Celebrating 25 years of onstage dreams coming true

Celebrating 25 years of onstage dreams coming true

When it comes this local stage company dreams do come true as 25 years of the Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre were celebrated Saturday night

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The iconic Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre turned 25 this year and on Saturday they staged what it called an ‘epic’ celebration at the Best Western Hotel. 

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For the few in North Bay that may not know, Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre has dedicated itself to providing musical theatre experience for the children and families of the North Bay area.  

The Dreamcoat mission statement, from its Facebook page states that it is, “Theatre for Children by Children,” and produces up to four shows per year with children from ages 5 to 14 and one adult/family show. 

The lobby and several conference rooms at the Best Western were packed with posters, costumes, and props from a quarter-century of productions. 


(Celebrating 25 years through song-Photo-GREG ESTABROOKS)

Jay Lynch started at Dreamcoat when she was just a young child about 15 years ago.  Lynch remains with the theatre group as both a performer and crew member. 

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She was very emotional talking about this day and the impact Dreamcoat has had on her life. 

“Dreamcoat is just who I am now, I was eight when I started doing Dreamcoat. I would not be the person I am today without,” says Lynch, choking back tears. 

“I see myself in all the kids, just a reflection back at what it does for kids.  There is so much heart putting yourself on stage.  There is so much the kids want to do with themselves, they just need the outlet,” says Lynch. “It is just so beautiful when they find their thing.” 

Blake Beam has been with Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre since just after it started.  Beam’s family has been with Dreamcoat since the early days too.  The Beam family got involved after seeing a show with their oldest son who was inspired to attempt theatre after the family tried the youth sports angle. 

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“The first part Jesse got was ‘Lost’ where he kept coming on stage in the wrong character. I offered to help backstage and the director, Marty Southcott, said she did not need any help, and Darlene Laferriere (longtime performer) said to Marty, ‘You have a parent volunteer, say yes,’ and I have been here (with Dreamcoat) ever since,” says Beam with a chuckle. 

Even though he is just 25 years old, Darren Summersby has nearly 20 years of live theatrical performance experience as an actor, stage manager and director in over 50 productions.
Summersby was eight when the performance bug bit him, and he joined the Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre. 

“It is so much fun to do both sides (acting and directing). I have been on stage, and I understand what it is like to be on stage, and I understand the process on the other side (backstage),” says Summersby. 

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Like Lynch, Summersby says being a part of Dreamcoat changes a person. 

“I have learned so many new creative abilities, I was this very shy kid that would be afraid to talk to someone. Now I can speak before a thousand people when doing a pre-show announcement and it means nothing to me,” says Summersby. 

Beam commented on a question about a parent wondering if a life in the arts would be good for their child. Especially if they have ‘stage fright.’ 

“Almost every kid that has ever come to an information night likely has nerves. They try it and realize how much fun it is, there is no pressure,” says Beam. 

“Chris Mogan (longtime volunteer and high school drama teacher) has this quote that I love,” says Beam. “He says, ‘the great thing about theatre is that every night is a championship game, and everybody wins,” it is just awesome,” says Beam. 

The day wrapped up with a huge fundraising gala for the Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre Saturday night, also at the Best Western. 

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