Don't miss the STAR (Supporting The Arts in Relay) Summer Theater production of "Into the Woods" Aug. 4, 5, 6 and 7 at the Rice Auditorium on the Spring Grove Hospital Center campus.
Dozens of amazing teenagers from 10 local middle and high schools, including Arbutus Middle, Catonsville Middle, Catonsville High, Lansdowne High, Mount St. Joseph High and Mount de Sales Academy, have been working 3-4 hours a night, 4-5 nights a week for several weeks to prepare for the play, a musical with a fun twist on classic fairy tales.
Nearly 50 local teens are involved in the production as cast, crew and 12-member pit band.
Stage Manager Sophie Adams and Technical Director Daniel Goodrich, both recent Catonsville High graduates, have been working together since their sixth-grade days together at Sudbrook Middle Magnet School.
Since working as a team on "Godspell," they've collaborated on 10 additional performances.
"This is our most elaborate, most creative project," said Sophie, who also designed the cool website for the show.
The production crew, for example, made giant, three-dimensional sliding trees with burlap and chicken wire.
How do they handle the pressure of pulling together a major production with a 33-member cast?
"We have a stuffed animal we call 'The Stress Panda' and we throw it at each other," she said.
Director Mike Juba controls the chaos while Rosie Hybryk, the music director, runs the rehearsals with endless enthusiasm.
Choreographer Lauren Lowell is the new kid on the block as this is her first STAR production.
The Maine native, who lives in Anne Arundel County and teaches hip-hop for Anne Arundel County Rec and Parks, has been teaching dance for 20 years.
She moved here for her husband's job at Fort Meade. He's currently stationed in Iraq as a satellite engineer contractor and is scheduled to return at the end of August.
"I performed 'Into the Woods' eight years ago at Dundalk CCBC as the stepmother and I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Qwen, before the first show, so this musical means a lot to me," she said.
Also in the cast is Haley Megarity, who started acting in first grade under Hybryk's direction and credited her for the support and encouragement she has given the past nine years.
Haley graduated from Landsdowne High and will attend Florida State University in the fall to major in theater with a minor in pre-med.
Dan will attend Towson University in the fall and plans to major in theater design and production.
Sophie will be at University of Maryland, College Park, and plans to double major in math and theater, with an emphasis in technical theater
Buy tickets online at http://www.starintothewoods.com.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
While you're online, check out Dan's hilarious trailer on youtube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3XPcmmA30U).
Lemonade stand a sweet deal
Eight-year-old Madeline Kern is hosting an "Alex's Lemonade Stand" Friday, Aug. 5, 6:30-8 p.m., at Catonsville's Frederick Road Fridays Concert near the firehouse at Egges Lane.
She hopes to raise money to donate to the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
The foundation is committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer.
"We'll be selling lemonade, peppermint sticks in lemons, lemonheads, rubber bracelets and lemon tattoos," said the Westchester Elementary third-grader.
Maddie lives with her mom, Tracey, dad Leni and her Jack Russell, Turner.
Her friends Riley, Breanne and Timmy and cousin Melissa will be helping her at a tent provided by the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce.
Maddie has already raised $190 towards her goal of $500.
Thanks to Omar Jennings from Jenning's Café, who donated the lemons.
Maddie recently learned the story of Alexandra "Alex" Scott, who was diagnosed with cancer before her first birthday.
At age 4, after leaving the hospital, Alex decided to open up a lemonade stand in her front yard to help raise money for other kids with cancer. She raised more $2,000.
In August of 2004, Alex died at age 8, having raised more than $1 million to help find a cure for the disease that took her life.
For information about Maddie's Cups for Catonsville, go to http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/75152.
For more about Alex or the ALSF organization, go to http://www.alexslemonade.org/.
First Communion dresses
Molly Wheltle is excited about the response by area parishioners who have donated First Communion dresses to her Girl Scout Gold Award Project.
The senior at Mount de Sales Academy started with a goal of 20 dresses three weeks ago and has already received 44 dresses for her "First Communion Dress Drive".
She put announcements in the church bulletins at St. Mark, Our Lady of Victory, St. Agnes and Resurrection.
The dresses will be donated to Our Lady of Pompeii in Baltimore City and any extra dresses will be sent to Peru.
"I heard that some families would struggle to afford the outfit for this holy day so I would love to be able to give each girl a gently used or new First Communion dress, a veil, a pair of socks, a set of rosary beads and possibly a pair of white shoes. Although I haven't asked for boys suits, we have had some donated and they will find a home at the recipient parish," said Molly, a member of Troop 3122 since first grade.
For information, go to https://fcdd.clubspaces.com.
Jack Levickas, age 11 and a rising sixth-grader at Catonsville Middle School, competed in his first triathlon, the July 25 Tri Columbia Kidz Triathlon.
He was joined by with his fellow swimmers from the Rollingwood Swim Team: Brittany Stevens, Ellie Mazzuca, Maddie Jones, Kelsey Jones, Carly Gibbons, Ryan Herilla and Meghan Herilla.
Jack's age group (11-12) swam 150 meters, biked 4 miles and ran 1 mile. He finished in 33:34.
A 34-year-old swim team record was broken last week as Aidan Merryman set a new pool record for the 13-14 boys 50-yard butterfly at the Rollingwood-Westminster Riding Club meet.
His time on July 9 was 29.07.
The old record of 29.40 was set in 1977 by Andy Abendschoen.
Aidan swims for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club that has produced a host of Olympian swimmers includingMichael Phelps.
He is ranked among the top backstrokers in the nation in his age group.