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Local Kids Take the Stage to Fight Hunger

Emma Freedman

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 • 3:40pm

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Local children entering 4th to 8th grade are putting the final touches on the Morrow Musical Theater Camp (MMTC) production of PETER PAN, JR, director Shona Roebuck announced today.  Three performances will take place at Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church this coming weekend (Saturday, August 16th 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 17th at 2 p.m.).

"Peter Pan is in many ways a story of faith," said Ms. Roebuck. "It is about faith in youth, faith in dreams, and faith in our ability to transform our world and the larger world.  'The moment you doubt whether you can fly," WROTE J. M. Barrie, "you cease for ever to be able to do it.'  In our production, we hope to entertain but we also hope that this experience of working together will allow us to create something else: THE STUDENTS appreciate the significance of hunger, even in our community, and they develop a sense of responsibility to do something about it."

On Wednesday, August 13, members of the cast of Peter Pan Jr. visited CUMAC in Paterson, NJ to learn more about what THEY ARE doing to fight hunger in Northern New Jersey. The CAST spent time learning about hunger and experiencing what it’s like to have a meal like someone who DEPENDS ON FOOD ASSISTANCE. Nearly 13 percent of the residents in New Jersey experience some type of hunger or malnourishment. THREE IN FIVE children in New Jersey live in a food insecure household.

"Not only is it important for children to learn at an early age that access to food is not something to take for granted," said Brenda Wheeler Ehlers, Associate Pastor Children & Youth Ministries of Morrow Memorial Church. "But, we want them to know that their gifts can make a difference, no matter their age. I hope that in their dreams, they dream of a world where we don't ever need to do this work, a world with no hunger."

PETER PAN JR. is the fifth production of the Morrow Musical Theater Camp.  Each summer, local children try-out for parts at the start of the season, learn their lines throughout the summer, and then in August participate in all aspects of the production for one week, culminating in three public performances.  Past productions included:  Little Mermaid Jr., Alice in Wonderland Jr., Seussical Jr. and Willy Wonka Jr.

Rosa Wolff, who is playing Peter in this year's production, said, "The MMTC group works very hard to make these productions as good as possible. But Shona always reminds us that while we are doing this, we can also help others.”

“Each year we work with a community partner who receives the proceeds of the show,” explained Shona Roebuck.  “This year, when we chose PETER PAN JR., we thought it was important for our young participants to understand that while they are all encouraged to dream big and enjoy childhood, unfortunately, far too many of their peers spend their time worrying about where they will get their next meal.  That is why we selected hunger alleviation through CUMAC for this year.”

Highlights of this year's performance of PETER PAN JR., include such memorable songs as I Won’t Grow Up, Following the Leader, and of course, I Can Fly.  In addition to Shona Roebuck, who has directed the summer program since the beginning 5 years ago, the production team includes:  Brenda Ehlers, Kristin Herrick, Leah Estillero, Suraija Agosto and Jenna Burniston.

There is a $10 suggested donation per ticket.  All donations will go to hunger alleviation.  All performances will take place in the sanctuary of Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church at 600 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood, NJ. Tickets can also purchased at Words Bookstore.

You can find more information and updates about the show and camp on Facebook at facebook.com/mmtcdirector.

 

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