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Blaze can’t keep ‘Oliver!’ off stage

Despite losing its sets, props and costumes in a warehouse fire Thursday, Spokane’s Christian Youth Theater is standing by the bedrock rule of entertainment: The show must go on.

“Oliver!” will open Friday at the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center thanks to a massive volunteer effort and donations from area schools, theater companies and other groups.

“There was never even a thought that we would stop or delay it,” said Nickle Van Wormer, the group’s executive artistic director.

On Saturday, a dozen volunteers were constructing a new set just like the one that took several weeks to build, before it burned in the warehouse fire at 1027 E. Marietta Ave.

Other volunteers raised about $1,500 at a bake sale at the north Spokane building where the theater holds rehearsal.

The sale was the idea of Brianna Anderson, the 10-year-old daughter of “Oliver!” set builder Cameron Anderson.

“When I heard about the fire, I was very saddened,” said Brianna, who has been in four Christian Youth Theater productions. “I was praying about it, and God blessed me and I got an idea for the bake sale.”

Some sets have been loaned by Central Valley High School and Spokane Falls Community College. Several area theater companies have offered help and costumes, and the group has received most of the construction supplies it needs to build the sets, Van Wormer said.

But there’s much work ahead. A week after “Oliver!” closes, “The Velveteen Rabbit” opens, and those sets also were lost, Van Wormer said.

“The community really came and opened their hearts to us,” said Karina Anderson, Brianna’s mom. “Everything is just a blessing.”



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