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March 13, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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March 13, 2014

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L SHS grad works to bring theater to kids By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com Steven Wells knew when he was a junior at Shelton High School that he wanted to pursue the theater as a profession. He had performed in sev- eral plays at the school, but his coaches were pushing him to pursue athletics as well. Then during SHS's annual Night of Musical Theater, he performed two songs from Dis- ney's "The Little Mermaid." "One of the parents came up to me and said, 'You were so en- tertaining,' " he said. "I started looking into theater schools." Now, Wells, 27, wants to bring his passion for musical theater to other local children. "I'm focusing on kids and trying to reach the people that don't normally get reached," he said. "I'm trying to develop a company that reaches them and can do large-scale productions and reach a wide audience." Wells formed the Pacific Northwest Theater Co., based in Olympia, two years ago. Since then, Wells has directed youth productions of plays including Disney's "The Little Mermaid," and "Mulan." After graduating SHS in 2005, Wells attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles for two years, studying Wells subjects such as music theory and dance. He said he enjoyed dance classes, although he found them challenging. "Growing up in Shelton, I didn't get pushed to do ballet," he said. While in Los Angeles, Wells helped other students with their work. "I learned the best way to learn something is to have to teach it," he said. Ar graduating, he spent another year pursuing a theater career in Los Angeles, and then moved to Chicago for a while. About five years ago, Wells decided to come home to Shelton. "I missed my family and wanted to come back," he said. He said he decided he didn't want to live in New York or Chi- cago and pursue big theatrical productions. "I realized that was not my Photo courtesy of Steven Wells Children perform in a production of Disney's "Mulan," a production of the Pacific Northwest Theater Co. Steven Wells, who founded the theater company two years ago, graduated from Shelton High School in 2005. passion anymore," he said. After returning to Southwest Washington, Wells became in- volved with the Capital Play- house, Olympia Family Theater and started teaching children's theater at Olympia schools. "Between teaching and per- forming and directing, I've been very busy," he said. This summer, Wells plans to put on youth productions of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Annie" with the Pacific North- west Theater Co. "I love all the different shows ... but Disney sells really well," he said. Each production will be a summer day camp for different age groups. "Annie" will be a two-week camp for 5- to 8-year-olds and "Beauty and the Beast will be a four-week camp for 9- to 15-year-olds. "It is growing every single year," he said. Wells said he tries to keep his prices affordable for all families. He charges $150 per student for the "Beauty and the Beast" and $100 for "Annie." "My goal right now is not to make a lot of money," he said. "I want to spread my passion to these kids, especially to the kids who can't afford it." Wells said theater programs help children. He said it helps with social skills, confidence, and helps children understand themselves and others better. "I've never met an adult who said, 'Man I really wish I'd done less theater,'" he said. So far, Wells said both parents and students have given him good feedback on his program. "I had a child last year.., and he came into the camp and was really excited," he said. Then the student, whose friends were not all in the pro- gram, started to lose interest. Wells and the boy's parents worked to persuade him to stay in the program. "AfLer the per- formance, he said, 'You were right, I had so much fun I want do this next year.'" For more information, go to pnwtheater.com Democrats: PUD 3 has invested in other renewable energy continued from page A- 7 Hydroelectricity zs considered a renewable energy resource in much of the United States. Washington state does not allow the use of large hydro as part of the official renew- able energy mix; therefore, PUD 3 has invested in other forms of renewable energy in addition to its primary reliance on hydroelectric. It has a program that allows cus- tomers to generate their own elec- tricity (net metering), which allows customers to feed excess power back to PUD 3's grid and receive credit for any excess power during the course of a year. Twenty-one customers par- ticipate in this program. I want to thank Tom Farmer, PUD 3 commissioner, for his invaluable help in preparing this article and providing the data about PUD 3. 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