As traditional as the changing colors of local foliage, Jones Middle School will present its 42nd annual fall production this month.

Some 195 Jones Middle School sixth- through eighth-graders, including a cast of 143, will take part in the school's presentation of Disney's "Peter Pan Jr." Oct. 19-22.

Producer Sarah Santilli, a vocal and general music teacher at Jones, said the play will offer opportunities to showcase a wide range of student talent while appealing to a mass audience.

"We select our shows using a three-year rotation that gives every student the opportunity to perform in a modern, traditional and fantasy show," Santilli said. "(This year) is a fantasy year and 'Peter Pan Jr.' just became available for middle schools to perform.

"There are also so many great ways to feature a variety of students in this production that made it a perfect fit for us this year. Audience members will remember the kid inside them and the importance of imagination in their lives."

Performances of "Peter Pan Jr." are scheduled at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 and 20 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22 at the school, 2100 Arlington Ave.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased in advance with a credit card at the Jones Parent Teacher Organization website, www.jonespto.com, or with cash at the door.

"Peter Pan Jr." is a modern version of the tale about a boy who wouldn't grow up. The score includes new arrangements of classic Disney songs and Santilli said the story is positively rollicking.

"There will be high-flying action and knee-slapping humor," she said. "This show also boasts many well-known songs that are energetic and uplifting -- something for everyone."

In addition to the 143 cast members and 52 students who make up the technical crew for the show, there will be a live orchestra featuring music educators from throughout the Upper Arlington school district.

There also are a number of Upper Arlington High School students helping out UAHS senior Jack Weimer, who is completing his senior capstone project as technical director for the musical.

"He successfully wrote a grant to the Upper Arlington Education Foundation to start updating our stage lighting system, which has been installed in time for fall production," Santilli said. "Jack is also training our tech crew students in theater technology, a career he plans to pursue in college."

Santilli said the musical will give the public its first glimpse of improvements to the Jones auditorium, including new carpeting, a refinished stage floor and a motorized winch system.

"(The) fall production is celebrated as an annual highlight at Jones," she said.

"It is truly a community event involving students, staff, parents and community businesses all coming together to give students an introduction to theater and give our community a weekend of high-quality performances," Santilli said.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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