Orange resident, Andrianna Ayala, has spent the last three summers appearing in stage productions as a member of the Youth CONNection with Center Stage Theatre in Shelton. This summer is no different for Ayala as she has been double cast in the leading female roles of Eve and Mama Noah in the theatre’s upcoming production of Stephen Schwartz’s musical, Children of Eden, which opens at Shelton Intermediate School on July 28th and plays through August 5th.
Ayala, a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and a sophomore at Temple University in Philadelphia is a Music Therapy major. “I’m really excited to be playing these roles in such a profound play,” said Ayala. “Schwartz brilliantly uses the stories from Genesis to convey a greater message about our own families, and, in the bigger picture, the family of Man.”
Stephen Schwartz, known for musicals like Godspell, Pippin, and the smash hit, Wicked, wrote the moving Biblical fable about parents, children, and faith in 1986, and, while it has never had a Broadway run, it has become a staple for professional, educational, and community theaters throughout the country! The musical ultimately delivers a bittersweet but inspiring message that “the hardest part of love is letting go!”
Ayala, who played Vanessa in Center Stage’s production of In the Heights has risen up through the ranks, having gone from an ensemble member to a leading player over the course of recent years. “Andrianna has grown up at Center Stage,” said Artistic Director Gary Scarpa, “and she has evolved into a highly skilled performer and one of the greatest singers we have directed in our many years of working with student actors.”
The Youth CONNection, founded by Gary and Francesca Scarpa in 1983, now kicks off each Center Stage Theatre season. Each summer the group presents a major musical at Shelton High School or Shelton Intermediate School. In recent years, the group has performed such musicals as In the Heights, Peter Pan, Les Miserables, and Legally Blonde. Members of the Youth CONNection have also given benefit performances for civic organizations and worthy causes throughout the state, including Juvenile Diabetes, the American Cancer Society, Hospice, the Ronald McDonald House, AIDS Project New Haven, and Unicef. Youth CONNection productions are known for their energy, excitement, and professionalism.
Children of Eden will be presented at Shelton Intermediate School, 675 Constitution Boulevard North Shelton, CT, 203-926-2000 at 8:00 p.m. on July 28th, 29th, August 4th, and August 5th, and also at 2:00 p.m. on August 5th. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and may be purchased by calling 203-225-6079 or visiting www.centerstageshelton.org.