Students to stage 'Charlotte's Web'; Classic: Anne Arundel Community College adapts a children's farmland tale of adversity and triumph.; Arundel Live


We might declare that literature's most famous spider, the title character in "Charlotte's Web," spun the original Web site.

The spider and her friends will be onstage when Anne Arundel Community College's Moonlight Troupers present Joseph Robinette's adaptation of E. B. White's classic children's tale "Charlotte's Web." Spider Charlotte will weave the message "Some Pig" into her web to advertise the perfection of her friend Wilbur, who is the pet pig of a girl named Fern Arable.

The story deals with the harsh realities of farm life as Fern spares runt pig Wilbur from her father's ax only to discover that Wilbur is slated for the slaughterhouse. Fern comes up with a plan to save Wilbur, with the help of a few barnyard friends.

The story of the unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider illustrates lessons in respecting individual differences, and how friendship can develop into a selfless commitment.

"Charlotte's Web" is directed by Robert E. Kauffman, department chairman of performing arts at the community college.

Moonlight Troupers is the drama club attached to the department, which produces a children's play every other spring to coincide with an AACC course in children's theater.

Kauffman is dedicated to children's theater and brings his creativity to making early exposure to live theater a memorable experience for youngsters.

The magic starts as soon as the children enter the theater with the actors in costume mingling in the audience before they go on stage.

Another delightful aspect to Moonlight Troupers' children's plays is the 10-year-old custom of placing pillows in the lobby for the children to select as they enter Pascal Center so they can be elevated in their seats, their view unobstructed by taller people.

This adds comfort and fun -- especially to the child experiencing theater for the first time.

Moonlight Troupers' production of "Charlotte's Web" features Jessica Thornhill of Mitchellville as Charlotte.

George Johnson of Pasadena plays Wilbur. Karla Elliott of Annapolis plays Fern.

Playing Fern's parents are Evan Baxter of Annapolis as John Arable and Crystal Williams of Gambrills as Martha. Dominic D'Andrea of Severna Park plays Fern's brother, Avery.

The Zuckermans, neighbors who agree to help raise Wilbur, are Kenneth Plumley of Pasadena as Homer and Carrie Wunderlick of Gibson Island as Edith, with Jeremiah Prevatte of Huntington as their hired hand, Lurvy.

Animals in the Zuckermans' barn are played by Elizabeth Ide of Crofton as the Goose, Pat Reynolds of Baltimore as the Gander, Jake Thornhill of Mitchellville as Templeton the Rat, Helene Leclerq of Severna Park as the Sheep, and Courtney Stinchcomb of Pasadena as the Lamb.

Narrating the show are Tim Grish of Pasadena, Victoria Campion of Crofton and Chad Duncan of Pasadena.

Kauffman is assisted by Mike Smith.

Barbara Marder, associate professor of speech and theater arts, is the costume designer. Set design is handled by Joy Ajello.

Peter Kaiser, AACC's conference services manager and a prominent local actor, is lighting designer and technical director. Cynthia Chadwick is stage manager.

Performances of "Charlotte's Web" are at 7: 30 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday and April 21 and 22 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and April 22 at the Pascal Center for Performing Arts on AACC's campus at Arnold.

Admission is $8 general admission, $7 for senior citizens or groups, $6 for AACC students and employees, and $5 for children ages 3 to 12.

Children younger than 3 are not admitted. Ticket reservations or information: 410-541-2457.

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