Last updated: August 24. 2013 9:09PM - 119 Views

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LIMA — At 17 years old, Nick Bader hopes he can ignite his passion for the theater in the 28 youngsters he's directing in this weekend's McDonald's Youth Theatre production of “Mulan Jr.”“My first experience at the theater was here at Encore. I was 8 years old, and my mom took me to see “A Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood.” When we left, I told her I kinda want to try that. She was amazed by that, because I was a really shy kid,” Bader said.Since that foray into the theater, he has worked both on stage and behind the scenes for numerous production. “Theater is my passion. I think I'm the youngest director to ever direct a show at Encore. I think I can relate to the kids. Like them, I know the stresses at school and working on homework before and after rehearsals. In fact, I tell them if you're not on stage, you should be doing your homework,” Bader said.A junior at Elida High School, he does his homework before and after attending practice. But for the last several weeks, his attention has focused on the huge undertaking that this Disney production presents.“I took on a Disney show with music. That means I needed the help of a music director, choreographer, and someone who could find costumes that would be Asian-looking. Thankfully, I've gotten a lot of support which has made this a good experience,” Bader said.Likewise, he has enjoyed his time working with the cast.“Some of these kids are first-timers on the stage, and others are veterans. Some of them are kids I've worked with in other shows here. One of the lessons I wanted the kids to take away from this production is that you should be proud of who you are, and not change to please others.”

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