SARATOGA SPRINGS - Nearly 100 students from grades three through five will be on stage for Lake Avenue Elementary School’s Drama Club performance, “A Puzzling Adventure” starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10. This show marks the 13th year of the school’s Drama Club, founded by Mrs. Beth Dennett, a former Saratoga Springs School District long-term substitute and now a tenured English teacher at Queensbury High. Many of the shows over the past two decades were written in collaboration with Dennett’s sisters and all of them included at least one of her five children, if not on stage, helping behind the scenes. “A Puzzling Adventure,” holds a special place in Dennett’s heart for another reason. It was written by two of her former Saratoga High students, Davawn Hartz and Ben Jacob. Davawn, now a junior at Columbia University, wrote it to share with the kids how much fun theater can be.
“I greatly respect and admire Mrs. Dennett’s commitment to children’s theater programs” noted Hartz, who was also a counselor at Beth’s Backyard Players Summer Theater Camp.
“We wanted to give her a theatrical thank you for inspiring us for so many years,” added Jacob, who is majoring in music composition at NYU.
He and Davawn developed the show’s concept two years ago and are thrilled it’s finally being produced.
“Our goal was to write an inclusive show that was a little quirky but had a strong message of staying true to yourself and pursuing your passions,” explained Jacob.
The 2018 show will also be Dennett’s last year as Director, since the youngest Dennett will be graduating from Lake Ave. Elementary in June. According to school principal, Dr. Barbara Messier, the Drama Club parents all say the same thing about Dennett.
“She has an amazing gift of instilling a deep-seeded confidence in children that stays with them as they grow. The fact that two former students wrote this show for her while in college is testament to Beth’s giftedness,” praised Messier.
Each year, Dr. Messier, dressed in her finest, welcomes the audience by saying it is the school’s most shining night.
“We are forever grateful to Beth Dennett and her dedicated production staff, including Johnny Martinez, Laura Faulk, Amy Ripchik, Kelly Winters, Joseph Wagner and Chris Podeswa, for giving so many years to this extremely popular, characterbuilding club,” Messier said.
One of Beth’s well-known mantras is, “There are no small parts, only small actors.”
Now close to 1300 of those small actors have had the pleasure of playing a part in Dennett’s Drama Club legacy at Lake Ave.
“A Puzzling Adventure” will no doubt be a delight, and especially exciting for writers Davawn and Ben, but given that it is Beth’s final performance as Director, it will be a bittersweet adventure as well.