Les Mis 2012/Les Mis 2016

So many people ask me, “Is this Les Miserables better than the last one?” To that I usually answer, “How do I pick a favorite child?”. I loved directing Les Mis, 2012. It changed me. I love the cast and how much they gave to the production. This production is no different. You will see a beautiful production with youth that will AMAZE you filled with scenes that will tear at your heart. Both productions are exquisite. Why? Because we loved each other. Because we worked hard. Because we chose to be vulnerable and open our hearts to our audiences and tell the touching lessons of Les Miserables. Come witness a powerful production, performed by youth that have been carefully cared for by a talented production team and accompanied by a gorgeous orchestra. If you saw Les Mis, 2012… you know how powerful Les Mis, 2016 is. (PS- the seats are more comfortable :)

Kensington Family

Yesterday we opened Tarzan and it was wonderful! (Come see it!) I’m not sure how to put what I’m feeling today into words, please bear with me as I try. I had a vision… a dream to create a place where anyone who wanted to work hard and love each other for exactly who they are could come together and create really good theatre. Yesterday, everything seemed fine, then we pushed the go button to begin the first light cue and it didn’t work. I looked to my friend to cover while I madly tried to fix the error. Without hesitation, he jumps on stage and starts telling jokes. And in the whirl of freaking out about the lights, I now notice the Improvinators (who had come to just watch the show) are also now on stage entertaining the audience. The lights get fixed and the audience applauds. And then the next bit of magic begins. Seventy youth tell a beautiful story about families. If anyone doubts the youth of today, please come witness Tarzan. These are not only fabulous performers, they give and love and value the selflessness theatre can be. By the end of the performance, without thinking, I rose to my feet: Bravo to the kids! Bravo to the adults! Bravo to my friends! Bravo! I didn’t realize that a dream could truly become a reality… Bravo to my Kensington family!

Kensington Theatre Company

What?! Yes! We are changing our name and many have asked me why. Well, many reasons equal this great name:

~Kensington Gardens is where Peter began his adventures and so did we in 2008!
~Peter Pan’s mantra: “I am youth! I am joy! I am freedom!” is what we at KTC also celebrate. “Come experience the joy of theatre!” and “Come play with us!” are our two mantras.
~We wanted a name that didn’t reflect us geographically but artistically, so all that want to play with us will know they are welcome.
~We also wanted a name that reflected the quality of the theatre we produce… Kensington feels pretty fancy right?
~Also timing, we are announcing our 7th season which will mark our first production in the new theatre at ELA. Now was the time to make this exciting announcement!

Regardless of our name, we are still the company you love to play with, producing quality productions and programs with you!

With much enthusiasm and excitement to this next leg of our amazing adventure,

Toni Butler
President, Kensington Theatre Company

Here’s to 2012!

As this year ends so does our fourth season! I can hardly believe where we started and where we have come.

Some wonderful memories of this past year: Cinderella’s Prince and the Steward spontaneously switching parts in Woods, the teens’ awesome execution of Thriller, all those talented children (over 300 participated this year!), a bloody nose in Captain Louie and a witty cast covering the blood, a hysterical birthday serenade by seven talented Little Mermaid cast members, the sweet rallying around mourning cast members, strikes (oh the strikes… let’s build a theatre! Come on… just 3 milllion!), the thousands of laughs shared with our charismatic iMPROVINATORS, and who can forget the teens’ brilliant execution of Les Miserables?!

Our community of theatre is just amazing! Constantly giving, loving, working, and laughing. The art of theatre is more than a production: it builds life skills, it unites communities, it gives one a sense of home and a sense of self, it is a gift that we carefully package for months and lovingly hand to our audiences, it is what is being tenderly grown at SJCT. I am so proud of this theatre company; of its optimism, its energy, its integrity, and most of all its people (always growing, always welcoming)!

What a wonderful year! Thank you to all who made it another marvelous memory! Here’s to Season 4 at SJCT and looking forward to Season 5 in 2013!

School Lockers!

