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r2pdaisy 120"Daisy Pulls It Off" is the funniest play you've never heard of, presented in the prettiest theater you didn't know existed, by Running to Places (R2P) in the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School (BJM) in Ithaca. The show runs Feb. 27-March 1.

"Daisy is a hilarious parody of the series of books from the 1920s that J.K. Rowling ripped off to write the Harry Potter series," says Joey Steinhagen, R2P artistic director. "Imagine if Hogwarts weren't magic and Hermione was the main character. That's Daisy."

Just like Harry, Daisy (Erin Hilgartner) needs to win the game (field hockey, not Quidditch), captained by prefects Clare (Summer Davis) and Alice (Sophia Tantillo), rescue her classmates from certain death with the help of her mischievous best friend Trixie (Ilana Wallenstein), solve the mystery of the mysterious Mr. Thompson (Erik McSwain), and find the secret treasure – all while proving that being a scholarship student at the prestigious Grangewood School for Girls doesn't make her any less than snobs Sybil (Melissa Naylor) and her sidekick Monica (Bella Nelkin-Paperno). Will Daisy be thwarted by Headmistress Gibson (Jack Honig) or teachers Mr. Scoblowski (Bailey Olmstead) and Miss Granville (Malama Sokoni)? If the title is any clue (which it is), then chances are Daisy has the pluck to pull it off.

Daisy Pulls It Off is a clever meta-play-within-a-play, introduced at the beginning by Miss Gibson as the Grangewood School spring production. There is no "fourth wall," and the characters frequently speak directly to the audience, adding to the sense that any strange and surprising thing could happen at any time. Audience members of every age are sure to be delighted.

According to Steinhagen, the theater space at BJM is the perfect venue for this show. "I've often described it as the best kept secret in town," he says.

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The BJM stage is in the library with an ornate proscenium arch and a 250-seat balcony with the original vintage seating. Steinhagen is directing the actors to use every inch of the room in the telling of the story -- when a scene takes place in the school library, the actors will be among the stacks of a real library. R2P is working with the BJM administration to give students of the school and their families opportunities to experience the show, in appreciation for welcoming R2P into their school community.

"There's a wonderful parallel to R2P in the story," says Steinhagen. "Daisy has crashed through the class barrier to become the first student at the school based on merit, not money, opening the doors to other passionate young people like herself. And as of this season, R2P has eliminated any fees for participation, relying instead on community support to sustain us." (Donations to R2P can be made online at

The design team includes Deb and Jim Drew, set design and build; Maxine Etchison, an Ithaca College senior design major, costumes; Janet Olsen, props, and Mike Garrett, lights. Jeremey Pletter, resident music director, provides live piano for the production -- in drag as "Lady Jeremina Plettersworth.".

Daisy Pulls It Off is sponsored by Kelly A. Damm Attorney at Law and The Savage Club of Ithaca, with scholarship support from the Tompkins Trust Company and an anonymous fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County. Additional grant support is provided by  the Park Foundation and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, with season-long support from CSP Management.

The show runs one weekend only: Feb. 27- March 1, Friday and Saturday at 7 PM, Sundayat 2 PM.

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