Students at Mount Desert Island High School are getting ready for the first production, The Wiz, on their newly renovated stage.
It’s a stage that holds extra special meaning for them.
“It’s nice to be able to walk on it and not be afraid of falling through the ground,” said Mia Jeannotte, a senior.
“There are definitely spots right about where we are right now where you could bounce up and down,” said Greta Smallidge, a junior.
“Or, complete danger spots. There were squishy spots, and we’d have to choreograph around them and change the blocking, and it’s really nice to not have to worry about that,” said Caroline Homer, a senior.
“We’re looking at anywhere from 70 to 80 kids involved, plus a staff of about 8 adults,” said drama teacher, Casey Rush.
Rush says it’s amazing to see his students rehearse on the stage, and to see the project become reality.
Wendy Littlefield spear headed fundraising efforts to re-do the stage.
“It’s really amazing. When Wendy first approached me, years ago, about starting a fund, it just seemed like such a faraway thing,” he said.
“I’ve raised about $75,000,” said Littlefield.
Seeing the stage completed was unfinished business for her.
“I’ve been working really hard for the past four years to raise money for the Black Rose Fund, which was started by the class of 2009, which my daughter was a member of,” she said.
Her daughter Ashleigh’s class raised the initial $500 to resurface the stage. As a member of the drama program, it was a gift Ashleigh held close to her heart.
“Tragically, my daughter died about a year later,” said Littlefield.
Asleigh died unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism. She had an unknown blood-clot disorder.
“In her memory, I’ve been working hard to create this Black Rose Fund to renovate the full stage. And it’s done,” she said.
Before the first show, she’ll unveil the plaque that was donated by Northeast Ambulance, and make a dedication in honor, and in celebration, of her daughter’s life.
“I think it’s really an incredible honor to be able to do this, and it’s so neat that we have this new stage, and that something like this could come out of something that was tragic, and it’s really nice that people came together to make this happen,” said Homer.
The first performance is Friday, November 15th at 7pm.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors.
For more information and show times, click here.