That would be Timmy Walker, 12, who plays Gollum, and Joshua Brennan, 14, who plays Gandalf. Timmy has his costume airbrushed on, and Joshua carries an enormous staff throughout the entire performance.
"It's heavy, and it's pretty long," said Brennan. "I can't really put it down, even backstage."
One of the challenges with Gollum was transitioning from a singing voice to a slimy, raspy, whispery speaking voice and back again.
"We cast some kids who could really sing and project, and now we're working with them to work a character into that because they have to be dwarves, and they have to be goblins, and you know goblins, they really don't sing well," laughed Scarpelli.
Scarpelli has served as musical director for several Children's Theatre shows. This is the first time he has worked with live orchestra accompaniment, though.
"We've got flutes and violins and clarinets and drums and bass. It takes it to another level," he said. "I think the kids experience something special. It's not like singing to karaoke."
Mace is amazed by the multi-generational and ongoing attachment people have for Tolkien's work.
"One of reasons has got to be that Bilbo Baggins is such a delightful character. He's so ordinary to be so extraordinary," said Mace. "He is so warm, he's loving, he's scared, he has a good heart and when he finally agrees to go to help the 13 dwarves, it's because he feels wrong has been done to them."
Dawson Eagle, 12, plays the role of reluctant hero Bilbo Baggins. Scarpelli said seeing Eagle develop over time into his character has been a highlight of his backstage involvement with the show.
Soft-spoken and excitable, Eagle smiled continuously when he said he "loves" his role. "I really like being Bilbo because I'm a big 'Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings' fan. I understand him; I'm not that adventurous myself. I'm really excited for this opportunity."
Children and adults can expect to experience a performance that will thrill and delight.
"It's got magic. It's got dragons. It's got very funny parts, real excitement scenes. Smaug and Gollum are so creepy and mysterious," said Mace. "I do want the children in the audience to be unnerved by it all. That's part of the magic that may encourage a child to go on and read the 'Lord of the Rings' series."
Reach Elizabeth Gaucher at elizabeth.gauc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.