Kittatinny students take pride in their sunny, funny, musical production of Mamma Mia

| 28 Feb 2019 | 12:22

    By Laurie Gordon
    NEWTON - On Thursday, Feb. 28, Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, The Kittatinny Players will give a charismatic performance of Mamma Mia.
    “The seniors picked this show," said Roy Chiariello, who directs the program. "They came to the production team in the summer and made a strong pitch for Mamma Mia.”
    They determined that it was a strong fit for the 28 seniors that comprise the cast and crew.
    “This show allows us to go back to our strong roots of full 'company' dances and challenges our technology departments with lighting, set design and sound,” Chiariello said. “As far as this being a different type of play, several high schools have performed or are going to perform Mamma Mia. Yes it goes against the traditional musicals of the past.”
    Leading roles will be played by Natalya deWaal (Sophia), Sabrina Leonard (Donna Sheriden), Jody Hagler (Rosie), Sophie VerHalen (Tanya), Logan Stolk (Sam Carmichael), Braeden Hahn (Bill Austin) and Carson Powell (Harry Bright).
    “We spend a lot of time team building throughout the program with cast and crew,” Chiariello said. “Probably our main factor in bringing us together is the meals we share. We have probably as an entire company spent 10 meals together between breakfast. lunch and dinner. We preach family here and food brings a family together.”
    Excellence is paramount.
    “These Seniors are determined to establish a legacy. So we are pushing the envelope in every aspect of this production,” Chiariello said. “Dance rehearsals are long, lighting is intense and set design/flow has been rehearsed over and over. These grueling sessions end with 15-20 minutes of running and cardio work to keep us in shape.”
    In addition to Chiariello, other staff involved in the play include: Tara Jones (Choreographer), Patrice Kane (Choral Director), Jared Matthis (Sound Engineer and Orchestra Director), Ashley Swords (Technical Director), Danielle Tooker (Costumes), and Chris Tryde (Lighting Manager).
    This is Chiariello's 15th year teaching at Kittatinny, and 14th with the Kittatinny Players.
    “My main focus has been to instill a strong work ethic, to strive for excellence and to have fun which essentially is the key to life,” he said. “Our program is built around 'life lessons' and allowing kids to take ownership in a program they want to be a part of. Frankly, I consider myself more of a facilitator to allow kids to take charge.”
    The fun includes whimsical show times; On Friday, March 1, the show starts at 7:07 p.m. and the show on Saturday, March 2, starts at 3:33 p.m.. For further information, visit: