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Find 22 talented and dedicated teenagers, stir in two outstanding directors, blend with an accomplished pit orchestra of community members and students, add a devoted backstage crew, garnish with period costumes artfully created by devoted volunteer seamstresses, add a delighted audience, and bake in a theater fit for any professional performance at the hands of a competent chef. This recipe will yield a delightful dessert fit for any audience and did so on March 7 and 8 when the Blue Ridge Theater Department staged Lerner and Loewes musical "My Fair Lady."
Based on Bernard-Shaws story Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle (Jessica Williams), hoping to become an articulate lady in order to overcome her existence as a flower girl selling blossoms on the street, enlists the help of Professor Henry Higgins (Joe Bednarchik), an expert in linguistics. Higgins bets his colleague in language Colonel Pickering (Abram Hall) that in six months time he can pass Eliza off as a lady at the Embassy Ball. Under the careful eye of Mrs. Pearce (Alexis Axtell) who runs Henrys home, Eliza settles in to her life on Wimpole Street complete with new clothes, plenty of chocolates, and grueling lessons in diction. At the most unexpected time, Eliza finally conquers her accent and Henry decides to "try her out" at the Ascot horse races where, much to the delight of the others Eliza almost masquerades as the lady Henry hopes she will be. It is here that she meets Freddie (Stephen DelFino), who falls madly in love with her. Soon after, at the Embassy Ball, Higgins accomplishes his task when Eliza is the belle of the evening and everyone is certain that she is a lady of high lineage. Henry has done his job, but Eliza is not happy with her future. Where shall she go? What shall she do? Should she go back to supporting her dad (Tyler Calkins ) whose life has also changed due to her association with Higgins? Eliza disappears from Wimpole Street in the middle of the night, and Henry is devastated. She knows that she can marry Freddie but has feelings for Henry, who has "grown accustomed to her face." In the last scene Eliza returns to Henrys side, leaving us with the hope that the two will eventually enjoy a romantic future.
Pictured (l-r) are: Joe Bednarchik (Henry Higgins), Jessica Williams (Eliza Doolittle), Abram Hall (Colonel Pickering).
The cast of primarily underclassmen who put together this production were extraordinary. Jessica Williams as Eliza took the stage by storm with her expertise in singing, dancing, and transforming herself throughout the play, from a comedic street urchin complete with cockney accent to a stunning lady. Audrey Hepburn would be proud! Joe Bednarchik, a seasoned actor at the young age of 16, internalized the persona of Henry Higgins and expertly became the bookworm bachelor in voice, manner, and age. One would not be surprised to see this sophomores name on a New York Playbill in the future. The stage chemistry between these two characters was undeniable. Abram Hall delighted the audience each night with his dry sense of humor and his perfect casting to this character. Alexis Axtell was outstanding in voice and demeanor as the nurturing but stoic Mrs. Pearce. Henrys mom was very believably played by Malinda VanGorden, who made you feel sure that Henry is her embarrassment in life! Stephen DelFino as Freddie embodied the star-struck lad, while Tyler Calkins, a seventh grader, was a perfect Doolittle.
Lead characters are, however, only as good as their support. The chorus and dancers added beautifully to the mixture. The vocal talents of the maids singing "Poor Professor Higgins" made everyone in the audience take notice, and no one will forget the Ascot scene, or its costumes. A show like "My Fair Lady" takes tremendous costuming and under the tutelage of director Mr. Tim Hutchins, the costumes were sewn, glued, painted and tucked by community volunteers Mrs. Phyllis Caffrey and Mrs. Jan Reed, who also served as costume mistresses the nights of the show. Mr. Jimmy Williams of the Pocono Playhouse dabbled in the makeup for the students with wonderful results. Backstage under the expert hand of Billy Liepinis and Miss Jessica Reed the crew moved props, lifted curtains and made things happen in a timely manner. In the sound booth Ken Krug and Mr. Jay Thornton were perfectly matched to every cue in lighting and sound. Under the direction of Mr. Jeff Burkett, the pit orchestra was phenomenal. One could have enjoyed the entire evening listening to the overture and their accompaniments. Many community members volunteered their time to play with the students and the result was perfect harmony.
So, what does one need to "bake a scrumptious dessert" like the production of "My Fair Lady" at Blue Ridge High School? One needs a "chef" like Mr. Jeff Burkett who is able to do it all. With undying patience and understanding, he shares his expertise in music, theater, set building, publicity and most of all in dealing with children of all ages, with a thankful community. Sprinkle on top a belief by all involved that students can reach for the stars and successfully stage a show like "My Fair Lady" and they will; this remarkable cast did just that!
Montclair State University Bethany K. Estabrook, of Nutley, NJ and New Milford, PA, has accepted membership in Golden Key International Honour Society and was individually honored during a campus ceremony.
"It is only fitting that a high academic achiever like Bethany be recognized by Golden Key," said Alexander D. Perwich II, Golden Key executive director. "Our members are inspired and motivated by the challenge, not only to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments but also to make a positive impact on our world through the Societys commitment to service."
