The literary character Flat Stanley will come alive during the Cayuga Heights Elementary School production of "The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr." on June 13 and 14. This ambitious production is being led by Cayuga Heights music teacher Jason Miller with lots of help from teachers at the school. He answers some questions about the production.
Is it unusual for an elementary school to do a play of this level? Yes, it is fairly unusual to do a Broadway Jr. at the elementary level. We felt this was a logical step for us, however, as we have been steadily increasing the difficulty and complexity of our shows with each new production at Cayuga Heights. This is our fifth show since I began producing elementary musicals at Cayuga and the sheer size of the production has definitely proved to be a challenge both for the production staff and for the students. Everyone is really stepping up to the plate however, and we are excited to see the final result in June.
What grades are involved? This is our first year as a combined fourth- and fifth-grade chorus. The ensemble is quite large, totaling 91 students.
Have you chosen the cast? Yes. We had auditions in January and have approximately 30 students with lead roles plus 7 designated dancers.
Why did you choose this production? I have always gotten a kick out of the story of Flat Stanley. Students throughout our school have read and enjoyed the many hilarious adventures of this delightful and whimsical character. Since we wanted to do a Broadway Jr. show this year, we were delighted with the idea of a literary connection that really resonated with elementary students. It seemed like the perfect show for our school. The music is incredibly upbeat and the story is appealing and accessible to kids and adults alike.
Is there singing and dancing in the production? Yes. There are solos, chorus numbers, and a range of dances. Our two choreographers, teachers Erin Smith and Rebecca Fatta have done a marvelous job of working with the dancers and the whole cast has really done well with the vocal parts despite how difficult they are.
Can students be involved in other roles (stage crew, scenery, etc.)? The elementary students in Lisa Pawlikowski's art leaders groups have helped to paint the set. We have had a whole range of parents come in to help with the set building and costume development. The stage crew will be comprised of students from the high school and some high school students have volunteered their time to come down to Cayuga and work on the set with Mrs. Pawlikowski and Khrista Tabak. A production of this magnitude requires a huge team effort and we are fortunate to have so many that are willing to help.
What other teachers are involved? Laura Jasinski has worked tirelessly as my assistant director. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Fatta are our team of choreographers. Mrs. Pawlikowski and Mrs. Tabak have designed and created the scenery. Teachers Patrick Uhteg and Sheri Barsottelli are serving as my stage and prop managers. The number of teachers at Cayuga who have volunteered to help out with the show is absolutely massive. I am grateful to the entire faculty of Cayuga Heights for their generous support of the show!
What type of scenery is involved? We are building a variety of scenes ranging from the inside of the Lambchop Family Home to the business offices of a Hollywood Talent Studio, the beaches of Hawaii, or even the art displays of the Louvre in Paris. One of the most challenging scenery items was the nearly 12 foot tall tree that Stanley gets stuck in when he is turned into a kite by his classmates. We were a little shocked by its height when we finished it, but I think it will definitely make an impression on the audience!
Provide a synopsis of the play Stanley Lambchop is a regular 10-year old boy who wishes to do amazing things. One night he makes a wish on a falling star, wishing to become a hero and do truly incredible things. Stanley goes on to find out the hard way that wishes can come true. During the night the bulletin board falls on him turning him into the world's first flat boy. After the initial shock to Stanley and his family wears off he decides to travel the world in the mail, taking advantage of his new shape to travel via airmail. Once on his way, Stanley finds new and exciting opportunities in Hollywood as a talent agent provides him with exciting connections in Paris and even Hawaii. Stanley embarks on a series of adventures in which he rescues the paintings of the Louvre from the infamous Sneak Thief and stars in a surfing movies in Hawaii alongside the fabulous actress Bikini Wahini! In the end, however, Stanley realizes that his heart is back with his family and he returns home. Upon arrival he is magically transformed back into a regular boy and shares his many adventures and lessons learned with his delighted family.
Anything else that is of interest This is our first production in the high school auditorium. We are excited to have the benefit of the marvelous Eugene Hale auditorium with all its lights and sound technology and its huge stage space. With a cast of the size of ours, we are glad to have plenty of room!
Required Disclaimer: THE MUSICAL ADVENTURES OF FLAT STANLEY JR is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Music Theatre International, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019, Phone: (212) 541-4684 Fax: (212) 397-4684, www.MTIShows.com