“Theatre in Our Schools Month”


Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

March is ‘Theatre in Our Schools’ month, a perfect time not only to enjoy the best our local schools have to offer, but to thank the theater teachers, school administrators and elected officials for all the support, hard work and dedication that keeps the performing arts a vital and popular part of local schools.

Springtime 2017 brings another exciting batch of budding new talent and seasoned young players to high school stages across the region. This year’s Spring Musicals and plays are already enjoying the spotlight before delighted audiences of friends, families and neighbors.

Though it always looks like fun, and it certainly is, every performance is also an incredible feat. It calls on teachers and students alike to put in long hours of hard work and practice. But they always turn out top quality theater, an important educational experience and lifelong memories for the students.

Every performance listed here will deliver great theater, well-known and popular shows – many of them Broadway hits from years past or taken from the world’s most beloved literature, tales and stories.

The Wonder Years
It’s in the high school years when young people begin learning how to express themselves in grown-up ways. They are entering a world where who they are and what they know will really matter.

High school teachers – in the visual, musical and especially in the performance arts – know the stage can be a wonderful confidence builder. Students can explore the meanings and emotions behind the lines they are saying. Learning how to act teaches a student how to command attention the right way and speak with ease in public.

“I truly believe that music, art and performing are the reason some students come to school each day,” said Sylvia Root, Jamestown’s new (interim) superintendent of schools. Her observation is based on more than 30 years of experience within the New York State educational system. “Part of every school’s curriculum should be to train students to get up and present themselves, their ideas and their talents, and our performing arts program does just that.”

Every parent of a young actor or singer knows it’s just a lot of good, clean fun… even if the teacher’s college textbook only calls it “language-focused, experiential learning.”

Walking a Mile
To walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes is the classical advice given to people to help them learn a deeper respect and tolerance for others. When young people act on stage, performing the work of great playwrights and authors, they do try on different roles. They actually can take a walk in the shoes of another human being.

The Payoff!
“We feel that performance is also a huge part of setting and achieving goals and learning the value of hard work and practice,” explained Shane Hawkins, executive director of Infinity Visual and Performing Arts in Jamestown. “And the audience gives the kids a lot of positive reinforcement, a big payback for all their time and work. The acting and the camaraderie on stage and off is also just a lot of fun.”

At their best, high school theater arts programs offer students and their parents a safe environment to explore life’s issues – the often hilarious, sometimes dramatic and even the tragic ones – and can help them process their own questions and conflicts which are so much a part of life for all of today’s teens.

In other words, growing up can be fun in the best possible ways for young people who are given a chance to fall in love with the stage.

The show must go on. Don’t miss it!

Falconer High School

The Little Mermaid
March 10th & 11th @ 7:30pm
March 12th @ 2:30pm
at the Falconer Central School Auditorium

Artistic Director – Helen Merrill
Music Director – Ann Marie Mogenhan
Technical Director – Jen Mikula
And many other FCS Staff and community members make our show a success.

Ariel – Hailey Gould (Senior)
Prince Eric – Andrew Young (Junior)
Ursula – Madison Wilcox (Senior)
Flounder – Katie Jaroszynski (Junior)
Sebastian – Matt Gullotti (Freshman)
Scuttle – Nicholas Pawlak (Junior)
King Triton – Tanner Toy (Senior)
Cast, crew, and pit band of more than 50 student members (including a few elementary students as sea creatures)

Frewsburg High School

Nice Work If You Can Get It: Musical Comedy
March 31st @ 7pm
April 1st @ 2pm & 7pm
at the Harry J. Murray Auditorium

Set in the 1920s, this musical is the story of wealthy and charming Jimmy Winter. He meets bootlegger Billie Bendix the weekend of his wedding. Jimmy is preparing to marry Eileen Evergreen, a self-obsessed modern dancer. Madcap fun ensues as Jimmy is preparing for his 3rd (or is it his 4th?) wedding.

Artistically directed by Shaun Laska, leading men Nick Mole and Bryce Gibbons and leading women Olivia Sposato and Anna Smith take us on this fun journey. Tickets are $8 for Adults and $6 for Students/Sr. Citizens.

Jamestown High School

March 30th & 31st @ 7pm
April 1st @ 2pm & 7pm
at the Merton P. Corwin Auditorium

Seussical, based on the works of Dr. Seuss, weaves the stories of The Cat in the Hat (Gavin Card), Horton the elephant (Cameron Lydell), Gertrude McFuzz (Abby Beach), the Sour Kangaroo (Emily Anderson), Mayzie LaBird (Olivia Gren), creatures from the Jungle of Nool, and a tiny town of Who’s, to tell a story about friendship, acceptance, and loyalty. Directed by Miss. Lauren Scharf, Seussical is a family friendly show that is sure to lighten your mood! Tickets can be purchased for $8.00 from any cast, pit, or crew member, or at the door.

