- Sam Mitchell, who plays fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill, foretells of trouble -- right here in River City
- Rehearsing their roles, clockwise from front, are Lucia Rossi, Lucy Millwood, Amelia Albers and Claire Spagnuolo
- Kyra Edwards, center, said she’s excited and nervous about performing. “I love it when we dance,” she said
- Elghan Burns, right, helps cast member Lucky Millwood with her wardrobe
- Anna Loos, left, “the pick-a-little lady,” gets a costume adjustment from townsperson and co-stage manager Estelle Metz
Gotta Know the Territory
Middle School’s First-ever Musical a Classicby Morgan Jarema
It's two weeks to showtime and the middle school cafeteria is abuzz -- nay, atwitter -- with activity.
Co-stage manager Maeve Coretti works to pass out cast T-shirts, before she perches on the edge of the stage to take notes on scene arrangement coming from co-director Marybeth Timmer.
|What: EGR Middle School's "The Music Man Jr."
When: 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 and 8, 2 p.m. on Dec. 9
Where: Pioneer Auditorium, Wealthy Elementary, 1961 Lake Drive SE
Tickets: $5 for students, $7 for adults, can be purchased at the door and in the Middle School main office starting on Dec. 4
On stage, cast members -- aka townspeople -- practice hitting their chip-on-the-shoulder marks, while co-director Michelle Kastanek urges "Big voices!" from offstage.
The upcoming production is a big deal for the 50 or so cast and crew members of "Music Man Jr.," and a big deal for Kastanek, middle school administrative assistant to Principal Anthony Morey. She has been working for years to get a theater program going at the middle school.
"I couldn't believe there were no drama opportunities at the middle school," Kastanek said. "Drama is so important, not only in the confidence they get from getting up in front of their peers, but how their public speaking improves. Even their reading comprehension. Learning to empathize. It all ties in. It's so good for them."
Kastanek started a Shakespeare Club three years ago under Peter Stuursma, the previous principal. Last year was the middle school's first play, "Anne of Green Gables." Last year's theater program was funded through a grant from the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation. This year, the PTO is sponsoring the production.
Seventh-grader Estelle Metz, who plays a townsperson, is co-stage manager along with eighth-grader Maeve Coretti.
"I've been doing theater for a while, mostly crew but acting as well," said Estelle. "It's hard. I'm running onstage and offstage all the time, but I really enjoy it."
Submitted on: December 1st 2017