By Cloverleaf High School Journalism Staff
Nick Cristano is a 29-year-old single, Italian-American from New Jersey who still has dinner with his two sets of grandparents every Sunday, but all that may change as he has to break the news about his new promotion that will take him to Seattle and change their family forever.
“Over the River and Through the Woods” by Joe DiPietro has all the makings of a great story about a young man and his beloved, but eccentric, grandparents who will do anything to keep the family together. The play is funny, touching and thought-provoking, and will leave the audience thinking about the relationships over the years in their own families.
The Cloverleaf High School Drama Club will present “Over the River and Through the Woods” on Nov. 6-10 at the Cloverleaf Elementary School stage. There will be six total performances, beginning with a free dress rehearsal for senior citizens on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. The regular performances will be on Nov. 6, 7, 8, 9 at 7 p.m., and the final performance will be on Nov. 10 at 3 p.m.
Tickets will be sold at the door for all shows starting 45 minutes prior to each show time. Adult tickets are $8. Tickets for students and children are $6.
“A group of us saw the show at the Ohio Thespian State Conference in March and fell in love with it right away,” fall play Co-Director John Carmigiano said. “It is one of those shows that is very entertaining and also makes you really think about your own family and what they mean to you.”
Because the show only features six cast members, the drama club decided to feature a short comedy scene as a lead-in to get more students some acting experience. The 10-minute scene from “You’re Driving Me Crazy” will be performed just prior to the main event.
“It has been very exciting seeing the CHS Drama Club grow,” Carmigiano said. “There are some really creative kids at Cloverleaf and we wanted to share all the talent with everyone on the stage and behind the scenes on our crews.”
“Over the River and Through the Woods” is co-directed by English teacher Victoria Krus, assistant student-directed by senior Dana Diehl, and stage-managed by sophomore Arabella Polen and junior Mason Cochran.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working on the fall play,” Krus said. “The students are so talented, and I have had so much fun working with them on lots of things, including their New Jersey accents.”
Seniors Trystan Turpin (Aida Gianelli), Baedan Smith (Nunzio Cristano), and Emilee Berchtold (Caitlin O’Hare) bring years of experience to the cast.
“Our seniors are very talented and have worked so hard to bring these unique characters to life,” Carmigiano said.
The juniors include Emily Pamer (Caitlin O’Hare understudy) and Emily Winnicki (Emma Cristano understudy). Sophomores Gavin Depew (Frank Gianelli), Joe Donnelly (Nick Cristano) and Cassie Beck (Emma Cristano) star in the show and round out the cast.
“These underclassmen have so much talent and we are fortunate to have them starring in roles that will give them experience for years to come,” Carmigiano said.
The cast for “You’re Driving Me Crazy” includes Diehl (who also directs the scene), Kaitlin Duke, Andrew Vasel, Aubrie Hayhurst, Rylee de Luna and Allison Whitacre.
The set was co-designed by Carmigiano and community parent Eric Martin, who helped construct the stage once again. Jim Heinrich is back as the sound director for the show and he brings years of experience.
“It is a very impressive set, and Eric always helps us make the best set we can for our kids to perform on,” Carmigiano said. “Jim Heinrich is so talented and such a blessing to work with.”
The crew consists of Ally Schmitt, Katy Schmitt, Brennan Hayhurst, Allison Steiner, Kayleigh Ethington, John Lassiter and Hannah French.
You won’t want to miss the incredible story, “Over the River and Through the Woods,” coming the second weekend of November.
“Something I love about this show is the balance between humorous moments and somber moments,” Krus said. “The audience will be laughing and crying.”