Theatre Information

Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage Miss Nelson Is Missing

By • May 14th, 2012 • Category: Maryland, Reviews
Miss Nelson Is Missing
Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage
Gaithersburg Arts Barn, Gaithersburg, MD
Through May 27th
1 hour
$18/$16 Gaithersburg Residents/$9 for children through Grade 12
Reviewed May 12th, 2012

Miss Nelson’s class is full of kids terrorizing each other through spitballs, paper airplanes, and pinching. It’s enough to make Miss Nelson miss a day of school. The kids are thrilled, until the “substitute” teacher, Miss Viola Swamp, arrives. Miss Swamp’s classroom teaching style and homework assignment force the kids to take a drastic step: find Miss Nelson and get her to come back to school!

Miss Nelson Is Missing was originally a children’s book, aimed at kids four years old and up. I wasn’t familiar with the story, but I was expecting a bunch of kids trying to solve a mystery. And that’s what I saw, plus a bunch of antics at school. The music was lively, with two actors playing multiple roles, and four actors playing the bratty kids. Doe B. Kim’s projections were colorful, and showed a creative way of putting a blackboard on stage. (Will kids today know what a blackboard is?) Darnell Morris’ costumes were bright.

The four “kids” (Aaron Burke, Tim Evans, Rachel Jones, Claire Thomas) were excellent. I’m betting they had a good time channeling their inner child as they prepared for the show. Justine Lore was excellent as sweet Miss Nelson and evil Viola Swamp. Lore made the two characters stand apart significantly enough that I had to check the program after Miss Swamp’s first entrance to confirm it was the same actor. Ryan Burke had triple duty, as the school janitor, principal and a police detective. Each of characters were unique. His dim-witted rendition of Detective McSmogg was quite funny.

Younger children will enjoy this production, especially if they are in school already and can compare their teachers to Miss Nelson and Ms. Swamp. The lessons taught in Miss Nelson Is Missing may be a bit subtle for very young children, but can be a great launching pad for a talk between parents and kids.

Photo Gallery

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Standing: Justine Lore as Miss Nelson; Aaron Burke as Adam; Claire Thomas as Allison; Ryan Burke as Pops Hanson. Seated: Rachel Jones as Cheryl; Tim Evans as Gregory

Photos provided by KAT 2nd Stage


  • Pop Hanson/Mr. Bladsford/Detective McSmogg: Ryan Burke
  • Miss Nelson/Viola Swamp: Justine Lore
  • Adam: Aaron Burke
  • Gregory: Tim Evans
  • Cheryl: Rachel Jones
  • Allison: Claire Thomas

Artistic & Production Team

  • Director/Producer: Craig Pettinati
  • Music Director: Paul Heinemann
  • Costumes/KAT 2nd Stage Artistic Director: Darnell Morris
  • Light Design: Ed Eggleston
  • Sound Design: Kevin Garrett
  • Master Carpenter/Special Effects: Doe B. Kim
  • Video and Light Operator: Ed Eggleston, Jessica Halem
  • Sound Operator: Nancy Ostrove, Donna Jean Garrett

Disclaimer: Kensington Arts Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College.