“They are excited to perform,” said musical director Mike Costello right before the students went on stage. “Their parents and families are out there and they get to perform for the whole school.”
About 38 fourth and fifth graders participated in the play. Costello has seen his students develop through the entire play process.
“Their singing voices have improved and their confidence has improved,” he said.
This was Madlie Armand’s first year being part of a school play and she had a solo with her role of The Candyman. She said she believes Willy Wonka Jr. teaches a good lesson.
“Charlie is a really good character,” Armand said. “Even though he doesn’t have much, he’s thankful for what he has.”
Students rehearsed the show from the beginning of the school year with two one-hour rehearsals each week after school. In the two weeks leading up to the show, students practiced every day to prepare for their performance.
Everyone in the play worked very hard to memorize lines and learn the choreography, according to student Kierstin McFarlane. This is her third year participating in the school play. She played reporter Phineous Trout and a squirrel.
“I love performing for my family to see how much I’ve progressed over the years,” said McFarlane.
McFarlane enjoyed the songs in Willy Wonka Jr. “The songs are fun. Even though they’re pretty easy, they’re also challenging at the same time,” she said.
Powells Lane started having play productions five years ago. It was the school principal, Claudia Germain, who wanted to introduce the students to musical theatre.
“The children are very talented here, and I wanted to give them an opportunity to have a different experience besides chorus, band and orchestra,” said Germain.
Every year, Germain and Costello work together to decide what musical production would be best for the students. The company MTI Broadway Junior creates all of the plays that they choose from. This company makes adaptations of shows for middle-school age students. Costello and Germain make sure each play is tailored to the needs of the elementary school students.
“Everything has turned out wonderfully,” said Germain. “I wanted them to take their talents and put it to good use through theatre, and it really took off.”