Providence Heights play gets help from Disney
All Bella Mazziotti wanted to do was win a “Phineas and Ferb” DVD for her younger sister, Sofia.
The sixth-grader from Marshall won the DVD from Radio Disney but did not know that, by doing so, she was entered into a sweepstakes for a much bigger prize: the chance for her school to put on a Disney musical, complete with cash and help from Disney employees.
Bella’s name was drawn from 600,000 entries, so students at Providence Heights Alpha School in McCandless will be performing Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” May 31, June 1 and 2.
“I screamed and I called all my friends,” after she was notified of the win, said Bella.
Providence Heights Alpha School, unlike many other elementary schools, puts on plays and musicals each year, said third-grade teacher Lynn Farina, who is directing “Alice in Wonderland Jr.”
“If you never did a show before, I can’t even imagine how you start … when you realize everything that you have to do,” she said.
Bella chose “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” because “it has a lot of parts that more people could do it.”
But she is not one of them, choosing instead to produce the play.
“Isn’t it ironic? Bella doesn’t really care to be on stage,” said Mrs. Farina.
Bella said she would have been fine with acting, but most of the parts require singing.
That’s not a problem for her classmate Leah Colaizzi, who portrays the “shrinking” Alice.
Leah, of Franklin Park, said she took an after-school musical theater class and sings in the choir.
“I just really enjoy singing and acting, and I may want to pursue a career,” she said.
Providence Heights also received $ 2,000 toward production costs and a free show kit that included scripts, director’s guide, choreography DVD and performance CD. The Disney Theatrical Group also sent a mentor to help the school with the play.
“They said they’d help us with anything. I said I wanted them to help with the dances,” Mrs. Farina said.
Disney choreographer Lauren Chapman helped at the March 3 and 10 rehearsals, and will return one more time in May.
Their final prize is a visit from Kenton Duty, an actor on the Disney Channel show “Shake It Up,” who will attend the play.
“Everybody was, like, `Oh, my gosh, Kenton Duty is really coming,” said Leah.
There are 45 third- through eighth-graders in the play, which will take about an hour. Mrs. Farina is being helped by teachers Catherine Koss, Cathy Thimons and Doug Beacham.
Eighth-graders had already started rehearsing another play, “Honk Jr.,” when the Disney contest was won.
That show will also go on, and will be performed on May 25.
“This is just a wonderful experience that you will never forget,” Mrs. Farina said.
By Sandy Trozzo