Carmel Valley Middle School Advanced Acting/Drama students shine in two full-length fall productions

By Susan Farese

Decisions…decisions! What does Carmel Valley Middle School Drama Program Director Katrina Peterson do with her cadre of enthusiastic 8th grade Advanced Acting students who unanimously choose to perform in not one but two full-length, uncut, student-run fall productions (a musical and a comedy)? She complies!

Under the direction of Mrs. Peterson, these 25 eager CVMS Advanced Acting students, along with a handful of 7th grade ensemble members who had to audition for their parts, rehearsed throughout the past two months during and after school and ultimately performed “13: A New Musical” and also the comedy “Get Smart.” The performances occurred on alternate evenings from Nov. 15-18 to several sold out audiences at the Performing Arts Center at Carmel Valley Middle School. With the support of CVMS faculty, staff and administration, as well as parents of the students and former drama students, the shows brought musical theatre and comedic moments galore.

Based on the Broadway show “13! The Musical”, the music and lyrics of the CVMS production of “13: A New Musical” were written by Jason Robert Brown, with book written by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. “Get Smart” was adapted by Christopher Sergel from the series by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry.

Mrs. Peterson’s Drama program 7th and 8th grade students were very resourceful multi-taskers as well as actors. They included student directors, stage, light, props and sound crews, plus set construction and costume design/procurement crews. The cast also choreographed several scenes in “13”, with additional choreography from CVMS parent, Susan Farese, SAG/AFTRA, for a few of the larger scale musical numbers. Additionally, the CVMS drama students volunteered to collect tickets and greet patrons, and/or sell concessions and raffle tickets.

The productions were photographed by CVMS parents Jennifer Fry, Simone Camilleri and Karen Swanson. Tom Vendafreddo, an MFA candidate in Musical Theatre at SDSU, provided musical accompaniment. Dee Humphrey assisted with costuming. Torrey Pines High School Student Maya Pilevsky and her crew shot the video footage which is available for each show. If interested contact for more DVD information.

To benefit the Drama Program, in addition to ticket and concession sales, CVMS parents Jennifer Fry and Susan Farese coordinated and held a silent auction along with raffle prizes each evening to raise about $700 in additional funds. Special thanks to our generous donors from the Carmel Valley business and CVMS community: Beauty Bundles, Daphne’s, The Dry Bar, Taverna Blu, Urban Plates, Red Robin, Sculpt Fusion Yoga, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Rubio’s, Torrey Hills Family Dentisty, Souplantation, as well as the The Fry, Camilleri and Farese families at CVMS.