By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Isabella Evans names the plays she’s done, and it soon starts to sound like a bookshelf of fairy tales.

“ ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ ‘Rumplestiltskin’ and now ‘Peter and Wendy,’ ” she says.

All those were with Missoula Children’s Theatre, and over the years Isabella worked her way up from a munchkin in Oz to playing the lead as Peter Pan in this week’s production.

“It’s fun to entertain other people, but also fun to get outside your comfort zone,” she says. “And it’s not every day you can act like someone else — I can’t go around acting like Peter Pan fighting with Captain Hook.”

Isabella, 17, of Baker City, is no stranger to the stage. In addition to auditioning for MCT each summer, she can often be seen in productions by Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre, and this month she is directing the youth play “Camp Omigosh,” which has shows June 29-July 2.

Now having experience with both aspects of theater, Isabella says she prefers acting.

“It’s actually easier,” she says.

When acting, she faces the task of memorizing lines. As a director, she held rehearsals, cast the parts, worries about everyone having lines memorized on time and getting audiences to the shows.

But directing, she says, has influenced her work as an actor — mainly that she will be quiet when the director needs to talk.

The youth theater program, she says, helps bridge the gap after Missoula Children’s Theatre, which is for kids from first grade up to grade 12.

Isabella, along with a few of her fellow veteran actors, is nearing the end of her eligibility for MCT.

“There needs to be something else,” she says. “We’re too young for most parts in adult theater.”

Three Summer Shows

Missoula Children’s Theater will visit Baker City three times this summer — the first, “Peter and Wendy,” started Monday with auditions, followed by a week of rehearsals.

The performances will be at 6 p.m. Friday, June 16, and 3 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at Baker High School. The community is invited.

Admission is $5, which helps Crossroads Carnegie Art Center bring MCT back next year. Donations are also accepted.

See more in the June 14, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.