Lots of advice, joy fills ‘Dear Edwina Jr.’ performance | News, Sports, Jobs

A performer in Edwina.

GOWANDA — Students from Gowanda Middle School will perform “Dear Edwina Jr.” as the annual musical at the historic Gowanda Hollywood Theater on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. All tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Hollywood box office beginning at 6 p.m. on performance days.

A special, free seniors preview is scheduled for Monday at 3 p.m. at the newly renovated venue at 31 W. Main St. in downtown Village. This is the second creative collaboration between the district and the theater this academic year, following Gowanda High’s recent production of “The 20th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” by its student-run Thespian Society. The success of these performances paved the way for GMS to take center stage this month.

“Dear Edwina Jr.” is an uplifting musical about the joys of growing up. This heartwarming story is upbeat and filled with endearing characters and memorable songs. The plot follows the adventures of Edwina Spoonaple, an extraordinary young girl full of good advice, which she openly offers to neighborhood children. With its latest edition of its weekly “Tip-a-Palooza” column in mind, she leads her peers through a series of production numbers. With her friends, Edwina shares her perspective on several topics – including trying new foods and making friends – through clever musical numbers and witty dialogue.

Preparations for this year’s musical are in full swing at GMS. Volunteers are busy making costumes, creating wheelbarrows full of props, and building a 24-foot garage on stage. The music rooms, classrooms, auditorium and hallways have also been bustling with lines, lyrics and choreography in recent weeks in preparation for the upcoming show. The college performers are thrilled to share the happiness and joy that is sure to accompany this musical to families and community members.

“We had a two-year break from the normal tradition. There’s not a year I can think of where we haven’t had a full crowd at our musical and this year as we get back to ‘normal’ with a crowd we need to step back and acknowledging all that these kids have been through and we still haven’t gotten back to where we were,” says music teacher and GMS music director Adam Bett. “In the theatre, we say that the show must go on and in Gowanda, we say that and more. We had our own set of Challenges in Unknown Space due to the Capital Project build and this musical helped teach kids how to pivot in circumstances, navigate challenges, and relearn essential social skills. “Dear Edwina“is the embodiment of perseverance, curiosity, and the importance of helping others uplift – just like the spirit of Gowanda.”

Amelia Pickering is “Edwina”.

The district is eager for the community and families to see the results of the hard work and dedication of the students during these difficult times. March is Music Month at our schools, so the show is a perfect way to help unite the district and the community.

“These students not only successfully managed all of their school responsibilities, but also remained positive role models in the classroom,” Betty said. “To say they have a lot to do would be an understatement. Without a live audience for two years, plus the logistics of moving all of our production to a new performance space, this musical experience provided us with many unique challenges we’ve never faced, including getting to, rehearsing and adapt to many different spaces and spaces. Our team has met these challenges head-on, working hard to provide the best possible musical experience for our students and our community! »

GMS director Todd Miklas agrees that the challenges presented by the pandemic have overlapped with those of staging a full-scale musical.

“It’s hard to put myself in the shoes of these children. COVID has created an impact that they will have for the rest of their lives. Much like the musical, they will look back on this experience with the utmost positivity,” Miklas said. “The energy level of our students for this musical experience has been tremendous. While other schools went without music, arts and drama during the pandemic, the Gowanda School District and our amazing Mr. Bett saw this not as an obstacle, but as a challenge that we could overcome with perseverance.

Last year’s successful rendition of “Winnie the Pooh,” although not in person, was a huge success so the district is anticipating another amazing production with “Dear Edwina Jr.”

Amelie Pickering

“The hard work has not gone unnoticed. The time commitment was considerable, especially for this show. It takes a lot to put together a production and the students and staff have been dedicated to making sure it’s the best performance yet, even if it’s not in our auditorium or a familiar location,” Miklas said. “It’s great to see their energy and enthusiasm as they head into rehearsal – yes, I can even imagine their smiles under the masks. I continue to be impressed by our students’ pride in our school and the opportunities and activities available to them, such as the musical.

Milkas cites Mr. Bett and his vision, organization, communication and ability to direct all the moving parts as key to the success of this production.

“Honestly, I don’t know how he manages to bring all these things together, and the absolutely amazing work of this passionate educator will never go unnoticed!”

The District is grateful for the partnership with the Hollywood Theater and its collaborations that benefit our Panther family and the community while supporting the arts.


