Who let the dogs out? This time, it's Cresson Lake Playhouse.
The children's theater at the playhouse is putting on Disney's "101 Dalmatians, The Musical" with public performances Sunday and May 2.
The 65 students in this year's production come from several school districts, including Penn Cambria, Central Cambria and Hollidaysburg. Cast members range in age from 7 to 18.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Some cast members for Cresson Lake Playhouse’s production of Disney’s “101 Dalmatians, The Musical” are (from left): first row — Tessa Novotny, Leah Partner, Caelyn Kim, Amber Bailey, Levi Kosack and Cullen Kim. second row — Shane Gleason, portraying Roger; Amy Podoletz, portraying Cruella de Vil; and Reagan Hajjar, playing Anita.
Students are given a chance to build a "solid foundation" in theater and are given "valuable tools in life" through their participation in the children's theater, which the playhouse has offered for more than 25 years, executive director Elaine Mastalski wrote in an email.
"The students learn discipline and self-confidence, to function as a team, and other people are relying upon them to present a quality production," she said. "The program is a continued effort by Cresson Lake Playhouse to pay it forward by offering this program for free to area aspiring students with this arts-in-educational experience, too."
The production, which also puts on shows for student field trips, has two casts.
If you go
What: Disney's "101 Dalmatians, The Musical"
When: 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday and May 2
Where: Cresson Lake Playhouse, 279 Shapiro Road, Loretto
Tickets: $10, adults; $5, students under 12
This keeps the students involved from missing too much school, said director Holly Smith of Cresson, a Penn Cambria teacher.
The show stars one of the most notorious villains in Disney history: Cruella de Vil, portrayed in the two casts by Amy Podoletz, a senior at Hollidaysburg Area Senior High?School, and Chelsey Driskel, who is in 12th grade at Penn Cambria High School.
Amy, 17, never thought she would end up playing the character she found to be funny and evil in the cartoon version, she said.
She plans to take a similar approach for her turn in the role, bringing "insanity and evil, but at the same time, I don't want people to be terrified of me," she said.
Amy is having a good time exploring the sinister role.
"At first, I was kind of surprised; I wasn't expecting to get Cruella de Vil. I just auditioned and thought, 'Why not,' and when I got it, I was excited in a way, because I don't get to play an evil character, and I'm not evil myself personality-wise, so it was fun to investigate playing an evil character like that," she said.
The production isn't Amy's first show.
In high school, Amy, who was recently accepted into the theater program at Seton Hill University, was part of several high school and junior high productions such as "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," and "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Last summer, she was in CLP's "Fiddler on the Roof."
"I played Chava in that, and she was a sweet little girl, so it [was] a big difference from being a sweet little girl to Cruella de Vil," Amy said.
Smith is in her fifth year directing the children's theater.
"We are delighted to have Holly as the director," Mastalski said. "She offers many educational opportunities for the cast members and shows great patience and strength as our director, and the students love her so much. It is a wonderful opportunity for students."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.