Golden Key International Honour Society is a nonprofit, academic honors organization that provides academic recognition, leadership opportunities, community service, career networking and scholarships.
The Society has more than 300 chapters in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa and New Zealand. Membership into the Society is by invitation only, to the top 15 percent of juniors and seniors in all fields of study.
Cheryl Ann Lamphere was inducted into the Beta Iota Rho Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Luzerne County Community College on December 4, 2002.
Cheryl, majoring in Nursing, is the daughter of James L. and Jean Smith, Hallstead, PA.
Following is a list of Blue Ridge Elementary School Citizens of the Month for March, 2003.
KINDERGARTEN: Mrs. Glezen - Loretta Forthman; Mrs. Johnson - Douglas Perry II; Mrs. Rhone - Erin Perry; Mrs. Small - Benjamin Frailey; Mrs. Whitehead - Leon Repella.
GRADE 1: Mrs. Button - Logan Ellis; Miss Felici - Sheila Piasecki; Mrs. Revie - Michelle Ballard; Mrs. Roe - Ethan Robinson.
GRADE 2: Mrs. Bistocchi - Dylan Earley; Mrs. Hepler - Will Ralston; Mrs. Theophila - Jenna Rupakus; Mrs. Yurgosky - Nichole Groover.
GRADE 3: Mrs. Berger - Korey Travis; Mrs. Harter - Autumn Hadlick; Mrs. Kelly - Mitchell Wages; Miss Pease - Katie Cramer.
Grade 4: Mrs. Bartkus - Benjamin Hepler; Miss Daniels - Lindsey Moxen; Mr. Goff - Corey Kleiner; Mr. Jones - Alicia Compton; Mrs. Mackachinas - Ashley Dorunda.
GRADE 5: Mrs. Buffington - Samantha Smith; Mrs. Chamberlain - Katie Brizzolara; Mr. Mazikewich - Kyle Muzzy; Mrs. Wolfe - Mark Rowe; Mrs. Zelkowitz - Monica Green.
Mrs. Bleck - Kyle Ulrich.
Mrs. Heal - Nick Schell.
Mrs. Suchy - Ashley Klenchik.
Collegeville, PA Ursinus College senior Joseph Klim feels like he has always worn ski boots and goggles. In elementary school he navigated the bunny slopes, as a high school student he taught special needs youngsters how to ski, and last year he became a certified member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America. His interest in skiing extends beyond the sport, to its relationship to international cultures.
His passion for the culture of skiing has won him a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, making him one of only 48 college seniors nationwide to engage in a year of independent research abroad through the program. His project, titled, "On the Piste, Off the Piste and Everything In-Between: Skiing and Ski Instruction in Norway, Austria, Japan and New Zealand," was selected from approximately 1,000 proposals by the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program, based in Providence, RI. The program provides Fellows with $22,000 and an opportunity for a focused year to explore the world and to thoroughly explore a passion.
Klim, a biochemistry ad molecular biology major, and a German minor, from Montrose, PA, will explore how cultures affect skiing, how ski instruction differs according to the culture, and how skiing has evolved to fit the needs of the country. The terms "on the piste" and "off the piste," he explained in his project proposal, are the skiers jargon for skiing performed on groomed trails, and skiing performed off the designated trails. He plans to experience the skiing cultures of New Zealand, where skiing is said to be more adventurous; Japan, where skiing is most accessible; Austria, where skiing is taught n the public education system; and Norway, where it is considered the national pastime and a mode of transportation as well.
Klim began to ski when his mother became a chaperone for the high school ski club. "I remember one time because of subzero temperatures my mother would not allow me to go, no matter how much I begged," he said. "I was more worried abut missing my weekly ritual of skiing than the danger of frostbite," Klim recalled. Now he works daily during college winter breaks as an instructor. In addition to skiing, Klim said he loves to travel, and participated in a high school German exchange program, the Ursinus in London program and Ursinus summer program in Tuebingen, Germany.
"I have the rest of my life to be a biochemist, but I doubt I will have an opportunity like this again," he said of the Watson Fellowship. "As part of the liberal arts education at Ursinus College, we were asked what is the universe and how do we fit into it. The Watson would allow me to personally examine this question on a smaller scale of how I as an American fit into the world."
High school seniors from Blue Ridge and Mountain View School Districts may be eligible for a scholarship. One award will be presented to each district. This is an annual project offered by the Louise Bache Womens Club of New Milford. Applications may be obtained at the school guidance offices. They must be completed and returned to the guidance office by April 30, 2003. Winners will be selected on the basis of school performance, community involvement, and extracurricular activities, as well as consideration for financial need.
During 2002, two school officials of the Blue Ridge School District earned certificates of achievement for participation in in-service education programs, sponsored by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
Certificates are awarded for anyone earning twelve points or more. The points are accumulated for participation in PSBAs School Board Academy, various other workshops and seminars, the statewide conference and the annual summer workshop. Earning certificates were Denise Bloomer and Alan Hall.
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