Theatre performances will highlight kids in foster care - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Theatre performances will highlight kids in foster care


WATERLOO (KWWL)-- The trials of children in foster care will be highlighted later this month in a special play presented by the Black Hawk Children's Theatre.

Adapted from the Betsy Byars novel of the same name, The Pinballs is the story of three kids from very different families and backgrounds.  All three of the kids end up in the same foster home on the same day.  The Black Hawk children's Theatre  will present the play at the Hope Martin Theatre February 25, 26 and 27.  

Veteran Black Hawk Children's Theatre Director, Anita Ross, will also direct this unique production.  Anita says, "What they have in common is that they really don't have that sense that they have any control over their lives. And, what they learn is self-reliance and self-assurance. And, it's just so lovely how we see them flower and bloom and become their own people."

"I have never had a part this big. This is a challenging role for me," says Cedar Falls High School Sophomore, Kelsei Wolf.  Kelsei has been acting with the Black Hawk Children's Theatre for 11-years, and this time, she has the lead:

Kelsei describes her character: "I play Carlie, and she's having a really tough time transitioning. She was living with her Mom and step Dad, and her step Dad was very abusive, so she got put in a foster home. And, in the beginning, Carlie really doesn't like the fact that she's in a foster home. She wants to go home. She's thought about running away. She doesn't like any of the kids."

"I just tried out for the play. Not really expecting to get a certain part," says 11-year old Kingsley student Sam Wright, whom auditioned and earned a key role in this play.

Sam says, "I'm playing Thomas J. And, his Mother abandoned him when he was very young. And, he wound up on these old ladies' doorstep."

 In the play, which also features a dog from the BH Humane Society, Cedar Falls Senior, Chris Roland's character, Harvey, is in a wheel chair. Chris explains, "His dad gets drunk and runs over Harvey. Harvey's trying to go to a banquet to get an award for an essay he wrote, and his dad runs over him."

Valley Lutheran Freshman, Abbie Buhr, is the play's announcer and assistant to director Anita Ross.

Abbie says,"What I really want people to take away from this is just that kids in foster care—it's not their fault that they're there. And, everyone has potential. I mean, you should never count anyone out."

It's easy to see these young actors understand the importance of this story, with so many kids in foster care.

Chris Roland points out, "It's a common thing, and those kids really aren't any different from us. They may have had more struggles in their lives, but, it's just about acceptance and getting to know other people, no matter what their situation; trying to help them through it. Like the kids in the play helping. Carlie helping Harvey and all the kids helping each other."

Says Kelsei,  "I really want them to realize that there are kids out there who are having troubles. Not everybody's lives are perfect, and, sometimes, kids do have that tough time, they have to go through that. And, it's gotta be hard." 

Director, Anita Ross says, "It's just a wonderful metaphor for people to kind of capture that idea, of Wow!  that's kind of how sometimes their lives feel." She adds,  "The name of the novel, The Pinballs, is taken  from the idea that they don't have any control; they're just at the external forces of fate. They just get bounced around from one place to another."

The play is being produced by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

As a child, the late Wendy's Restaurant founder was in foster care and later adopted. The Dave Thomas Foundation continues to spread his passion for foster care and adoption.  Rita Soronson, Dave Thomas Foundation President and CEO, will be coming to Waterloo to personally attend one of these Black hawk Children's Theatre performances at the Hope martin Theatre.

For more information about tickets and show times, call 319-235-0367 or contact the Waterloo Community Playhouse and Black Hawk Children's Theatre online at

For tickets, just call, 319-291-4494.

Online reporter:  Ron Steele





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