Tour de Farce: All of Carroll County's a stage for multi-school theater production

Peter Davis wants the world to know that he's not a fairy godmother, though his appearance suggests the contrary.

Dressed completely in pink from fairy wings to a full tutu, Peter Davis is proud to be the hairy godmother in "Over the Moon," a musical comedy about somewhat fractured fairy tales, written by Jodi Picoult.

"It is definitely the coolest costume I've ever worn," said the 17-year-old Winter Mills High School junior.

The show, a collaboration of several local Carroll County high school theater groups, is set for performances March 9-10 at Winters Mill High School.

"It's been a lot of work," said Davis of the production, "but it's going to pay off. The show is really cool."

In the works since last June, "Over the Moon" features students from Westminster, Winters Mill, Francis Scott Key, North Carroll and Manchester Valley high schools working together on stage — a first for county programs, according to their teachers.

Carroll County Public Schools has brought drama clubs together the past three years at the annual Dramafest event, a daylong celebration of county youth theater. But even at those gathering, each school did their own thing — until last year, when the groups came together to jointly perform a final scene.

"We did one-acts...and that was fun, but very separated and very competitive. The kids didn't interact," said Roberta Gore, North Carroll's drama teacher and director of "Over the Moon."

"Last year, at the end (of the show), they were all together and the drama teachers realized, 'they're actually together now,' " she said. "We made the decision, next year let's do something together."

All the participating schools pulled together their resources for costumes and sets. Winters Mill was selected to be the host school, since it produces its musical in the fall.

Still, the joint production is turning many of the actors into split personalities — many of them are also in rehearsals for their own school's spring productions.

"Most kids are doing doubles," admitted Melissa Purdy, Westminster High School's drama teacher. "It helps that most of the kids in this are experienced. They can juggle. If they are a little under rehearsed, their experience will carry them through."

At a dress rehearsal on Feb. 28, costumes were still being tweaked, sets were being rearranged and the cast was still not perfect in attendance due to illness and various engagements.

Less than two weeks before opening night, it was the first time everyone got to use the "home" stage.

"Scheduling is a big issue for us and them," said Phyllis Traynor, Winters Mill High School's drama teacher said. "Everybody is overextended. Every school has something going on right now."

Despite the obstacles, the cast has been excited. Back stage, the dressing rooms were filled with chatter and laughter.

Suzanna Brosey, 18, was adjusting her character Snow White's "pregnant belly" in her party dress.

"This is the first time being pregnant in a show," said the Westminster High senior. "It's a little embarrassing."

Costume aside, Brosey has enjoyed the experience.

"It's nice working with everyone from all the schools," she said.

Davis, pink tutu and all, agreed.

"It's really interesting to see how other school drama clubs work and how they run their shows," he said. "It's cool to make new friends."

As the lone student from Francis Scott Key, Tim Petrie, 14, was welcomed easily, he said.

"I didn't know anybody at first," said Petrie, a freshman. "I like all the new people."

As the rehearsal wound down around 10 p.m., Gore was busy jotting down notes to present to the cast at the next rehearsal.

She's anxious to see how the show progresses before the curtain rises on March 9, but she knows it's already a success in terms of bringing together teens from across much of the county under a common banner — theater.

'It's wonderful for the kids," Gore said, as the cast left. "These kids all get to know each other ... and have a chance to really be together. It's a marvelous opportunity for them."

'Moon' landing on March 9-10

"Over the Moon" will be performed at Winters Mill High School, 560 Gorsuch Road, Westminster, on Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10, at 7:30 p.m. each night, and with a special matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets will be available at the door, and are $7 for adults, and $5 for ages 13 and younger. Proceeds from the show will benefit this year's Dramafest, which will be held in April.

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