C.S. Lewis made children, and adults, everywhere hope their closet was a portal to an enchanted world.
In the author’s classic 1950 children’s fantasy novel, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” four siblings step through a wardrobe and wind up in Narnia, a land of talking animals and mythical creatures presided over by the nefarious White Witch.
Academy of Community Theatre (ACT II) will present the show based on the novel at Ent Center for the Arts. It runs Thursday through Saturday.
“There’s drama, dancing and sword fighting all woven together to bring this magical land to life,” said ACT II owner, founder and director Lynn M. Hamilton. “People watching will be on the edge of their seats. It’s a magical show.”
The majority of the 44-person cast are under 18, though Hamilton opens up roles to adults in the community as needed. Some of the kids in the show attend Hamilton’s Academy of Children’s Theatre, which provides theater classes and camps for ages 4 through high school ages.
While the show is drenched in drama and action, there is a message at its core.
“It’s a really neat story of sacrifice and love, and it brings hope to people,” Hamilton said. “In this crazy last year and a half, we needed a story of hope.”
The show stars three Colorado Springs siblings, all of whom have taken classes at the academy. All three also were cast in the same Lewis show at ACT II a decade ago. Stephanie Mielke and her older sister, Bree Mielke, will perform the same roles — Mrs. Beaver and the White Witch, respectively. Little brother Bryce Mielke, who was a dancer in the show last time, will star as Peter, one of the four children to step through the wardrobe.
“Our whole family has loved Narnia forever,” Bree said. “Our mom read this when my sister and I were very little. We’ve grown up with it. She named me after a character in a different Narnia book — ‘The Horse and His Boy.’ I’m named after the horse. Our love runs deep and the whole family loves it. It’s got a great message.”
Hamilton started the nonprofit ACT II to provide students a safe space in which to indulge their love of theater, and to bring books to life on stage.
“We choose books schools will read so students can watch it come alive on stage,” she said. “They’ve already imagined it in their minds, and then they get to see how we portray it on stage. It brings more to a book than reading it alone.”
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