Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company presents ‘Special Delivery’

Guy and kid

Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company has an early holiday package for audiences, all wrapped up in colorful paper and a bow. “Special Delivery” opens Nov. 3 and continues through Nov. 18 in Oregon City.

The family-oriented holiday musical tells the tale of the mysterious letters that arrive at New York City’s Dead Letter Office every year on Dec. 23. The letters have no specific address. Only the initials of their sender and intended recipient and written on the envelopes.

This year, the mail detectives from that office decide they are going to find the connection between the unknown author of the letters and their intended recipient. And they are not going to let a snowstorm, citywide blackout and a strange encounter with a toy store stop them. They will persevere, even if they have to go to the North Pole to find answers.

“Special Delivery” is a full musical in two acts, featuring the talents of 31 local children ages 5-18.

The storyline includes humor, tender moments and dance routines and will usher in the magic of the holiday season to audiences of all ages.

30th anniversary

“Special Delivery” is particularly special this year, as it marks the 30th anniversary of the Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company. It was established in 1993 by Dianne Kohlmeier and Vicki Mills-O’Donnell, based on their lifelong passion for theater and a love for teaching young people the value of performing live at a professional level.

The 30-year milestone is significant to Kohlmeier, the executive director, who has spent a lifetime involved with dance, theater and television.

“Krayon Kids was just the frosting for a dream that came true these past 30 years,” she said.

She added that she has had “endless ideas and visions to take our kids on journeys through history, space or fantasy with fairies hiding under flowers from pirates. But believe me, I could never do it alone.”

She noted that throughout these years she has had unfailing support from her daughter, friends and parents.

Kohlmeier added that she likes writing the fall shows because she can bring in quirky characters and funny situations, but she also incorporates life lessons for the characters to solve problems and improve situations.

“The letters and notes from kids who’ve grown up are unbelievably rewarding and made me realize that Krayon Kids did make a difference in their lives. My passion for theater and my love for the kids will always be part of who I am,” she said.

Teamwork

Kohlmeier is adamant that school districts need to incorporate some type of theater arts in their curriculum.

“Every child benefits from spending time watching a production or better yet, being part of a company of actors because they learn tolerance, respect, social skills, time management and how to work together as a team,” she said.

Their success in life will greatly be enhanced by the confidence they learn when they are putting on a production,” said, adding, “I truly believe theater participation and community support is an important part of learning who you are as a person.”

Passing the torch

This year is personally significant for Kohlmeier as she is planning to retire.

“But I love and believe in what Krayon Kids does for kids because I’ve lived it, so not sure I can stay away completely,” she said,

She noted that she believes that Taylor Miller, who was raised in Krayon Kids, wants to see it continue and plans to give his all to make it happen.

“I’ll miss it all, but I’m happy Oregon City did give us a golden opportunity to thrive and present the best of Krayon Kids. I hope that Taylor will have the same good luck as he reaches out to continue our legacy,” Kohlmeier added.

Artistic director

Miller has been artistic director of Krayon Kids for seven years, and said that for him, the significance of the theater company celebrating its 30th anniversary “lies in the enduring impact it has had on the community, the arts and the individuals it has nurtured.”

Krayon Kids has impacted over 500 children in the past 30 years and continues to grow with new generations and families, Miller noted.

“The piece that I love most about Krayon Kids is the generations involved. We have parents working alongside their children to create sets and costumes, and one of our cast member’s mother was a Krayon Kid for many years in her childhood.”

Miller added, “This is a family affair, and we take pride in giving back to younger generations, teaching new skills and sharing the magic of theater with our community.”

Illustrating that point is the fact that Kohlmeier’s daughter, Kamala Skipper, is choreographing “Special Delivery,” and her daughter, Kadyn Skipper, will play Mrs. Claus. Miller is directing the show and also has a role in the production.

“This show will bring a beautiful sense of holiday spirit to every audience member,” Miller added.

Fundraising campaign

As a nonprofit organization, Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company relies on the generosity of donors and supporters to fund its programs and operations.

This year’s annual campaign, $30 for 30 years, is asking supporters to donate $30 to help the company to continue to nurture young talents for generations to come.

The campaign will “help to ensure that Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company can continue to offer high-quality performing arts education and entertainment to children in the community,” Miller said.

Money raised may be used to provide scholarships to children who might not otherwise be able to afford Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Company’s programs, purchase new equipment, hire professional staff members, rent performance and rehearsal spaces and offer free or discounted tickets to underprivileged children or schools.

Miller added, “Ultimately, the annual fund is a critical source of support for Krayon Kids Musical Theatre Co., and enables the organization to continue to inspire and educate young performers in the community.”

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