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Jamie Van Pelt (center) is awarded this year’s Elliot Johnson Smart Scholarship by her drama instructors Jill Purdue (left) and Danielle Wagner Plocki (right). Plocki holds "Elliott the Octopus," the Magic Beanstalk Player mascot. Elliott’s favorite animal was the octopus. To help keep Elliott’s spirit alive, “Elliott the Octopus” makes an appearance in every Magic Beanstalk Players production. Van Pelt holds a plaque in honor of Elliott that hangs in the Magic Beanstalk Player classroom. Photo submitted

Jamie Van Pelt wins Elliott Smart Scholarship

     This year’s Elliott Johnson Smart Scholarship, which is awarded to a deserving student in dramaworks’ Magic Beanstalk Player program, goes to Jamie Van Pelt.

     “Jamie’s talents have lit up the West End Theatre stage many times! Not only has she been a part of the Magic Beanstalk Player program for several years, she also has participated in dramaworks community theatre productions,” said program director Danielle Wagner Plocki.

     “Jamie exudes confidence in her abilities and is an excellent role model to the younger students. She always has a positive attitude and is very deserving of this award,” Plocki continued.

     Jamie will play the role of Wendy in the Magic Beanstalk Players upcoming production of Peter Pan JR. The youth theatre troupe is reviving the production after the show was shut down less than two weeks before opening night in March of 2020 due to the pandemic.

     The Magic Beanstalk Player program is back to doing in-person rehearsals to bring this show to life once more. The production will be held at the West End Theatre from May 19 to 22. There will be two casts, and each cast will perform three times for a total of six performances. “We have 48 students ranging from kindergarten through 10th grade involved,” said Plocki, “Rehearsals are well underway, and it’s been a joy to sing, dance and act with our drama students again!”

    Tickets will be on sale to the public in April.

     The Elliott Johnson Smart Scholarship was created by his family and contributed to by many loving friends, family and community members. In the spirit of Elliott’s memory and his love of theatre, the scholarship is awarded to one student each year who has demonstrated exemplary performance, enthusiasm and dedication to the The Magic Beanstalk Player youth drama program.

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