WARREN, NJ - On the evenings of March 6 and 7, Warren Middle School students transported the audience with their theatrical production of Disney’s Peter Pan Jr!, a timeless adventure to Never Land which showcased amazing talent in the performing arts.
The show began with Wendy Darling sharing her love of storytelling with her brothers, Michael and John. However, when her father declared that she must move out of the nursery, Peter Pan and his pixie friend Tinker Bell, came to visit the children and whisked them away.
Their adventure introduced them to the Lost Boys, Mermaids, Indians, Pirates as well as the infamous Captain Hook, with his sidekick Mr. Smee.
Based on the Disney film and J.M. Barrie's enchanting play, Disney's Peter Pan Jr! is a modern version of the classic tale about a boy who never grows up. The score included new arrangements of classic Disney songs, such as "Following the Leader," "You Can Fly," "The Second Star to the Right" and "Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me”.
The stage and sound crew was headed by Joel Van Tine. With his support and guidance, backstage students ran all scene changes, lighting, sound and props. They also helped to build set pieces and prep the room and stage for every practice and rehearsal prior to the show.
The set designer for Peter Pan Jr! was Susan Sage. She and the students created amazingly whimsical sets. “I wanted to make the sets as authentic as possible. I was fortunate to have found a Golden Book titled Peter Pan and Wendy and used many pictures from the story as inspiration,” said Sage.
The colorful scenes evoked childlike imagery. Just as eye catching as the sets was the choreography by Jennifer Zimmerman.
Director Diane McCloskey, a professional Opera singer herself before teaching, was one of the originators of Musical Theater being done at Warren Middle School.
Since its inception in 1998, the repertoire of shows has included Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, Annie, Cinderella, Oklahoma, Willy Wonka, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Thoroughly Modern Millie, High School Musical and Fame. In addition to the musicals, the play Cheaper by the Dozen was performed. “We can have a lot more students participate in musicals than plays; we have had at least 60-85 students in shows and another 20 working on the crew,” said McCloskey.
Assistant Director Amy Jensen is in her second year with the Production Team. “Despite the weather setbacks this winter, the staff worked hard to make the show a success. I think it was very entertaining and comical based on the audience’s enjoyment,” said Jensen. Students were dedicated to rehearsal, practicing for months after school and some weekends.
Also working closely with the director was Bev MacGorman, an 11 year veteran of middle school theatrical productions. She designed the shirt, playbill, and tickets. MacGorman was instrumental in ticket sales and managing the production’s budget as well as and working on costumes and props. MacGorman said, “The joy on the faces of the cast, crew and audience made all of the hours of work worth it!”
From speaking to cast members, it is clear that being in the musical was a positive experience. Students learned about acting, singing, costume design, and stage makeup. They memorized script and music cues, as well as practiced voice projection, as they created characters to help the audience temporarily suspend disbelief. As this musical production was such a hit, it will be hard to wait a whole year to see what performance Warren Middle School has in store for 2015.
Congratulations to the cast of Peter Pan Jr!: Wendy: Peri Martins. Michael: Harkanwar Chadha. John: Kevin Lynch. Mrs. Darling: Juliet Leary. Mr. Darling: Justin Horowitz. Peter Pan: Spencer Acciarito. Crocodile: Rahul Lal. Captain Hook: Caleb Parker. Tinker Bell: Ariya Blow. Tiger Lily: Anjali Blow. Nana: Rebecca Sendon. Fairies: Amanda Aschoff, Nicole Bell, Angela Bui, Anchal Dhir, Elizabeth Nuzzi, Brigita Przybylski, Alex Terry, Sarah Young. Indians: Alison Pasquel Amores, Angelia Seda, Tori Sen, Hannah Tobin, Carly MacManus. Indian Ensemble: Sydney Brewster, Bianca Hartmann, Anika Kamerkar, Juliet Leary, Eliana Neuwirth, Francesca Minervini, Rachel Miller, Sena Naman, Leah Postol, Anna Schafhauser, Rebecca Sendon, Ariana Stoddard. Lost Boys: Catherine Cai, Olivia Forte, Raina Kansagra, Marianna Renda, Sabrina Sanchez, Matthew Tankel. Lost Boy Ensemble: Maia Buckwald, Brianna Caetano, Bianca Hartmann, Rahul Lal, Sena Naman, Jessica Sindel. Mermaids: Harsabreen Chadha, Alex King, Emma Leary, Robin McCabe, Angela Munoz, Eliana Neuwirth, Anna Schafhauser, Arianna Valenti. Pirates: Liz Askin, Sydney Brewster, Devika Govindarajan, Michael Harrison, Anika Kamerkar, John Maher, Kayla Martins, Leah Postol, Ariana Stoddard. Pirate Ensemble: Muireann Carmody, Angelina Carrano, Danielle Hurvich, Anisha Lal, Rachel Miller, Francesca Minervini, Aanya Sethi, Dylan Stein, Lara Yildirmaz.
Thank you to the Backstage Crew: Roma Barade, Thomas Dardis, Arden Dettling, Michelle Du, Sierra Heuvelman, Cole Heuvelman, Tyler Horvath, Emily Imiolek, Timothe Iroudayassamy, Kyle La Canna, Michael Maloney, Nicholas McGann, Kenzie McNulty, Jessica Pearlstein, Brady Pilsbury, Michael Rizzon, Portia Rowley, Rajveer Singh, Jeffrey Stickler, Michael Tobin and Ian Zohn.