Mayalin Turner, Jackson Meadows, Alissa Ritchie, Lucrecia Cummings, Maya Perez, Marley Biranbaum, Eli Thuot, Connor Gilmour, Macartney Wigg, Sara Edmundson, Genevieve Bacon, Jordan Rush, Taryn Baldwin (Asaan Maherali)

Dunsmuir musical theater students take the stage for ‘Willy Wonka Jr.’

Grade 6-8 students put on three shows Feb. 28 to March 2

For its first production in 14 years, Dunsmuir Middle School students are taking the audience on a trip through the whimsical world of Willy Wonka.

Music teacher Fabian Duque-Park hopes for a revival of musical theater in Dunsmuir with all the work that went into making this show.

The process has been a collaborative effort, he said. Students built and helped design “everything from the ground up” including the curtains. They’ve been rehearsing for two hours, twice a week after school since September, and have been coming in for weekend rehearsals as they near opening night.

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A total of 50 students came together for the production with 20 working behind the scenes on lighting and props among other key roles.

“It’s quite a sacrifice to give up their after school hours to be a part of this,” Duque-Park said.

Teachers and staff volunteered their time designing costumes, staging and props, as well as advising the actors, who are students from Grades 6 to 8. Even parents have been sent on runs to pick up equipment.

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For most of the students this is their first singing and acting opportunity on stage. Duque-Park said he thought there would be no better way for the students to take on musical production than their take on the “very approachable” Roald Dahl classic tale from 1971.

Grade 6 students Eli Thuot and Genevieve Bacon play two of the main leads, Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket, respectively.

Sara Edmundson, who appears as Grandpa Joe, is the rare student in the play who has done musical theatre previously. “She has the most experience out of all of us,” said Duque-Park, for whom this will be his first musical ever directed.

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The show take the stage at Dunsmuir Middle School on Feb. 28, March 1 and 2, starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


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