Coastside kid about to make her center stage debut. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on November 22th, 2017.
The current Coastal Rep production Coney Island Christmas stars our Eighth Grade student, Sadie Nolan, as Shirley a Jewish girl cast as Jesus in her school’s Christmas pageant. This Holiday show is fun for all the family and runs through December 17th.
Sadie Nolan has spent her childhood at the theater and is now set to make her center stage debut in “Coney Island Christmas.”
Nolan will play Jewish girl Shirley Abramowitz, who is cast as Jesus in her school’s Christmas play. The story unfolds in flashback fashion as a much older Shirley, brilliantly portrayed by Darlene Batchelder, gleefully recalls the scenario.
“The show is about a girl, me. She’s Jewish and basically she gets cast in a Christmas play,” said Nolan. “Her parents are not OK with it because it’s just against their religion. They don’t think that she should do that. She basically goes behind their back.”
It’s complicated, to say the least. Abramowitz’s parents are Jewish immigrants who fled their homeland to escape persecution. Now, with feet planted firmly in America, they struggle to keep their traditions alive in a new world awash with the Christmas spirit.
“I plan to bring a little sassiness, a little spunk to the role,” said Nolan. “Her parents are strict. I think they are a good strict, but that they are too strict. The people who play them, Kelly Gregg Rubingh and Eric Berglund, are wonderful.”
As she prepared for her big moment in the spotlight, Nolan reflected on those who have offered their support along the way.
“Sea Crest School has been wonderful with offering all the different acting electives,” said Nolan, who is in her eighth-grade year at Sea Crest Middle School. “The classes I’ve taken have helped me build my confidence in my theater skills. They’ve given me opportunities to actually act in front of an audience and really just do it.”
Her father, Doug Nolan, is a fixture on the Coastside theater circuit. Coincidentally, it was Doug Nolan who starred in last year’s Christmas program, “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some).” He is also one of the leading men of the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co. whose most recent performances included roles in “Romeo y Julieta” as well as “Macbeth.”
“We run lines together,” she said. “I wouldn’t have done the Christmas show if it wasn’t for him. He’s always running lines with me, giving me pointers and helping me out.”
The younger Nolan is also a seasoned member of Coastal Repertory Theatre’s children’s program, an offshoot of the theater aimed at cultivating young talent.
“I started doing shows when I was in first grade,” remembers Nolan. “I got really serious about it when I was in fourth or fifth grade. I moved up to the older class and was ‘Wow, I’m really going to buckle down, work on my lines.’ I’m just very committed.”
Her first performance was eight years ago, when she acted in Oklahoma. She was in first grade.
“‘Beauty and the Beast’ has to be my favorite performance,” said Nolan, who was in fifth grade at the time. “That was the first time I felt the bond of the cast, the way that the cast works together. That’s when I really started to get serious about acting.”
Nolan believes her time spent developing her craft in the children’s program has prepared her for her starring role.
She credits Coastal Repertory Theatre children’s program teachers Kimberly Krol and Sabina Perlsweig for giving her the tools necessary for success.
“Kimberly Krol is the choreographer for the children’s shows,” said Nolan. “She’s such a wonderful singer and actress and she’s such a huge influence. She’s always been there for me. She’s very supportive, but she’s very firm and she really pushes us, which is what we need.
“Sabina Perlsweig is the singing teacher for the children’s classes,” she continued. “She’s really helped me become a better singer.”
Donald Margulies’ “Coney Island Christmas” opens this Friday and is scheduled to run through Dec. 17. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit coastalrep.com.
First Grade Neighborhood Study celebration was an absolute success! We are very proud of what the students created during the week of the build that concluded the meticulous research of our neighborhood they conducted for six consecutive weeks, with the guidance of their wonderful teachers: Stephanie Hanepen and Lesley Stevens.
The students studied the inner and outer workings of the neighborhood we all share, Half Moon Bay. The purpose was to explore how a neighborhood works interdependently to provide goods and services that meet the constituents’ wants and needs. The culmination of this study had the students build a 3D model of a neighborhood modeled after downtown HMB, out of cardboard shoeboxes and other recycled materials.
First-grade students kicked off their Neighborhood Study in January with a guest speaker Half Moon Bay Expert, Marina Fraser, who spoke about the history of Half Moon Bay and how the town has transformed over time. Marina gifted each of us a book about Half Moon Bay and a walking tour guide that they referenced on their upcoming walking field trip on Main Street, where they were able to research the things they needed for the neighborhood build.
First-grade students also learned about the water treatment process in class and completed an amazing follow-up activity in the iLab. Before the build, they received another special guest Former HMB Planning Commissioner, Steve Flint, who joined the first-grade classes to give them tips on city planning. They learned about the different types of space in a city like residential, commercial, industrial, green space and mixed use space. As a group, Steve led the students in a hands-on activity where they mapped out a town according to his tips and advice.
Following their Neighborhood Study, they spent a full week building “Box Town” and proudly presented it during the Academic Celebration on February 17th, 2017. Thanks to all parents for attending this fantastic event and helping during the build!
The Half Moon Bay Review published an article about our traditional winter concert and grandparents and special friends day — what a spectacular celebration of community!
By Kaitlyn Bartley
The performers belted out their hearts in front of perhaps the most devoted audience ever to attend a rock concert. Even in their red plush Santa hats, some vocalists were shorter than the microphones they sang into, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, where glowing iPhone and camera screens bobbed and waved with the music like hundreds of Bic lighters.
Clearly, the musicians had practiced extensively for their big day, but it was also clear from the proud smiles in the standing-room-only crowd that the performances brought far more joy than could be expected by just hitting right notes.
The event was Sea Crest School’s winter concert program, held the morning of its annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day. The audience included more than 100 grandparents who had traveled from as far as Texas, Massachusetts, and even the United Kingdom, for the yearly celebration.
At least some in the audience were relieved that rehearsing for the concert was over.
“We listened to a lot of Johnny Cash in the weeks leading up to the concert,” Femke’s father and Half Moon Bay resident Kory Mingus said with a laugh.
“We are so impressed with the school,” said Ardis Tobin, of Nevada City, who drove for five hours in the rain with her husband, Patrick, to hear their first-grade grandson sing. “It seems like a wonderful, safe place.”
With the guidance of the school’s newly formed Grandparents Circle, this year’s special event featured a morning concert with each grade singing hits from previous decades. Featured artists included Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Coldplay.
Janet and Ron Reed, of El Granada, attended Grandparents Day to see their fifth-grade granddaughter perform songs by Cyndi Lauper and The Cure and visit their daughter, who herself is a fifth-grade teacher. Although this is only their second Grandparents Day, it has become one of the most special days of the year for them.
“We like to see all of the grandkids perform,” said Janet Reed. “It’s so wonderful.”
What a spectacular celebration of community at our Winter Concert and Grandparent and Special Friends Day! We enjoyed a magical journey through the decades with heartfelt songs of generations sung by our students. After the concert, our guests participated in classroom activities and enjoyed a Then and Now display created by members of our Grandparents’ Circle. We had well over 100 grandparents and special friends in attendance. Some coming from across the country from Texas and Massachusetts and others from as far away as the United Kingdom. We also welcomed our neighbors from Half Moon Village.
We thank you for all your support of Sea Crest School now and throughout the year.
We wish you peace and joy during this holiday season and into the new year!