Dramatic shortfall lingers Wilde Lake students need more money to make Scotland trip

June 26, 1996|By Fritz McCormick | Fritz McCormick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

After a year of raising money to send a student musical to Scotland, the drama department at Wilde Lake High School has raised enough to ship costumes and sets -- but not the students.

Despite washing cars and selling everything from T-shirts to pasta to Tupperware, the students have raised less than $18,000 of their $100,000 goal, said drama teacher Tracy Adler. "Through blood, sweat and tears we have been able to raise only enough to take the production over to Scotland," she said.

So members of the 48-student cast and crew will have to come up with $3,300 apiece for airfare and accommodations before their scheduled Aug. 6 departure -- unless more donors come forward.

Wilde Lake's production of "SMILE!" was one of 12 student groups chosen for the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, considered one of the most prestigious performance opportunities for amateur groups.

"Basically, we represent Maryland, and Maryland wasn't concerned enough to help us," said Michael Caloia, 18, a recent graduate who portrays Big Bob Freelander, the male lead in "SMILE!"

Although there is still time for group fund-raisers before the students are to leave, many students are working to raise their own money.

Caloia, who has been working at Toby's Dinner Theatre in Columbia, says his managers and fellow employees have supported him and other cast member employees, 17-year-olds Meaghan Kyle and Alicia Klein.

"If other employees need a shift covered, they will generally call one of us to do it," he said.

"We have also been assigned numerous odd jobs from the management, to help add to our hours. They understand what we are trying to do and they help us."

Even so, Caloia said, "It's been really difficult."

Corporate sponsors were considered the key to raising the money needed. Giant food stores allowed the group to sell certificates -- redeemable only at Giant stores -- and receive a percentage of the sales.

The McDonald's at Harper's Choice Village Center gave the group a percentage of the sales one evening.

There is also a T-shirt drive sponsored by local merchants to help out.

But while students appreciate the help they have received, they say the response to their pleas was disappointing.

"We sent many letters to businesses and arts patrons all around Maryland and barely received enough to cover postage and handling," said Sara Melton, a 15, who plays JoAnn Marshall in the production.

There was frustration in her voice as she continued: "The lack of community and corporate support is very sad. We are one of only 12 in the United States chosen to attend this festival, and it seems as if no one cares."

Some students said they have little time to raise money on their own. Katie Harkness, a 16-year-old who plays Robin Gibson in the production, said her free time is spent as a camp counselor for special needs children for the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.

"Everyone has so many commitments," she said. "It makes it very hard to raise money."

There is one group fund-raiser remaining before the students leave: A performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" will take place July 14 at Slayton House.

After they leave Maryland Aug. 6, the students plan to spend two days in London before flying to Scotland.

In Edinburgh, they will perform an abridged version of their show, due to time constraints at the festival. Said Adler, "The kids will have the experience of a lifetime."

Pub Date: 6/26/96

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