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Twality Middle School performance opens next week

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Hadley Carlberg, an eighth-grader, and seventh-graders Jacob Doss and Riley Green rehearse their roles in Twality Middle Schools production of Charlottes Web.These days, Twality Middle School is a pigsty. Literally.

The school is preparing for its opening night of “Charlotte’s Web,” the beloved novel-turned-musical, which premieres Thursday, Feb. 27.

“I’m a little bit nervous,” said Hadley Carlberg, an eighth-grader at the school who plays Charlotte.

Students have been rehearsing for months on the school’s annual musical. In all, it takes 74 students working on stage and behind the scenes to bring the story of “Charlotte’s Web” to life.

Students began rehearsing last fall, working for hours after school each day with director Kathleen Thielen.

At a glance

What: Twality Middle School production of “Charlotte’s Web”

When: Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at 7 p.m.

Where: Deb Fennell Auditorium at Tigard High School, 9000 S.W. Durham Road.

How much: General admission tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online and at the door.

Tickets: Are available online and at the door

Thielen, the school’s drama teacher, has been directing the school’s annual musical for more than two decades.

“We call this our cast family,” said seventh-grader Jacob Doss, who plays Wilber the pig. “After three and a half months of working on it, we really get to know each other.”

Like the famous E.B. White novel of the same name, “Charlotte’s Web” spins a tale of friendship between a barnyard pig and a spider named Charlotte.

“It’s about staying loyal to your friends and helping them out when they need it,” Carlberg said.

Dressed in a pink pig costume, Doss said he wants to become an actor when he gets older.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Cast members point toward Wilbur, played by Twality Middle School seventh-grader Jacob Doss, during a rehearsal for the schools production of Charlottes Web.“I love acting,” he said, during a short break from rehearsal.

Carlberg agreed.

“You get to meet new people and learn different tips about how to act,” she said. “It’s great.”

Twality’s annual musicals have become a community tradition, often drawing large crowds to Tigard High School’s large auditorium.

“We get used to the crowds as the nights go on,” said Riley Green, a seventh-grader who plays Fern, the farmer’s daughter.

The students perform snippets of the play at local elementary schools to help spread the word about the musical, and the students raise thousands of dollars every year through ticket sales to help fund future productions.

The play has become a rite of passage for many Twality students, who watched family members and friends participate in productions over the years.

Both Doss and Green had siblings who starred in productions when they were students at the school. They said that sense of history was part of what pushed them to try out for their roles.

“I would come and see these, and I always wanted to try out,” Doss said.

His first performance was last year’s production of “Cinderella.”

“Charlotte’s Web” opens in Tigard High School’s Deb Fennel Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 27. Tickets are $10 and are available online and at the door.

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