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North's 'Oliver!' a community event

February 20, 2014
While the musical "Oliver!" tells the story of an orphan, the March production of the musical at Grosse Pointe North is definitely a family affair.

With a script calling for a cast full of young pickpockets, Sean Kifer, North's drama director, looked to students from Parcells, Mason, Ferry and Monteith elementary schools to fill the roles.

And he didn't have to look much further than siblings of several North cast and orchestra members.

In all, the production has nine groups of siblings and when the word started to spread among the younger students, several of their classmates joined in. This is the first time in North's history younger students have been included in a school play. With about 50 cast members from several schools, the production is truly a community event.

"It's been fun to watch all the different ages come together," said Debbie Hoshaw, a North parent of two cast members, who is assisting with costumes and keeping some semblance of order backstage.

As the cast assembled for instructions from Kifer at a recent rehearsal, the younger students settled in with their older brothers and sisters, and sibling rivalries turned to sibling support as Kifer put the young "pickpockets" through their paces.

Among the sibling groups are Shannon McEnroe, a North student and her brother, Liam, a fifth grader at Ferry; Caitlin Mayernik, an eighth grader at Parcells and her brother, Michael, a Mason fifth grader; Nathan Doss, a North junior and his sister, Claire, a Ferry fourth grader; Francesca Florance, a North junior and her brother, Joe, a Parcells eighth grader; Olivia Hoover, a North sophomore and her sister, Brooke, a fourth grader at Mason; Peter Gritsas, North junior and his brother, Demetri, Parcells eighth grader; Emily Hoshaw, North junior and her sister, Lindsey, North freshman; Clarissa Kam, North freshman, and her sister, Audrey, North sophomore; and Ann Marie Nicholson, North junior and her sister, Charlotte, a Parcells seventh grader.

For the younger students, being in a high school production is something they always wanted to do, even before they started middle school.

"I want to be in the drama club when I go to Parcells next year," said Ferry fifth grader Ashley Sexton. "I used to wonder if I would like it, but now I know that I will."

Ferry fourth grader Sarah Lawlis seemed to speak for all the little pickpockets when she said, "I'm amazed at how much fun it is."

"Oliver" will be performed March 6-8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe North Performing Arts Center. Tickets may be purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited or online at gpndramaclub.webs.com or at the door the night of the performance.

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