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The show must go on -- and on and on to set record

April 17, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Editor's note: Due to a source's error, the following story, which appeared in the print edition of the Sunday, April 18, 2010, Herald-Mail and was published online April 17, 2010, incorrectly described the cost of an upcoming musical. The budget for the entire production is $25,000, which includes sets and backdrops from Los Angeles, costumes, rights and renting The Maryland Theatre. The story was edited April 20, 2010, to correct the error.




HAGERSTOWN-- While much of Hagerstown slept, young actors trod the boards and kept their imaginations revving in search of an unofficial world record.

On Saturday at 5:50 p.m., the Hagerstown Children's Theater hit its mark -- 24 1/2 straight hours of improvisation.

That was 30 minutes longer than a New York City group supposedly did in what might have been the previous record, although no one is sure.

Teri Walker, Hagerstown Children's Theater's director, said Guinness World Records told her it doesn't keep such a record.

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That didn't matter to the actors; they carried on, staying lively until the end.

"We just went straight through," Walker said.

It was a fundraising effort as the troupe sets out to perform "Into the Woods," a musical, at The Maryland Theatre on April 30 and May 1.

Sets and backdrops are coming from Los Angeles.

The budget for the entire production is $25,000, which includes sets and backdrops, costumes, rights and renting The Maryland Theatre.

The theater group set Guinness-like rules for its "Scene-a-thon" at the theater group's home on Frederick Street.

At least two actors had to be on stage at all times. There could be no more than a minute of silence. There were no breaks.

Walker said 23 students were involved. Some stayed through the night.

Kristen DiMercurio, a St. Maria Goretti High School senior, said actors slept in shifts.

She went home Friday night and came back Saturday about 9 a.m. When she arrived, "they gave me a look (saying) 'Save us,'" she said.

"There was a lot of scenes about sleep," Goretti junior Adam Marinelli said.

Near the end, the scene became a mock battle, with boys fighting off what Marinelli called a "cooties infestation" from the girls.

After several minutes with that story line, DiMercurio returned to the stage pretending to be a mother, and the scene had changed again.

The finale was a giddy dance number. Then, the 11 remaining actors took a bow.

Only a few times did the troupe need an "idea bag" for help.

Walker's dog, Daphne, a Shih Tzu who has played Toto in "The Wizard of Oz," briefly was an inspiration and part of the scene.

Actors who needed a break had to work "Madonna" into their dialogue. Walker said she heard it in her sleep; she awoke to round up actors to rotate in.

Walker said the troupe, which ranges from sixth to 12th grade, has improved its improv and is excited about what lies ahead.

"These kids -- they dream of doing a show at The Maryland Theatre," she said.

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