School Play Sets Stage for Project Stage Light

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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Local actors inspire future ones.

A recent theatrical experience inspired yet another individual with developmental disabilities to join the cast of the upcoming production of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," sponsored by the Association for persons with Intellectual Disabilities (AID).

"I'm going to star in it," said Michael Glastetter, adding that he made the decision to participate in the play after seeing Cape Central Junior High School's stage production of "CATS." Glastetter has recently been cast as one of the Townspeople in Oz.

Glastetter was among a handful of employees from VIP Industries who attended "CATS" earlier this month as part of an Off-Site Day Habilitation (OSDH) activity. Organizers of OSDH activities offered the employees the opportunity to attend the play as a way to not only provide a cultural experience they may not otherwise have had, but also to hopefully inspire the individuals into performing on stage themselves.

The school's auditorium is set to be the venue for the second production of Project Stage Light, a cultural arts program for children and adults with special needs, sponsored by AID. The first production was "A Christmas Carol," performed last December at the Shuck Recital Hall on the River Campus at Southeast Missouri State University.

Mary Vinyard, who is also cast as a Townsperson in the upcoming play, was especially excited to see a production at the auditorium where they will be performing in September.

"It was neat. It was really, really neat," Vinyard said. "I enjoyed it."

Project Stage Light is definitely in full swing, as the cast list was posted last week and scripts are in the process of being distributed.

Meagan Edmonds, coordinator for Project Stage Light and director of the upcoming play, could not be happier about the latest cast members.

"It is not too late if anyone else wants to participate or get involved with the production," she noted.

Vinyard, who was involved in last year's production of "A Christmas Carol," will be venturing onto the stage this year, instead of being behind the scenes. An embarrassing moment from school (which involved a microphone not working properly) shied her away from being onstage, but last year's participation as the bell ringer and seeing her friends enjoy themselves, inspired her to step out of her comfort zone -- as long as she doesn't get a major part, she noted.

Since high school, Vinyard has really come out of her shell and credits her idol, Barry Manilow, for making her stand up for herself and realizing that the only person that can save her is herself.

"I don't give up on my dreams," she said.

Helping her and others realize their dreams of acting are several volunteers who have stepped forward to mentor the actors. Training has already taken place with the SHINE volunteers and they are as eager as the actors to participate, Edmonds said. SHINE (Sharing, Helping, Inspiring New Experiences) is a volunteer-based program designed to work in conjunction with the programs offered by AID.

"We have volunteers from all walks of life, from theatre majors to foster parents," Edmonds noted.

Rehearsals are set to begin in June.

"Not only is this production bigger than the last, the enthusiasm and support is greater as well," the director said. "We have more people participating and new faces in the spotlight. The audience will be in for several wonderful surprises."

For more information about Project Stage Light or to see how you can become involved in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," contact Meagan Edmonds at 334-1166 or visit www.vipindustries.com/aid.

"It is never too late to participate," Edmonds said. "Please contact me and we will gladly make you a part of the production."

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