OPAI youth to present ‘Disney’s Descendants: The Musical’ this weekend

A newer cult classic musical that hasn’t been performed in the area will bring a fresh live entertainment offering this weekend.

Around 30 youths from the Ohio Performing Arts Institute (OPAI) will bring “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical” to the John Legend Theater at 7 p.m. today and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday. The show is appropriate for all audiences and admission costs $10 a seat.

Based on a popular series of Disney Channel original movies, “The Descendants” follows the teen kids of some of Disney’s most popular animated villains, who are attending a prep school along with the kids of Disney heroes. How the sides get along and what they learn from each other will be part of the fun.

“The kids were all over this,” said Amy Davidge, who is directing solo for the first time as well as choreographing. “We knew a lot of kids would be into it. It will be a fun time for the whole family.”

OPAI is taking an unusual route to the performances by using its summer arts camp to rehearse the show. Rehearsals began on July 5 and the cast and crew will have just over two weeks of prep.

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“It’s really ambitious, fun and different. There’s not a whole lot of camps based on putting together a show,” said Davidge.

She was confident, but confessed to not knowing what to expect as the performers are young and the oldest 15 or 16. They’ve spent the time blocking, learning the script, dialogue, music and choreography, but have played games and had fun.

The goal is for it to be fresh in the cast’s minds and could add to the energy. Davidge said doing things like this were created from the pandemic limiting arts programs but it could benefit in prepping future productions.

“I’m astounded by what they’ve done, and it’s been fun finding my own way to work with them,” she said.

Like with any show, things can happen to throw a production off and that occurred earlier this week when one of the leads, Kayleigh Siebold, dislocated her knee at a rehearsal. She had to get crutches but was back the next day.

Davidge worked it out so Caylee can still perform and put more emphasis on arm movements.

Her castmates didn’t know what to think when Siebold started laughing at first when the injury happened but Sean Davidge realized it wasn’t okay. It was their support that is helping her through.

“It’s cool, we’re figuring it out,” said Siebold confidently during a rehearsal break.

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The kids have mixed feelings on the short rehearsal period. Michaelangelo Conners misses the longer rehearsal periods as a getaway and to spend time with friends, but loves to perform so it’s all good.

They also love the characters, costumes, sets, humor and score, and it’s this combination the cast thinks the audience will enjoy in seeing “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical” this weekend.

Tickets can be purchased in advance through a link on the OPAI’s Facebook page.


What: “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical”

Where: John Legend Theater, 700 S. Limestone St., Springfield

When: 7 p.m. today, July 15 and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 16

Admission: $10

More info: www.facebook.com/ohioperformingartsinstitute

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