Good Life

School musicals ease region’s winter blues

Cody Mandell, portraying Shrek, and Zoe Armstrong, portraying an elf, rehearse the Fairytale Chorus at Bald Eagle High School’s auditorium on Monday, February 25, 2014.
Cody Mandell, portraying Shrek, and Zoe Armstrong, portraying an elf, rehearse the Fairytale Chorus at Bald Eagle High School’s auditorium on Monday, February 25, 2014. CDT photo

A glimmer of hope may be on the horizon for those longing for the sights and sounds of spring, as local schools soon will present their spring musicals.

The season begins early, as Penns Valley comes first on the list with its production of “Bye Bye Birdie” on March 7-8. Bellefonte Area Middle School will follow with “Lovely Rita, Library Lady” and “Dirty Dan Strikes Again!” from March 14-16, and Park Forest Middle School will close out the month with its production of “The Hobbit” from March 21-23.

The month of April has an abundance of family entertainment in store, as Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High School will present their version of “Seussical” from April 3-5. The State High Thespians of State College Area will present “Children of Eden” from April 10-13. Two local high schools will round out the spring season on the same weekend; Bellefonte Area High School will present Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida,” and Bald Eagle Area Middle and High School will present their production of “Shrek: The Musical.” Both shows will run from April 24-26.

Penns Valley Area

High School

What: “Bye Bye Birdie”

When: 8 p.m. March 7-8

Where: Penns Valley High School Auditorium, 4545 Penns Valley Road, Spring Mills

Info: 422-8854

Director: Darris DeRemer


Albert Peterson: Nick Fuller

Rose Alvarez: Olivia Jefferies

Kim MacAfee: Raven Althouse

Mr. Harry MacAfee: Kason Breon

Mrs. Doris MacAfee: Brooke Spicer

Randolph MacAfee: Alex Boeckel

Conrad Birdie: Angelo Nicosia

Mae Peterson: Susanna Mills

Hugo Peabody: Dan Kozar

“This year has been a challenge because of the many snow days we have had recently. However, we are confident that the show will be a great success,” director Darris DeRemer said. “Our students are very talented and diligent, and we look forward to a wonderful production.”

Bellefonte Area

Middle School

What: “Lovely Rita, Library Lady” and “Dirty Dan Strikes Again!”

When: 7 p.m. March 14; 3 and 7 p.m. March 15; and 2 p.m. March 16 (Both melodramas will be performed each night.)

Where: Bellefonte Area Middle School auditorium, 100 N. School St., Bellefonte

Info: 355-5466

Cast and crew information was not available as of press time.

Park Forest

Middle School

What: “The Hobbit”

When: 7 p.m. March 21-22 and 2 p.m. March 23

Where: Park Forest Middle School auditorium, 2180 School Drive, State College

Info: 237-5301

Director: Amber Hohman


Bilbo Baggins: Michael Hanold

Gandalf: Jazz Dennis

Dwalin: Brenna Fennessey

Balin: Eugene Ryoo

Kili: Megan Petrine

Fili: Mollie Washell

Dori: Megan Russell

Nori: Mary Rose Valentine

Ori: Chloe Bevilacqua

Oin: Emily Martin

Gloin: Maya Urbanski

Bifur: Jane Patt Biddle

Bofur: Hannah Ballenger

Bombur: Nick Mancuso

Thorin: Sam Batty

Grocery boy: Ken Walton

Grocery girl: Genevieve Miller

Bert: Adam Schram

Essie: Makenzie Hoag

Tom: Bram Nealon

The Great Goblin: Aryka Cook

Attendant goblin: Tyrike Coleman

Echo: Bram Nealon

Gollum: Hannah Hardisty

Elven Queen: Zoe Ellis

First guard: Isaiah Hughston

Second guard: Woojin Lee

First elf: Bella Witmer

Second elf: Auden Yurman

First attendant: Mira Bigatel

Smaug: Ryan Babb

Goblin soldiers: Ethan Baxter, Nathaniel Delozier, Abby McGuire, Erin Brogan, Rayna Jones and Georgia Thomas

Wood elves: Katy Ulmer, Colleen Kelly, Rachel Smith and Sarah Cook

Hobbits of the Shire: Nolan Wilson and Leah Horner

“With a dash of music and splash of combat, the cast and crew have prepared an exciting show that’s great for all ages. We hope you’ll join us on our journey through Middle Earth, as we encounter dwarves, elves, trolls, goblins, a dragon, a wizard and a most unexpectedly courageous Hobbit,” drama club adviser and show producer Jennifer Moody said.

