Writer / Matt Keating 
Photographer / Kerch Creative

Joey Murello, assistant director of Stone Soup Children’s Musical Theater, says the skills kids learn in theater are invaluable.

She believes the theater helps kids become better actors, and it also teaches them to believe in themselves.

“This program provides the students an outlet to express themselves, whether it be through singing, dancing, learning to be part of a group, perfecting speaking skills, self-discipline or being a member of a cast family,” Murello says. “These skills are not always learned in a classroom environment, but they are essential to becoming a productive member of society.”

The Stone Soup Children’s Musical Theater, a non-profit organization, has been in existence since 1991. Their first show was “Annie.”

The Noblesville community has been supportive of the program. When people attend their first show, they are amazed at how great the children perform. The kids learn how to put together a Broadway-style musical.

Murello says it involves singing, acting, dancing, stage direction and line memorization. Parents help with costumes, sets, running lines, taking a turn on the backstage crew and providing a supportive atmosphere for the children.

When people attend the performance of “Hello Dolly,” Murello says it will give them, “The opportunity to watch the children display what they have learned over the summer.”

The kids also get a kick out of the program. It teaches creativity, problem-solving, perseverance, focus and non-verbal communication.

“It means different things to each of the children,” Murello says. “We strive to provide a safe place for all children to express themselves with absolutely no judgment. We are a 100% all-inclusive program.”

The goals of the program are to help kids grow and provide instruction for both the beginning and advanced actor. Stone Soup Children’s Musical Theatre gives kids the opportunity to be on stage and make lasting friendships.

Murello loves watching kids in the program become more confident.

“I enjoy watching the shy child blossom into a star,” Murello says. “It is always fun to see children come back each summer and see their continued growth in theater and as a person.”

This is Murello’s fourth summer directing at Stone Soup. She was involved in Stone Soup as an actor from 1993-1999. She then served as a student director for four years.

Murello has also acted, directed and produced at the Belfry.

Many of the program’s directors are also Noblesville residents — Assistant Director Katie Maudlin, Student Director Zoe McHenry and Choreographer Diana Ephlin.

Performances of the Stone Soup Children’s Musical Theatre’s “Hello Dolly” will be at Noblesville High School at 7 p.m., on Friday, July 19, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 20, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21.

Murello is excited about having as many people as possible at “Hello Dolly.”

For more information, visit Stone Soup Children’s Musical Theatre online at thedancinplace.com/wordpress.