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Monday February 20, 2017 at 9:48am Age: 2 yrs
Category: Middle School, District


Don’t bother with your weather app: it’s going to rain on March 9 and 10, sometime after 7 p.m., on the stage of Minisink Valley Middle School. Handy and techie volunteers will make sure of it!


The drama club and a company of volunteers are hard at work to bring you a dazzling and spunky production of “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.,” an adaptation of the world’s best known musical movie, released in 1952. Online tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for students and seniors.


Directed by Teresia Parker, the middle school production is fast-moving entertainment, spiced with comedic twists and turns, feisty dialogue, romantic Hollywood standards, tap and chorus-line dancing--and a little poetic justice, too.


A large supply of student talent is matched by a spectacular set conceived by director Parker, engineered by Michael Giardina, assistant superintendent for human resources, and built by technology teachers, administrators and parents; set pieces built by Andrea Ferguson; glamorous costumes designed by Patty Martellaro and managed by Laura Horner; and graceful choreography by Laura Martellaro, middle school music/band teacher.  


On her fourth year as costume designer for the school’s drama club, retired teacher Patty Martellaro is logging 14-hour days to create, or recreate, the show’s constellation of costumes. “Many actors have multiple costumes, and then we have large groups wearing the same costume. It’s a challenge even in terms of material, but we look for bargains, and mix and repurpose from previous shows,” Mrs. Martellaro said.


Traveling from Cornwall to Minisink, Mrs. Martellaro is motivated by working with kids, and alongside her daughter, Laura Martellaro. She learned sewing from her Father in his dry cleaning shop, when she was still in fifth grade.


Also behind the scenes, intermediate school library clerk Peggy Shiele oversees the all-student house crew with parent Mary Hughes and the assistance of Deidra Flaherty, a high school art student. Deidra photographs the lead actors and helps the house crew design promotional signs and posters. This group of students is also in charge of fundraising baskets and raffles, lobby decoration and concession.  


“I enjoy seeing the kids realize that it takes many people to put a show like this together; that the people who work behind the scenes are as essential as those on stage, and they put in the same time and effort,” Mrs. Shiele said.


“Our vision is to create a quality program that inspires our kids to build, sew, draw, act, dance, sing, collaborate, and reach for goals and careers that they never knew were available to them,” said director Parker.


Additional helpers include directors Laura Martellaro and Andrea Ferguson, chief organizer Laura Horner, and Trinka O’Connor.


“Most of the adults working behind the scenes, such as our construction team, have no children in the show, or even the district. They do it because they believe in the program. Hopefully, our students will grow up to follow their example,” director Parker said.


On stage, AJ Bubilo, an eighth grader, has the romantic lead role, Don Lockwood, a silent film star. For AJ, joining the drama club was a matter of facing his shyness. “The thought was, ‘I’m going to try it.’ Amazing how one tiny thought can change your life!” he said. This being AJ’s second show, he’s feeling more confident this time around, but also overwhelmed. “Everyone looks up to you when you’re in the lead. You are in the spotlight most of the time, and you are expected to help and be an example.”  Grateful for the challenge and the experience, AJ credits his parents for always encouraging him to try new things. “For once, I’m listening,” he said.


Casey Imbarrato, also an eighth grader, fell in love with the show the first time she watched the movie. She is thrilled to play Lina Lamont, Lockwood’s leading lady who can’t sing and faces an uncertain future, in the dying days of silent film. “I love playing Lina. She goes through a wide range of emotions, which is challenging and exciting,” Casey said. She will always remember the friends she made in the show and the teachers who helped her. Casey started acting in third grade at Otisville Elementary.


Brooke Melendez plays Kathy Selden, an aspiring actress and singer caught in a love triangle with Lockwood and Lina. Brooke has been acting since fifth grade, but this is her first lead role. “I love acting with a lot of people around me, and this is that kind of show,” Brooke said. “I’m having great fun with my character, and I will always remember the music--and my friends.”