“To me, this goes far beyond creating a successful production. To build a bond of community, through theatre, has truly been one of the most significant experiences in my lifetime. Beyond their incredible talent, commitment and desire to excel, our students have grown in their genuine appreciation for each other. In addition, to have the support of so many parents, faculty and staff has been of tremendous importance. From costumes to set construction, and set design to props, PFMS families and faculty and staff have played an enormous role in creating our production.”

Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High School

What: “Seussical”

When: 7 p.m. April 3-5

Where: Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High School auditorium, 502 Philips St., Philipsburg

Info: 342-2168

Director: Lisa Shore Chorle


Cat in the Hat: Brooke Wisor

Horton: Justin Baumgarten

Jojo: Lara Sharpless

Gertrude: Taylor Jackson

Mayzie: Hunter Nicholson

Sour Kangaroo: Natalie Conte

Mayor: Caleb Hartsock

Mrs. Mayor: Mikayla Hughes

General Schmitz: Josh Weyandt

Bird girls: Sarah Chorle, Bailey Hosterman, McKenzie Moore, Laria Moore and Emma Riglin

“This musical has been a challenge with so many lost practices due to weather, but the students have worked very hard to make the show a success,” director Lisa Chorle said. “The lighthearted Seuss stories, which are brought to life through songs, is a crowd-pleaser for any age.”

State College Area High School’s Thespians

What: “Children of Eden”

When: 7 p.m. April 10; 8 p.m. April 11-12; and 2 p.m. April 13

Where: State College Area High School North Building auditorium, 653 Westerly Parkway, State College

Info: 231-1111

Director: Jill Campbell


Father: Zak Kalp

Adam/Noah and opening number story-teller: Sean Toso

Eve/Mama Noah and opening number story-teller: Erin Redwing

Cain/Japheth: Michael Sellers*

Abel/Ham: Levi Sublett*

Seth/Shem: Max Hults*

Yonah/Snake: Sadie Spivey*

Aphra/Snake: Emma Rohan*

Aysha/Snake: Olivia Lusk*

Snake: Michael Cooper*

Snake: Justin Shondeck*

Young Cain: Curtis Warner

Young Able: Eli Yurman (also animal chorus)

*also principal story-tellers

Principal story-tellers: Deb Gilmore, Brian Cunningham, Ajane Holliday, Jon Perini, Emma Kesidis, Matt Wilkinson, Colleen McDonough and Kaitlyn Warner

Feature dance story-tellers: Clara Hanahan, Lydia Malcom, Aileen McKinstry and Maddie Myford

Animal chorus: Lina Ruth Duiker, Aaron Bala, Natalie Farnsworth, Greg Patrick, Jeana Park, Jamie Rohan, Alexandra Thomas, Toby Sundstrom, Caroline Shea, Devon Tighe, Rowan Staley and Eli Yurman

Campbell said, “ ‘Children of Eden’ is a musical feast with over 40 musical numbers. The simple set, costumes and properties allow the student actors, singers and dancers to tell these two wonderful stories from the book of Genesis rich with family love, conflict and forgiveness.”

