Tonawanda News

Local News

June 2, 2013

Acting ... in good company

Non-profit group aims to make theater accessible to kids


Tonawanda News — Bogart, a speech therapist, said the group helps children become more confident, to learn how to present themselves and how to speak in public.

”They’re not necessarily going to Broadway ... but they’re going to take the skills learned during the summer and apply them to their lives,” she said.

Annabella Bogart, 10, said that it’s nice to rehearse by the water all summer, “and the people are really nice.”

”They won’t let anyone not be in the show,” she said. “Everybody’s always included. No one feels left out. Even if you’re not the lead, you still get noticed.

”And they always pick really, really good shows. You can always trust them to pick a really good show.”

Patrick Crocker, 17, started with In Good Company when he was 8, after he saw an item in the Tonawanda News about the initial production of “Godspell.” Today, the recent St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute graduate is going off to minor in theater at Brockport State College after years of performing in IGC shows and helping out in general.

”It’s great to see little kids getting passionate and interested in the the same things I’m passionate and interested in,” he said. “It’s cool to help them develop their own love of theater.”

Although many families are veterans of IGC, newcomers have been pulled into the productions over the years. The Gambino family of Tonawanda — parents Mike and Amy, daughter Amanda, 11, and son Willie, 6 — saw the company rehearsing in 2010 while they were taking a walk in Niawanda Park. Now, they’re about to start their third season as participants.

“All they talked about all winter is coming back and doing the play,” Mike Gambino said of the kids. 

“They’re all inclusive. They don’t leave anyone out. They have parts for everyone ... they create parts if the children need them,” he said of IGC. “And they work with them. They don’t just say, ‘You can’t do it. Oh, well.’ 

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