A special thank you to Don Dupont and Brian Hiller for contributing this article.
In our schools, every student performs in a grade level production each year. This tradition developed over time out of necessity. Instead of being bombarded by classroom teachers in June with cries of, “Help! I need to put on a play!” we invited entire grade levels to work with us to present the performances. At first, two or three teachers in each grade were interested, but once they saw the productions and the overwhelming response from parents and administrators, every teacher wanted their classes involved!
Our plays are based on nursery rhymes, folktales, fairytales, and quality children’s literature. The stories are told through narration, dialogue, songs, movement, and instrumental accompaniments.
Once we decide on a story, we rewrite it as a script, including original songs. The plays are designed with five classes in mind, but occasionally we modify them if needed. All songs are taught to all students during their music classes. Each class is assigned to perform movements for one of the songs.
Minimally staged, the students stand on choral risers and step to the front of the stage to perform their movements when their song is performed. Narrators speak into a microphone on the side of the stage. Costumes and scenery are provided by parents, and are as simple or as elaborate as desired. The classroom teachers help the students with their lines. We block out daily rehearsal time in the auditorium and put the whole thing together in two weeks, including the school and parent performances!
Our Tuneful Tales series (Heritage Music Press) is designed for music specialists looking to involve an entire grade level in a production. The songs are catchy, the tales are delightfully told, and the staging, costumes, and scenery are minimal. Each play includes a CD with audio tracks and digital files (including scripts, lyric sheets, accompaniment tracks, posters, and parent correspondences) to assist you in your preparation. We hope you enjoy our musicals as much as we do. On with the show!