Scranton Preparatory School juniors direct ‘The Music Man Jr.’ at their alma mater Our Lady of Peace School

By Elizabeth Baumeister - ebaumeister@timesleader.com
Our Lady of Peace students try on some costumes for the school’s upcoming production of ‘The Music Man Jr.,’ to be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1 at the Clarks Summit Elementary School. From left, Marina Rinkunas, eighth grade, playing Marian (the librarian); Aidan Coppola, fifth grade, as ‘Professor’ Harold Hill, and Audrey Munley, eighth grade, portraying Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn. - Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal
Fifth-grader Aidan Coppola rehearses his role as Harold Hill in the school’s upcoming production of ‘The Music Man Jr.’ - Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal
Scranton Prep juniors and former Our Lady of Peace (OLP) students from left, far right, Elizabeth Gumula and Grace Farrell direct the cast of OLP’s ‘The Music Man Jr.’ in rehearsal. - Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

CLARKS GREEN — Our Lady of Peace School has got theater.

Theater with a capital “T,” which rhymes with “P,” and that stands for “pride” — which is what Principal Colleen Jumper said she feels for a small group of her former students, Scranton Preparatory School juniors who returned to OLP to direct the school’s upcoming spring play, “The Music Man Jr.”

Elizabeth Gumula is the director, with John Cuck as technical director, Grace Farrell as choreographer and Antonia Milas as Scenic Designer. All four are members of the OLP class of 2014.

“I’m so excited about it and I’m so proud of the students who graduated and came back,” said Jumper. “It shows their love of OLP. And they are stepping up to help others.”

The musical will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1 at the Clarks Summit Elementary School., 401 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Casting was open to students in fifth through eighth grades, and the lead role of “Professor” Herald Hill is played by fifth-grader Aidan Coppola.

The rest of the cast includes Marina Rinkunas, Michael Allardyce, Willa Farrell, Audrey Munley, Erik Burdyn, Kate Kolucki, Jordan Mackey, Casey Healey, Skye Williamson, Grace Boyle, Camilla Rinaldi, Claire Kelly, Teddy Novak, Julia Farrell, Claire Devine, Molly Devine, Kylie Hillebrand, Alexis Straw, Nora Kolucki, Dominica DeLayo, Madeline Bormes and Grace Kowalski.

Jumper said the entire cast rose to the challenge of catching up after missing several days of rehearsal due to the recent snow storm, even coming in to practice on weekends.

“From what I’ve seen, they’ve been doing phenomenally well,” she said.

The director and choreographer agreed.

“The kids who are here really want to be here and they are working really hard,” said Farrell, adding the cast is somewhat smaller than that of some plays the school presented in the past, but each member is dedicated.

A dancer since age three, Farrell said what she enjoys most about serving as the choreographer is watching the younger students learn to express themselves through dance.

For Gumula the production is an opportunity to do something she’s always wanted. Although she is a veteran of the stage, this is her first time “behind the scenes” of a play. She is grateful for the experience, as she would like to pursue theater and directing in college.

It was Gumula’s idea to take charge of the production and bring her fellow Prep classmates on board. When she learned OLP may not present a play this year due to the lack of a director, she thought back to the importance of theater to her seventh-grade self and knew she couldn’t let that happen. So she formed her plan and brought it to the principal for approval.

It was also also her idea to present Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man Jr.,” which she said she likes for its simplicity.

“It’s not only easy, but it’s a compelling story, and it’s one of those classics anyone can relate to,” she said.

Our Lady of Peace students try on some costumes for the school’s upcoming production of ‘The Music Man Jr.,’ to be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1 at the Clarks Summit Elementary School. From left, Marina Rinkunas, eighth grade, playing Marian (the librarian); Aidan Coppola, fifth grade, as ‘Professor’ Harold Hill, and Audrey Munley, eighth grade, portraying Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_ABJ-Music-Man-1-1.jpgOur Lady of Peace students try on some costumes for the school’s upcoming production of ‘The Music Man Jr.,’ to be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1 at the Clarks Summit Elementary School. From left, Marina Rinkunas, eighth grade, playing Marian (the librarian); Aidan Coppola, fifth grade, as ‘Professor’ Harold Hill, and Audrey Munley, eighth grade, portraying Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn. Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

Fifth-grader Aidan Coppola rehearses his role as Harold Hill in the school’s upcoming production of ‘The Music Man Jr.’
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_ABJ-Music-Man-2-1.jpgFifth-grader Aidan Coppola rehearses his role as Harold Hill in the school’s upcoming production of ‘The Music Man Jr.’ Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

Scranton Prep juniors and former Our Lady of Peace (OLP) students from left, far right, Elizabeth Gumula and Grace Farrell direct the cast of OLP’s ‘The Music Man Jr.’ in rehearsal.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_ABJ-Music-Man-3-1.jpgScranton Prep juniors and former Our Lady of Peace (OLP) students from left, far right, Elizabeth Gumula and Grace Farrell direct the cast of OLP’s ‘The Music Man Jr.’ in rehearsal. Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal

By Elizabeth Baumeister

ebaumeister@timesleader.com

IF YOU GO

What: Our Lady of Peace School presents Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man Jr.”

Where: Clarks Summit Elementary School, 401 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1

Cost: $5 for adults and $3 for students

More info: For more information, call the school at 570-587-4152.

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal