BOONVILLE — The students of Boonville Elementary School will take to the stage on March 18, 19 and 20 for a production of Disney’s “Mulan Jr.” The performances will take place at the school at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $6 and available at the door.
Boonville Elementary has been staging a musical theater production since 2008 and that tradition is continuing through the passion of the teachers, students and alumni.
“Mulan Jr.” is under the direction of Dr. Ginger Holt, who has been involved with the productions since 2008.
“I have been involved since the beginning,” Holt said. “I was the music director from 2008 to 2015. Then, our director, Miranda Lowder, moved to Florida. I did not want to see the musicals stop because they are so beneficial to our students.”
Holt recruited Larissa Brown to serve as musical director so she could take on the challenge of directing.
“We have shared the responsibilities and it has worked very well,” Holt said.
The students have been hard at work for months now to put the show together.
“We auditioned students the week before Thanksgiving, and started rehearsing Dec. 1,” Holt said. Students in grades fourth through sixth are involved.
“We have rehearsed every day after school until 4:30 p.m., and are now practicing until 5 p.m., and will begin practicing until 5:30 p.m. soon,” Holt said. “It is a big commitment for our students, but they are all on board. It is going to be a great show. We hope to have lots of people in our audience for all three shows.”
The teachers involved said the theater program is a great opportunity for the students as they not only learn new skills, but they learn a lot about themselves.
“I think for a lot of children, it’s been an outlet where they’ve been able to figure out how to express themselves. When sports may not be their thing, this is something that they can do and be successful at,” Brown said.
The program has had such an impact that former Boonville Elementary students have returned to assist with the show.
“We have been very fortunate, because past students of ours have come back to help,” Holt said. “Haley Hinshaw and Lincoln Funderburk have helped with the choreography and Brooke Brandon and Trevor Moxley have helped with sound and stage management. They believe in the benefit of our musicals and did not want to see it fail. We are blessed to have such alumni.”
The show really is a community effort, with lots of help from teachers and parents.
Also assisting with the production are art teacher Marissa Brooks who designed and painted the set and Marcia Shaw who also assisted with painting the set. Jenny James did costume alterations, and Annette Johnson, Jerry Crook, Alton Vestal, Wayne Hayes, Jamie Castle, Julie Moxley, Robert Moxley, and Trevor Moxley assembled the set. Brenna Dickerson donated a prop. Robert Moxley, Steven Dickerson, and Allen Brown have helped with the set by building and working on props. Lights and sound will be done by Todd Phillips and India Phillips of Sound and Lights Production of Yadkinville. Mark McKnight and Travis Miller will set up for the show and clean up afterwards. Boonville teachers will take up tickets, work concessions, and help manage students behind stage during each show. Kari Hiatt Moran, a parent of one of the students, is designing the programs, and Cynthia Butcher made the tickets. Magan Driver, Taylor Cheek, and Estela Belmonte will be doing hair and makeup.
“There are so many helping, that I am sure I have left someone out,” Holt said. “We are just so blessed to have such support for our program. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts.”
“We are the only elementary school in Yadkin County that I am aware of that offers this experience to our students,” Holt added. “I believe that the students who participate in our musicals gain self-confidence, develop skills in cooperation, memorization, self-control, and responsibility. They are developing leadership skills. They feel that they are a part of something important, and they take ownership of ‘our play.’ It is great for them and a number of our past students and even some of our current students have found their passion through this, and are now involved in community theater. This program means a lot to our students, which is evident in the number of our alumni who help each year, or just drop by to see how it is going. It is a meaningful experience that stays with them for years.”
Appearing in the show will be Morgan Lawson as Mulan, Damien Royall as Mushu, Megan Mabe as Laozi, Ashlynn Abbott as Yun, Evelyn Jimenez as Lin, Laney Moran as Hong, Elizabeth Johnson as Zhang, Spencer Brown as Fa Zhou, Hayleigh Howard as Fa Li, Amelia Byrd as Grandmother Fa, Andre Powell as Captain Shang, Dalton Gilmore as Chi Fu, Darren Shore as Sha Yu, Joshua Kaufman as Chen, Luke Lawson as Liu, Mason Moxley as Yao, Ryan Ball as Qian-Po, Miles Hinshaw as Ling, Mavrick Adkins as Magyar, Dylan Ball as Subar-Tu, Samuel Ortiz-Garcia as Emperor, Brittney Day as Matchmaker, Carson Casstevens as Young Xiao, Trace Johnson as Young Yi, Sophia Matthews as Village Lady, Avery Castle as Hairdresser 1, Jennifer Gonzalez as Hairdresser 2, Marcela Hernandez as Hairdresser 3, Morgan Denison as Dressmaker 1, Saida Groce as Dressmaker 2, Alexis Renegar as Dressmaker 3, Hope Freeman as Groomer 1, Brianna Hawks as Groomer 2 and Alexia Suarez as Groomer 3.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.