Centre Region high schools stage fall productions

The Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School Drama Club will stage “The Jungle Book” as its fall production.
The Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School Drama Club will stage “The Jungle Book” as its fall production. Photo provided

Comedy, drama and classic tales of friendship are all in store for theatergoers attending the area’s fall high school productions. Catch four very different but equally entertaining performances in the upcoming days and weeks.

As early as this weekend, audiences can join the Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School Drama Club on a journey to the jungles of India, for the well-known tale of Mowgli and his animal friends, in a retelling of “The Jungle Book.” Sophomore Gio Baumgarten takes center stage as Mowgli, supported by juniors Brandon Gunter as the lovable bear Baloo and Gillian Letson as Bagheera the panther. Directed by Lisa Shore Chorle, assisted by Kyle Kelly, the show was an easy pick after this year’s live action version produced by Walt Disney Pictures.

See “The Jungle Book” Nov. 10, 11 and 12, at 7 p.m. in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School auditorium. General admission tickets are available for $5 at the high school office, Conklin’s Corner Antique & Gift Barn, Sharon and Kelly’s Beauty Salon on Front Street and at the door on show nights.

In the Bald Eagle Area High School Drama Club’s production of “Murder for Dummies,” audiences are treated to the comical story of Myron and Marge Bernhart (played by Colton Lucas and Savannah Elder) and a murder that goes hilariously awry.

“I chose ‘Murder for Dummies’ because it has the perfect mix of characters to compliment the talents of our students. The play’s mix of comedy and a bit of drama will ... delight the audience members,” director Ryan Wade said.

“Murder for Dummies” is also making its debut this weekend, with performances Nov. 11-12 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 13 at 1:30 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before the show starts and tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Next week, the Bellefonte Area High School theater department, led by director Eric Brinser, gives guests a taste of classic comedy and Old Hollywood. “Once in a Lifetime” follows a trio of vaudeville actors — played by Jack Badger, Emma Holderman and Carson Bechdel — to Hollywood, where the three open a school of elocution. Twists, turns and comic adventure ensue, weaving in an unforgettable supporting cast.

According to Brinser, a large deciding factor when choosing the production was its large cast size, resulting in more opportunities for students. With 33 performers and a backstage crew of 41, it seems he’s met his goal.

“Once in a Lifetime” is running Nov. 17-19, with nightly performances at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and available online at basd.net/finearts, or at the door.

The State College Area High School Thespians will also display their finest later in the month. See “Peter and the Starcatcher” Nov. 18-20. Based on the familiar story of Peter Pan and the spin-off novels of the same name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play is a prequel to the plot we know and love, creating a brand-new experience for audiences of all ages.

Director Jill Campbell promises what sounds like a fantastic ensemble of talent.

“From vocal rehearsals to stunts and choreography, the cast has enjoyed gender blind casting and taking on multiple characters,” she says. “They are narrators, British subjects, sailors and pirates, orphans and natives and maybe even a few fantastical creatures.”

Tickets for “Peter and the Starcatcher” are available online at tinyurl.com/StateHigh Starcatcher, or via phone at 231-4188. Additionally, the box office is open Nov. 14-18, 3:30-5:30 p.m., and one hour before each performance. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children.