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BEAUTY FEATHER DEEP KIDS TURN STAGE INTO POND, FARM FOR 'UGLY DUCKLING'.

Byline: Daily News

PALMDALE - Youngsters painted scenery, applied makeup and learned how to put life into a character for a theater camp production of ``The Ugly Duckling.''

The youngsters - including a couple who have been paid for acting, others who have performed in school and community plays and some who have never acted before - say the two-week camp has been different from their other experiences.

``We get to do a lot more stuff. We learn more stuff - ... costumes and makeup. We get to make our own sets. We're learning what a lot of the things are on the stage,'' said 12-year-old Victoria Avery, who has performed in school and church plays and at last year's summer camp.

The camp, for children ages 9 through 12, will culminate in performances for parents, family and the public at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Palmdale Playhouse. This is the second summer for the theater camp for preteens.

A monthlong theater camp for teenagers will start June 28 and culminate with performances of ``The Hobbit'' on the first weekend in August.

Each camp had a waiting list of those wanting to attend, playhouse officials said.

``It is amazing to watch the level of knowledge and confidence grow in these young actors after just two weeks at camp.'' said Dea McAllister, cultural arts and theater manager.

The preteen campers have been at the playhouse from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily. Playhouse staffers oversee rehearsals and school the campers in applying makeup and making scenery for the stage production, an elaborate version of Hans Christian Andersen's tale of the baby swan raised among ducks.

At one camp session, professional actor David Alan Smith, senior theater technician at Palmdale Playhouse, coached the kids in using mannerisms, inflection and others means of giving character to their roles on stage.

Smith has appeared in more than 500 commercials and a half-dozen movies and hosted an outdoor television series in Wisconsin.

Some of the youngsters also have appeared on screen. Eleven-year-old Marty Celis, a Palm Tree School student who portrays Wild Duck No. 2 in ``The Ugly Duckling,'' appeared as Tiny Tim in an episode of ``The George Lopez Show.'' He also has acted on a Spanish-language television show and modeled clothes.

Marty even has an agent.

``It's fun,'' he said of the theater camp.

Nine-year-old Carina McVeigh, who plays an antagonistic cat in ``The Ugly Duckling,'' and her mother were extras in the Tom Hanks movie ``The Terminal,'' which was filmed last year in Palmdale.

The campers also include four sets of siblings.

Among them are Nubia Goodwin, 10, and her sister Nzinga, 9.

``We heard about it, and we decided we wanted to do it,'' Nzinga said of the camp.

``The Ugly Duckling'' tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens, military personnel, students and ages 12 and younger. Call the playhouse box office for tickets at (661) 267-5685 or order tickets online at www.cityofpalmdale.org. For more information, call 661/267-ARTS for 24-hour recorded information.

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Hoping they will get a curtain call, children in a Palmdale Playhouse theater camp production, ``The Ugly Duckling,'' rehearse how they will line up for one.

(2 -- color) Brad Christian, left, plays a rooster that Emilee Yanik, as a princess, and Stephen Bunch as a man are urging not to crow. The three, all 11, are in a Palmdale Playhouse production.

(3 -- color) ``Swimming'' on stage, from left, are Nubia Goodwin, Sara Landa, Sarah Hager, Josh Mawhorter, Brittany Christian.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 10, 2004
Words:603
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