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Dover teen on Broadway; Regis playwright in Russian theater festival

Dover 15-year-old Katherine Leigh Doherty with Catherine Zeta-Jones. Dover 15-year-old Katherine Leigh Doherty with Catherine Zeta-Jones.
By Cindy Cantrell
February 14, 2010

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ON BROADWAY, AGAIN: Dover’s own Katherine Leigh Doherty said she “caught the theater bug’’ in her very first role, in a children’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie’’ when she was in the second grade. Now 15, she is performing opposite Academy Award-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and five-time Tony Award-winner Angela Lansbury in “A Little Night Music’’ on Broadway.

Katherine, who is alternating in the role of Fredrika Armfeldt at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City, appeared in the original Broadway company of “Mary Poppins’’ as Jane Banks in 2006.

Katherine said it has been a “dream come true’’ to perform in the first Broadway revival of “A Little Night Music,’’ which opened in 1973 and ran for 601 performances. She credits the encouragement and support of her entire family, particularly her mother, Lauren Doherty.

Doherty picks up her daughter in New York City every Sunday night so Katherine can attend the Noble & Greenough School in Dedham on Mondays, her day off from performing. She then drives Katherine back to New York City in time to prepare for her Tuesday evening performance, and returns home to care for her three younger sons. Katherine, looking ahead to college, is tutored during the week.

“It’s such an honor to be able to work with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury that I want to pinch myself,’’ Katherine said, “but my mom is Supermom.’’

For more information, go online to www.nightmusiconbroadway.com.

WAR AND PEACE IN LOVE: A play cowritten by Regis College theater professor Wendy Lement is one of three works chosen for full production next weekend at the New England Russian Theatre Festival in Boston.

“Woman With the Red Kerchief’’ is about the nine-year love affair between writer Leo Tolstoy and Aksinia Bazykina, a married peasant woman on his estate who is believed to have borne his child. The relationship ended when Tolstoy married an 18-year-old from a society family, Sonya Behrs - although Bazykina’s influence on his writing and life endured for the remainder of his life.

Lement wrote the play with former Regis College colleague Firouzeh Mostashari, a historian who is a visiting scholar in the history department at the University of Iowa.

“Woman With the Red Kerchief,’’ directed by Melissa Penley, will be performed Saturday at 2:45 p.m. and next Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, at 949 Commonwealth Ave. on the Boston University campus.

The three-day Russian theatre festival, which will also feature workshops and 10-minute plays, opens Friday.

Lement, who will direct her play at Regis College from April 22 through 25, said she is looking forward to seeing it performed in someone else’s hands.

“It will be wonderful to see it from a different perspective,’’ said Lement, who has written a children’s book and more than a dozen plays about historical events. Penley “has been in touch with both of us. It’s been a nice collaboration.’’

More information about the theater festival is available at www.bu.edu/bpt.

MODEL UN: A team of area residents joined 3,000 secondary school students and faculty advisers from 28 countries participating in the 57th annual Harvard Model United Nations conference, held Jan. 28-31 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

The students, who represented the Arlington Leadership Enrichment Adventure Project’s Model United Nations Club, were Robert Harrelson and Natalie Duranceau of Arlington High School; Alex Chen of Lexington High School; Jeremy Norberg-Bohm and Aidan Wilcox of the Chapel Hill Chauncy Hill School in Waltham; Alec Shea of the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge; and Rebecca Rosenthal, a home-schooled student who attends classes at Middlesex Community College.

At the conference, the students practiced international diplomacy by representing Afghanistan in committees around topics of maritime piracy; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the right and responsibility of nations to protect their citizens; terrorism; the 1960 Congo crisis; the global financial crisis; and sustainable development by multinational companies.

According to the students’ adviser, Kim Kay Holt of Arlington, the team gained tremendous assistance and insight for their position papers from the staff of the Afghanistan Embassy in Washington, D.C.

“My goal is getting the kids involved in local community service activities, but also in world issues that will make them better global citizens,’’ said Holt.

THE WRITE STUFF: Fifth-grader Genna Brusie of Weston has launched a new website to share her love of reading and writing with other kids.

So far, most of the stories and book reviews posted at www.gennasworld.com have been written by Genna with contributions by her 8-year-old sister and a 12-year-old cousin from Connecticut. However, Genna is trying to involve her classmates at the Eliot Montessori School in Natick, and is posting fliers at local libraries and bookstores.

She hopes more participation will stimulate ideas for a collaborative story, in which she elicits suggestions for how a story might proceed as she writes it. All submissions are reviewed for content and age-appropriateness by an adult before being posted online.

“You don’t have to be the best writer in the world to have fun on Genna’s World. My goal for the website is for kids to submit stories, but even kids who don’t like to write can comment on them,’’ said 10-year-old Genna, who might like to be a writer, actress, or singer when she grows up. “It’s just a fun way to be creative and express yourself.’’

AUTHOR AWARDS: Authors Kim Ablon Whitney of Newton and Jacqueline Davies of Needham have been nationally recognized for their historical novels aimed at young adults.

Whitney’s book, “The Other Half of Life: A Novel Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis,’’ won the 2009 National Jewish Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, while the work by Davies, “Lost,’’ was a finalist.

“The Other Half of Life’’ tells the story of a boy and girl who meet aboard the ill-fated ocean liner St. Louis, which left Germany in 1939 with more than 900 Jewish refugees escaping Nazi Germany.

“Lost’’ is about a girl living on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the early 1900s, and her experiences working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

Both books were also recognized in the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. “Lost’’ was named an Honor Book, and “The Other Half of Life’’ was named a Notable Book.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@globe.com.

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