If you’ve got it, why not flaunt it?
Children and youth at Pathways Health Centre are preparing a second elaborate variety show at The Imperial Theatre after a huge success last year.
“The parents said, ‘Please, let’s do it again,’” explains Holly Wenning.
She and daughter Amy Mayea co-wrote the script and selected the music for the upcoming production called Diamonds in the Sky.
They’re working closely with Amy Spadafora and Cindy Hughes who are therapeutic recreation specialists at the centre.
“It was received so well last year, we couldn’t say no to another,” said Spadafora.
The show is nearly sold out and promises to raise money to support recreational programs for centre clients with physical, developmental and communication needs.
But more importantly, Diamonds in the Sky is a chance for Pathway’s clients to shine.
Wenning and Mayea also operate a summer musical theatre camp in Sarnia called Stars of Tomorrow. When they were approached to do a stage project to celebrate Pathways’ 40th anniversary last year, Wenning said she had no idea how much satisfaction she would personally derive from it.+
“It’s definitely the brainchild of Amy and Cindy,” said Wenning, who has more than 25 years of theatre experience. “They are teaching me so much about working with special needs.
“And these kids are amazing. I love working with them. Honestly, it feeds my soul.”
This year, 22 Pathways clients ages six to 18 will be on stage. The concept is similar to last year but also features speaking parts and a dramatic performance within the performance.
Songs, dances and acting were designed to showcase the players’ specific talents.
Back by popular demand are two numbers. One is a father-daughter piece called Gracie Girl by Ben Folds. The second is the boys’ drumming group who perform It’s Time by Imagine Dragons.
Last year, the drumming number earned a standing ovation. One member of the audience was an executive with The Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services who was so impressed, she invited the 10 children in the number to perform it before a large crowd at the association’s conference last fall in Toronto.
“It was an opportunity for our clients to showcase their talents and inspire other centres like ours,” said Spadafora.
The show’s name, Diamonds in the Sky, reflects the uniqueness of each performer, their strengths and their brilliance, said Wenning.
“As far as we know there are no other programs going on in the province at this level, so it’s very special for them.”
Diamonds in the Sky also features a handful of local singers and musicians including Chris Molyneaux on sax and Tara Duff Cloes on vocals.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Diamonds in the Sky presented by Pathways Health Centre for Children
WHERE: Imperial Theatre
WHEN: Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. One show only.
TICKETS: $25 adult; $12.50 children. At www.imperialtheatre.net or at the Imperial’s box office (519-344-7469)