May 25, 2017
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NOW: 53°
HI 57 / LO 50

Get Out: ‘Number the Stars’ comes to Bradford Studio

World War II drama is a story of friendship


10
BY JEFFREY ZAMPANTI
jzampanti@kenoshanews.com


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Kenosha Unified delivers an award-winning children’s story centered around adult themes in “Number the Stars” opening at 7:30 tonight (May 18) at the Bradford High School Studio (Room 150), 3700 Washington Road.

The play is based on a fictional story written by Lois Lowry about the escape of a Jewish family from Copenhagen during World War II. Annemarie Johansen (played by Emily Burhani) becomes a part of the events related to the rescue of the Danish Jews avoiding relocation to concentration camps. She risks her life in order to help her best friend, Ellen Rosen (Nailah Ali), by pretending that Ellen is Annemarie’s late, older sister.

Lowry’s novel was awarded the 1990 John Newbery Medal as “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” The award is presented annually by the Association of Library Service to Children.

Burhani, one of Kenosha Unified’s veteran performers, shows off her versatility in one of her final high school productions. The Bradford senior is cast in Unified’s production of “1776” headed to the International Thespian Festival on June 23 in Lincoln, Neb.

“(Number the Stars) is really interesting because you see all of these holocaust movies and books about the concentration camps and this is a story about avoiding those camps,” said Burhani, who plans to study acting at Nebraska Wesleyan University. “And since it’s based on a children’s book, it has a lot of wonder and fun stuff in it.”

Burhani said she went outside of her comfort zone, challenging herself not only with the role but by working with a new group of students in an intimate studio setting.

“I’ve been doing theater since middle school and I’m always in the shows with the same people,” Burhani said. “This is a group of people I’ve never gotten to do a show with before. I went into it not knowing what the vibe is going to be and we’ve had so much fun. (Ali) is my best friend in the show and by pretending to be best friends, we’ve actually become so much closer than we used to be. So that’s been really fun.”

The two actors have been a pleasure to watch, according to play director Christi Geidner.

“They’ve clicked amost immediately,” Geidner said. “They have a nice presence on stage. They’re both very sweet individuals personally. They just have a dynamic energy together that brings the story to life. That’s one of the reasons I chose the story. As an artist, a creator, an actor, a director ... my job is to tell a story to the audience and bring to life these individuals.”

The studio seats about 50 people.

“I like having the audience right there with instant feedback,” Geidner said. “It’s storytelling at its finest.”

If you go

What: Kenosha Unified’s studio production of “Number the Stars”

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (May 18-20)

Where: Bradford High School Studio (Room 150), 3700 Washington Road

Tickets: $12 ($10 senior citizens, $5 students)

More information: www.kusd.edu/finearts


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