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Young actors in "Marmalade Gumdrops" ready to give best performance

By Josette Keelor -- jkeelor@nvdaily.com

Like the main character of The Schultz Theatre's Youth Theatre play "Marmalade Gumdrops," its young actors will not settle for anything less than their best, said Director Jackson Cline.

"Like imagination, marmalade is better than just plain," Cline recited as the play's theme.

"It's about a boy named Wally who is instructed by his mother to throw away his old toys," Cline said. Wally's toys convince him to keep them, though.

The play is designed for children to perform, Cline said, but to make it great, the actors give it everything they've got.

"The actors live it," Cline said. "They're really committed children, and I'm really impressed by their work."

A rising senior at Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg, Cline said his ambition is to be an actor, and so far, he's off to a good start.

This will be his Schultz directorial debut, and he said directing a youth play in particular has taught him experience.

"It's not as hard as it may sound. I'm good at getting their attention," he said.

"I like it, because unlike with school theater ... all the kids are there because they want to act," he said.

"They really want to work hard and put on a good show."

They're all middle school students, he said. Some f them have done other shows at Schultz, but others are new to the stage.

Eric Pruntka, who plays Wally, and Katie Adams, who plays his mother, have never acted before. Jesse Lewis, who plays Winthrop, has performed previously, but not at Schultz, Cline said.

The other actors are Caitlin Thompson as Clair, Carolin Vigwood as Bedilia, Rachel Aleshire as Windsor and Rachel Shumway as Libby.

"Since I'm directing it by myself," Cline said, "... all of everything is my responsibility"

The head of the Youth Theater, Neil Marrin has been helping, but, Cline said, "Everything within creative control is mine."

He's been thankful to the actors' parents, saying, "They're always willing to step in and help when needed."

"Marmalade Gumdrops" will take place this weekend at The Schultz Theatre, at 9357 N. Congress St. in New Market, with performances at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. For more information, call 740-9119.

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