Bucks County Herald

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School Theater Arts Program enters spotlight



The Our Lady of Mount Carmel School cast and crew of “Shrek the Musical Jr.”

What are the similarities between Shakespeare and the Theater Arts program at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School of Doylestown, one might ask?

Remember the well-known Shakespeare quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Today it may be interpreted as “small but mighty.”

This thought can be said of the OLMC’s afterschool Theater Arts program, which entered the community spotlight in late February with three sold-out performances of “Shrek The Musical, Jr.”

It all started nine years ago with an afterschool activity offered to fifth- through eighth-grade students at OLMC School, under the guidance of OLMC parishioner Mary Lee Corr. Corr believed in the value of learning public speaking skills and stage presence at a young age, as this training builds confidence and allows children to express themselves creatively. A former Mount Carmel teacher, Corr was instrumental in paving the way for these important skills to be offered to the children attending OLMC School through the formation of an afterschool drama club. Corr is the mother of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School alumna, state Rep. Marguerite Quinn.

Since the early days of the program, OLMC students, parents, teachers, alumni and friends of the school have volunteered four months of their time every year to make the OLMC School Drama Club what it has become today. School parent Jen Lambert, play producer, works with directors, Corr and Ladies of Mount Carmel, Mary Lou Gehring and Jo Green, to direct the cast and crew in the day-to-day preparation for the play. OLMC parishioner Michelle Pederson, OLMC parent Lynn DeAngelis and members of the State Street Players help with perfecting the choreography, lighting and sound for the production.

OLMC parents and teachers spend endless hours from November through February crafting beautiful costumes and elaborate props for the play production.

“I feel very lucky to have the support of so many people. From our volunteer directors and parents, to our amazing principal, Mrs. Dawn Parker, the musical is truly a team effort. I couldn’t do my job without them,” Lambert said. “I love producing the musicals at OLMC. We have such a talented group of students, both in the cast and on the crew. I’m so proud of what these kids accomplish every year. No matter what challenge I put in front of them, they tackle it with enthusiasm. I think our productions get better and better every year thanks to their passion and dedication.”

Parker added, “I am so excited about the Theater Arts program at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. Every year I’m amazed to see the students using their talents to bring a show to life, and they did an amazing job creating the world of Shrek, Jr. With the school’s Theater Arts program, OLMC is able to augment the core curriculum with an activity that will benefit them for life.”

With that in mind, the school has expanded its Theater Arts program to include an afterschool Musical Theater program for younger students in first through fourth-grades. The program is led by OLMC School’s music teacher, Shelly O’Hara. In mid-March O’Hara, a former opera singer and a student of the Julliard School of Music, will showcase OLMC School’s Musical Theater students in their first production featuring a series of Broadway reviews.

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