Josie Farster dances across the full length of the stage, gracefully navigating between fellow performers in an organized chaos as they each hit their notes in harmony.
After months of practice, they make each movement look effortless.
And then, she is suddenly flying and singing in an iconic scene that you can see soon.
“I can’t wait for everyone to see the whole show,” Josie, who plays Peter Pan, said minutes later. “We’re ready.”
Opening night is one week away for the Middle School’s performance of "Peter Pan: The Musical Jr." More than 50 students cast in the show will perform at 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 16 and 17 and 2:00 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Deer Lakes High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 each.
It’s been a typical lead up to show week with costumes being altered, wrinkles being added to scenes and sets being built and painted.
“I feel pretty good about where we are at,” Shayne Parks, who plays Captain Hook, said. “We always look for things to improve to give our best performance possible.”
Co-Directors Mr. