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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

JENNA ESPOSITO OF Theatreworks/USA acts out one of the many stories from around the world that were presented recently to Roscoe students.

Roscoe Students
Get a Worldly Lesson

By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE — December 17, 2002 – Last week, about 120 elementary kids went on a trip around the world. Of course, it was imaginary.
But on their journey fueled by stories, they visited China, Africa, the Caribbean Isles and the jungles of the mysterious Yucatan.
Everyone’s favorite maid, Amelia Bedelia (the central character of “Bravo, Amelia Bedelia!” by Herman Parish), led the way on the musical romp across the planet as she discovered stories from around the world.
The production of “Tikki Tikki Tembo and Other Stories” was presented by Story Salad Productions under the auspices of Theatreworks/USA.
Founded in 1961, Theatreworks/USA is a professional theatre for young and family audiences. Its goal is to create imaginative and sophisticated shows that are educational, entertaining and thought-provoking.
In 1996, Theatreworks/USA was recognized by NYC’s theatre community with the Drama Desk Award “for 35 years of presenting thought-provoking theatre to children.”
Most recently, it received the Johnathan Larson Performing Arts Award for “artistic vision and commitment to the support and development of theatre artists.”
Across the nation, Theatreworks/USA has performed for approximately 59 million people in 49 states, with an annual audience of more than four million.
In Roscoe, the cast of Story Salad Productions presented adaptations of three popular books in print, a couple of fables tailored with a fresh multicultural spin and a special sing-along titled “The Song of the Claves” by Albert Evans and Ron Kaehler.
The multicultural revue was adapted for the musical stage by Evans and Kaehler.
The talented cast appeared in numerous roles as they lit up the school stage with their animated performances: Jenna Esposito, Ashleigh Lay, Ivan McClellan and Brendan Paul Tateishi.
“Tikki Tikki Tembo!” is a humorous retelling of a favorite Oriental folktale that recounts how the Chinese came to give their children short names; “One Grain of Rice” is a traditional tale of the people that introduces the folklore of India, teaching the evils of greed and presenting a truly astounding mathematics lesson; “Anansi and the Rainstick” came here by way of West Africa and the Caribbean as handed down over the generations through the Ashanti culture of Ghana; and “The Lord of the Yucatan” is based on the classic Aesop fable “The Mouse Who Returned a Kindness.”
“It’s like being a big kid,” said McClellan after the show. “You can act like a moron and get paid for it. It’s awesome. . . . It was a blast!”

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