Miss Nelson is Missing
Saturday March 8th 3pm & 5pm Sunday, March 9th 3pm
Tickets: ACO Member: Adults $12/ Students $8 Public: Adults $16/ Students $9 For tickets call 751-5441 or order online at www.artscenteroftheozarks.org.
Pay Attention, Class!
‘Miss Nelson’ teaches musical lessons
By Becca Martin-Brown, Callboard Editor
When Miss Nelson goes missing and is replaced by the unpleasant Viola Swamp, the students of Room 207 learn some valuable lessons — and the students in the ACO audience just might, too.
The Arts Center of the Ozarks Child’s Play series presents the musical “Miss Nelson Is Missing,” based on the books by Harry G. Allard Jr., March 8-9 for the public. Director Danny Hobson and actress Lesha Kuehn Fogerty agree there are plenty of laughs surrounding the learning experience.
“The story teaches children a number of valuable lessons about showing appreciation, being compassionate, respecting others, and perhaps most importantly, about integrity,” Hobson says. “The class of Room 207 learns that doing the right thing, even when it seems unpopular, is the best decision a person can make. “
Fogerty adds that young audiences will be “entertained by kids behaving badly, but I hope they also see the importance of good behavior. Being good can be fun.”
“I think this story appeals to children for all sorts of reasons,” Hobson goes on. “On one hand I think it empowers children when they begin to make predictions about Viola Swamp and her “connection” with Miss Nelson. On the other hand, I think the wacky characters and colorful illustrations, both of which we’ve tried to capture in our play, have made this a beloved book of children for many years now. “
While the cast has enjoyed creating an appealing experience for audiences — some HOW MANY youngsters will see the play through the Serendipity Series for schools in addition to the public performances — it’s also been a challenge and a joy for them.
Fogerty says there were “so many” reasons she auditioned.
“I’ve been involved at the Arts Center since I was a child myself. Whether onstage or off, singing, or dancing, it has been my home away from home since I was about 5 years old,” she says. “After not being as involved lately, I am thrilled to be in another production.
“I liked that there were two different characters to make the role more of a challenge,” she adds. “I also liked that the characters, Miss Swamp in particular, were ‘larger than life.’ There aren’t many opportunities to play such extremes.”
“Besides costume changes, which can be difficult, the most challenging aspect about having one actress, or actor, portray two roles is creating a clear distinction between the two characters,” Hobson says. “Costuming helps a lot, but the actress must work very hard in rehearsal to create two separate characters. It’s in her words and her actions. How believable is she making the two characters, and how does she interact with the other characters on stage to show the difference?”
“This is an amazing musical adaptation written by Joan Cushing,” he adds. “The musical numbers are very catchy and will keep the students tuned in throughout the entire show. I can’t wait to see and hear the kids’ reactions when they see the show! There’s going to be lots of fun had by all!”
Lesha Fogerty: Miss Nelson/Viola Swamp
Michael Weir: Pop Hanson/Principal Blandsford/Det. McSmogg
Jordan Hunt: Allison
Jordan Marshall: Gregory
Hadley Apple: Cheryl
Rylee Loftin: Adam
Katelyn Capdeville: Megan