For eight years, Mary Miller has been turning out heartfelt, inspiring musicals that feature plenty of North Baltimore County kids. Her newest effort, "Children's Letters to God," is a first-class production.
Members of the Youth Theatre of Northern Baltimore County will perform the musical in early December. The story line follows a group of middle-school-age kids who ask God specific questions about their lives.
They want to know why annoying little sisters were created, why their favorite pet died or why boys act the way they do.
They also have general God questions. Who fills in when God goes on vacation? How does God make snow? Is God even real?
Miller took the script, based on a 1991 book of the same name, and added more dialogue.
"The initial script was somewhat bare for what I wanted to get across," said Miller, of Parkton, who directs the show. "Children have innocence and freedom to ask questions. As we get older, we lose more and more of that child. I want to remind people what an inspiring gift it is to be in the presence of a child."
She also added dialogue so she could accommodate many kids in the play. There are 43 children on stage — 15 middle school kids plus a chorus of 28 elementary school children. Another 20 high-schoolers, who have been in many of the theater group's plays, are working behind the scenes.
Each of the characters has a story to which many can relate.
Francesca Capizzi, 11, of Phoenix, plays a girl who feels like an outsider.
"I'm just a little different and I don't think I fit in with the others," she said.
Rachel Larkin, 13, of Parkton, is the cool girl and Graham Scheper, 12, of Cockeysville, is a jock who doesn't know his effect on girls.
"The play definitely has splashes of humor," he said. Rachel agreed. "Growing up is sometimes actually funny," she said.
The play features plenty of music and dancing. Miller described the music as "danceable with catchy tunes you'll be humming as you leave."
Nina Wilkinson, 10, of Freeland, is a chorus member. Her sister, Maddie, 12, is one of the teen leads. Her sister Chloe, 4 and brother Dominic, 8, are in the chorus, too.
"All of Miss Mary's plays give you a lesson," Nina said. "I think this one tells us not to be afraid to ask God for anything."
The show will be performed at Our Lady of Grace hall on Dec. 6, 7, and 8 at 7 p.m. A matinee on Dec. 9 begins at 2 p.m. As always, the cast asks that the audience donate nonperishable food that will be given to the two area food banks.
Tickets are $9 in advance, $10 at the door. Tickets for the first three rows are $18. To order tickets, go to http://www.ytnbc.org.
Our Lady of Grace hall is at 18310 Middletown Road, Parkton.