Elise Charny and BG Onstage: Nurturing the Stars of Tomorrow in Bowling Green

by | Nov 2023

IN THE heart of Bowling Green, the stage is set for a journey through the world of theatre, guided by the vision of BG OnStage’s artistic director, Elise Charny. 

As the resident community theatre reveals its eagerly anticipated 2023-2024 season, Charny’s passion for nurturing young talent takes center stage. 

“By the time we close the show, we’ve got kids crying because they know how special that nugget of time was for them,” she said. “No two casts are ever the same, and these shows are so special for everyone in the cast.” 

The 2023-24 Lineup

The season is set to open with the enchanting “Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens,” which will come alive on stage on Dec. 1, 2023. This adaptation is based on book No. 44 from Mary Pope Osborne’s internationally beloved “Magic Tree House” series and has a cast of 24 local kids.

Charny described the production as “a very cute Christmas-centered story.” In the holiday-themed narrative, Jack and Annie’s treehouse whisks them away to Victorian London, where they form a deep connection with the legendary author Charles Dickens, learning the values of charity and kindness.

Charny said the “Magic Tree House” books are very popular.

“I never read them as a kid, but I know they are very popular in the schools,” she said. “My daughter is 3, and I know they read those books to them during nap time.”

She said even if you have never read the “Magic Tree House” books, it is still an adorable story.

Following the magical Christmas tale, “The Rainbow Fish” takes center stage on March 29, 2024.

Charny noted that “Rainbow Fish” is actually a play.

She explained that it is intentionally designed to accommodate young performers who may not be comfortable with musicals, ensuring inclusivity for children of all backgrounds. The play conveys a touching message about the importance of kindness and the true nature of beauty.

Community Involvement

BG OnStage’s commitment to community involvement is made very clear. Charny, who has been directing for the company for a decade, highlighted the unique spark she witnesses in every new cast.

“I love to see each new cast because there’s never the same cast of kids ever,” she said.

Charny went on to describe the transformation she witnesses as young actors come out of their shells and blossom during rehearsals.

“Seeing that growth in the kids is what really gives me that spark every day,” she shared.

Nurturing Aspiring Talent

The company’s collaboration with Western Kentucky University (WKU) students is a crucial element of its success. Charny said these students participate in directing, stage managing, and choreographing the productions, and they play a vital role in running the show. BG OnStage opens its doors to college students from WKU’s theatre and dance department, providing them with opportunities to gain valuable experience and build their resumes in the theatre world.

“They cast the shows, and it is pretty much theirs,” Charny said. “It is amazing the connections they are building with the kiddos.”

A Look to the Future

Charny expressed her enthusiasm for the new season and emphasized the importance of enriching the cultural landscape of Southern Kentucky. With a blend of musicals and plays, BG OnStage aims to provide a platform for talent of all ages and interests, creating a vibrant and inclusive community of performers and artists. GN

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