Upper Arlington News

Jones students ready to 'Bring on Tomorrow'

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Featured performers in the cast of Jones Middle School's production of Fame Jr. are (from left)Wes Brown, Charlotte Brown, Brooke Scheinberg, Ellise Shafer, Michael Wallace, Andy Hummer, Quinn Hendrix, Davis Kurz and Chad Lewis.

Jones Middle School students will "bring on tomorrow" with their portrayals this week of students in a performing arts school reaching for stardom in Fame Jr.

It is the 30th anniversary of the Upper Arlington school's fall production, parent volunteer Debra Hadley said.

The lyrics to one of the most popular songs in the musical, Bring on Tomorrow, stress "We can make a difference -- it's not too late."

Hadley said a service-learning component has been connected with the fall production for many years. This year's opening night production at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, will be a "pink out" to raise funds for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. The musical will be staged at Jones Middle School, 2100 Arlington Ave.

Hadley said the school has another reason to raise money for breast cancer research and for the theater program.

"Last year, a new fundraising effort was initiated in conjunction with the fall production, in memory of our beloved former music teacher, Suzie Matthews, who lost a brave battle with breast cancer in March 2011," she said. "She was involved in the fall production for most of its 30 years."

The Suzie Matthews Fund was established in the music teacher's honor.

Hadley said donations to the fund last year enabled the school to acquire hanging microphones for the stage as well as wireless microphones.

"There is a multiyear plan in place for the fund to further upgrade the lighting and sound systems and other technology in the Jones auditorium," she said.

After opening night, performances of Fame Jr. are scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 27-28.

Tickets are $7 each and will be sold in advance at the school and one hour prior to each show outside the auditorium.

She said the fall production has been raising funds for the Stefanie Spielman foundation since 2000.

The show is set during the last four years of New York City's High School for the Performing Arts on 46th Street and is a story about young people experiencing the demands and drama of learning to become performers.

Hadley said 200 students are involved in the production, with about 150 teachers, parents and volunteers helping behind the scenes.

Four teacher/directors are involved in the show: Katie Widing, Sarah Santilli, Kathy Preston and Birdi Hardie.

"An interesting side note is that 20 years ago, Katie Widing performed in three fall productions as a student at Jones," Hadley said.