Peter Pan Donates to Wigs for Kids

Richard A. Vitanovec, EMS Theatre Director; Sarah Daly, cast as Peter Pan; Debbie Setter, Stylist and Owner of Trend Setters Salon in Easton.

Richard A. Vitanovec, EMS Theatre Director; Sarah Daly, cast as Peter Pan; Debbie Setter, Stylist and Owner of Trend Setters Salon in Easton.

For the last two weekends in January, Sarah Daly, an eighth-grade student at Easton Middle School, will be taking audiences on a magical trip to Neverland as the title character in the EMS Theatre Department’s production of Peter Pan. Under the direction of Richard A. Vitanovec, theatre goers will follow along in the adventures of young Peter as he meets the Darling children, Tiger Lily and the villainous Captain Hook. But before that can happen, Daly and her cast mates will undergo a dramatic transformation to become the characters from J.M. Barrie’s timeless novel that includes learning dialect, costuming, learning stage combat, working with animal trainers, learning to fly, and most noticeably – dramatic hairstyle changes.

The essence of Peter Pan’s personality is nonchalant, adventurous and a bit cocky. Since 1904, when Barrie first had his story take life on stage, it has been tradition that a female was cast as Peter. Keeping true to this tradition, Vitanovec wanted whoever was cast as Peter to cut her hair into the short, carefree style of Peter Pan. After learning she had been cast as Peter, Daly was thrilled. She understandably experienced a roller coaster of emotions about cutting her waist length, dark brown hair into the pixie style and changing the color to auburn. One thing that Sarah was certain of was that she would be donating her hair for use in wigs for sick children.

After a bit of research Vitanovec discovered the organization Wigs for Kids. For over 30 years, Wigs for Kids has been providing Hair Replacement Systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families. Hair loss in children can happen due to a variety of medical conditions. No matter what the cause, the mission of Wigs for Kids is to create custom hair replacement systems for those children in need. Their goal is to help children look themselves and live their lives. Creating the hair pieces is a way to allow children to get back to their daily activities while looking and feeling like themselves again.

Daly and Vitanovec agreed that they wanted to support an organization that provides the wigs at no cost. And in the spirit of the philanthropy of J.M. Barrie, who granted copyright of the Peter Pan works to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children in London, wanted to continue his legacy of helping sick children. Wigs for Kids is the first and oldest organization of its kind and have years of experience creating custom Hair Replacement Systems that are made from real hair and look just like a child’s hair would naturally. Unlike other hair donation programs in this field, Wigs for Kids never charges the family for hair pieces and rely completely on donations from generous companies, foundations, groups and individuals like Sarah who happily cut their hair to help other kids.

Once Sarah was able to fully grasp the enormity of the role, any hesitation dissipated and she began to look forward to the physical transformation. Over her Christmas vacation, Daly spent an entire morning with Debbie Setter, owner of Trend Setters Salon in Easton, who carefully pony-tailed her hair into four separate sections and cut more than 12 inches off the length. Setter then carefully wrapped and packaged all the hair to send to Wigs for Kids. Sarah’s Peter Pan look would be completed with a spunky razored pixie cut and color. “I think the new haircut is going to allow me to channel Peter on a new level. I now have another little piece of him and I truly believe that my new hairstyle will continue to help me mold into who Peter really is. I am extremely excited both about the role of Peter Pan and to be helping another kid who has lost their hair”, said Daly moments after her haircut was complete. Vitanovec says, “I have been working with Sarah since she was six years old. I could not be prouder of her. She has grown into such a beautiful, talented and caring young woman. Her leadership on stage and off are truly remarkable. I could not have asked for a better young woman to play Peter Pan”.

Peter Pan will be presented at Easton High School on January 22. 23, 29 & 30 at 7:00 PM and January 24 at 2:00 PM.

For more information about Wigs for Kids or to donate hair go to www.wigsforkids.org

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Star Canine to Appear in Easton Middle School’s Production of Peter Pan

This year Easton Middle School will be presenting the musical Peter Pan under the direction of Richard A. Vitanovec. Vitanovec, who has a BA in Acting, a BA in Directing, and his teaching certificate from Lycoming College and his Master’s Degree in Theatre Production from Central Washington University, has always strived to give the students at Easton Middle School the most professional, top-notch theatre experience possible. He has created a theatre community where not only middle school students can participate, but also elementary and high school students. This production of Peter Pan includes over 40 students as well as Talbot County Public School faculty.

