Oak Bluffs: This weekend is musical theater weekend!

—MV Times

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel.”  –Maya Angelou, poet and author

The Steamship Authority has announced that all Islanders will travel for free on all ferries from now on. This change will begin on April 1. I’m sure you already guessed, but APRIL FOOLS’! 

My grandmother’s birthday was April 1. Every year we would wrap a giant box filled with smaller and smaller wrapped boxes until she got to the tiniest box of all, which would hold her gift of a candy bar or maybe a homemade card. Every year, she would act totally surprised and laugh along with all of us. How wise she was to give us that gift!

Our town has lost another bright light. Leah Mercaldo, “Miss M” to countless students at the Oak Bluffs School and MVRHS, passed away too soon on March 26. She was a tiny woman with a gigantic heart and fierce spirit. She loved children and animals, and all of her many friends, and her family most of all. She is with the love of her life now, her husband Johnny. We will miss her deeply. Her life will be celebrated on Saturday, April 2, at St. Augustine’s Church. 

This weekend is musical theater weekend! Yes, the MVRHS Theater Department. is returning to the stage with a production of “Les Misérables” at the Performing Arts Center. Director Brooke Ditchfield has invited members of the Island Community Chorus (fresh off their spectacular concerts last weekend) to sing with the cast, and the ensemble will include elementary students as well (what’s “Les Mis” without adorable, scruffy urchins?). Community members have pitched in with everything from set building to costumes, making this an island-wide production. There will be four shows: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 pm, and Sunday April 3, a matinee at 2 pm. I can’t wait! 

The Vineyard Playhouse is offering “Acting 101” with MJ Munafo and friends. This is a fun introduction to acting and the performing arts for adults, no experience needed. Classes will be in person at the Playhouse for four weeks, beginning Thursday, March 31. A $10 donation per class is suggested. Preregister at mvplayhouse.org

I just found out that the Playhouse offers an afterschool acting program for grades 3-5 and 6-8. It is called Winter Stars, and it is a fun exploration of all things theater, with MJ Munafo and actress Katherine Reid. It is ongoing through April 12; check the website above for more info. I know how fantastic their Summer Stars program is — I’m sure this must be a great experience! 

I just renewed my membership to the M.V. Museum. Upcoming programs include the “Brown Bag Lunch” series on Friday, April 1, with Juli Vanderhoop of Orange Peel Bakery talking about Wampanoag food culture. On Wednesday, April 6, join a virtual program, “Hidden Collections,” with Bow Van Riper, who digs into the artifacts and stories that are behind the scenes at the museum. And if you love wampum jewelry, mark this on your calendar for April 23: “Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America.” Paula Peters from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will explore the history and cultural significance of wampum in the Wampanoag community. Check mvmuseum.org for tickets.

April Fools’ Day birthday greetings to Robin Meader, Tyson Araujo, Sandy Moreis, and Danielle Light! On April 2, sing “Happy Birthday” to Julie Williamson, and to Rita Chiaravalle on April 3. Stephen Grace will be celebrating in Palm Springs on April 4, and he shares that date with Maya Angelou. 

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