With approximately 25 percent of its cast members coming from the special needs population, Littleton-based Magic Moments is up to something pretty unique.

Local theatre group Magic Moments believes that the magic of musical theatre belongs to anyone -- whether amateur, professional, and even those who wouldn't ordinarily be given an opportunity to let their talent shine. That's why, for 35 years, their annual production has beautifully blended the talents of people of all ages, physical limitations, and abilities -- and they believe it's very possible that their version of fully integrated theatre is the only one of its kind in the country. [caption id="attachment_34429" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Courtesy of Magic Moments[/caption] Now with approximately 200 cast members, Magic Moments continues its mission with its newest musical theatre installment, "In the Same Boat" -- a playful, silly production with original script and lyrics, all of which revolve around a cruise ship that gets stuck in the Bermuda Triangle. Since early January, the cast and crew have been working hard to attend rehearsals and master their parts, all in time for the show's upcoming premiere and five performances, starting on Thursday, March 22. There are no hand-outs, either. Cast members audition for the parts they play and are then expected to work hard. Everyone -- even the 20-25 percent of the cast members who have special needs -- is held to a high standard of excellence. [caption id="attachment_34427" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Courtesy of Magic Moments[/caption]
"We absolutely hold auditions for parts, and parts are assigned based on how well people perform in auditions," said Magic Moments board member Mary Jeffreys. "We also provide a lot of support to our cast members with special needs, including performance workshops and providing a partner to guide them from rehearsals through performances.We hold all of our actors accountable for being on time and prepared for every rehearsal." The result is a quality, professional theatre experience that is also moving and inspirational. In fact, Magic Moments has about 20 paid staff and approximately 50 volunteers keeping everything on track so that the production is as professional as it can possibly be. "I actually became involved in Magic Moments as a result of attending last year's production of 'Step Right Up!'," Jeffreys said. "I was so impressed with the quality of performances, the story, and the music, that I had to be involved. We celebrate everyone for what they can do -- not what they can’t do." [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="34430,34431"] And apart from being a touching show for the audience, the ability to participate in a theatre production of this  magnitude does wonders for the confidence of the performers themselves. “Magic Moments has allowed our son to shine brightly on stage, thanks to their willingness to accept his differences and let his potential burst through for enthusiastic audiences to enjoy," said Lucie Brossard, a mother of a Magic Moments participant. "In the Same Boat" takes place March 22–25, at Kent Denver School's Anschutz Family Theater in Englewood, with evening performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $25, and 100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales go back into Magic Moments for future productions. Tickets are already on sale through the Magic Moments website. Have you been to a Magic Moments production before? What did you think? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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