"Rising Stars," this summer's special exhibit at the La Habra Children's Museum, gives youngsters a chance to see what the theater is like from both sides of the curtain. The museum's Gallery Three has been transformed into a mock theater for the event and children can poke around all the nooks and crannies with the aplomb of a bigtime producer.
The backstage area is filled with props, sets and costumes. Youngsters can pick and choose from trees, suitcases, chairs, swords, etc. to bring out in front of the curtain. They can pick out a costume (top hat and tails, ballerina, animals), putting it on over their clothes or slipping into the private dressing room to change. Then it's over to the lighted dressing tables where staff members will help make them up, using watercolor facepaint rather than the traditional greasepaint.
Once adorned, the junior thespians can pick up scripts and act out a scene or two for friends and passers-by, or improvise a sketch. Also part of the exhibit: a puppet theater and models of actual theater sets.
At noon today, puppeteer Theresa Goodland will take over the stage to conduct a puppetry and puppetmaking workshop on the stage. During the hourlong program, children will have a chance to make their own puppets and learn how to put on their own puppet shows.
The museum is in Portola Park, 301 S. Euclid St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. These events are free with museum admission: $1.50 for adults, $1 for children. Families may want to bring picnic lunches to the park.