The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

What's Happening

February 10, 2013

Curtains rising | Students in region rehearsing for high school musicals, plays

A variety of performances that promise to be entertaining will be presented by students in the region’s high schools.


“The Wizard of Oz”

The classic story of little Dorothy Gale of Kansas. Like many girls her age, she dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day, a twister hits her farm and carries her away to the wonderful land of Oz, where she meets many interesting characters that try to help her find her way home. The show features the talents of Katrina Warren, Samantha Press, Jan Hardinger, Jay Fetter, Sara Conway and Adrian Williams.

“Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion as they travel to see the Wizard. Don’t miss this magnificent journey written by L. Frank Baum with music and lyrics of the MGM motion picture score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg.”

Melissa Wingard and Nikki DiBuono, directors

Berlin Brothersvalley

“Anything Goes”

Many of the students, unfamiliar with the show when the cast list went up, did some personal research and quickly described it to friends and family as “Titanic without the iceberg and sinking.” While that description might be lacking detail, the show does take place aboard the SS American with a colorful cast of characters.

An evangelist-turned-nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (Kelsey Snyder) and her Angels; a lovelorn stockbroker, Billy Crocker (Ben Clegg) wooing a lovely debutante Hope Harcourt (Emily Philip); the debutante’s mother Mrs. Harcourt (Lara Will) and Hope’s British fiance Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Alex Ickes), a gangster disguised as a minister; Moonface Martin (Jacob Emerick) with his sidekick, Bonnie, (Brooke Little) all turn up on a luxury cruise liner to sing, dance and romance.

“The musical cast of over 50 students is quite excited for the April production of ‘Anything Goes.’ The dancing endeavor in this show is one that I am already proud of and we are two months from a performance. Lindsay Menhorn is doing a fantastic job teaching both experienced and beginning tappers some fantastic choreography. I am so proud of the work ethic and dedication that our cast gives each year and am constantly reminded of what great talent we have in our small town of Berlin.”

Kati Spiri, director

Bishop Carroll Catholic

“The Wedding Singer”

Robbie Hart, also known as “The Wedding Singer,” is a selfless romantic and a pro when it comes to creating the perfect wedding atmosphere for all of the weddings that he and his band perform. Robbie is planning his own wedding to Linda, who ends up leaving him at the altar. He begins a downward spiral until his new friend Julia asks him to help with her own wedding planning. Julia, being engaged to a man who frankly doesn’t treat her well, begins to enjoy Robbie’s company a little more than she should, and Robbie begins to develop similar feelings. They both freely deny this fact, until Robbie finds out that Julia’s fiance Glen is cheating on her. The show puts a nice ribbon on finding love in the most unexpected places.

“I am beyond thrilled to be directing one of my favorite shows of all time. We have an exceptionally talented cast, who are hard at work memorizing lines, blocking and dances to put on what we’re hoping to be one of the best shows that Bishop Carroll has seen.”

Gabbi Hertzog, director

Bishop McCort Catholic

“The Sound of Music”

The romantic story and familiar songs have been a favorite of theatergoers since first produced by Rogers and Hammerstein in November 1959.

The score is based on the true story of “The Trapp Family Singers,” written by Maria Augusta Trapp, and takes place in Austria during the Anschluss in 1938.

The voices are coached by Susan Pearce, and the orchestra will be conducted by Keith Kuchenbrod. The production team includes Suzanne Smedberg, technical director; Amanda Woodruff, set design; Robert Voeghtly, set builder; and Leslie Lech, assistant to the director.

Some of the most famous songs are “The Sound of Music,” “Do Re Mi,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and “Edelweiss.”

“The cast has really stepped up and made my first year as director at Bishop McCort a truly rewarding experience.

“The students are keeping the McCort tradition of pride and excellence alive and are shining in their roles. In keeping the story true to nature, we auditioned children from the elementary schools, and selected four wonderful performers to play the roles of the younger Von Trapp children.”

Jean Arcurio, director

Blacklick Valley

“The Nifty Fifties”

“The Nifty Fifties” follows the adventures of a group of teenagers as they face the hardships of high school. Those challenges include how to handle feuding cliques of teenage girls, where to have the Hippity Hop dance since the school is being renovated and what to do when you crash the meanest rebel’s new motorcycle.      And of course what ’50s show would be complete without an Elvis character – Ziggy Springer.

The music captures the rock ’n’ roll vibe of the 1950s, and promises to leave the audience wanting to dance in the aisles. “The Nifty Fifties” is one of those shows that people can’t help falling in love with. The characters remind us all of our favorite ’50s shows - whether it be “Grease” or “Happy Days.” So dig out your leather jackets, poodle skirts and saddle shoes for a great evening of fun.

“It has been an absolute joy to work with this amazing group of students. Their dedication to each other, the show and the program is inspiring. They have embraced the rock ’n’ roll spirit of the ’50s, and are determined to make this their most successful show ever. The best way to describe this year’s show and cast is simply: Fun.”

Jessica A. Strazisar,

musical theater adviser

Cambria County Christian

“The Old, Faith, Hope & Charity”

The play is a story about an old country doctor who is the heartbeat of a small town. His office is known as the “Old, Faith, Hope & Charity.” The doctor is retiring and looking for his replacement. During the “initiation” of his replacement, a lot of quirky people visit the office.

“Last year, we graduated a good part of our theater program participants, so we are working with a lot of new talent.”

Bonnie Berkebile, director

Cambria Heights

“Acts of God”

A storm-tossed swirl of a play, “Acts of God” tracks 12 high school students through the year following a devastating tornado strike. As the students grieve, assist in the recovery efforts and tackle the basics of getting on with life, they must also cope with the storm’s emotional remnants. Friendships and allegiances shift, beliefs and faith are tested and the threat of a new storm forces each character to relive the once-in-a-lifetime terror.

“The challenge for the student actors will be to develop strong, recognizable characters who learn and grow because of their experience.”

Patricia Stiles, director

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