Middle school boys and girls get ready to present `Guys and Dolls Jr.'

NEIGHBORS

April 25, 2001|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

EVEN THOUGH it was a Saturday, the cafeteria at Wilde Lake Middle School hummed with activity over the weekend as nearly 40 pupils gathered to begin rehearsals with music teacher Kiersten Drumm for the musical "Guys and Dolls Jr."

"Play it big. I want to have to tell you to tone down the cheesiness," Drumm says. Then the overture begins. Drumm calls out, "Curtain. Smiles everybody," and the real fun begins as the 33-member cast launches into the opening number. This energetic production of the hit musical debuts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Slayton House.

Each year, Wilde Lake Middle School stages two productions, a comedy in the fall and a musical in the spring. "I knew that Wilde Lake had a really good drama department, so that's why I auditioned for the musical," said Ariell Watson, a sixth-grader at the school.

In addition to gaining experience as an actor, Ariell said, participating in the musical has helped her get to know more of the kids at school.

The five lead actors are in the eighth grade. They are Larry Komrower as Sky Masterson, Rachel Frederick as Sarah Brown, Andrew Chandler as Nathan Detroit, Carl Deffenbaugh as Nicely Nicely Johnson and Ilana Burger as Adelaide.

Foreign language teacher Kris Bloom is technical director. Lynda Schwartz, a math teacher, is in charge of choreography. Wilde Lake High School students Laura Yetter, Jessica Padgett and Michael Washington have assisted with the production since rehearsals began in January, and Howard Community College student Aaron Broderick is the accompanist.

Ilana, wearing a curly, platinum-blond wig for her role, described her character as, "a ditzy blonde who is the leader of the Hot Box Girls. They're a group of dancers." This is Ilana's fourth production at the school. "I love opening night because it's really fun, and I like costumes and dressing up and all that stuff," she said.

Bradley Eisenberg, 13, said his job as assistant director carries a lot of responsibility. "The hardest part is that most of the people are my peers and friends, and it's difficult to get them to listen to me. It's a big responsibility being in charge," he said.

"These kids are amazing. They have blown me away. They are dedicated and super-talented," Drumm said. "Usually, if you come to a middle school production, you expect to see something cheesy, and that's not what you get from these kids."

"Guys and Dolls Jr." will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Slayton House. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for children and will be available at the door.

Information: 410-313-6597.

Garden tour

A Progressive Garden Tour of three Howard County properties where the "Bay Wise" approach is applied to gardening will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Bay Wise philosophy advocates an environmentally conscious approach to planning and maintaining landscapes. By planning landscapes to work with nature and using natural controls to solve pest problems, Bay Wise gardeners preserve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

The speakers for the tour will be Betsy Kelley, coordinator of the Bay Wise project, and Georgia Eacker, extension educator, Howard County Master Gardener Program. The free tour will leave from Florence Bain Senior Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. Registration is requested.

Information: Carolyn Kulp, Maryland Cooperative Extension, 410-313-1907.

Anxiety disorders screening

If you find yourself worrying all the time, afraid of social situations, anticipating your next panic attack or having trouble sleeping or concentrating, you could be suffering from an anxiety or depressive disorder.

River Hill Wellness Center will hold a free program and screening from noon to 7 p.m. May 2 as part of National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day. The program includes a screening questionnaire and a confidential meeting with a mental health professional.

The center is at 6100 Day Long Lane in Clarksville.

Information: 443-535-0200.

Yard sale

Longfellow Nursery School will hold its Mega Yard Sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the school parking lot. The sale will include items donated by 50 families associated with the preschool. In addition to household goods, the sale will include children's items such as toys, clothes, furniture, strollers and car seats.

Longfellow Nursery School is at 5257 Eliots Oak Road in Columbia.

Information: 410-531-3534.

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