Arts and Entertainment

CSTOCK Kids for Kids' 'Pirates of Penzance' isn't your average kids show

There’s a certain amount of stigma attached to kids’ theater productions.

They tend to conjure up painful experiences of sitting through a bevy of off-key singing in a cutesy production of a show that you’ve seen 15 other times or perhaps the same show that you remember suffering through when you were a kid. Johnny is forgetting his lines, while the director has to go on stage to remind Sally it’s her cue to come on.

But this doesn’t seem to be the case for the Kids for Kids productions at CSTOCK, directed by Daniel Estes.

Estes, who’s directed six of the past seven kids shows at CSTOCK, knows he doesn’t have to dumb down the material for the youth. He sees potential and ambition in the kids that they sometimes don’t get credit for.

“Sometimes we as adults think kids have less ability than they really do,” Estes said, noting his contrasting opinion. “I’ve never done anything that is not a Broadway-type of musical.”

In the past few years, the CSTOCK kids have done shows at the caliber of “Les Miserables,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “The Music Man.”

This year it’s “The Pirates of Penzance,” which was the first kids’ show Estes directed at CSTOCK.

“People say, that’s an opera. Kids can’t do opera,” he said, clarifying it’s actually an operetta. “But you know what? ... They rock, they really rock.”

And no, Estes doesn’t have any of his own kids in the show.

He doesn’t even have kids, but he works with them on a daily basis, both through theater and through his job as program manager for the Children’s Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s currently stationed in Lacey, but has made the trip to Silverdale for rehearsals since April.

“People ask me all the time, they can’t believe I do kids shows,” Estes said. “But actually it’s just the opposite, I’ve done adult shows, and I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but give me a kids show any day. They have the energy, they’re excited about it. They just have this desire and this passion and I love that.”

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