Pine-Richland students to bring ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ to the stage

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 | 12:01 AM


The students in Pine-Richland High School’s advanced acting and theater classes are learning more than lines for their production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Many are pulling double-duty with roles both on stage and off.

“(We’re definitely learning) accountability,” said senior Kate Jesko, who not only plays the role of Edmund but is also the director. “We all are so accountable for our own jobs, whether it’s budget or costuming, and we all have to be so responsible because if one person slips up then everyone caves in.”

The students began working on the production on the first day of school, when they started poring over more than a dozen scripts until they settled on this one.

While a lot of people are familiar with the story, either through the book or the movie, this version is a bit different, said junior Samantha Koch, who plays Lucy and is also in charge of public relations.

“It’s a lot more family-friendly,” said Koch, who added that the show ends on a very upbeat note. “The movies can be kind of intense. We still like to bring the fight scenes and the intensity into the show but in a realistic way so we can connect with our audience. It’s definitely family-friendly and we’re excited to see the kids coming.”

Many students didn’t realize how hard it was to actually create a show, Koch said, until they got started.

They’re also finding out they love the different off-stage roles.

“I didn’t realize I liked directing so much from our regular directing class until I got in here and realized how fun it can be,” said senior Makayla Manion, who’s directing along with Jesko. “It is hard, but all the work pays off.”

In addition to learning everything that goes into staging and performing a production, the students are also helping a good cause. All the proceeds from the show will go toward research into Prader-Willi Syndrome. They will also be taking donations at the door.

“It is a birth defect that’s grossly underfunded and not a lot of people know about it,” said senior Judy Johnson, who is playing Aslan and is working with UPMC Children’s Hospital and Dr. Robert Nicholls as the production’s charity outreach coordinator. “We were able to do a directed donation so none of the money we raise will be used for anything other than research.”

Performances will be Nov. 13, 14 and 15, at 7 p.m. There is a suggested $5 donation.