It's all drama at Rosemont

Rosemont Middle School is gearing up for its second public performance under drama teacher Carla Riehl. This year's production, “Peter Pan,” is scheduled to debut May 8 in the school's cafeteria.

The 42 character musical was cast last week from close to 100 hopeful thespians attending the drama department's open auditions. An additional 15 roles were cast for the pre-show, which Riehl enthusiastically describes as an “ensemble of costume clad street performers, mimes, magicians and Tinker Bell dancers.”

The outgoing and energetic Riehl joined the Rosemont faculty last school year and teaches drama and improvisation exclusively. Her production of the “Wizard of Oz” last spring was well attended and highly praised.

Recalled Riehl, “We were sold out. People were in line an hour ahead to get in. The La Crescenta neighborhood is culturally aware. Parents are very supportive and enthused about having the arts [at the school].”

Riehl, who has a degree in theater, has directed her own improv groups and has sung extensively for television and radio commercials. She also writes and has been published eight times in the popular book series “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Her husband is a freelance filmmaker.

“We are trying to build a theater department here,” explained Riehl. “We have partnered with Brent Beerman (Bravo awardee and drama director at Crescenta Valley High School) to share ideas, resources and student helpers to build a professional theatre program on a middle school level.” Riehl will be recruiting students from CV to help with this year's rehearsals.

Rosemont students are equally enthusiastic as their teacher about the drama program. Christoph Torossian is in the eighth grade and did some acting while in elementary school at Dunsmore and took summer acting classes. He played the Wizard in last year's show.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “The cast was great — an amazing journey. I learned a lot.” Chris has been chosen to play Captain Smee in “Peter Pan.”

Student Connor Holmes, also in the eighth grade, is currently taking drama class with Riehl. He will play “Peter Pan.” Connor enjoys doing voices and feels this probably helped him land the part in this year's play. Connor also did some acting in elementary school and said, “I guess I just get it from my parents. They're kind of animated people.”

With school funding being limited, Rosemont's drama department is open for donations from the community, from sound and lighting gear for the stage to monetary gifts.

Tickets for “Peter Pan” are expected to go on sale the last week in April through the drama department. Adult tickets will be $10, children's, $5.

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