When Thin Ice Ensemble Theater announced their Winter production the excitement was palpable. The actors age 10-14 were excited to perform Tom Sawyer, one of Americas most of America’s most beloved classics. The actors embraced the play’s challenging roles ranging from the lovable town drunk, the harsh schoolmarm, and a host of other unique small town characters. With beautiful period costumes, wonderful set, and original music, the actors of Thin Ice Ensemble Theater, are set to bring the play Tom Sawyer to life December 8, 9, and 10th.
Tom Sawyer, played by Ethan McHugh, age 12, of Chicago, and Huckleberry Finn played by Daniel Phillips, age 14, of Mettawa, two of America’s most iconic boys, are up to their ears in adventures in Sara Spencer’s adaption of Mark Twain’s classic book, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” Thin Ice Ensemble Theater, a local non-profit youth theater, brings the classic story to life with a cast of 18 young, talented actors.
The play opens with the mischievous Tom Sawyer plotting to skip school. As Tom Sawyer continues to scheme, he continues to get caught. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Joe Harper escape to Jackson Island. Realizing that their actions have consequences, the three boys head back home, only to find that tragic events have taken place during their absence: a thieving, fraudulent, murderous criminal is roaming their village. It is up to Tom and his gang to unravel the mystery of “Who done it?”and save an innocent life.
Eileen Hand, the Artistic Director of Thin Ice Ensemble Theater, worked diligently to bring this show to the stage. Eileen expressed her praise for her actors; “… they have all done such a good job on their southern dialects and acting. Their energy is wonderful. They have only had ten weeks — rehearsing only once a week — to develop
their characters, which is not an easy thing to do. This is a show that adults do, with twice the amount of time, but they (the actors) have done such a great job…” and just as she was finishing her thought, Eileen proudly remarked, “…Oh my gosh, they are so fabulous!”
The student director of Tom Sawyer Olivia Pastor, age 14, from Evanston, is justly proud of her work with the show. “These 18 kids have been working so hard. They have pulled this show together so beautifully. Their effort to understand their characters brings the production to life on a whole new level.” It has been a great
learning experience for me to work with the cast.”
Thin Ice Ensemble Theaters’ Tom Sawyer features original music, written by Ezra Escobar, 17 of Evanston. Ezra is an accomplished cellist who has studied extensively. Eileen and Erza collaborated; Eileen Hand stated that the collaboration has been a success. “I am pleased with the actor’s response to the music.”
Kali Phillips, age 12, of Mettawa, is having loads of fun playing Jim Hollis. She says, “Every production I have been in with Thin Ice has been such a great, nourishing learning environment. It was so fun
working with the accents in this play and playing a younger character was also extremely interesting.”
Sara Yenter-Briars, age 14, from Glenview, is playing The Preacher. I just read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for my Literature class. This is a great opportunity to bring Tom and Huck’s story to life. Acting gives me joy, I hope to impart that joy to the audience.”
For the past seventeen years Thin Ice Ensemble Theater, has proudly presented over 55 quality theater productions. Thin Ice Ensemble’s mission is to provide students of all abilities with a comprehensive, collaborative, and confidence-building theatrical experience through immersion in great plays, as well providing the community with affordable, high-quality theater.