On Saturday evening, the curtain will rise for the public for the first time on Wayne Highlands Middle School’s production of “Getting To Know Oklahoma!” and excitement is already running high among its talented young lead actors and actresses.
It may be a shorter version, but all the essential elements are there. The classic musical numbers like “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “People Will Say We’re In Love.” The complex, exuberant choreography, complete with a live horse. And of course, the love triangles between The Peddler, Will (played by Paul Sweet, not interviewed), and Ado Annie, and Curly, Laurey, and Jud Fry. On Saturday evening, the curtain will rise for the public for the first time on Wayne Highlands Middle School’s production of “Getting To Know Oklahoma!” and excitement is already running high among its talented young lead actors and actresses.
“I want to do this for a career. When I grow up I want to be on Broadway, either as an actress or doing singing or dancing,” says Megan Gallik, who plays Laurey, one of the play’s two romantic leads. She’s not new to the theater, either; local playgoers will no doubt recognize her from her lead role in last year’s Ritz Company Playhouse production of “Annie.” As a stage veteran, Gallik has a unique approach to her characters.
“I think if (Laurey and I) met in real life, we’d be friends, yeah,” she says.
Dorie Henry, who plays Gertie, takes a different tack when it comes to dealing with her unique alter ego.
“Gertie is this big headed girl, who thinks she’s the greatest thing in the world and wants everything for herself,” Henry says. “It’s really fun to play a character that out there, that crazy, because you can really let loose.”
Striking a balance in approach to these extremes are Kimberly Bluhm and Ashley Cantasano who play Aunt Eller and Ado Annie. As two of the show’s more comedic roles, both of them managed to relate to their characters by finding their sympathetic cores.
“Aunt Eller is this really strong person, but she has a soft side to her too, and she can be very sensitive to other people,” says Bluhm. “It was hard to strike a balance between those two sides of her, but I had a lot of fun doing it.”
“Ado Annie is really fun to play, she’s just a blast,” says Cantasano. “I’m very excited about her musical numbers, especially “I Cain’t Say No,” but nervous as well.”
Another nervous thespian is Cameron Grossman, who plays the Peddler, one of the suitors competing for Ado Annie’s hand.
“My character ends up the center of everyone’s attention and anger, because he’s such a good salesman that he can sell them junk and they’ll buy it,” says Grossman. “But I don’t think he’s really a villain. He’s just good at what he does. I find playing him fun.”
Josh Florance, no stranger to the theater himself, sees himself as typecast in the role of the villainous Jud Fry. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s kind of easy for me, because I always play the bad guy in plays. I think it’s more fun because you can run with it; be angry, sad, villainous. I just have to play up aspects like dull, or stupid, or angry for Jud.”
For Chase Borden, who plays Curly, the key to a great performance is connection with his costars.
“I’m really close friends with Megan (Gallik, playing Curly’s love interest Laurey), and our relationship is very fun together. It’s not an awkward thing, so the key is just for us to be together and have a great time onstage. Plus, she’s a great actress.”
For many of these talented kids, this is their third time together onstage, and all of them stated that they wsh to continue with their dramatic pursuits into high school and possibly beyond. One key member of the circle, though, will be absent after the curtain drops on Sunday afternoon; Mary Ann Maza, Drama Director, who will be retiring after this semester.
So, if you wish to see the faces who will soon light up the Honesdale theater scene (and possibly, catch an early performance by an aspiring Broadway chanteuse), don’t miss the Wayne Highlands Middle School player’s presentation of “Getting To Know Oklahoma!” playing this Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Honesdale High School auditorium.