The Grinch goes to school
‘Musical within a musical’ draws on Grinch theme
St. Thomas of Jenifer Elementary to perform ‘The Grunch’ this weekend
The Drama Club of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School is inviting the community to come out and share the magic and wonder of the theater with its performance of the one-and-a-half hour play, “The Grunch.”
“The Grunch” is a musical within a musical, written by Denver Casado and Betina Hershey for New Yorkbased Beat by Beat Press, a publisher of children’s musicals.
Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” it tells the story of how theater-hating Whoover Academy student Rudy Grunch plots to ruin the school musical the night before their big performance in front of New York theater critics.
“She thinks that theater and musicals are stupid and she’s mad that they get all this attention, so she tries to sabotage their play,” said director Samantha Marino, a third grade teacher at Jenifer Elementary. “She takes all their props and their costumes and everything, but in the end, of course, she has a change of heart.”
“It’s an awesome play, and it also teaches about the meaning of theater,” Marino added.
The Jenifer students performed the musical Tuesday and will be performing it again at 6 p.m. Saturday at North Point High School.
The performance is $5 per person, with teacher and group discounts.
There will also be desserts and sou- venirs on sale, with funds to benefit the school, Marino said.
Micah Racho, a fifth grader, plays Whoover Academy theater enthusiast Harper.
“I’m the person who tries to get the Grunch to like Drama Club,” Racho said. “I’m just like Harper. I’m really enthusiastic about theater, even though this is my first year.”
Racho said she loves the storytelling aspect of theater.
“Theater is about telling stories to people, and hopefully they will remember it throughout their life,” Racho said.
Last year, the Drama Club put on its first performance, “The Wizard of Oz.”
“People were so amazed by it, so I figured I had to step up my game this year,” Marino said. “These kids really rise to the challenge. They work really hard, and these are third to fifth graders.”
Marino said it has been wonderful to see the way the students have become engaged in the play.
“I had one girl, she was in my class last year, she’s in fourth now. She was so quiet, she would ask other people to ask me questions, because she didn’t want to talk,” Marino said. “This year, she has a solo this year, and she has projection like nobody ever knew.”
Marino said she has seen students build confidence, teamwork and imagination through participation in the theater.
“The kids are able to express themselves like they can’t always do. Problem solving, trust, spatial awareness, art appreciation, cooperation and collaboration— there are so many benefits,” Marino said.
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School students rehearse the musical “The Grunch” Tuesday. The school’s Drama Club will be performing the musical Saturday night at 6 p.m. at North Point High School.
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School fourth graders, from left, Adiaha Witherspook, Janiya Avant and Kennedy Alleyve rehearse a musical number in “The Grunch.” The school’s Drama Club will be performing the musical Saturday night at 6 p.m. at North Point High School.
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School Drama Club students, including at front, Tianna Williams, fourth grade, leap from the stage while rehearsing the final musical number in “The Grunch.” The school’s Drama Club will be performing the musical Saturday night at 6 p.m. at North Point High School.