Playhouse Merced Conservatory launches summer theater program for youngsters

Playhouse Merced Conservatory said it would launch its annual summer theater program for young people with an expansion into Merced College.

Starting Friday, three shows will be produced in three separate age categories, including a revived program at Merced College. Education Director Noelle Chandler, 26, is now in her third year as head of the conservatory and the summer program.

This year, Playhouse Merced Conservatory is offering three shows in three age categories. “Bugsy Malone Jr.” is for ages 8-14 and starts June 7. “Once Upon a Mattress” is for ages 12-19 and starts June 28. “Disney’s Aristocats KIDS” is for ages 5-9 and starts July 6. “Aristocats’ will be held at Merced College as part of the College for Kids program.

“I so look forward to this,” Chandler said in a news release. She and a staff of instructors and “kid wranglers” manage all phases of summer theater. “Last year, we produced ‘101 Dalmatians,’” she said. “We had over 80 kids dressed up like puppies on stage. It was fantastic.”

For more information about the Playhouse Merced Conservatory summer theater program, visit the website www.playhousemerced.com or contact the Playhouse Merced Box Office at (209)-725-8587.

Playhouse Merced is Merced County’s largest community theater and is a nonprofit, 501 (c) 3 organization.