Maple Grove High School

Anything Goes
March 31st & April 1st @ 7pm
April 2nd @ 2pm
at the Maple Grove High School

Maple Grove High School is in preparation for their spring musical Anything Goes. The show opens March 31st at 7 PM. There are two more shows on April 1st at 7 PM and April 2nd at 2 PM. The show is directed by Julie Costantini and is choreographed by Jennie Cross and Holly Weston. Anything Goes is set aboard the ocean liner S. S. American, where nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney(Grace Auer) is en route from New York to England. Her pal Billy Crocker(Chase Boardman) has stowed away to be near his love, Hope Harcourt(Kaylee Volpe), but the problem is Hope is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh(Cameron Rowe). Joining this love triangle on board the luxury liner are Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin(Brandon Reagle) and his sidekick-in-crime Erma Latour(Paige Cummings). With the help of some elaborate disguises, tap-dancing sailors and good old-fashioned blackmail, Reno and Martin join forces to help Billy in his quest to win Hope’s heart. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. They can be purchased at the door or at ticketpeak.com/anythinggoes.

Panama High School

Shrek The Musical
March 24th & March 25th @ 7pm
at the Panama High School

Musical Director – Deb Bailey
Asst. Musical Director – Charles Johnson
Musical Accompaniment – Stacy Taylor

Shrek – Elliott Jackson
Fiona – Kaci Sikora
Farquaad – Jacob Smith
Donkey – Patrick Yuchnitz

Sherman High School

Murder’s in the Heir
March 31st & April 1st @ 7pm
at the John Butler Auditorium

Lennart Liffner

Mike Davis – Jacob Martin
Cory Abata – Simon Starkweather/Simon Starkweather III

Southwestern High School

The Addams Family
March 16th & 18th @ 7pm
at the Southwestern High School Auditorium

Director – Christine Beichner-Miller
Art Director – Jenny Brown
Instrumental Director – Tim Pryzbelinski
Vocal & Technical Director – Sue Huther

Student leads:
Gomez – Chris Butler
Morticia – Jessie Stahlman
Wednesday – Julia Jablonski

Secondary Leads:
Pugsley – Josh Pike
Uncle Festor – Chris Johnson
Lurch – Jake Rutter
Grandma – Tori Cobb
Lucas Beineke – A.J. Smith
Alice Beineke – Makenzie Sletten
Mal Beineke – Seth Gibson

Warren County School District

Disney’s Beauty & the Beast
March 16th & 17th @ 7pm
March 18th @ 2pm & 7pm
at the Struthers Library Theatre

This is our 14th All- County Musical for Warren County School District high school students. They are done every other year as the school district alternates with an All-County junior musical. The idea of the All-County Musical was developed by John Check, an educator in the Warren County School District, who had a vision of bringing, at the time, all five high schools together to create one amazing performance. It is the only extra curricular activity available that includes students from all high schools. In 2009, Mr. Check passed away the day following the close of his last All-County musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie.

The Warren County School District’s 14th All-County Musical is proud to announce the cast of their upcoming musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Warren Area High School senior Abigail Koebley will portray Belle/Beauty. The Beast/Prince will be played by Ryan McGuiness, also a senior at Warren Area High School. Belle’s father, Maurice, will be brought to life by Warren Area High School junior, Max Sobina. Bryce McCracken, a junior at Warren Area High School, will portray Belle’s overzealous arrogant suitor, Gaston. His sidekick, Lefou, will be played by Warren Area High School freshman Jared Bupp. Enchanted figures of the castle include; Cogsworth, WAHS sophomore Bryce Jache; Lumiere, WAHS junior Elijah Rutenber; Wardrobe, WAHS senior Sarah Roney; Babette, WAHS junior Katie Heeter; Mrs. Potts, WAHS junior Abby Waterman; and Chip, Warren Area Elementary Center Second Grader, Sammy White.

Other parts include Emily Koebley, WAHS junior; Morgan Lemmon, WAHS senior; and Lucy Belleau, WAHS senior, as the three silly girls. WAHS junior Gabe Yucha will be the Bookseller and Michal Shingler, WAHS junior, will portray Monsieur D’Arque.

The cast is completed by an ensemble with Eisenhower students Brittany Arp, Naomi Haight, Hunter Peterson, Aubrey Younger, and Shannon Kellogg; Sheffield students Carter O’Donnell, Megan Johnson, and Brennin Lester; Youngsville students Sarah Camp, Jessica Mack, and Greta Stoner; and Warren students Tyler Blackburn, Marcus Bonavita, Rachel Cecco, Brionna Childs, Mayan Cook, Nick Ditz, Alex Dolinger, Jack Dolinger, Kelsey Fadale, Sara Fromknecht, Taige Honhart, Savannah Keener, Allison Koebley, Robert Main, Adam McChesney, Maribeth Miller, Devon Moore, Rylee Napolitan, Aubrianna Navaroli, Elliott Neal, Connor Rosborough, and Haley Tuller.

The musical will be supported by a pit orchestra which includes students, teachers and community volunteers from all around Warren County. The student musicians from Eisenhower High School will be represented by Madison Ring, Mikki Gifford, Anna Carlton, Grace Larson, and Autumn Barnard. Students from Warren Area High School include Cady Stoever, Emily Hannak, Naomi Hahn, Bradley Klenck, Hope Colvin, Aidan Colosimo, Tyler Nelson, Parker Neal, Kenny Lasecki, and Zach Ickert.

There will be four performances of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast presented at Struthers Library Theatre. Show dates are March 16th at 7:00pm, March 17th at 7:00pm, and Saturday March 18th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday from 10:00am-7:00pm at Struthers Library Theatre Box Office beginning March 6th and before each performance.