There’s new performing troupe in Dexter and it may surprise you to learn who they are. Their first production, “BEDTIME STORIES (AS TOLD BY OUR DAD) (WHO MESSED THEM UP)” will be performed Dec. 8 & 9 beginning at 6:30 PM in Cornerstone Elementary Cafeteria.
The players are well acquainted with Cornerstone’s Cafeteria because it’s where they eat lunch every day of the school year. Thirty-six elementary students comprise the cast and crew of Bedtime Stories under the direction of Bj Wallingford.
Wallingford conceived the idea of forming the elementary performing group, The Cornerstone Players, as a result of looking for a way to give back to the school where his oldest son was attending. He pitched the idea to Cornerstone’s principal, Craig McCalla, who heartily encouraged Wallingford to move forward with the idea.
Wallingford is bringing his experience of directing and producing around 100 plays with students at various schools over the years to provide Cornerstone students a unique opportunity.
“I could contribute something of myself to the school, hopefully lots of children would enjoy the experience of being part of a play, I could share this experience with my own sons, and this could raise some money for the school as well. I ended up deciding to audition second graders and to cast everyone who showed up, no cuts. Some roles are divided into two or even three parts to accommodate all the children who auditioned. We’ve rehearsed for about two months and are very excited to finally get to opening night. If the cast and audience enjoy the experience, I would love to direct a play each fall for the next several years.”
Support from Principal McCalla “has been tremendous” he says. Music Instructor, Robin Radcliff, has also been working with the group with musical instruments for special effects. Art Instructor, Kristen Walters, has incorporated an art project into her 2nd Grade curriculum that creates the artwork for the posters and programs. Parents and grandparents have also pitched in with costumes, ticket sales and scenery. “If you ever want to bathe in the warmth of a community, just direct an elementary school play,” Wallingford says.
Principal McCalla adds, “We are excited about our first play here at Cornerstone. Bj has put a lot of time and effort into the show and providing this experience for our students is wonderful. We are so grateful for his time and expertise. I can’t wait to see the performances!”
Students involved in the production are: Victoria Bell, Nora Bruce, Luke Cipolla, Callie Duncan-Alford, Ray Eby, Sadie Enyedy, Connor Evans, Jack Evans, Lily Gabara, Boyd Gaves, Alexis Gramling, Conor Heffernan, Reese Hempton, Allie Hoeft, Wyatt Hoeft, River Whitley Jones, Brielle Lindner, Laila Myers, Erin Nieman, Modibo Ouattara, Sophie Page, Cecelia Patierno, Rachel Perrine, Elena Ragnes,Kendall Redman, Ryan Rozema, Michael Secson, Ryann Silverson, Emma Skidmore, Kamryn Starrs, Gabriella Treat, Jack Tsallis, Sophie Vuocolo, Colby Wallingford, Kenzie Weinmann,Jane Winkler
Performances are December 8th & 9th at 6:30pm in the Cornerstone Cafeteria. Tickets are $2 per person at the door and all proceeds go to the CPTG (Cornerstone Parent Teacher Group) to help fund Teacher Grants.