Slow and steady wins the race.
Directors for the upcoming production of "Tortoise Versus the Hare" at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona, however, don't live by this motto.
The one-hour full scale musical with all local children as actors is cast and produced in less than a week - something short of a miracle, especially when dealing with three dozen children.
"It's kind of remarkable it's done in a week," Kate Shaffer, Blair County Arts Foundation Executive Director, said.
The Missoula Children's Theatre is in town and will host auditions for the "Tortoise Versus the Hare" today at 4:30 p.m. at the Mishler.
About 100 local children, kindergarten through 12th grade, are expected to audition today. Children aren't required to bring anything except smiles, energy, positive attitudes and an ability to follow directions. Older children are often chosen for the bigger roles, while younger children are cast as characters with fewer lines.
If you go
What: "Tortoise Versus the Hare," part of the Blair County Arts Foundation's Family Theatre
When: 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25
Where: Mishler Theatre, Altoona
Tickets: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5.50 for students, may be purchased through the Mishler box office, by calling 944-9434 or online at www.mishlertheatre.org. Grandparents will be admitted for free when accompanied by their grandchild.
About 60 children are chosen to perform in the play Feb. 25 at the Mishler.
Before the performance, the children will rehearse a few hours every night for the two performances of the show, which attracts about 400 people each.
Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles love seeing their young actors and actresses on stage, and local children love to watch the children perform in kid-friendly plays.
"Any time you have a live theater experience, it transports kids right into the story. It's designed to be very engaging to them. It's usually stories that are familiar," Shaffer said. "It's a fun experience all the way around."
Missoula Children's Theatre visits Altoona once a year. Anne Mason, a tour director who grew up in Laramie, Wyo., enjoys bringing music and theater to small communities.
"I was exposed to very little theater. I remember being so appreciative and excited when musical opportunities came to town. Now I get to help bring those experiences to children nationwide," Mason said.
Directors warn children before auditions, that not everyone will be chosen for the play, but they accomplished a lot just by coming out for auditions, Shaffer said.
"They tell them if you don't get the part, it's not because you didn't do a great job. Maybe you weren't right for the part," Shaffer said.
Once casting is over, rehearsals start that night.
"Children are amazing. They make it happen," Jonna Michelson, tour marketing director for Missoula, said. "It's really the magic of the children that they're able to learn and follow directions and work as a team. They're all learning together."
The applause they hear on performance night is worth the hard work, Michelson said.