Last year, NBC aired a production of PETER PAN LIVE that starred Allison Williams as Pan and Christopher Walkin as Hook. For the first time ever, a real dog was used to play the role of “Nana”, the Darling’s dog-nurse. Typically, this role is played by an actor in a dog costume. Bill Berloni, known for being one of the best dog trainers for Broadway and Hollywood, trained his rescue dog, Bowdie to play the role. Wanting his students to have as much of a professional experience as possible, Vitanovec contacted Mr. Berloni in hopes that he could help him with “Nana” for the Easton Middle School production. Berloni has trained dogs for years for Broadway and Hollywood. He provided one of his canine actors, Mikey, for last year’s EMS production of Annie. Mr. Berloni graciously agreed to bring Bowdie to reprise his role as “Nana Darling” in Easton Middle School’s production at the end of January. Although only the second time a real dog has played Nana in the musical, this will be the first time that a real dog has done it live on stage for an audience.

Bill Berloni found Bowdie in 2014 when his family could no longer keep this smart, energetic dog. He began training to be Winn Dixie in a production of BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE THE MUSICAL at the Delaware Theatre Company in the spring of 2015. Along the way, he was cast as the first dog to ever play “Nana” in PETER PAN LIVE on NBC. After performing in Delaware, Bowdie was cast in a music video and several television shows.

Mr. Berloni is a 2011 Tony Honoree for Excellence in Theatre and 2014 Outer Critics Circle award for Special Achievement. Broadway: THE AUDIENCE with Dame Helen Mirren; LIVING ON LOVE; BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, LADY DAY AT THE EMERSON BAR AND GRILL; ANNIE (original and all revivals), A CHRISTMAS STORY THE MUSICAL, LEGALLY BLONDE, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE, CAMELOT, FRANKENSTEIN, THE FIRST, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, OLIVER!, ANYTHING GOES, NICK AND NORA, THE WIZ, (20th Anniversary revival and City Center 2009) THE WIZARD OF OZ, DINNER AT EIGHT, DOUBLE FEATURE (NYCB), THE WOMAN IN WHITE, AWAKE AND SING and THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE.

Mr. Berloni is the Animal Director of the new musical BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE with music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin. He has trained animals for hundreds of Off-Broadway, regional theatre, tours, television and movies. Recent films include Sandy in the new movie of ANNIE starring Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. Other television includes POWER, BILLIONS and MR ROBOT. Mr. Berloni and his family are the subjects of a new docu-series entitled WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI on the Discovery Family Channel that premiered in August 2015. He is the author of BROADWAY TAILS, DOGA and SANDY THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A STAR. He is also Director of Animal Behavior at the Humane Society of New York.

It is an amazing opportunity and experience these students will have working with someone so highly accredited in the professional theatrical world. Sharing the stage with an experienced canine theatre star is something these students won’t forget for a long time.

Come see stage and screen star Bowdie as “Nana” in Easton Middle School’s production of Peter Pan. Performances are January 22, 23, 29, 30 at 7:00 pm and January 24 at 2:00 pm.

“NANA’S PANTRY”- Bring 4+ cans of cat or dog food or a bag of cat or dog food to the show and you will be entered in a raffle for a special prize. The cat and dog food will be donated to Talbot Humane to help all the rescued animals that find their way there.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at Easton Middle School, Crackerjacks, Little Rascals Consignment Shop, Reesers’ Pharmacy, and Rise Up Coffee Roasters on Dover St.

Easton Family YMCA Continues the “Y-Talks” Speaker Series

Natasha Kermani

Natasha Kermani

The “Y Talks” speaker series was successfully produced in the Easton branch in the spring of 2014. The weekly series ran for three months and became a well branded program gaining momentum and audience attendance. The goal is to keep that momentum by adding a new speaker each month.

Starting September 19th the series kicks-off every third Friday of the month at 7pm for 12 months at the Easton Family YMCA in the Thomas E. Hill Center for Youth Development, also known as the Teen Center. On September 19th at 7pm the filmmaker Natasha Kermani will screen her short film and discuss how she has launched herself as a young, female film director to contend with. She describes her dark comedy short film Bereavement as: Three cats. One dog. A cockatoo. Uncle Herman. Eternity.

Natasha is of Iranian decent, now living in Brooklyn. She is in Easton as part of the Chesapeake Film Festival.

For more information or to sign up for Y Talks, please contact the Easton Family YMCA at 410-822-0566 or stop by the Welcome Center–cost is $12 per person per session.

Natasha Kermani is a Brooklyn based filmmaker. After graduating from NYU’s film school, Kermani co-founded Illium Pictures, an independent production company, where she has directed a number of commercial series and branded online content for various clients, including Microsoft, Maybelline, Nike and Redken.

Her narrative work includes seven short films, along with music video collaborations with popular NYC musicians including Haley Dekle, Trail of Dead, and Vinyette. She is currently in pre-production for a web series with Lewis Black and Mark Linn Baker, as well as a science fiction feature film to be produced in 2015.

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