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Classics combined for Geyer's school show

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 6:45 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | For The Independent-Observer
Cast members for 'The Wizard of Wonderland' include: Sarah McQueen, 8, of Kecksburg sitting in center front and from left are: Silas Tuls, 9, of Mt. Pleasant, Katie Basinger, 8, of Mt. Pleasant, Michelle McCalmont, 11, of Donegal, Maya Tuls, 13, of Mt. Pleasant, Conor McQueen, 12, of Kecksburg, Casey Kuhel, 16, of Greensburg, Mira Yoder, 12, of Mt. Pleasant, Madelyn Basinger, 13, of Mt. Pleasant, Savannah Phillips, 14, of Dawson and Mire McCalmont, 9, of Donegal. Back from left are Noelle Marietta, 16, of Connellsville, Kylie Post, 13, of Scottdale, Jill Yoder, 10, of Mt. Pleasant, Abigail Opst, 17, of Mt. Pleasant, Owen Shotts, 14 of Mt. Pleasant, Sierra Jones, 15, of Scottdale, Maddy Nelson, 19, of Scottdale, Cian Coulter, 17, of Greensburg and Desiree Marietta, 20, of Connellsville.

So what really happens when you put off something until the last minute?

Young “Judson,” the lead performer in the upcoming show “The Wizard of Wonderland” can tell you as he is propelled into a land like no other after he fails to get his book report completed in a timely fashion.

The show is being staged this weekend at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale and the fun and amusing tale is one like no other, with characters such as the Tin Man and Dorothy meeting up with Alice and the White Rabbit along with a full cast of cross characters from the two stories.

“You learn a lesson about what can happen if you procrastinate,” said Conor McQueen, 12, who is portraying Judson. “You actually learn quite a bit from this show.”

The show is a mini-musical that is being directed by Mandy Onder of the theater's education department.

“Our annual school show this year is unlike any other,” Onder said. “This year, our cast is composed of 90 percent kids ages 7 through 18. So, we have kids putting on theater for kids.”

The education department at the theater has been striving to bring young talent from the area together, as it helps to encourage the youth of the area to take part in theater, workshops and programs geared towards getting the kids involved.

“I believe the education department of the Geyer Performing Arts Center is important because it gives children of the community an opportunity to work with their talents and skills in a safe and friendly environment that puts children's needs first,” said Kat Post, education department director and show producer. “Using music and dance, we are having some fun sorting through two different settings and groups of characters in a mixed up book report. I love that children are learning and educating other children as they perform.”

The show will feature more than 20 cast members who will be playing various roles and Onder said the response prompted them to cast some of the roles as dual performance roles.

“We had such an overwhelming response from the community for auditions that we were able to expand to double casting some of our principle roles and give more children an opportunity to participate and the kids are doing great,” Onder said.

The show will be staged for several performances in other venues as the cast is taking the show to several area schools, including those in the Uniontown and Pittsburgh areas, and it will be performed live on the Scottdale stage for three shows.

The Saturday morning show has also been expanded to include even more theater fun and adventure for children to enjoy.

“There will be face painting, crafts, games, prizes, and tons of theater fun,” Onder said, explaining that an additional $6 will include everything including lunch, “This show is great for children and parents alike. All will love the clash of the two popular stories, ‘Alice in Wonderland' and ‘The Wizard of Oz.' Plus, the show focuses on issues we all face like taking responsibility for our actions and conquering our own fears. The kids have been working so hard to prepare a great show for the community.”

“I think that just about everyone will like this show,” McQueen said. “The little kids will enjoy seeing the characters that they know and the adults will appreciate the lessons that are learned from it. It's been fun.”

The show will be staged at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and again at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets are $6 for the show and for an additional $6, theatergoers can take part of all the extra events after the Saturday morning show at 10 a.m.

For information call the theater at 724-887-0887.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.