Fall Production

What is Fall Production?

Fall Production is an organization for all students at Jones Middle School. There are several levels of involvement to facilitate busy schedules. Students involved in sports, community organizations, private lessons, etc. are still encouraged to participate. Performers include leading roles, featured actors/singers, and Ensembles that rehearse 1-5 days a week for eight weeks. Tech Crew is involved mainly on Saturdays and everyday in the last two weeks (once fall sports are over). All students involved should expect to be present at rehearsal for the last two weeks.

Shows are selected on a three year thematic rotation: Fantasy, Modern/Contemporary, Traditional.  Our philosophy is to teach through performance and expose students to a wide variety of experiences.  In this way, all students have the opportunity to perform in each category during their three years at Jones.  We also keep a detailed history of the organization, so if you have any information to share, please send it to Producer, Sarah Santilli, at ssantilli@uaschools.org.  You can also view pictures of our past productions in the auditorium hallway.

The Production Staff firmly believes that a student's academic performance should not suffer because of their rehearsal schedule. We value your time and create rehearsal schedules to be efficient, avoiding as many conflicts as possible. At times, students will have down time during rehearsal and are encouraged to bring their homework.

Parent Coordinators organize an army of parent volunteers to help make sure Fall Production is always a success! We rely on the tireless efforts of parent committees to take care of every detail, allowing the Directors to focus all their attention on the students. If you would like to get involved, please contact our Parent Coordinators at jonesfallproduction@gmail.com. Parent Coordinators for 2016 are Kellie Ali, Kirsten Barrett, and Heather Evans.  Thank you, parents, for all your hard work and dedication to Fall Production!

We hope you get involved in Fall Production!

Production Team

Sarah Santilli (Stage Director): This is Sarah's seventh year at Jones Middle School teaching Vocal and General Music and thirteenth year teaching overall. Local productions include The Little Mermaid (Atina) and Seussical (Bird Girl) with Westerville Civic Theatre, Mary Poppins (Ensemble) with Pleasure Guild, and Les Misérables (Ensemble) with Gallery Players. Sarah directs for the Columbus Children's Choir (Santa Maria Choir) and has produced/directed several school and community shows in Central and Northwest Ohio. She has music education degrees from The Ohio State University and Captial University, where she also received Kodály Certification.

Katie Widing (Vocal Coach): Katie, an alumnae of both Jones and UAHS, is in her thirteenth year teaching at Jones. Her various instruments include piano, guitar, oboe, trombone, and bass. Mrs. Widing started her performing career in Fall Production as Curly in Peter Pan, Rose Seller in Oliver, Glinda in The Wizard of Oz, and Eulalie in Music Man. She went on to play Mrs. Paroo in UAHS' Music Man and Cherubino in Wittenberg's The Marriage of Figaro. She has directed for various school and community organizations in the area. Katie received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education from The Ohio State University and Masters of School Counseling from the University of Dayton.  Katie and her husband Andrew enjoy spending time with their young daughter, Charlotte.

Kathie Zelnik (Music Director): Kathie has been part of the Jones Fall Production team since 2011 as accompanist and for 2015, Music Director. Kathie received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University. She is a Jones/UA parent (Peter, Michael, Matthew) and Wickliffe music teacher. Previously she has been a choir director, private piano instructor, and an accompanist for Columbus Children's Choir.  She loves the rich learning opportunity musical theater offers students and has been assistant director/accompanist for many productions including Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Footloose, and Honk. She values the tradition of Jones Fall Pro and is very aware how uniquely fortunate the students are to have such support from the school, parents, and community in shaping their education while creating lifelong memories.

Megan Overly (Choreographer): Megan is new to Jones Middle School, but she has been involved in theatre her whole life! She recently choreographed Junie B Jones, Lion King KIDS, and Once on This Island, Jr. at Columbus Children's Theatre. Additionally, Megan is on faculty at CCT as a private dance instructor. Her recent appearances on stage in the Columbus area include Christmas in Columbus, Mary Poppins, The Pajama Game, Beauty and the Beast, and White Christmas. Megan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Cincinnati's College--Conservatory of Music, and a Juris Doctorate from the Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. She is excited to be a part of Fall Pro, and loves working with all the kids at Jones! Thank you to the production staff and parents who work so hard to make this show happen!

Alice Aichele (Producer): Alice is new Jones Middle School this year teaching 8th Grade American History but has been in UA for 15 years.  Although not a theater veteran Alice is an avid theater goer and has a daughter who has been bitten by the theater bug.  She will be helping off stage this year with several of the logistical aspects of the show and is excited to be part of this great Jones tradition.  

