Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 03-28-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 ENTERTAINMENT MARCH 27-APRIL 2, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER LIVING EDITION Woonsocket High School will open their production of "In the Heights," a 2008 Tony Award-winner and Miranda's first Broadway hit. Like its more famous successor, "In the Heights" is packed with upbeat, hip hop-inspired musical numbers that showcase the diverse cultures behind the production. Unlike "Hamilton," this show won't break the bank, with tickets just $10 when purchased in advance. Jennifer Maiello, WHS theater and dance teacher, said students involved with the production started rehears- ing in September. "This show's very hard. We are only one of two high schools that have attempted it in the state of Rhode Island. Not many high schools attempt to do it at all," she said. "In the Heights" tells the story of a Washington Heights commu- nity struggling with questions of family, identity and home. Marco Hernandez, a junior making his onstage debut, stars as a bodega owner and narrator of the show, while senior Katherine Romero plays a college student trying to adapt to the outside world. It's an appropriate pick, said Maiello, for Woonsocket, a city that has faced its own challenges but benefited from the many per- spectives of a diverse range of ethnic and cultural groups. "I think for Woonsocket High School, it was an awesome choice because it celebrates diversity and that's what we strive to do here on a daily basis," she explained. Students have faced a unique chal- lenge this year amid the ongoing standoff over an unsigned teacher contract. In previous years, students have met with Maiello after school two to three times per week and come in on weekends and holidays to rehearse the show. This year, the work-to-rule policy instituted by the Woonsocket Teachers Guild only allows Maiello one day per week to rehearse with the students after school. Instead, students have come in before school and worked with alumni and other volunteers to pull everything together before opening day. "Overall, I think the students have really stepped up their game because they know our schedule is so tight," said Maiello, who added the cast is one of her most committed in many years of teaching at WHS. Fans of "Hamilton" will recognize the composer's unique style in songs that combine hip hop, salsa and more traditional Broadway-style bal- lads with complex choreography. Maiello said the songs have been a hit with cast members who are eager to share them with an audience next weekend. "The show is very explosive. I think they want to tell this story to their friends and family," she said. "In the Heights" plays on April 4, 5 and 6, at 7 p.m. in the Woonsocket High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 when purchased ahead or $15 at the door. Tickets are available for purchase in the WHS main office during school hours. BREEZE PHOTO BY CHARLES LAWRENCE JUAN CERON, on left, and AMBRA MONTECALVO, both seniors, dance during one of the many Latin-flavored arrangements in the musical. KEEP BLACKSTONE VALLEY BEAUTIFUL invites nine cities and towns to beautify a location in their community to win monetary prizes and bragging rights. "I'm really excited to see how this is going to work out. I think it's going to be a lot of fun," Donna Kaehler, director of Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful, told The Valley Breeze. "I'm excited to see what our valley com- munities are going to come up with." After identifying one community spot to improve, municipalities will plan and purchase supplies for their location and organize groups to help with the work. While projects must be located on town- or city-owned property, any individuals or groups – garden clubs, conservation commissions, scouting groups – can volunteer and partici- pate. "Anyone can work on doing the sprucing (up)," said Kaehler, a North Smithfield resident. To register, municipalities should contact Kaehler by emailing keep@ tourblackstone.com by Monday, April 1. Include the location, partici- pants, and a "before" picture of the spot. Projects must be completed by Friday, June 21, and winners will be announced on Friday, June 28. First prize is $1,000 along with a private boat ride for 30 people on the BV Explorer on the Blackstone River. "Whoever helped the transforma- tion … we want to show them a piece of the river and have some fun," Kaehler said. The second-place winner will receive $500 and third place, $250. Prize money could be used to reim- burse the groups for the supplies they purchased or it could go to the town to encourage future beautification projects, Kaehler said. BETA Group Inc. in Lincoln is sponsoring the contest. Lowe's Home Improvement in North Smithfield is the supplying sponsor, offering dis- counted supplies for the contest. Judges from BETA, Lowe's, and the University of Rhode Island Master Gardener program will choose win- ners based on transformation, sustain- ability and visibility in the commu- nity. Points will be won for beautify- ing locations that have previously been graffiti-tagged, overgrown with weeds or an area where people ille- gally dump, as well as for creating a sustainable project that "looks good year-round and that people are going to see" often during day-to-day activi- ties, Kaehler said. People should "think a little bit outside the box," she said, suggesting that if there's a spot in the commu- nity that people drive by every day and think is an eyesore, that could be the location to tackle. Kaehler didn't want to put too many parameters on the competition, she said, and looks forward to seeing what communities create. For ideas, competitors can check a list of plants that thrive in the val- ley, assembled by the URI Master Gardener program: www.keepblack- stonevalleybeautiful.com/site/uri- plant-listings . The competition is "a way to show pride in your community and get people involved," she said. Even municipalities that don't win "still end up with another pretty spot in the community for people to enjoy." It's also a way to make people think about their everyday actions and how slight changes can help the environment, Kaehler said. People might hesitate to litter if they see a nice, clean area, but "an area that is littered makes people feel that they can litter there." Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful, which is run through the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, a national nonprofit that works with millions of volunteers on beautification and greening programs in more than 20,000 communities annually. Projects include native species and tree plantings, sustainable community gardens, urban forestry, vacant lot transformation, graffiti abatement, and fighting blight, according to its website. The idea for Blackstone in Bloom sprung from an annual, award-win- ning competition in Belper, England, called Belper in Bloom, Kaehler said. Pawtucket's sister city Belper is the hometown of Samual Slater. She said she plans to make this an annual competition in northern Rhode Island. The contest will not only benefit each individual community but will add to making the Blackstone Valley more of a tourist destination, Kaehler said. "I think sometimes the Blackstone Valley doesn't get thought of. We always think of the beaches, Providence, (or) Newport," she said. "However many communities (par- ticipate) that's how many more beau- tiful spots we have." For more information, visit www. keepblackstonevalleybeautiful.com . 'IN THE HEIGHTS' From Page One CONTEST From Page One Do you know someone celebrating a May Birthday? The Valley Breeze Birthday Club for MAY will be printed on May 2, 2019. Forms should be received by The Valley Breeze by Friday, April 26, 2019. Send in the name of someone with his or her May birth date and $2 per edition and we'll include them in the club. The check should be made payable to The Valley Breeze for use in the Breeze charities fund. Mail to: The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Thank you! Greetings should be 10 words or less. Name: .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Date of Birth: ............................................................................................................................................ Age: .............................................................................. From: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Contact Phone Number (for questions, not publication) ................................................................................................................................................. Edition (please check): Cumberland/Lincoln edition ($2) Pawtucket edition ($2) Observer edition ($2) North Smithfield/Blackstone/Woonsocket edition ($2) North Providence edition ($2)

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