The Grinch goes to school

‘Mu­si­cal within a mu­si­cal’ draws on Grinch theme

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @JAMIEACINDYNEWS

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

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.

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