By Lily Williams | NB Indy
The newest show at the Newport Theatre Arts Center (NTAC), “Groovy,” aims to take you back to the ‘60s by celebrating hippiedom and flower power.
The retrospective musical is a part of NTAC’s youth theatre program, which puts on a production each summer and gives youth from around Orange County the chance to work with experienced actors and directors.
“Groovy” focuses on a group of teens creating their own music festival, and the troubles they face with the talent and local law enforcement.
Stephen Saatjian, a substitute teacher during the school year, played the grumpy Sheriff Withers.
“The kids are wonderful. They’re hardworking, and they take direction really well,” said Saatjian. “They set a good example because they make me want to learn.”
The talented kids, with the help of the NTAC board, honored Teri Ciranna, one of their older cast members. Ciranna, who played Mrs. Kaufman, was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and won the Shakespeare Prize there.
After the 2 p.m. matinee show on Aug. 6, Ciranna was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a framed cast photo to celebrate her birthday and her contributions to NTAC’s youth theatre program.
“The kids have been amazing,” said Ciranna. “They are so helpful, so kind, so sweet.”
Rebecca Yee, a 16-year-old who has participated in NTAC’s last 14 youth productions, said of Ciranna, “We are honored to have her, work with her, and learn from her.”
Gabriella Valainis, 11, who stole multiple scenes as security guard Swashbuckler, expressed gratitude for the whole cast.
“It’s all about working together,” said Valainis, “and seeing how it all turns out. It really helps you learn stuff about theatre.”
“Groovy” runs through Aug. 14 at NTAC. For more information, visit ntaconline.com.