April 2014

In 1879, Gilbert and Sullivan staged their comic opera The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway. An irreverent parody of paternal affections, young love, social class and Victorian morals, as well as a dig on “pirates” stealing their copyrights, the show’s winning combination of song, dance, action, and romance made it a commercial success.

Over the years, it would play on hundreds of stages around the world and make its way  to school campuses. Now, 135 years later, Menlo School in Atherton presents its own version of the three-time Tony Award-winning musical, directed by Broadway veteran Steven Minning.

Minning, who has professionally directed the musical twice previously, aims to draw from the “energy” of the school’s teen talents. He cites the “fun and fresh abandon” with which the students are portraying their roles. “This energy has inspired new elements that will go into the show and make it uniquely Menlo,” he says.

Some of the cast members echo this feeling of newness. For many of them, their roles in Pirates are vastly different from what they’ve done in the past. “I have to get used to the idea of being a character that looks down on those he views as beneath him,” says J.B. Horsley, who plays Major General Stanley.

On the other hand, Lauren Smith, who plays Kate, one of the major general’s daughters, says her role is “more dainty and feminine” than her previous roles. Kate, says Lauren, embodies the “damsel in distress” archetype.

For Anika Padwekar, her part is also a departure from her previous roles. As Ruth, Padwekar plays a middle-aged motherly figure guilt-ridden about accidentally turning over her ward Frederic into a pirate’s care as an apprentice.

The Pirates of Penzance will be played on an outdoor stage as Menlo School’s spring musical on May 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10. This will be the third production and first open-air one for Minning, who joined the school’s faculty at the beginning of the school year.

All shows will be at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults and are available online. Chairs are provided, but you may bring your own lawn chairs and blankets.

Pictured in photo, left to right: Front row – Addy Geenan, Lauren Smith; Second row – Marco Papadoyannis, J.B. Horsley, Kate Lucas, Lucas Loaiza, Julian Garcia-Mendez; Top row – Hayden Pegley, Anika Padwekar

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Kite Day set for May 3rd at Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park

The community is invited to come fly a kite from Noon to 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 3rd at Bedwell Bayfront Park at the end of Marsh Road in Menlo Park. For $6 participants will receive a kite, hot dog and drink. All ages welcome.

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Garrett McMurtry completes 80-day wilderness expedition in Patagonia

For Menlo Park resident Garrett McMurtry the fall semester had a decidedly southern exposure. He and 16 other National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) students embarked on an 80-day wilderness expedition in the diverse landscapes of Patagonia. They hiked across glaciated mountain peaks, camped in alpine valleys, and sea kayaked through island chains. They began at NOLS […]

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Encinal School adds science fair to family fun night

Last afternoon Friday (4/25) the rain stopped, the sun came out, and Encinal Elementary School’s Family Fun Night was underway. The PTO-sponsored SPINGO event includes science, pizza, and bingo. Singers and musicans from Menlo-AthertonHigh School, including some Encinal alumni, serenaded attendees, and Lawrence Hall of Science provided a hands-on interactive science session “Wizard’s Lab”. Some […]

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Local authors talk about fleeing Nazi occupation and their new lives in America at Menlo Park Library event

Two local authors of recently-published memoirs will be sharing their memories and discussing their books at a special program to be presented by the Menlo Park Library on May 3. Eva Maiden (pictured), author of Decisions in the Dark: A Refugee Girl’s Journey, and K. Sophie Stallman, author of My War, My Life, will discuss […]

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2014 House Student App Challenge entry date extended to May 31

Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) announced that the deadline for 18th Congressional District entries to the 2014 House Student App Challenge has been extended until Saturday, May 31, 2014. Eshoo, the Co-Chair of the nationwide competition, extended the deadline to maximize student participation in the competition. “Due to significant interest from 18th Congressional District high school […]

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MakeGamesWithUs gets up close and personal with its new summer academy

Ashutosh Desai (left) and Jeremy Rossman, who graduated a year apart from Menlo School, want other people to do what they did in high school — make iPhone games. “We took computer classes together and had this incredible teacher — Michael Thibodeaux,” said Ashu. “He’s pretty much the best there is. I took six classes from him while I […]

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MPPD’s newest recruit hails from the Czech Republic – and has four legs!

The Menlo Park Police Department’s newest member is Nerro Ajaxova Uranie (Nerro for short), an 11-month old German Shepherd who arrived in the U.S. from the Czech Republic just two months ago. He was purchased by a donation from Menlo Park business owner Jason Chang of CSBio Incorporated. Nerro and his handler, Officer Allen Swanson, […]

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Menlo Park Relay for Life holds kick off event in Fremont Park

The Menlo Park Relay for Life held a kick off event in Fremont Park earlier today encourage people and teams to sign up for the two day event scheduled for Aug. 9-10 in Burgess Park, attended by Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller (adult, far left), who emailed us a photo. The annual event honors cancer survivors, remembers […]

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Photographer Merrie Asimow’s work featured in Silvershotz

Menlo Park photographer Merrie Asimow has been selected to appear in the new edition of Silvershotz, a prestigious publication that supports and promotes photographic artists all over the world. An award-winning fine arts photographer, Merrie is a member of Women in Photography International. Her photos in Silvershotz feature the white horses of the Camargue. These […]

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Community members are graduates of Menlo Park Police Academy

“Congratulations to our community members for completing the 10 sessions of the MPPD Academy,” emails the Menlo Park Police Department. “They are now our community ambassadors! “The Academy is mainly lecture-based with class participation and role-playing exercises. The class also went on ride-a-longs and took a tour of the crime lab. “The next Academy will […]

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