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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


OP Youth Theater takes the show on the road

OCEAN PINES — One of the major strengths of the Ocean Pines Players Youth Theater is that the group has been around for long enough that, even though the kids continue to grow and leave, there is a core group of volunteer adults that have plenty of practice working with children.
So when the troop had the opportunity to put on “Scene It – Heard It” a musical revue at Wor-Wic Community College this coming weekend, bringing together 50 kids at the last minute to perform scenes from the biggest musicals of the last two centuries was a less daunting task than it might have been.
This isn’t to say that the decision to perform, the selection of the songs and the coordination of the myriad schedules necessary to pull the show together was easy, only that it is part of what the club has been doing for most of its existence.
Selecting the cast to perform scenes from shows as diverse as Sweeney Todd and Legally Blonde, presented a particular challenge and early on the organizers, including director Paulette DeRosa Matrona, elected to divide the cast in half.
The result was that the youngest children dominate some of the scenes and the older children others.
Although the show isn’t strictly divided that way, with the scenes mixed together, breaking out the scenes that comprise the show in such a way allowed for multiple rehearsal dates without putting too much strain on the kids’ schedules or enthusiasm.
The difficulty in rehearsing a musical, especially a revue with over 50 cast members, is that it requires a lot of standing around for whichever performers aren’t in a particular scene. In a show with more than a dozen scenes, the result would have been that about half of the performers would spend a lot of time doing nothing.
While some of the players are in both groups and therefore at both weekly practices, the structure is still such that the maximum amount of work gets done and that all the players have the production staff’s full attention.
The multiple eyes are also a big help, allowing DeRosa-Matrona to direct the action and make the bigger corrections while the stage and sound managers can sneak in and make minor ones unobtrusively. The groups effort, it turns out, is another of the production’s assets and had improved the show immensely.
By splitting the group, DeRosa-Matrona was able to have intensive rehearsals wherein every cast member was participating, and thereby getting plenty of practice, for the entire length of the rehearsal.
On the face of it, the gambit was a significant success. At a recent dress rehearsal, the younger group, joined by two older players worked through the scene from the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is welcomed by the Munchkins and the witch is declared dead.
As the kids skipped around singing that the witch was dead, DeRosa-Matrona called out direction and mid-step corrections. During the preceding section, as the Mayor of Munchkinland and the Coroner made their pronouncements, other members of the production moved around the outside of the staging area — rehearsals have been in the Marlin Room of the Ocean Pines Community Center — adjusting stances and positions.
By the time the song was finished and notes given, the scene was much closer to perfect and will certainly be ready in time for opening night this weekend.
“Scene It – Heard It” by the Ocean Pines Players Youth Theater opens this weekend with performances 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 and 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 at Guerrieri Hall on the campus of Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury. Tickets are $15 at the door.