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Book by Jennifer Lee and based on the Disney film written by Jennifer Lee and directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
FROZEN JR. - Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez;
 
The feeling of excitement emanating from Olean High School so far this summer has been palpable as more than 200 area students prepare for this year’s Summer Theatre Arts and Recreation Program production of “Frozen Jr.”

The four-week STAR Program culminates with a free performance of “Frozen Jr.” at 6pm Friday, Aug. 2, in the OHS Auditorium.

Running from 9am to noon Monday through Friday, the four weeks are devoted to various disciplines of studies such as Water Mermaids, Young Chef, acting, poetry and writing, and publishing a newspaper. On show night, upon entering the lobby of the high school, parents, family and friends can view the art work of the students.

What is so exciting is the presentation of “Frozen Jr.”? It is doubtful that unless one has been hiding under a rock that the songs of this musical such as “Let it Go,” “It's Summer,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Love is an Open Door,” have not been going through the minds of all since 2013 when the animated film version burst on the screen. Later, as Disney is known to do, a live stage production came to Broadway in 2017, and now the “Junior” version is available for schools, theatre companies and programs such as STAR to stage.

Briefly, this charming tale tells the story of Elsa and Anna, two sisters, daughters of Queen Iduna and King Agnarr, rulers of the Kingdom of Arendelle. There are magical powers that were given to Princess Elsa, and she creates winter during summer. Then they build Olaf a snowman, but somehow Princess Elsa's powers are directed at Anna, who almost dies, from ice rays directed at her head. She is revived by two of the Hidden Folk, called upon by the Queen. Anna also forgets all memories of the power of Elsa. Elsa's mother presents Elsa with a pair of magic purple gloves that will help diminish the magical power.

Elsa isolates herself behind locked doors, as she is fearful she will hurt her sister or someone else. Their parents die in a shipwreck, and when Elsa comes of age, her coronation will once again open the gates of Arendelle, and there is the joyous song of "For the First Time in Forever" sung by the company. Does Princess Elsa hide away in an ice castle? Does she sing the famous "Let It Go?" Does Olaf the Snowman melt or have his own snow cloud? All will be revealed the night of the show.

In the stage production, the plot focuses more on the power of love and the relationship of the sisters than the film did. There is a gentle quality that teaches many lessons in this production and the powerful bond of sisterhood, and it is encouraged that all attend, as it is a tribute to the dedication of the direction team, the musical team, the teachers, helpers and the students who come in, ready to have fun but also to learn. It is a credit to our local families who appreciate this yearly four weeks of joy. We thank you for lending us your children. See you at the show!!
INTERESTING NUMBERS ON FROZEN, JR.
 
This year, the STAR program includes 17 youngsters in the pre-K classes, 57 students in the K-1 classes, 77 kids in the 2-4 classes, and 72 young people in the 5-12 group. There are 4 teaching assistants with AmeriCorps, 17 teaching assistants with Cattaraugus County, 26 teaching assistants with Liberty Partnership. There are 14 teachers and 9 aides working with STAR this summer. Most are ones who have done the program many times. What is a delight to see is the affection, warmth and concern all have for the well-being and learning of the students.

We at Olean Theatre Workshop are very proud of our continuous involvement in this wonderful program, in partnership with City of Olean Recreation Department; Cattaraugus Campus Program of JCC; Fredonia Liberty Partnerships; Department of Social Services; Dream It, Do It; Olean Times Herald; Olean YMCA; Community Action; Cattaraugus Health Department; and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County. We thank the Olean City School District for providing the venue for the entire program. Everyone, please stand and take a huge stage bow! It takes a village to raise a child.

 

HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK
By William Shakespeare

 HAMLET, as this play is commonly called, is Olean Theatre Workshop's offering for our frequent Shakespeare in the Park summer series. It will be presented at Oak Hill Park Thursday, Aug. 8, through Saturday, Aug. 10, at 6 pm. The show is free -- it is our gift to the community for its ongoing support of our theatrical offerings. For 36 years and going strong, we have come from having touring companies and speakers to a largely locally acted, directed, and produced theatrical season. We have been very blessed to have such local talent step up and bring so much to our community.
 
Directed by Jake Riggs, this very familiar drama of William's dates to 1601 and is considered by many to be the best of Shakespeare's dramas. It deals with the themes of revenge, disloyalty, murder, depression, and insanity. Far too complicated to explain here, this drama is set in Denmark in the late Middle Ages. This writer's advice is to read a brief summary of the plot and come prepared to be entertained and to learn. Sometimes it is just all right to sit and understand some of the plot, as that will peak the interest to learn more. The costumes will be Viking and one will hear the famous lines of "To be or not to be," "This above all to thine own self be true," and "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well," among other famous and oft-recited lines.
 
The cast includes:
Bernardo - Ben Hollamby
Marcellus-Peyton Kunselman
Horatio-Andrew Sherburne
Ghost-Mike Kayes
King-Pab Sungenis
Queen - Misty Richardson
Laertes-Josiah Jenks
Polonius-John Mulryan
Hamlet-Nick Patrone
Ophelia-Mia Pavone
Roaencrantz- Sarita Swindler
Guildenstern- Hermoine Riggs
Gravedigger-Al Bernstein
Main Player-Bryan Irrera
Fortinbras-Rebecca Green
English Ambassador - Tyler Irving
Musician - Angela Emley
Attendants/Players - Gabriel Williams, Jaxon Schwindler, Rebecca Green, Ashley Labombard, Steve Ahl, Michael Sparkie, Sandy Mulryan and Quinn Forrest
 
Please plan on attending one of the FREE performances. Many bring lawn chairs, a blanket, picnic and make a lovely evening of this Olean tradition. The Workshop will be selling water and have information regarding the upcoming season and tickets. See you at the show!

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