Branson Regional Arts Council spotlights talents of disabled performers
On Sunday, April 23, at 7 p.m., a talented cast of over 24 area residents will participate in an entertaining and heartwarming stage show at the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown Branson. The Branson Regional Arts Council presents a very special program titled “Scenes & Songs for Special Abilities” featuring a cast of talented performers with autism spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome, and other types of developmental disability who have a love of singing, acting, dancing, playing an instrument, and more. This outstanding community event is presented in coordination with national Autism Acceptance Month, and the public is invited to attend and cheer on the performers! A $5 donation will be collected at the door, and open seating will begin at 6:30 p.m. Please arrive early for best seats. The concessions stand will be serving refreshments, fresh popcorn and other treats. The Arts Council Board of Directors formed the Special Abilities Committee in 2018 with the intention of providing inclusive creative and performance opportunities for area youth and adults dealing with various physical or mental challenges. "Many of these individuals would not have an opportunity to perform in a traditional theatre setting, but through this Special Abilities Program, they can build their confidence and self-esteem through creative social interaction, music, dance and theatre," said BRAC Executive Director Jim Barber. "With the addition of our new Theatre & Special Events Director, Kyle Blanchard, the Arts Council has stepped up these efforts to include productions like “Scenes & Songs for Special Abilities” as a way to bridge the gap for these extraordinary cast members who are taking the stage, and daring to dream!" Cast members in order of appearance include Spencer Coffman, Thomas Pearson, Katie Wright, Brian Reed, Dylan Pratt, Matthew Burford, Seth Roland, Stephen Donhardt, Kyle Moeskau, Emmy Schaller, Sam Lesch, Jesse Bielby, Eli Reimes, Tiffany Burgess, Logan Iseley, Jakota and Jerrica Clemons, Gabbie Galvin, Luke Whitten, Jaime Magnusson, Nicky Rush, Camden Lampkin, Will Blankenship and Brendan Morris. Special mention to Ellie Faggion, Chris Skillern and Mindy Law who will participate in a couple of theatrical acting scenes with Dylan Pratt that are directly related to the autism experience. The production team includes Kyle Blanchard (director), Delyla Uebel (music director), Pamela Meadows (lighting design), Myles Stevens (audio technician), M.J. Szumowski, Chris Skillern, Mindy Law and Ellie Faggion (stage xrew). The Branson Regional Arts Council would like to extend special thanks to the board and staff of Barnabas Prep who are assisting with the event, in addition to an extra special thank you to the families, friends and support staff of each performer for everything they do to encourage these amazing individuals.