With its summer production of "Annie," Brick Children’s Community Theatre (BCCT) celebrates its 20th anniversary.
The non-profit that began in 1992 started out in president Loretta Campagno’s basement when her daughter, founder and director, 18 year-old Heather Campagno, put on shows for the parents of the kids Loretta babysat at her home day-care.
“She would create shows and they would rehearse, then at the end of every summer, she would put on a show. She did this to keep the kids busy,” Loretta Campagno said. “Word of mouth quickly spread and we needed a larger space to rehearse. We moved to the Brick Department of Recreation, then the Actor’s Playhouse in Brick.”
Loretta Campagno said that through the years, the theater company's reach has spread across Ocean and Monmouth counties, with children as young as four-years-old in the winter and spring shows, and eight-years-old in the summer show taking part. The program gets over 100 children each year who audition. The amount of children chosen to perform is dependent upon the show.
Cris Brown, a local mother who assists with fundraising, said Heather Campagno brought out confidence in her once-shy youngest daughter, as well as many of the other children who participate in the theater's shows.
In addition to the confidence the theater brings its children, Brown and costume designer Kathy Mulvaney said the shows the theater puts on are positive, especially the fall and spring shows, which Heather Campagno writes.
“You walk away feeling good from them,” Mulvaney said.
Throughout the years, popular performances of BCCT have included "Beauty and the Beast", "The Wizard of Oz," this summer’s "Annie," and many others. Some of the performances have won Perry Awards — New Jersey's premiere community theater award. BCCT is also proud to award its seniors with scholarships each year, ranging from $250 to $1,000.
On Sunday evening, Brick Township High School’s auditorium was filled with parents and children in attendance to see its celebratory show. During intermission, Councilman Domenick Brando and Jim Mulvaney presented BCCT with a proclamation.
For more information on BCCT or to attend "Annie," – which is being held at Brick Township High School and runs through Aug. 11 – visit www.bcct.org or call 732-920-9041.