‘Always prepared, reliable and ready to work’ to bring ‘these fun characters to life on stage’

Warwick. Superintendent’s Artists of the Week: Angelina McKnight, Sage Brookins and Ariana Gonzalez.

| 26 Oct 2021 | 01:00

By all accounts, Park Avenue Elementary School fourth graders Angelina McKnight, Sage Brookins and Ariana Gonzalez are sweet kids and model students.

This fall, however, they have been having fun playing a trio of villains in preparation for the school’s production of “101 Dalmatians Kids.”

Angelina appeared as Cruella De Vil in the show, while Ariana and Sage played Cruella’s sidekicks, Horace and Jasper. The Park Avenue Drama Club performed the show three times over the weekend, once on Friday and twice on Saturday outside on the school’s lawn.

“I have to act mean, and I don’t usually act mean,” said Angelia. “My favorite part about the play is probably learning new things and then practicing them at my house and at rehearsals.”

All three girls said they enjoyed practicing and performing the choreography. Sage’s favorite part of the production is “My Beautiful Coat,” which the three perform together. Araiana also liked the choreography and the songs.

“The girls are not only talented actors and singers, but also wonderful examples and role models for their peers in the drama club as well,” said Park Ave Drama Club producer Amy Buliung. “I love seeing them bring these fun characters to life on stage.”

The girls had to deal with challenges including quarantines, practicing remotely with some of the Drama Club’s high school helpers, preparing individually at home, and even learning to say their lines with a Cockney accent.

The trio’s hard work has paid off big time, according to the Drama Club’s volunteer coordinators. WVHS Chorus Director Noreen Hanson, who provided vocal coaching and worked with Sage and Ariana on their accents, said: “They are absolutely wonderful kids that are so easy to work with. They picked up their accents very quickly and accomplished a lot in a short time.”

Student Director Emily Buliung, who worked closely with Angelina on vocal coaching, said: “I loved working with these three ladies, and am so excited to see what they do in middle school and high school.”

“These three ladies were always prepared, reliable, and ready to work,” said Drama Club Director Christy Brown. “They were dedicated and passionate about bringing their roles to the next level. I thoroughly enjoyed watching their growth over such a short period together and then having them share their talents with our live audiences.”