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'Backyard Show' benefits children's center

Above, Jana Sunshine Emmons as 'Elvis,' along with Sarah Benz and Michelle Wanstreet practice their ''50s Diner' routine. Rehearsing a scene from their Michael Jackson 'Dangerous' act, from left, below, are: Celeste Drinkard, Justin Schoemehl, Stefania Boroli, Andrew Dempsey and Steven Thiele.

While most children were playing video games and swimming this summer, 31 area youngsters were devoting 16 hours a week to practicing singing, dancing and performing comedy sketches in preparation for their annual "Kids' Helping Kids Backyard Show.''

Proceeds from their two performances will go to the Edgewood Children's Center.

The producer/writer/director of this year's show is 18-year-old Trina Sindelar, who began working on the script and two songs for the show in January.

She started rehearsals for this year's show on July 2, working a pair of eight-hour days each week with her other 30 cast members.

The youngsters have been practicing their numbers on a makeshift stage erected in Sindelar's back yard.

"I wanted to do something to show that teens can work together to do something positive,'' Sindelar stated in a Mehlville School District news release. "I must say, it has been tough at times this summer to keep it all on track. But the other kids have worked really hard and I'm really proud of them. It's very exciting to see it all come together."

The title of this year's backyard show is "Auditions to Fame." Sindelar's script has children from ages 4 to 18 taking their shot on the stage trying to earn a spot in the mythical production of a Broadway show by the same name. From an Elvis impersonator to Mary Poppins, audience members will be treated to a variety of singing, dancing and comedy sketches.

Performances of "Auditions to Fame'' will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, and Saturday, Sept. 6, at Rogers Elemen-tary School, 7700 fine Road, off Telegraph Road. Admission is free, but donations for the Edgewood Children's Center will be accepted after each performance.

The Edgewood Children's Center provides education, treatment and prevention of abuse and neglect for children and families in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

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