Daugherty, Kenneth Fronko, Kendyl Householder, Claire Line, Rachel McClung, Maeghan O’Neill, Naomi Potts, Chancey Roberts, Kaera Stout, Clare Walker, Skylar Wilkinson, Kaleb Windland, Eisley Adams-Morrison, James D’Eramo, Jacob Daugherty, Lyla Davis, Adalyn Eichmiller, Josh McClung, Isaac Pennington, Oliver Ray, Lena Sue Skidmore, Alexandra Smith, Kalianna Washington, Grace Boone, Andrew Brown, Lucy Cartwright, Alyssa Daugherty, Mya Daugherty, Olivia Hayhurst, Alex Marshall, Christian Marshall, Caleb McClung and Kiley Moore.