A handful of children are investigating monsters at Indiana University Kokomo this weekend.

Naturally, there aren’t any real monsters lurking around the campus. The investigation will take place on stage in Havens Auditorium for a Kokomo Curtain Call Theatre for Children production of “There’s a Monster in my Closet.”

Suzie Reagle, director of the weekend musical, explained “There’s a Monster in my Closet” turns childhood fears around as children learn monsters protect them in their sleep.

During the show, she explained, a girl discovers there is a monster in her closet. She decides to capture it and learns that monsters are actually guardians.

“I like that it’s whimsical,” Reagle said. “I like something that’s kind of fairytale-ish.”

The show will feature both live and pre-taped musical backing. It has plenty of singing and dancing, Reagle said, as well as a bit of chaos during some points of the show.

The weekend production marks the first time Reagle has directed a Curtain Call show in over a decade.

“I love it. I love working with the younger kids. I love watching them learn on stage and learn their character and get into it,” Reagle said.

The Curtain Call production is also the first time Reagle has brought a show to Havens Auditorium.

After months practicing in the Curtain Call studio, Monday afternoon was the first time the cast and crew was able to run through rehearsals on the IUK stage.

With students out on Spring Break, the campus was fairly empty. Huddling around the stage — which was filled with a makeshift bedroom, living room and a throne for the Dream Queen — cast members received a pep talk and learned a few rules they would have to follow during rehearsals.

Reagle said she paid attention to the lecture from Jeremy Leazenby Bruce, executive director for Curtain Call, as much as the children were paying attention.

Many cast members, who range from elementary to middle school aged, will be performing in their first production this weekend, Reagle said. She sympathized with the kids who were intimidated by the large stage.

If Sadie Weeks, 8, was one of the nervous performers, she didn’t show it Monday. Instead, she said she was excited for people to see the show.

Sadie, who is playing the Dream Queen, said she’s glad to play the “wacky wizard” who rules Dreamland. It’s her first wacky role.

While making friends during the rehearsals, Sadie explained she’s also learned to be jolly and patient.

Alaina Mast, 11, said she was a little nervous for the production. The show will feature her first supporting role, rather than a background character.

Alaina is performing as Stephanie, one of the main character’s best friends. She said she’s been enjoying the role — her character has similar interests and they share the same favorite color, which is blue. She’s also learned how to memorize lines and developed her singing range with the character.

Carly Petrey, 12, is also stepping into uncharted territory for “There’s a Monster in my Closet.” She explained Wanda — one of the monsters in the show — has a motherly tone that she isn’t used to playing. Usually, Carly explained, she’s cast in more childish roles.

Carly said she hopes the show inspires other young people to get into theater.

“It would be so fun to have other friends and have more people in the community,” Carly said. “I feel like theater is a way to get over stage fright and shyness.”

The actress explained she had been shy until her mother encouraged her to join a Curtain Call production of “The Snow Queen” when she was in first grade.

Reagle also had hopes for audience members who go to see the show.

“I hope they enjoy it,” the director said. “I hope they laugh with the kids.”

James Bennett III can be reached at 765-454-8580 or james.bennett@kokomotribune.com.

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