Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'Just So Stories' Opens As Rose Center's 20th Summer Players Show

I have the best summers, thanks to Rose Center in Morristown and their annual theatrical education program, the Summer Players. Next weekend the program marks it's 20th year with the production of Rudyard Kipling's classic collection of children's stories, the "Just So Stories."

This year marks my 4th as director of the Summer Players, and the talent of the young students - from 6th through 12th grade - has been an astonishing thing to witness and help cultivate. They are fearless, curious, adventurous creators, as they not only play the roles of characters, but create the costumes, help build the set, sell advertising - and this year, a group of four young ladies have created and arranged several songs just for this production.

Most of the cast play four to five roles as they act out all the wild and exotic animals from the imaginary and sometimes real wilderness world's of Kipling's tales - like "How The Elephant Got His Trunk" and "How The Rhinoceros Got His Skin".

As with other shows I have directed for the Summer Players, one of the reasons I picked these stories are because they are also classic works of literature, which can be mind-boggling to read and speak no matter what your age. 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of the stories, which you can read online here.

I likewise marvel at the constant work of the parents involved too, as they fit in rehearsals, ad sales and costume-making along with all the other dozens of summer activities they already have planned. And as always, the entire staff of Rose Center works so hard to make sure the show has all it needs and the community can see what young students in the arts can accomplish (and they run programs almost all year long dedicated to that for young and old alike).

And still, for all the work that is done, the cast and myself have a most entertaining summer of laughter and worry and hope and silliness and, too, we all learn from each other and I do my best to make sure this creation is also a celebration of childhood and youth, possibility and courage.

Tickets are only $5, all performances are in the Perk Prater Hall at Rose Center starting Friday July 29th at 7 pm, Saturday July 30th at 2 pm and 7 pm and Sunday July 31 at 2 pm. If you'd like more information, or wish to help support the program by purchasing an ad in the program, call Rose Center at 423-581-4330.

cast includes:

Emma Harris - Judith
Carli Rick - Amanda
Graham Christophel - The Parsee, The Python, The First Man
Marissa Horton - Dog, Kangaroo, Giraffe, Wild Horse
Madison Lamb - Horse, Dingo, Baboon, The Cat
Georgi Lamb - Ostrich, The Baby
Madi Phillips - Camel, Little Nqa, Kolokolo Bird, Wild Dog
Skyler Plasencia - The Man, The Elephant's Child, The Bat
Page Winstead - The Djinn, Nqong, The Crocodile, The First Woman
Elizabeth Young - The Ox, The Rhinoceros, Nquing, The Hippo, The Cow

Musicians -
Freya Cartwright
Anna Helms
Matisse Rick
Sarah Roper


  1. Anonymous3:43 PM

    Two of my granddaughters (Madison and Giorgi Lamb) are performing in Just So Stories, and I am so proud of them! As a retired English teacher, I really appreciate the choice of material. Revival of the classics! Hooray! They have enjoyed this summer with learning from you and are looking forward to next weekend's performances. I am sure that congratulations can be offered in advance for the fine entertainment you will provide for the community.
    Dede Fischer (otherwise known as 'Nana")