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Travis Nodurft
Bitten by the ‘Wing It’ bug posted on 01/31/2020

Travis Nodurft will sometimes see videos about kids arguing what character they are from “Wing It,” Clackamas Repertory Theater’s recurring interactive children’s show he developed six years ago. Kids even show up to the latest installments of the show dressed up as their favorite character, sometimes landing them up on stage (as one girl who dressed up as Buzz, Nodurft’s character, can attest to).

“These are real characters in our lives,” Nodurft said, noting how some kids have grown up going to the shows (now numbering 30).

Buzz, Luna, Rita, Jazz and the gang will be back on stage this month, capping a three-part series about a spider, Ocho, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. Each show (six per year) is a fresh creation, sometimes based on known stories and sometimes based on whatever set is currently on the stage at Clackamas Community College (CCC).

“We wing it,” said Nodurft, a middle school teacher in Oregon City who was trained as a clown at Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and toured with the Red Unit of the Circus. “We’re going to take whatever we have and use it.”

The first script he came up with, a story based on the classic story of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” still hasn’t seen the stage. That first show, on Oct. 4, 2014, used a different story based on “Little Red Riding Hood” in order to introduce the characters, a crew of winged creatures that present a problem before getting everyone’s help to solve it (while also enjoying some dancing, singing and fun).

Nodurft, a graduate of CCC, added he may use that first script if “Wing It” ever ends its run, but don’t count on that to happen any time soon.

“Honestly, it is probably one of the greatest things I do,” he said. “This is truly one of the things I love more than anything. We’re not going anywhere soon.”

Nodurft noted that each character is developed for kids to get a solid understanding of them and connect with them, not just be part of a storyline. The performers include professional actors found on other stages throughout Portland, some of which have participated in every one of the performances.

“We’re just a family up there,” Nodurft said. “I feel so fortunate that we can still do this together.”

Nodurft cited two challenges in creating the performances, including that the schedules of the performers can be tough to juggle around. And each year, the Christmas show can be a challenge, as it tends to pull in a slightly different crowd who might expect a different theatrical experience.

He also keeps things fun and interesting for adults, with 1980s and 1990s references, including “Kite Man,” noting that a colleague of his came to a recent show and laughed so hard it led to crying.

“That’s what I want,” Nodurft said, adding that he loves for kids to enjoy the magic of the stage. “And I just want everybody to know that live theater is one of the most amazing opportunities to talk about real problems.”

CRT’s “Wing It” series of interactive children’s shows will offer a performance at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City. The show includes singing, dancing and a talent show for kids, offering a chance to go up on stage. Admission is $5 at the door with no reserved seating. Future performances include April 4 and June 13. For more information, visit clackamasrep.org or call 503-594-6047.

First February weekend offers two shows

Sandy Actors Theatre presents “Making God Laugh,” by Sean Grennan, about a family’s adventures over the course of 30 years of holidays, through Sunday, Feb. 2, at 17433 Meinig Ave. (behind Ace Hardware). Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $18 general admission, $15 for students and seniors and $13 for children under 12 (reservations are recommended). Active duty military in uniform are free. For more information, or to make reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org.

The Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company (NNB) will offer “In Front of the Philco: A Night of Radio Plays,” featuring several famous radio plays, including “The Shadow,” “The Bickersons” and a few old radio spots and jingles. The evening will feature live sound effects, raffles, games and more.

“In Front of the Philco: A Night of Radio Plays” will run through Sunday, Feb. 2 at the Boring Grange, 27861 Grange Street in Boring. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children and seniors, and $11 for teachers and law enforcement. For more information, or to make reservations, call 503-593-1295 or visit nnbtheater.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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