By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
BREVARD -- A childhood classic tale, complete with a lesson of being kind and respectful toward others, will be brought to life on stage this weekend.
Eastern Florida State College's Department of Performing and Visual Arts will present "Miss Nelson is Missing," a family-friendly musical, at the Bernard Simpkins Fine Arts Center Main Stage at the Cocoa campus.
The performances will be held on Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 27. Tickets are $5.
"Miss Nelson is Missing" features music and lyrics by Joan Cushing, based on the classic children's books "Miss Nelson is Missing!" and "Miss Nelson is Back!" by Harry Allard and James Marshall.
This weekend's performances focus on the students of Room 207, who happen to be the worst-behaved students in the school. Miss Nelson is forced over the edge by her student's constant rowdy behavior, spitballs and paper airplanes.
When Miss Nelson disappears, she is replaced by a terrifying substitute, Miss Viola Swamp. Longing for the sweet and gentle ways of their beloved teacher, the students of Room 207 set out to find Miss Nelson and learn the value of being respectful to others.
The play is produced by the Theatre Rehearsal and Performance class at EFSC.
"The work of this class is to produce a play," said Jeanine Henry, director of theatre arts at EFSC. "Students learn about performance and also help with scenery, props and costumes."
Mrs. Henry said the class presents two shows per semester; the first show is a one-act play, with the second show being a larger production. She added that the productions are typically the result of a class.
"We wanted to do a musical for young audiences that classroom teachers would recognize," Mrs. Henry said about this weekend's musical performances. "This musical is based on a popular children's book and the actor pool also suited the cast makeup of this show."
Caroline Miller will play both "Miss Nelson" and "Miss Viola Swamp," while Jonathan Seaman will play "Pop Hanson," "Principal Blandsworth," "Detective McSmogg" and the janitor. The students of room 207 are Kari Snodgrass, who will play "Allison," Landon Morley as "Adam," Victoria Weaver, who will play "Cheryl," Tyler Lehtio as "Gregory," Rebecca Gibbons as "Rachel" and Shad Tererros, who will play "Zac."
Mrs. Henry said that the class, which has been rehearsing since August, is enjoying the opportunity to play elementary-aged kids.
"'Miss Nelson is Missing' is a lively and fun performance, and is a great, affordable outing for the family to enjoy," Mrs. Henry said. "It connects young people to reading -- see the play and read the book."
"Miss Nelson is Missing," presented by Eastern Florida State College's Department of Performing and Visual Arts, will be Oct. 25-27 at the Bernard Simpkins Fine Arts Center Main Stage at the Cocoa campus.
Performances are Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 27. Tickets are $5.
In addition to the play's public performances, it will be presented for audiences from area schools on Oct. 23-24.
For more information about EFSC's theatre and performing arts programs, visit www.easternflorida.edu/go/arts.