Bridge to Terabithia
by Theater Works

A Newbery Award-winning book by Katherine Paterson and now a popular Disney film, Bridge to Terabithia is a powerful story about friendship, imagination, peer pressure, seeing people for who they really area, and dealing with death. Katherine Paterson later adapted it into a stage version with Stephanie Tolan, recently put on by Theater Works for Youth in Peoria, Arizona.

Director Chris Hambry’s production is a somber one. You can feel tension throughout, the fateful rope hanging down, our attention drawn to it at key moments, foreshadowing what is to come.

As Leslie, the awkward new tomboy at school is Zoe Abramo, a good young actress who somewhat resembles AnnaSophia Robb from the film, and who captures the character very well as she tries to make friends with Jesse, introduces him to her wild imagination with wonder, and philosophizes with genuine reflection about life and God. David Cottrell is Jesse who deals the best he can with a generally unhappy family, finding comfort in his art and his running and his new friend next door. Acacia Angelita Wilson is a hit as Jesse’s spunky youngest sister May Belle who always speaks her mind, doing so with great personality and attitude.

At school their lives revolve around Jesse’s rival Gary Fulcher (Marcus Holder) and the school bully Janice Avery (Shasta Neal) who add a bit of turmoil to the lives of Leslie, Jesse, and May Belle. Brianna Funk is the kindly Miss Edmonds who encourages Jesse with his art and leads the class in a sing-a-long in a scene that would look better if Miss Edmunds had a guitar.

When not at school or in the magical land created with Leslie and their imaginations, Jesse is at his depressing home. Alexis Tinucci is Jesse’s moody older sister Brenda. Kimberly Austin is his mother who gives an authentic performance in dealing with the death, finally getting angry at her daughter as the stress and fear leave her shaken. And Kyle Pittman is the father whose talk with Jesse about his own experience with his father and with grief are insightful and poignant, capturing the heart of the story.

Performs March 21 - April 6, 2008.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
Leslie: Zoe Abramo
Mrs. Aarons: Kimberlyn Austin
Billy Jean: Ally Carr
Jesse: David Cottrell
Girl 1: Kaylinn Crowl
Miss Edmunds: Brianna Funk
Gary Fulcher: Marcus Holder
Janice Avery: Shasta Neal
Mr. Aarons: Kyle Pittman
Boy 1: Collin Power
Boy 2: Jacob Stovall
Boy 3: Josh Roether
Brenda Aarons: Alexis Tinucci
May Belle Aarons: Acacia Angelita Wilson

Director: Chris Hamby
Music Director: Jeremiah Neal
Stage Manager: Ruth Sagar
Set Design: Terry DeMars
Lighting Design: Bob Nelson
Costume Design: Kathy Miller
Props Design: Jae Smith and Joni Chanko


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