The summer 1982 was arguably the most important year in the history of blockbusters. “E.T.,” “Blade Runner,” “Tron,” and “An Officer and a Gentleman” captivated audiences when they burst onto the scene, finding success at the box office and among critics. “Claus and His Wonderful Staff” also burst onto the scene during the summer of ‘82.
Premiering Aug. 4, 1982, at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church Hall on Olive Avenue, the production became the first of many the Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre would put on over the course of the next 40 years. Founded by Steve and Elise Seyfried, Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre set up shop in the Cape Region with the purpose of bringing live theater to the beach.
Producing family-friendly plays, the Seyfrieds involved their whole family in the operations and, at first, stuck with the entertaining side of the business. As the years went on and the popularity of the theater began to grow, classes were introduced, and children could not only watch plays, but also learn how to perform in them. Throughout its history, Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre has put on plays ranging from classic fairy tales and folklore to educational pieces about literature and history. Two original pieces, “Millie and the Orange Dragon” and “Little Goldy and the Three Riding Bears” are based on a book by Steve and contain music by James Scully with lyrics by Elise.
Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre invited current and former board members, along with current and former actors and staff, to join the Seyfried family at Nassau Valley Vineyards Aug. 4 to celebrate four decades of quality, family entertainment. Alums came from as far as South Carolina to gather with their former co-workers and share stories. According to the current instructors, what makes Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre different from other programs is the initiative to engage in acting originates from the children themselves, and they do not feel participation is forced on the kids from the parents. COVID-19 presented significant challenges to the classes, but Steve was adamant that Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre do something to stay involved during the lockdowns, so the theater never had to fully cease operations.
Elise presented a documentary on Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre, allowing attendees to take a stroll down memory lane. Elise recognized just how long 40 years was, and said she couldn’t quite understand how it could be so long considering she and Steve just turned 25. Carrying an optimistic tone with a calming inflection, Elise thanked those who contributed to the success of the theater over the last 40 years and said she hopes there are 40 more.
More information and a link to donate are available at rehobothchildrenstheatre.org.