The 30-plus year tradition of a summer Youth Players on the Plaza production, better known as YouPOP, has survived the COVID-19 cancelation tsunami and is set for July 31 and Aug. 1
This year’s production of “Once Upon of Pine: The Adventures of Pinocchio” includes 12 cast members, with Autumn Wooten as the director.
“We love this play because it has every element you want to see in a live theater production: comedy, drama, music, and heartfelt moments that ground it in reality,” said Caitlin Visel, opera house manager. “It has the beauty of imagination with core values and teachable moments.”
Started in the mid-1980s by the chief of police as a way for kids to stay out of trouble, says Visel, it’s a program that creates an environment of learning, expression, and fun for Uvalde’s youth, who are able to bring stories to life for the community to witness.
“This year we planned YouPOP for July so that students who attend UCISD’s Summer Arts Academy would be able to participate in both programs,” Visel said. “We plan to continue this in the future.”
She said there is a combination of individuals working together to bring this production to life.
“We will have volunteers and parents, as well as the youth, working together to build the set pieces, props and costumes.”
Performers in this year’s production include Gabe Lanier, Cashlyn Varnon, Bella Lanier, Arin Joshi, Micah Stewart, Cora Ford, Lauren Stevenson, Kaydence Rodriguez, and Anna, Ella, and Luke Pacer.
Camille Sanders Jefcoat, opera house program coordinator, has arranged a musical underscore for this show, and the cast will be performing with a live pianist.
Information on ticket sales and seating limitations will be available in July, and will follow federal, state, and local guidelines.