Bellefonte Area

High School

What: Elton John & Tim Rice’s “Aida”

When: 7 p.m. April 24-25, and 2 and 7 p.m. April 26

Where: Bellefonte Area High School theater, 830 E. Bishop St., Bellefonte

Info: 355-4833

Co-directors: Luke Skerpon and Shaun McMurtrie


Amneris: Jessica Brown

Radames: Christian Hopple

Aida: Cat Rokavec

Mereb: Stephen Giacobe

Zoser: Jordan Emely

Pharaoh: Andrew Uhring*

Nehebka: Alyssa Hamaty*

Amonasro: Aaron Scott*

Ministers: Theran Cripe*, Noah Gaus*, Carson Bechdel* and Zach Spaw*

Soldiers: Sam Cini*, Will Landon*, Gehrig Schuster* and Dan Zimmerman*

Guard: Jordan Corman*

Palace women: Maddie Querns*, Dori Puzycki*, Hailey Seibel*, Kaitlyn Whitesell*, Bethany Bowser*, Shelby Courts*, Briana Seager*, Emma Smith*, Jenna Catalano* and Emma Holderman*

Nubian women: Abby Young*, Anya Hoaglund*, Emma Ferguson*, Kayleigh Rine*, Taylor Schoch*, Amber Way* and Dayna Brewer*

Those marked with an asterisk will double as a Nubian slave.

According to co-director Luke Skerpon, “We are very proud to bring this blockbuster Broadway musical to the High School stage. We have a unique set, a tremendously talented cast and technical surprises that will entertain all audiences.”

Bald Eagle Area Middle/High School

What: “Shrek: The Musical”

When: 7:30 p.m. April 24-26

Where: Bald Eagle Area Middle/High School auditorium, 751 S. Eagle Valley Road, Wingate

Info: 355-4868

Co-directors: Eric Brinser and Lindsey Allison


Shrek: Cody Mandell

Fiona: Abbey Crago

Donkey: Tyler Bickle

Lord Farquaad: Matthew Blaylock

Dragon: Virginia Hillman

Pinocchio: Colton Lucas

Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy: Maya Eppley

Papa Ogre: Matthew Blaylock

Mama Ogre: Jessica Cain

Young Shrek: TBA

King Harold: Austin Huyett

Queen Lillian: Meghan Shiels

Young Fiona: TBA

Teenage Fiona: Chelsea Butterworth

Papa Bear: Austin Huyett

Mama Bear: Nicole Bonsell

Baby Bear: Wayne Boone

Humpty Dumpty: Phoebe McClincy

Big Bad Wolf: Michael Bailey

Fairy Godmother: Madison Maney

Three Pigs: Michael Geyer, Kody Chandler and Josh Zink

Wicked Witch: Savannah Elder

Peter Pan: Valerie Frost

Elf: Zoe Armstrong

Ugly Duckling: Alice Statham

Mad Hatter: Carissa Matthiesen

White Rabbit: Rexine Schrum

Three Blind Mice: Kate Snyder, Karina Bloom and Samantha Rougeux

Pied Piper: Kate Snyder

Guard: Becca Bowling

Captain of the Guard: Jessica Biggans

Thelonius: Tia Barndt

Bishop: Heather Huyett

Bluebird: Meghan Shiels

Duloc greeter: Margaret Cowan


Villagers/guards: Lacey Geyer, Bobbi Jo Etters, Megan Fye, Alexis Nevel, Chelsea Butterworth, Virginia Hillman, Heather Huyett, Karina Bloom, Jessica Cain and Meghan Shiels

Duloc dancers: Adazia Mellott, Emily Jozefik, Sarah Torres, Samantha Rougeux, Becca Bowling, Colton Lucas, Michael Bailey, Austin Huyett and Kate Snyder

Knights: Matthew Blaylock, Austin Huyett, Colton Lucas and Kody Chandler

Fairytale chorus: Above named fairytale characters in addition to Katherine Haagen, Karissa Bittinger, Lindy Hackman, Annie Barnhart, Kiara McClusick and Margaret Cowan

Rats: Above Duloc dancers in addition to Rexine Schrum, Zoe Armstrong and Virginia Hillman

“We did get some insider information about this show this past November during our fall New York City trip. We participated in a ‘Broadway Classroom Up Close and Personal’ workshop. As luck would have it, our presenter was Ben Crawford, who was the original ‘Shrek’ standby in the Broadway production, and graduated to the lead role when the original star left. He shared some backstage stories and concluded by singing ‘Big Bright Beautiful World,’ Shrek’s opening number from the show. It got the kids super-charged for our production,” Brinser said.