JFK Drama’s Charlotte’s Web and the Next Big Show

This November, the JFK Drama Club presented their performance of E.B. White’s classic children’s book-turned-play, Charlotte’s Web. The club used the version of playwright Joseph Robinette, who was responsible for making the scripted adaptation the actors used. Both the cast and the stage crew poured their hearts and effort into the performance and set to provide a terrific experience for everyone in the audience.

JFK Drama had a total of five performances. This, in itself, is out of the ordinary, as every play prior to this one has only ever had two showings. To add to the spectacle, two of these performances were performed in front of an audience of elementary school children. Students who were involved in the play, both cast and crew alike, were excused from periods three through nine on Thursday, November 16th. Afterwards, all members of the club had a Q&A with the third graders who came from Levy-Lakeside and Shore Road Elementary schools. Both shows on that Thursday were well-received by the young audiences, and later sent kind hearted messages to the club as a whole in thanks. The next show took place on Friday, November 17th, and the final two performances were during the afternoon and evening of Saturday, November 18th.

To say that the JFK Stage Crew, headed by Mr. Daniel Sheffield, Ethan Grimes and Tristan Viera, poured tremendous amounts of love and care into the set to ensure the best quality achievable can be considered an understatement. The audience were treated to a unique viewing experience, for the seats were actually on the stage rather than using the seats in the auditorium. Although this limited the seats overall, it provided a deeper sense of connection to the lives of the animals and humans in the play. To the crowd, the most notable pieces of the set were the web, its letters, and the six foot high platform that the web and even some actors stood on. Additionally, the members of crew who worked on lighting and sound backstage helped characters who needed emphasis receive the highlighting they deserved.

Each show was praised by both young and adult demographics, and on occasion, children in the audience tried to interact with the play and influence the characters’ decisions. This was mainly due to the spectacular performances by the actors of JFK Drama, and some even played multiple parts. The pig Wilbur, played by freshman Daniel Delgado, was the leading character with the most focus. Everyone, both the audience and fellow actors alike, thought extremely highly of his performance. Not only that, the entire freshman class was thought of in the same high status. The only sophomore performer, Dylan Torres, played the part of John Arable. As the father of the two main children in the play, Fern and Avery, Dylan’s performance tried to convey the struggle parents go through when their children grow faster than anticipated. Junior Lindsey Trentham, who played a photographer for the Weekly Chronicle newspaper, was a great supporting character who added to the enigma of the web. Charlie DeMarco, who played John Arable’s son, Avery, portrayed a foil to his sister’s well-behaved, loving character extremely well.

The JFK Drama senior performers gave it their all in their last play performances of their high school lives. Some senior performers with the most time on stage included Molly Katz, the president of the club, as a sheep, Corinne Winckelmann as Fern, Katy Shapiro as a lamb, Alix Fastlich as Charlotte, Nicolas Torres as Templeton the Rat. Interestingly enough, there were not nearly enough male roles for every character, leading to some performers filling multiple roles. This included senior Pete Petrochilos, who played as three characters: Homer Zuckerman, the gander, and Uncle the Pig. The rest of the notable senior performers filled a single role, but still played their part just as spectacularly. These included Brooke Wasserman as Edith Zuckerman, Deante Smith as the county fair announcer, Sam Crichton as Lurvey, and Allie Zalewski as Martha Arable.

2018 is looking promising for JFK Drama, as preparations for the school musical have already begun. The club will be presenting the world-renown musical “Fiddler on the Roof” in the spring. Casting, acting, choreography, and vocal preparations have all begun under Mr. Sheffield, Mrs. Schiavetta, and Mrs. Pincus. For those unfamiliar with the story, a quaint Jewish town in Tsarist Russia named Anatevka is home to many hard-working citizens who hold tightly to tradition. Such traditions include arranged marriage, much to the dismay of the five daughters of the main role. The internal conflicts of the town include the struggles of poverty for most of the population, as well as conflicts with the Christian portion of the population. Meanwhile, the external threats involve pogroms ordered by the Tsar, challenging the town’s ways of life by threatening them with an attack on the only home the citizens know. Tickets will go on sale when the show dates become closer, so those wishing for an enriching experience will not be disappointed.