Just last week, the final bows were taken in the Roslyn Middle School Spotlight performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Now, the sixth, seventh and eighth graders are embarking on a journey not unlike the one taken by Tevye, Golde and their village.
The middlesSchool actors and actresses are joining voices with Roslyn High School’s Royal Crown Players in their upcoming production of “The Music Man.”
Royal Crown Players advisor Allison Hungate Wood hopes to connect the younger and older student thespians through their similar interests. She said the collaboration of the two drama clubs begins with the spring Royal Crown Players show, which she will direct.
“The Music Man is a show about community,” Hungate Wood explained. “The town of River City is a community that is divided and ultimately becomes connected by their experiences with Harold Hill. We wanted to create community with our production of The Music Man and really make it a musical collaboration that spans ages and grade levels.”
Earlier this week, a select group of actors and actresses in grades six through eight began to make their way over to the high school for after school rehearsals.
“They joined in seamlessly,” Hungate Wood said.
The younger students will share the stage with more seasoned high school actors who seemed welcoming from the start.
“The show’s been going great so far!” sophomore Bryn Goldstein said. “The rehearsals are productive, and it’s really coming along.”
Hungate Wood is confident that the high school cast members will serve as great role models.
“RCP members are excited about the opportunity to welcome Spotlight students into our group and serve as mentors for these young actors and actresses. “
The response from the middle school students has been equally positive and encouraging.
“The show is going great,” eighth grader Andrew Antenberg said. “Working with RCP is great because everyone in the show is so talented and professional! It’s really different from Spotlight because of that.”
The middle school students will be adjusting to more than just a new stage and seasoned cast members. They are also getting used to new leadership.
Roslyn Middle School chorus teacher Tammy Breitman previously directed the students in the Spotlight club.
Until recently, Breitman was the assistant director of “The Music Man” but she has since stepped down. Jean Goloski, vocal music teacher at East Hills Elementary has stepped up to the role.
The middle school actors said they were up for the new challenges.
“They expect more, it’s faster at RCP,” said Antenberg. “Ms. Breitman and Ms. Hungate Wood have two different styles of teaching, which makes their clubs very different.”
The collaboration has reconnected many students who are finding some familiar faces from previous productions.
“The show is going very well,” high school freshman Darren Wang said. “The collaboration with the middle school is very good. I know most of them from being in the same show the year before. It’s fun working with them.”
“The best part about working at the high school and with the other students is that I already know most of them from last year and it’s really great to be working with them again!”
High school freshman Abby Drucker is also enjoying the collaboration, and is excited to see where it will go.
“It’s super fun… they are cute and I enjoy working with them. They are just fun to be with,” she said.
Goldstein, alongside other older students are excited to see what the middle school students have to offer to the club not only in this productions, but more to come.
“So far, they definitely have promise. They’ll be an asset to this show, as well as the shows to come in the future.”
And how will future audiences respond to the middle/ high school hybrid production?
“ I think the audience will think we’re cute,” sixth grader Jackie Verde commented.
Verde will be working alongside her sister, Rose and cousin Caroline Aruanno, both sophomores in “The Music Man” cast.
“I think it’s very nice they’re letting us come here to the high school. I’ve always wanted to be in a high school play and now I don’t have to wait until high school!”
Moving forward, Hungate Wood is expecting nothing but the best.
“I love the idea of using theater as a vehicle to help connect people and create community, and I certainly hope to do it in future productions as well,” she said.