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Bringing a Show to the Stage in 10 Days

The first summer musical theater production in our new home, Moana Jr., gave our aspiring young students the opportunity to rehearse and perform a big show on a world-class stage! Twenty-six kids, ages 4 to 16, participated in the two-week program, coordinated and choreographed by Laura Altenor, Groton Hill’s Community Engagement & Summer Programs Manager, and directed by Elizabeth Schorr. The program culminated in 2 fantastic shows in our Concert Hall on August 25th – a sensory-friendly afternoon performance and an evening show – with 750 family members and friends in the audience.

With just 10 days to learn all of their lines, songs, and dances, the students worked hard while having a phenomenal experience. “We were honored to have such stellar children join us this summer,” notes director Liz Schorr. “Working with kids from all different backgrounds, ages, and abilities was the best part and seeing them come together and work dynamically was beautiful to see! Their synergy as a group really transferred out to their dynamic performances.”

Moana Jr. is based on the very real heritage and history of the Polynesian Islands – Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti – and the students were able to glean some inspiring cultural lessons. Laura says that: “We chose this musical not only due to its popularity but to educate students on music from cultures around the world. Plus, the themes in the show highlight bravery and selflessness as Moana and her friends embark on a journey of self-discovery.”

Musical theater training offers many social and physical benefits for young kids, helping them “develop body awareness through singing, dancing, and acting,” explains Laura. “Seeing students go from being shy and closed off to completely confident in themselves was a prominent moment for me. They learned how to work the stage and they gained confidence on how to fearlessly let their individual lights shine while operating as a unit. Not only were they challenged with learning multiple roles but they also had to perform in two different performances as two separate characters. Impressive! I am beyond proud!”

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