Performers in “Edwina”.

playing the roles of “Napkins” are Mallory Berndt, Kyra Mae Hurley, Leah Hull, Allie Barnes, Taylor Tussing and Karla Jane Walker.

the “Cheerleaders” are played by Gowanda’s talented young cheerleaders including Ayla Sullivan, Isabella Bailey, Mackenzie Breedlove, Envy Cross, Adrianna Fish, Alayna Fish, Bella Maines, Hayleigh Miller, Tobie Smigiel, Charleigh Smith, Raelin Smith and Brandi Washington.

Take on the roles of “Cutlery” are Tessa Bylbie, Brielle Crowell, Aiden Geiger, Jaxon Hagan, Emjay Jaskowiak, Logan Kehr, Taundi Ondus, Lilah Pfaffenbach, Matthew Schlegel, Bailey Shields, Claryce Stevens, Dane Taber, Emily Valentine, Ella Wolff and Hayden Zwierzchowski.

“Harry’s Family” is played by Kayla Carr, Lilly Gaskins, Madden Wallschlaeger and Delanie Wright.

Sing and dance the roles of “Guests at Harry’s Party” include Hayden Brunn, Kaiden Davenport, James Griffo, Trinity Long, Carter Scott, Isabella Shomper, Laniyah Twoguns, Jonah Wampler and Pyxi Zybert.

A performer in “Edwina”.

the “Pigs” in this performance include Triston Batcho, Kalie Bellinger, Mackenzie Carkeek, Jaylynn Dulski, Logan Goddard, Jude Hales, Dakota Martin, Drew Reid, Alivia Richter, Gabriel Snyder, Katalina Soska and Cameron Utley.

“Guests at Shelley Mary’s Party” will star Colton Bennett, Autumn Goode, Ella Jimerson, Charlotte John, Kara Laskey, Anna Loving, Jaden McKeever, Elisia Mullen, Draycelyn Smith and Rylee Yasurek.

playing the roles of “Waiters” include Aidan Carroll, Josalyn Coughenour, Isabelle Gill, Sully Griffith, Christopher Hojnacki, Cora Luther, Jaelyn Mason, Riley Neu, Felix Parks, Lea Shultz, Norah Tadt and Skylar Toczek.

“Ziggy’s Band” will be played by Nathan Adams, Grand Berry, Memphis Clark, Jackson Cook, Patrick Kennedy, Casen Lemke, Wyatt Miller, Ace Washburn, Gavin Whitcher and Kanden Woods.

Roles featured include: Raelyn Diebel as Abigail Mathilda Fleckenheimer Hayleigh Hooper as “Annie/Mary Sue Betty Bob,” Kaityln Kelley as “Aphrodite Colossus Athena Swenson,” and Mr. Lucas Brawdy as “Dr. Porter.” Colton Davis will play “Policeman” while Kaela Van Note plays “Carrie”. “Chief Ludmilla” will be interpreted by Sophia Birtchnall while Molly Bettker will play Becky Del Vecchio.

The costume room of the Hollywood Theater is full of clothes for “Dear Edwina Jr.” the Gowanda Secondary School students who started the musical.

The role of “Fairy Fork Father” will be played by Richard Kuras, “Farmer Jerry” by Aiden Carroll and “Franc” by Drezden Spire. “Frank’s Mom” will be performed by Maddison Smith. Jeffery Whipple will take on the role of “Harry” while Sara Lilly will play “Harry’s Mom” and Robert Dalimonte “Harry’s father.” The role of “Johnny” will be performed by Elliott Graham while “Lola” will be performed by Gadeo:nosta’ Wisniewski.

Take on the role of Ziggy Montego is Weston Bolen. Helena Wallschlaeger will play “Periwinkle Hurgen Burgen Yurgenson” and Isabelle DeGolier will play “Kelli Poshkonozovich.” Addisyn Phair will play the role of “Queen Boolah Boolah” while Chris Muntz will be “Scott Kunkle”. Savannah Smith will take on the role of “Mary Shelly.”

The Spoonapple Family will be played by Amelia Pickering as Edwina Spoonapple and Porter Lempke as “Joe Spoonapple.” They will be joined by Jocelyn Schuster as “Katie Spoonapple” and Alana Muenzer as “Myra Spoonapple.”

Rounding out the feature film roles, principal Todd Miklas as “Sonoma”, Isabelle Graham as “susy” and Patsy Griffith as “Talent scout.” The always entertaining Mr. David Smith, Mayor of the village, will play “William” while Zander Hammond will perform “Billy Vanderploonk.” The role of “Cordell Vanderploonk will be played by Colton Gernatt alongside Morgan Ruff as”Lars Vanderploonk. “Vladimir” will be played by Mr. Kevin Stapleton.

— Submitted by Erin Browning: GMS Grade Six Teacher and GMS Music Producer

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