“This is the 13th year of the Fifth Grade Play,” relates Fifth Grade teacher Ms. Kimarie Lynn, “and each year this musical is very different from the others! We specifically tailor each year’s production to the interests and talents of the students and the personality of that particular Fifth Grade class.””
“There are no auditions for the roles – the students pick their characters,” continues Ms. Lynn. “Most of them have gone to the play in prior years and have already selected the roles they wish to play. With new students, I give them a DVD of the play from last year, ask them to watch it at home, and then they choose who they wish to portray. We make sure that there are no minor roles in this musical; every student has an opportunity in the spotlight.
“In addition, the production itself changes each year. Ms. Kat Banales is masterful at sprinkling into the script little bits of very current American culture or adapting the dialogue to fit a student’s desire to take on more lines. Mr. Miller knows the students’ voices from Music Class, and he makes suggestions for solos and duets. Ms. Deb Wilcox designs new choreography that enhances each student’s dancing talent on the stage of the Norris Theatre. Almost every year we change the quantity of production numbers, the duration of the musical, and the number of transitions in front of the curtain. Ms. Terry Metzenbaum handles a myriad of tasks including costumes and props, and this year Mr. Zach Lorenz joined our team and was superb in coaching and instilling within our students the very human aspect of American history.”
“The students truly learn early American history as well as the flow or timeline of the events in that period,” Ms. Lynn relates. “They recognize the actions that led to the consequences of that time. Of equal importance, they become more confident in their speaking skills in front of a group, realize the importance of preparation and practice, and come to truly enjoy the entire experience.”
“We have our Academy Awards on a day following the play, where each student sits on a stool in front of the class, and peers share positive experiences with this child that occurred during the practices and on performance night. There are no “bests” awarded – we feel that all the students have exhibited truly outstanding work.”
“Finally, the children write a five-paragraph reflective essay, sharing how they employed the school’s Six Character Qualities to achieve success throughout the entire production process!”
“We’ve found that this theatrical experience has far-reaching results; alumni who return often relate that this musical is their favorite PHS memory!”