UPPER JAY-Sam Balzac started acting when his mother needed a "Tiny Tim."
In the 10 years that have followed, the 16-year-old thespian has been in love with the stage, performing throughout the North Country and even working on a few of his own pieces.
On Saturday, July 16, Balzac will see the fulfillment of one of those works take to the stage, as the Book and Blanket Players will present, "Road to Dannemora," at 7 p.m. at the Keene Central School.
"I am really excited to hear these songs being sung by someone other than myself," Balzac said about the upcoming performance. "I am looking forward to seeing the entire work on stage with all original pieces."
Previously, "Road to Dannemora" had been produced through his mother, Kathleen Recchia, but featured music that had already been written by others.
Balzac said that while he had ideas for his own songs in the piece, it was a class at Keene Central School that helped him bring those ideas to print.
"For a while, I thought that there was no way that I could compose anything," Balzac said. "Last year, I took a music theory class at school and that was when I started to put stuff down on paper."
Balzac said that he also collaborated with Deb Vanneman, who has conducted choral workshops in the area and hails from Mt. Laurel, N.J. for the songs.
"I had a couple of ideas, and the plan was for me to write a couple of the songs and she would work on the rest," Balzac said. "She had things that kept coming up throughout, so, in the end, I ended up writing more than I had planned."
The Book & Blanket Players, which is produced by Recchia, is a week-long children's theater workshop where the kids worked long days and perform a full musical at week's end.
Balzac said that this year's musical, his self-written "Road to Danemora," is an homage to Bob Hope/Bing Crosby Road movies with lots of local folklore thrown in, including characters that represent local icons like Arto Monaco of Upper Jay's Land of Make Believe.
"Road to Dannemora" offers a full score complete with overture, entr'acte, and scene change music. Deb Vanneman will be Music Director for the workshop and performance artist Annie Scavo of Jay will be assisting with sight gags.
More than 20 children ages 8 to 18 from Keene, Jay, Wilmington,Westport and beyond have registered for the 2011 production.
Admission is free. Donations will be accepted. For more information call 518-946-8323 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.