At this time of year, I am so grateful to have this theatre company. I am grateful for the choice friendships my family and I have and the many, many amazing children I get to work with! I am also grateful to people who recognize the need for the community to be an active part of our theatre family. So many have donated their time, money, and resources for us! Just the other day, I called Schoollockers/Jorgenson Material handling to purchase lockers for High School Musical and Footloose. I got a quote and ended the call with the gentleman to think about if we could afford it. Then I got a call back offering to donate the lockers! How kind! We put out calls so often and our community always answers! Thank you for making this community theatre what community theatre should be!

Theatre School Pride

85 kids ranging from 5-12 are having a wonderful time during the first week of Theatre School.  This year’s Theatre School is focused on Hooray for Hollywood! with scenes from Newsies, Finding Nemo, The Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain, Star Wars, Lion King and more.  I loved peeking in this week and seeing all kinds of learning going on.   I loved the feeling of unity that was present while watching the whole group, teachers and assistants included, participate in warm up activities to start the day off.  Theatre School is much more than just learning choreography and speaking lines.  Students were playing games to enhance diction and encourage imagination.  They were learning about focus and participating as a team player.  And teachers and student assistants were helping each child to individually build confidence and step outside of their comfort zone to experience the world of acting.  

I am looking forward to seeing everyone in action at the final performance August 11 (tickets are just $3!), where audience members will leave with smiles on their faces and their feet tapping to the tunes we are all so familiar with!

Les Miserables Energy

I sat in on the parent meeting for Les Miserables last night and sensed an energy I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in a play. These teenagers are excited, energized and ready to knock everyone’s socks off. There was already a sense of family and support and I’m so excited to watch the journey.  Energy like this on day one only means even greater things are to come in the next 7 weeks! This is going to to be fun…

Dear Prince Charming

From Andrew: Hey Prince Charming! How can I catch the eye of a special some one? Appreciate the advice!

Gentle Reader, Andrew-

This is a delicate question that requires a delicate answer.

Andrew, my feelings about finding that special someone can be summed up thusly, if you know what you want then you go and you find it and you take it. Do you want a “special one” or not?

Sometimes people worry about going to dances and social events to meet people because they say it’s such a “meat market” but Andrew that is where the meat is. Go and take what is yours. I have had terrific success at dances!

So get in there and work yourself like a bee, stopping at each flower and partaking of each flowers sweetness until you find the one that is sweetest for you…

Many happy conquest to you my friend,

Prince Charming

Prince Charming

Dear Prince Dashing

From Andrew: Hey Princes! How can I catch the eye of a special some one? Appreciate the advice!

Esteemed Andrew:

The rules for the peasantry are slightly different than the rules for princes. What you lack in charm, manners and wealth you will have to make up for in other ways. Wearing manly musky scents, taking brisk walks in the forest and wrestling bears will all increase your masculinity and therefore your attractiveness. Most importantly, I suggest making sure your ego is impenetrable. Convince yourself by whatever means necessary that you are a strapping, handsome, confident lad and that a girl would be crazy not to choose you (unless you were standing next to me). Once you believe this to your very core, approach your beloved with every expectation that you will be accepted. Women notice that kind of confidence and find it hard to refuse. The fantastic thing about this method is that even if you are rejected your ego is impenetrable! Move on to the next conquest, good man! I sincerely hope this helps you.

Prince Dashing


I have reconsidered my original advice. I think it best that I meet this “special someone” in person. Once I have beheld the maiden I will be able to give you more qualified advice.

Your presence will not be required.

Prince Dashing.

Prince Dashing

Dear Stacey (AKA the Witch)!

From Eli:  Ms. Witch, How would I make this person leave me alone?

Dearest Eli,

This one is quite easy. I am VERY good at being left alone. Let me share a few tips with you.

* Make sure your teeth are blackened and rotting
*Give those around you creepy big eyed looks (see attached picture)
* If possible, grow claws and a hunch
*And as often as possible, cause much pain and suffering to the nether regions of those you come in contact with.

But for you my child, I don’t think you will need to do any of these things. For I have prepared a tower with no windows or doors for you. And I shall put you up there and I shall call you Eli-unzle. And you shall be my Eli-unzle. And NO ONE WILL EVER BOTHER YOU AGAIN!!!! Whaa ha ha ha ha!!!

But Eli, I will let you out to come and see me in Into The Woods this weekend. Tell them Stacey (or Mother) sent you and you will get a special prize!


Stacey (AKA the Witch)

Leave me alone!