Upper Darby Performing Arts Center to show Dear Edwina

From left to right on back row, Kevin Dietzler, Justina Ercole, Craig O'Brien, Lindsay Mauck, and front row, Brian Walsh, Sarah DeNight. –SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center will open its summer season with the musical, Dear Edwina, on Friday, April 13, 2012.

From the creators of the musical Junie B. Jones, advice-giver extraordinaire and the show’s heroine, Edwina Spoonapple, shares the joys of growing up.

The show is “very witty,” according to Rob Henry, the show’s director and co-artistic director. “The play is written for young audiences and adults love the show as well – they walked out as happy as the children.”

Told through a show-within-a-show format, Edwina and her friends share wisdom on everything from trying new foods to making new friends through clever, catchy and poignant songs.

Edwina's neighbor and ballerina, Kelli, is played by Temple University theatre major Justina Ercole.

“Parents should bring their children to see Dear Edwina because it is rich with life lessons, like setting the table, saying thank you, and saving money,” Ercole stated.

Edwina has many talents including leadership, singing and advising, and she combines all of them by directing musicals out of her garage. One of the main themes of Dear Edwina is Edwina's desire to be in the "Advice-a-palooza" festival because she feels it will prove that she is as talented as her siblings.

Running for an hour with no intermission, the junior version of the production was originally written by Zina Goldrich (music) and Marcy Heisler (book and lyrics). It is set in the town of Paw Paw, Michigan, based on Heisler’s growing up in her hometown of Deerfield, Illinois.

“My 5-year-old sings many of the songs to this day about saying "no thank you" and having good manners,” shared the show’s choreographer and associate artistic director, Dawn Morningstar. “It is an adorable show.”

Morningstar, a licensed professional counselor, adjunct faculty member at Drexel University and has been choreographing for Upper Darby Summer Stage and throughout the area for more than 20 years.

“I really feel like the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center is a special and unique place for both the community and surrounding areas to experience high quality theater at an affordable price,” Morningstar said.

The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center (UDPC) is owned by the Upper Darby School District and supported by Upper Darby Township.

Operating as a community arts center that draws more than 60,000 audience members annually, UDPC produces one of the nation’s most successful youth theater programs, Upper Darby Summer Stage presents more than 35 performances each summer involving over 700 young people.

A 22-year veteran English teachers in Springfield, Delaware County, Henry and his Mazzeppa Productions have a “strong connection” with the UDPC. “I was the artistic director for 9 years of Upper Darby Summer Stage,” he said.

Tickets for Dear Edwina can be purchased at www.udpac.org or by calling the box office at (610) 822-1189.

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