HAVERHILL — As tropical flowers adorned their heads while singing songs from the Disney movie “Moana,” students from the JG Whittier Drama Club performed their second musical performance of the school year.
Robert Gariepy, a music and drama teacher at JG Whittier Middle School, had orchestrated rehearsals for the upcoming production of “Moana Jr.” a 60-minute adaptation of the 2016 Disney animated film which premiered June 3-5.
After a successful run with the fall production of “Willy Wonka Jr.”, Gariepy was enthralled with the idea of bringing the movie “Moana” to life, at the request of his student.
Each show took viewers to the fictional village of Motunui and the story of Moana and her journey across the sea, featuring much-admired songs from the film, such as “How Far I’ll Go”, “Shiny” and ” You’re welcome.’
With a rehearsal schedule of just under five weeks, Gariepy was amazed that his students could complete such a massive project in such a short time.
“The students did a fantastic job adhering to our rigorous but fair rehearsal schedule…In the end, our cast learned the whole show in less than a month; something I’m pretty impressed with,” he said of “Moana Jr.’s training schedule, a stark contrast to the time invested in ‘Willy Wonka Jr.’, which took over three months to complete. to end.
The production of “Moana Jr.” had 33 cast members, featuring two college students as Moana, each starring in two of the four shows.
“I think this production…is an important outlet for our students who may be struggling outside of school or who feel like they don’t have a place where they can be who they want to be,” a- he declared. “It doesn’t matter where our students come from, but they know that when they are in our group, they feel at home. »
“Moana Jr.” included students in grades 3 through 9 from the Haverhill School District, alongside other members of the school community, “extending the collaborative passion ever further in our diverse city,” Gariepy said.
So far, the club has raised over $2,000 since debuting “Moana Jr.” and sold over 170 tickets for the four performances.
Tickets were available for purchase at the door for each performance for an additional $2.00.
According to Gariepy, students can continue to shine with the upcoming summer theater program through the Discovery Club & Access 21.