Students to showcase fruits of labor in `Apple Tree'


March 30, 2000|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TICKETS ARE ON SALE and student actors are gearing up for Severn School's production of "The Apple Tree," a trio of one-act musical comedies that takes its audience on a wacky tour of the biblical, the barbaric and the simply bizarre 1960s.

Shows are at 7: 30 p.m. April 13 to 15 in the school's Price Auditorium -- and with tickets being snapped up, it's wise to mail your order today.

Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, creative partners in the 1960s who wrote "The Apple Tree" (which starred Alan Alda before his "MASH" days), also composed a show we all remember: "Fiddler on the Roof."

A bit of local talent is involved in the production. Drama director Sharie Valerio and music director J. Ernest Green bring star quality to the tiny campus on Water Street.

The daughter of actor Sheldon Lacey, a co-founder of Colonial Players in 1949 Annapolis, Valerio has loved the theater since childhood -- a love she has nurtured into a career combining acting, directing and teaching.

A member of the performing arts staff at Severn for two years, Valerio, an Annapolis native, is a proponent of preserving the city's oral history. She has written and directed a series of shows based on the spoken recollections of longtime residents.

The shows include "Annapolis: I Remember" and "Annapolis: Together." A third production, "Dreams of My Soul," traces the history of slaves living in Charles Carroll House, circa 1706, in Annapolis.

Valerio founded Kaleidoscope, the popular summer drama program for teens, 17 years ago at Maryland Hall and continues to conduct classes for adults and teen-agers.

Green's musical expertise includes instrumental and vocal experience. Music director of the Annapolis Chorale and Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and conductor of the Falls Church Chamber Orchestra in Virginia, he also directs the Severn Chorale and Madrigal Singers. He is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras in Canada, South America and Europe.

Sophomore Greg Price is student director of "The Apple Tree." Each afternoon, Severn Middle School teacher Cathy Carper replaces her pumps with dancing slippers to become the show's choreographer.

Set production is in the hands of Barry Christy, a director and set designer from Colonial Players, and costumes are the creation of Susan Snyder and Forrest Shelor, who won rave reviews for their designs in Severn's sold-out production last year of "Pippin."

"The Apple Tree" cast includes sophomore Clayton McCarl, seniors Katy Shelor and Chris Nassif, with senior Sarah Snyder, sophomore Chris Reed, and juniors Karli Bowler and Robbie Newell. Sophomore Matt Larson and senior Karen Radowich are narrators.

"Mr. Green and I look for shows that aren't done as much," says Valerio, who starred in the Colonial Players' production of "The Apple Tree." "It's beautiful, well-written music, and the play is just fun. Originally the three leads did all three stories, but we've divided it up so that nine different kids have a lead.

"The first piece is from the Mark Twain diary of Adam and Eve. Kids can have a good time and play around with it." Who can resist the snake dressed in a tuxedo dancing the tango? Not Eve.

"The first two acts are about the search for knowledge, and the third is about the desire for fame," Valerio said, "which is even more pertinent today than it was in the '60s when it was written."

Tickets ($8 for adults and $5 for students) may be purchased by mail no later than April 7 by sending a check to: Doug Sassi, Severn School, 201 Water St., Severna Park 21146. Information: 410-647-7701, Ext. 465.

Hospice message

Hospice of the Chesapeake, in its 21st year of service to Anne Arundel County residents, takes the treatment of the terminally ill -- and their families -- out of the unfamiliar and often frightening atmosphere of the hospital and returns it to the comforting familiarity of home.

To provide a clearer understanding of what is available through its services, Hospice of the Chesapeake established a speakers bureau two years ago to send professionals and trained volunteers into the community to talk to business and civic organizations, church groups and college students.

Audiences come away with an understanding of how hospice care improves end-of-life processes for people and their loved ones.

The bureau includes professionals who work with Hospice of the Chesapeake, as well as more than two dozen trained volunteers.

Speakers adapt their schedules to meet the needs of each group they visit.

Audiences can request a wide variety of subjects -- among them short-term bereavement counseling, dealing with grief in children, the art of palliative pain relieving, and the existential aspect of death and dying.

Speakers also include family and friends of patients who have benefited from hospice care. This group of individuals is often eager to share stories of the care provided by hospice employees.

They often express gratitude in letters to the hospice, with comments such as: "Your loving and tender care made dad's last days comfortable," and "I appreciate the fact that my wife's nurse was such a warm and knowledgeable professional who was always willing to discuss each question I raised."

The next training session for speakers is scheduled in May at the hospice headquarters in Millersville. For more information, contact public relations coordinator Pam Kane at 410-987-2003.

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