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Zion Opera Workshop Junior to Present “Disney’s Peter Pan Junior” as its Second Production

After a successful debut performance of “Willy Wonka Kids” in May of 2017, Zion Opera Workshop’s children’s theatre group, “ZOW Junior” is set to perform its second musical, “Disney’s Peter Pan Junior” on Mother’s Day weekend.

This production is under the direction of Zion Opera Workshop veteran, Laura Cressley, joined by fellow ZOW veteran Adam Reichard as the stage director. Both directors have appeared in over 10 theatre productions with Zion Opera Workshop over the years and attribute their love for musical theatre to their involvement in the group at a young age. However, with the exception of occasional roles for children in Broadway shows, there was really no opportunity to include the youth of our community in the usual ZOW productions, typically only involving individuals in 9th grade and above. ZOW Junior gives the youth of our community a chance to be involved with ZOW and experience the thrill of theatre before entering high school.

The extremely talented cast for this show is comprised of over 40 children, ranging from 7 to 14 years old. Since auditions, held during the second weekend of March, the cast has been at work at least twice a week learning songs, dances, and lines to bring the classic story of “the boy who never grew up” to life!

Based on the Disney film and J.M. Barrie’s play, Peter Pan Junior transports audiences to the Darling household, where Wendy (played by Jim Thorpe 6th grader, Allie Marciante) is busy telling stories to her younger brothers, John (4th grader, Abigail Ehrig) and Michael (2rd grader, Estella Bongo). When their parents (played by LAMS students Jared Oswald and Brielle Gosselin) tell Wendy that she must grow up and stop telling stories, the children are saddened, but they awake to a surprise when Peter Pan (played by JT 6th grader, Lillian Heydt) stops by to find his shadow that their dog (and nursemaid), Nana, (played by 5th grader Kate Newsted) stole from him the night before. Pan and Tinker Bell (played by 5th grader, Mylee Hauser) climb through the bedroom window and help the children fly to Neverland, where they will never have to grow up.

Upon their arrival in Neverland, the children find that Pan’s arch nemesis, Captain Hook, (Jared Oswald) his first mate, Smee, (Kate Newsted) and the rest of the pirate crew on the Jolly Roger, (consisting of Brielle Gosselin, Mary Kate McCormick, Daphne Gowin, Jezelle Stribula, Amanda Gowin, Maya Schweitzer, Ilana Schweitzer, Alfred Bravo, Tahlulah Bravo, and Gavin Hoffman) are trying to shoot cannons at Peter and the Darling children. Peter uses his quick wit and ability to fly to outsmart Hook and escape unharmed (with some help from the tick-tocking Crocodile, played by Emmalyse Vavra).

The children then encounter the “Lost Boys,” Peter’s friends, who came to Neverland after “falling out of their cribs” and are at constant war with the Indian Braves. Lost Boys are played by Claire Foeller (Cubby), Anne Gilsbach (Skunk), Sadie Strack (Hop), Lauren Sheckler (Fox) and Karina Wisocky and Kaia Mehnert (Raccoon Twins). Named Indian Braves are played by Olivia Erickson, Selene Stribula, and Colleen Gilsbach, with the role of Chief Tiger Bamboo being played by 6th grader, Liliana Nuzzo and the princess, Tiger Lily, being portrayed by 5th grader, Ava Bongo.

Rounding out the inhabitants of Neverland are Tinker Bell’s spunky fairy friends (played by Alli Foeller, Layla Bravo, Sarah Schlough, Susan Gilsbach, Briana Didea, Delaney Erickson, Nicole Kester, Madalyn Horning, and Natalia Brady) and the beautiful mermaids of Mermaid Lagoon (Vivian Zimmerman, Lilly Andreas, Gabrielle Hoffman, and Maci DoVico).

ZOW Technical Directors Pati and Duane Reichard are once again helping with props and set pieces for ZOW Junior, and costumes are being created by ZOW costumer, Nancy Keiser, and parent volunteer, Wendy Hauser. ZOW members Amy Shelly, Casi Short, and Bethany Evans and ZOW director, Brad Cressley, have also been assisting during rehearsals, working with groups of cast members on lines and songs and keeping these young actors entertained.

Shows are to be performed on May 12th at 7:00 pm and May 13th at 2:00 pm. Tickets are only $5.00 a piece and can be purchased from any cast member, from Carbon County Music and More on 2nd Street in Lehighton, and can be put on hold by messaging Zion Opera Workshop Junior on Facebook at

MISSION OUTREACH OPEN DOORZion reaches out beyond the four walls of our building with ministries that touch the lives of an untold number of God's children.

Each year we support ministries such as Bethany Children's Home, Family Promise of Carbon County, CarNet, Big Brothers and Sisters, Healthy Smiles and Phoebe Ministries.

We also do our best to make sure that no one in our area goes to bed at night with pangs of hunger gnawing at their bodies.  How???? Well we have a weekly lunch each Wednesday in our Dining Room from 11:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M.   On the last Thursday of each month we serve a community dinner from 5:30 P.M.-7:00 P.M. to one and all.  On that same night we open our Feed-A-Neghbor Food Pantry to anyone who  possesses a Lehighton address and meets Federal income guidlelines. 

Any student who attends a school in the Lehighton Area School District can come to Zion during the summer months and enjoy a free nutitional lunch each week-day (M-F) from 11:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M.

Please contact us at 610-377-1191 for additional information on any of these  ministries or if you would like to join us as a volunteer.


BINGOZion now sponsors Bingo every Tuesday night in our Dining Room.  Early Bird games begin at 6:00 P.M. with regular bingo beginning at 6:30 P.M.  Our kitchen, featuring great food at reasonable prices, opens for service to you at 5:30 P.M.   Maximum jackpot will now be $ 4,000.00.

Come and enjoy a night out.

FOOD MINISTRYZion's Food Ministry reaches into our community to make sure that none of God's children need to be hungry.  We offer a Community Meal from 5:30 P.M.-7:00 P.M. in our Dining Room on the last Thursday of each month.  Our delicious meals are free to anyone, regardless of your level of income. 

Our Feed-A-Neighbor Food Pantry is also open on the last Thursday of each month from 6:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M.  In order to receive food from this ministry, you must have a Lehighton address AND meet Federal Income Guidelines.  A photo ID is required when you visit the pantry.

Please note that there are some months, generally November and December,  that the Community Meal and Food Distribution date changes from the last Thursday of the month. 

Give us a call at 610-377-1191 if you would like more information on our Food Ministrires at Zion.




Zion  hosted the Baccalaureate Service for Lehighton Area School District's graduating class of 2018 on Monday, June 11th.

The fine young men and women of the 2018 class offered prayers, scripture readings and  their thoughts on their life journeys...past, present and future!

Pastor Geg Liable of Christ Evangelical Free Church presented an inspiring message.

The Lehighton High School Choir, under the direction of Ms. Jessica Schafer offered offer several well received musical renditions.  

The service was attended by close to 400 familie and friedns of the 164 graduates.

   This article's graphic is the cover of this year's program and was designed by Emily Cerimele.