Ashley Osinski (Assistant Director): Ashley is in her seventh year as a School Counselor at Jones. Ashley received her Bachelors Degree in Middle Childhood Education and Masters of School Counseling from Oho University. She has always had a love for dance and enjoys spending time with and getting to know students outside of the school day. This is Ashley’s first time helping out with Fall Production and she is very excited to see Peter Pan come to life! 

Jack Weimer (Tech Director): Jack is a current senior at Upper Arlington High School and an alum of Jones Middle School. He is returning to Jones as Tech Director for part of his senior capstone project. While at Jones, Jack began his tech crew career in sixth grade and has continued with jobs in and out of the school ever since. Jack has programmed and operated the lighting rigs for the High School's productions of Wizard of Oz, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and flew sets for Mary Poppins. Outside of school, he has worked on lighting and stage crews in the Columbus area and in Chicago at Lollapalooza 2017. He also regularly designs and programs lighting for Rock City Church most Sundays. Jack hopes to attend DePaul University's Theatre School in Chicago for the 2018-2019 school year.

Pit Orchestra Musicians:
Violin: Gretchen Zunic (UA district string teacher)
Flute: Debbie Gibson (Barrington music teacher)
Piano: Kathie Zelink (Wickliffe music teacher)
Keyboard: Katie Widing (Jones music teacher)
Guitar: Tino Benedetti (Tremont music teacher)
Bass: Ed Zunic (UA district string teacher)
Drums: Jacob Reed (Worthington music teacher)

Previous Shows

2016—Singin’ In The Rain Jr.
2015—High School Musical Jr.
2014—The Little Mermaid Jr.
2013—Annie Jr.
2012—Fame Jr.
2011—Beauty and the Beast Jr.
2010—Music Man Jr.
2009—High School Musical Jr.
2007—The Wizard of Oz/Disney Favorites
2006—Cinderella/King and I
2005—Peter Pan/Grease
2004—Annie/Tom Sawyer
2003—Music Man/Wizard of Oz
2002—Peter Pan/Grease
2000—Wizard of Oz/Disney Favorites
1999—Music Man/Grease
1997—Wizard of Oz/Grease
1996—Music Man/Tom Sawyer
1995—The Sound of Music/Disney Favorites (Snow White/The Little Mermaid/Peter Pan/Aladdin)
1994—Annie/Disney Favorites (Pete’s Dragon/Cinderella/Mary Poppins/Beauty and the Beast)
1993—Wizard of Oz/Oliver
1992—Music Man/Tom Sawyer
1991—Peter Pan/Calamity Jane/Fiddler on the Roof
1990—The King and I/Bye Bye Birdie (Jones and Hastings)
1988—Music Man
1987—The Wizard of Oz
1986—Broadway Favorites (Fame/Peter Pan/Music Man/Sound of Music/Shenandoah)
1985—Back to Broadway (West Side Story/Charlie Brown/Annie/Grease/Charlie Brown)
1984—Cheaper By the Dozen/Teen 1 & 2
1982—The American Dream Machine
1981—The Wiz/Annie/Grease/Saturday Night Fever/Electric Horseman

Audition Statement

Jones Middle School Fall Production auditions are open to all students in grades 6-8.  Roles are cast based on audition performance and rehearsal availability.  Fall Production follows the Upper Arlington district anti-discrimination policy.  Furthermore, students with parents on the production team do not receive special consideration.  Directing staff with children auditioning are not present in the audition room and are not part of the casting decision for their child.  Parent Coordinators and Parent Committee Chairs are not involved in any part of the audition process.  We strive to create the most professional and fairest experience possible for our students.

Every show presents different characters, requiring varying skill sets.  Not every show has a character for every type of performer.  For example, a student with a strong pop-singer voice will fit naturally into a modern show but will not necessarily be appropriate for a traditional show.  Students who received roles as 7th graders are not guaranteed roles in 8th grade based on their previous experience.  The audition panel seeks to put students where they will be most successful and best benefit the production overall.

Auditions are the hardest part of our jobs because we know the decisions made affect so many people personally.  Though we double cast our leading roles to help showcase as many students as possible, over 100 students audition for Fall Production annually.  Thank you for your understanding and support as students step outside their comfort zone, many for their very first time.  Jones Fall Production accepts all students, regardless of audition outcome, as performers.  There are no cuts and everybody plays.
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