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Submitted By Rebecca Williams
What audience doesnt love a villain, a hero, and a woman torn between the two? Who isnt intrigued by choreographed sword fights, a working guillotine, and a rescue? What theater goers arent delighted by a palace ball, lovely costumes, and beautiful music? Those in attendance on March 19 and 20, when Blue Ridge Musical Theater under the expert direction of Mr. Jeff Burkett presented "The Scarlet Pimpernel" were treated to all of these and so much more.
The story, based on the novel "The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Orczy, with book and lyrics by Nan Knighton and music by Frank Wildhorn unfolds under the cloud of the French Revolution when at its bloody peak scores of people were slaughtered at the guillotine without trial or reason. Back in England we witness the wedding of Sir Percival Blakeney (Joe Bednarchik) and Marguerite St. Just (Jessica Williams), who although from two different countries look forward to a life of love. However, before the wedding day is over, Percy learns that his new bride is a French spy and cannot believe he has fallen into such a trap. Marguerite, having experienced a past with Citizen Chauvelin (Steve Delfino) is being blackmailed by him when he informs her that her beloved brother Armand (Nathan Hall) has been arrested in France as a member of the "League of the Scarlet Pimpernel". Because of Chauvelins coercion and blackmail, Marguerite agrees to help him discover the identity of the Pimpernel in order to save her brother. Little does Marguerite know, her own husband is the Scarlet Pimpernel whose "League" is responsible for many dangerous rescues of innocent French citizens. As the story unfolds and a web of deceit is spun, Percy finally outwits Chauvelin one last time in an ultimate showdown. As the show closes, Percy and Marguerite, trusting one another at last, renew their wedding vows.
The cast of students who brought this production to the stage were extraordinary. The stage chemistry among Bednarchik, Williams, and Delfino was that which one does not witness often in a high school production. Joe Bednarchik once again stunned the audience with his prowess as an actor and singer at such a young age. Jessica Williams beautifully played the part of the torn Marguerite through song and dance. One could feel her anguish at the hands of Chauvelin. Steve Delfinos villain was perfect as he, cloaked totally in black, spun his spiders web throughout the performance. The three professionally predicted each others every move and emotion, making for a solid core.
Lead characters, however, are only as good as their support. Nathan Hall as Armand played his role well as the brother dedicated to his sister but also to the "Leagues" cause. Sarah Barnard expertly played Marie Grosholtz an artist turned spy whose rendering of the Pimpernels likeness saved the day. Audiences loved learning that she married and became Madame Toussad! Aaron Galloway as the Prince of Wales embodied the quiet spirit of the man and Tyler Calkins as both the executioner and Robespierre did both jobs well. Countless other students including the singing Cupids led by Maria Fancher, the sword fighting "League" championed by Logan Nalbone and Colin Dixon, the guards commandeered by Curtis Darrow and the choral support of prisoners and townspeople rounded out the production.
Background work is more than half of a production of this magnitude and those involved did an excellent job. Ken Krug, Josh Rudock and Tim Latz on lights and sound and Cassie Hurley backstage were invaluable. The pit orchestra, comprised of students and many community volunteers with Colleen DeVincentis at the core on piano was a joy. One could have spent the evening listening to them play and have been satisfied! The guillotine built by Anthony DeVincentis and Roland Tompkins, the swords crafted by Duane Dixon, the "head" and carriage by Mark Harvey and his students in conjunction with Marvin VanCott and his students were priceless. Dance masters Dan and Sheri Wolfe and Tim Hutchins taught the students to waltz and tango. Costumes were sewn, transported, glued, painted and fitted by Tim Hutchins, Phyllis Caffrey, Jan Reed, Becky Williams and Betty Cook. Members of the local communities and the school community volunteered many hours to make the show a success, and the result was perfect harmony.
So, what does one need to engineer a production like "The Scarlet Pimpernel"? One needs a master like Mr. Jeff Burkett who is able to do it all. With undying patience and understanding, he shares his musical, technical and dramatic expertise with the children and the results are unbelievably wonderful. "The Scarlet Pimpernel" was just that!
Cast members rehearse "The Game" in the coming production "Damn Yankees" to be held at Susquehanna Community High School on April 1, 2 and 3. Tickets are $6.00 adults and $5.00 students and senior citizens. Pictured (l-r) are : VanBuren (Billy McHale), Joe Hardy (Brent Soden) and Mr. Applegate (Jordan Tingley). Reservations can be made by calling 853 4921, ext. 2344 or 853-4692.
Students from the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC) recently competed at the Regional Competition of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), which was held at Mountain View High School on January 20.
Future Business Leaders of America is an education association of students preparing for careers in business and business related fields. The FBLA mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.
The following SCCTC students placed at the regional competition: Nicole Chambers, first place, Business Calculations; Ross Cameron, second place, Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure; Brittany Fike, second place, Word Processing I; Monica Turner, second place, FBLA Principles and Procedures; and Amanda Singer, third place, Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure.
SCCTC FBLA Regional Competition winners (pictured l-r) proudly display their awards: front row Monica Turner, Brittany Fike, Amanda Singer, Ross Cameron; back row Mrs. Lisa Smith, Nicole Chambers.
These students will compete at the FBLA State Competition at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, PA on March 29 - 31.
FBLA team mentor Lisa Smith is responsible for the overall coordination and preparation for the competitions. She states, "FBLA is an awesome educational experience. There are so many opportunities for students to develop leadership and career skills."
The following high schools send students to the SCCTC for vocational-technical programs: Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Lackawanna Trail, Montrose Area, Susquehanna Community, and Tunkhannock Area.
For more information on Future Business Leaders of America or the SCCTC, call Alice M. Davis at (570) 278-9229 ext. 783 or Marty Kane at (570) 278-9229 ext. 782.
Pied Piper the Musical will be presented by the Mountain View Elementary Players on Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15, 7:00 p.m. both evenings, in the all-purpose room of the Mountain View Elementary School, Route 106, Kingsley, PA.
Admission is $4.00 adults, $1.00 children. Tickets will be sold at the door.
All are welcome to come and support the talented Mountain View Elementary Players.
Denise Bloomer and Maureen Howell, members of the Blue Ridge School District Board of Education, are among the most recent group of Pennsylvania public school officials to receive the Pennsylvania School Board Associations Certificate of Achievement. This official certificate of achievement award is presented to individuals who complete four courses in PSBAs voluntary comprehensive training program, the School Board Academy. The Academy curriculum includes four core courses: Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships; School Law; Budget and Finance; and Effective Meetings.
"We commend Denise and Maureen, for investing personal time to dedicate themselves to improving their skills and knowledge in the never-ending quest to become a better decision maker," said Robert McNamara, district superintendent. "By participating in the School Board Academy, Denise and Maureen have been able to stay current on school issues, and develop the skills necessary to strengthen the local policy-making team."
Certificates were presented to Denise and Maureen at the March 22 board workshop session.
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