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“Sideways Stories from Wayside School” Features Quirky and Sometimes Scary Characters

The "Sideways Stories from Wayside School" cast includes (from left): Maddy Kunkel as Bebe, Gerald Jerry Zieman as Mrs. Gorf/Mr. Gorf, and Graham Gall as Myron (photo by David Watts)

RLT's "Sideways Stories from Wayside School" cast includes (from left): Maddy Kunkel as Bebe, Jerry Zieman as Mrs. Gorf/Mr. Gorf, and Graham Gall as Myron (photo by David Watts)

Raleigh Little Theatre will present Sideways Stories from Wayside School, actor, playwright, and teacher John Olive’s stage adaptation of the Wayside School Novels by Louis Sachar, on May 6-8, 12-15, and 20-22 in its Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre in Raleigh, NC. RLT youth theater and education director Linda O’Day Young will stage this youth-theater production of this whimsical play, which had its world premiere at the Seattle Children’s Theatre during the theater’s 2000-01 season.

According to Raleigh Little Theatre:

“There was a bit of an error made in the construction of Wayside School. Instead of making 30 classrooms side by side, it was built one classroom on top of another, 30 stories high … except for the 19th floor, which seems to have been forgotten. Strange encounters and skewed adventures challenge the students: Mrs. Gorf [played by Jerry Zieman] — the meanest teacher in the history of Wayside School, Ms. Jewls’ [Caity Brewer] possessed blackboard, pigtails that talk, a lunch-money-stealing principal, ghosts in the mashed potatoes, and the ethereal Miss Zarves, who may or may not reside on the mysterious missing 19th floor.”

In addition to Jerry Zieman as Mrs. Gorf/Mr. Gorf and Caity Brewer as Mrs. Jewls, the Raleigh Little Theatre cast for Sideways Stories from Wayside School includes Graham Gall as Myron, Henry Hopson as Dameon, Maddy Kunkel as Bebe, Jessica McGee as Leslie, Annabel Bloom as Rondi, Clint Lienau as Louis, Oliver Riera as Mr. Pickle, Ruth Berry as Miss Valooosh, and Ben Mygatt as Sammy.

Besides director Linda O’Day Young, the show’s creative team includes choreographer Misha Nikitine, technical director Jim Zervas, scenic designer Thomas Mauney, sound designer Becca Easley, lighting designer Josh Reaves, props manager Rick Young, and stage manager Mike McGee.

Raleigh Little Theatre recommends Sideways Stories from Wayside School for children aged 5 and up:

“This play is an adaptation of the strange stories with quirky and at times scary characters from Louis Sachar’s Wayside Series. This production relies heavily on the use of sound (organ music, thunder and lightning) and bold lighting. The play, though amusingly strange to most, may be a little frightening to younger children. This is a good choice for the elementary school level, a fun treat for everyone who is able to sit and give attentive listening in an audience. (Age recommendations are offered simply as a guide to assist parents in selecting theater experiences for their children. Parents know their children best!)”

Raleigh Little Theatre presents SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL at 7:30 p.m. May 6, 1 and 5 p.m. May 7 and 8, 10 a.m. May 12, 7:30 p.m. May 13, 1 and 5 p.m. May 14 and 15, 10 a.m. May 19, 7:30 p.m. May 20, 1 and 5 p.m. May 21, 1 p.m. May 22 in RLT‘s Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.

TICKETS: $13 ($9 children 12 and under).

BOX OFFICE: 919/821-3111 or






NOTE: All shows are wheelchair accessible.


The Play: (official web page).

The Playwright: (official website).

Wayside School Book Series: (official web page) and (Wikipedia).

Louis Sachar: (official website) and (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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