Student Directs ‘Alice’ Production

Hilary Kinney has a very busy daily schedule, but it didn’t keep the John Marshall High School senior from agreeing to direct the Monarch Company production of “Alice In Wonderland,” which will take place Thursday through next Sunday in the school’s Center for the Performing Arts.

Since the school didn’t have a drama adviser when rehearsals were to start this past October, Kinney became the choice of her peers to be the director.

After she agreed to be the director, approval had to be given by school Principal Corey Murphy and the Marshall County Board of Education.

Probably the main factor in receiving the approval was that Kinney has shown outstanding leadership as this year as president of her class, secretary of the Justice Chapter of the National Honor Society and captain of the speech team. She is also a special education tutor, a member of the band, a 4-H Club member, a CASA volunteer, and is in the judicial scholars program, the French club, and the English literature club.

In the playbill, which those attending the production will receive, Kinney states, “Our cast and crew have put in hundreds of hours of diligent work to bring the Monarch Company’s Winter production. The show itself is worlds apart from other recent Monarch Company productions. From blocking (staging) to fundraising, and from building sets to sewing costumes, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ has been managed and directed entirely by students. When our idea for a student show arose, I knew immediately that I wanted to showcase the many different talents John Marshall students possess. However, this play has completely surpassed my original goal and has been more magical than I could have ever imagined.”

She continues, “From this project, I have learned that change is possible with the determination to make it happen.”

While she has the support of her fellow students, she has also received the backing of the community, including from the Marshall County Family Resource Network, along with parents of class members who have agreed to be in attendance at rehearsals.

MCFRN executive director Stacie Dei has been impressed with Kinney’s enthusiasm, and her agency agreed to arrange for having the playbill printed.

Dei stated the first time she had an pportunity to speak with Kinney, the JMHS senior was excited to tell her that for one appearance, some 600 elementary students from throughout the county would be attending an afternoon performance. Actually, that number has increased to 1,400, resulting in both a morning and matinee performance on Friday.

Kinney would like to have been one of the cast members, but it just wasn’t possible. Instead she is looking forward to the spring musical, “Annie” and being a cast member. This production will be directed by band director Tracie Filben and choir director Jackie Laurine.

Back to “Alice In Wonderland,” Elias Sofsky is the assistant director, while other directors include Katelyn Miller (set), Nichole Miller (costume), Maia Goddard (prop master/costumes, Shayla Cunningham (costumes), Ashley Cole (sound crewhead), Tim Sampson (lights crewhead), Athena Sayrie, Brooke Vucelik, Chelsea Dabrawsky and Lauren Taylor (scenic arts).

The set and tech crew includes Logan Kinney, Brad Shutler, Samantha Shutler, Tim Shulter, Greg Shutler, Emarie Peck and Morgan Wiedebusch.

The cast of characters includes:

Brittney Fisher, Dillon Cook, Sabrina Jones, Gage Sutton, Elias Sofsky, Josee Robertson, Sierra Morris, Gova Borrero, Ben Moore, Lesha Kotson, Jordan Ferris, Jennifer Pennington, Rebecca Miller, Shayla Klein, Alyssa Minor, Michael Games, Jordan Peck, Michael Pridgen, Kelsey Gump, Sarah Davis, Rosemary Targosky, Josie Jarrett, Halie Baker, Kennedy McClean, Alexa Richards and Sarah Weaver.

The Alice in Wonderland musicians include: Kim Kinney, piano; Sam McDannels, trumpet; the Lobster Quadrille Choir: Lashawnda Hewitt, Gage Sutton, Josee Robertson, Josie Jarrett, Michael Games, and Rebecca Miller.

In addition to the morning and afternoon elementary school performances on Friday, there will be five other performances, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and matinees at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and next Sunday.

Tickets for the three evening performances and the Saturday and next Sunday matinees will be available at the door.

The fourth annual John Marshall High School girls’ basketball alumni game will be played at 11 a.m. Saturday in the school gymnasium. Any alumni interested in playing or attending are asked to contact assistant coach Mindy Yoho by telephone at 304-231-6070 or through email at no later than Thursday.

A Marshall County native will receive the American Legion Department of West Virginia Educator of the Year at the American Legion Mid-Winter Conference in Huntington on Feb. 8.

Christy Davis, a fourth-grade teacher at Warwood Elementary, will receive the award given to the teacher who exemplifies the principles of Americanism in the classroom and encourages students to be aware of the sacrifices of veterans to keep our country free.

Every year Davis, who has taught for eight years, invites members of the American Legion to visit her class to discuss their military service during Veterans Day Week.

A teacher does not have to be affiliated with the American Legion to receive the honor, although Davis has been a member Blake Brothers Post No. 46 Women’s Auxiliary, Benwood, for nearly 20 years. Her mother, Margaret Walton is the current auxiliary president.

Her father is First District Commander Ron Walton, who is a past commander of Blake Brothers Post. Davis and her husband Rusty, are the parents of a son, Kaiden and two daughters, Laiken and Azalyn. The Davis’ reside in Warwood.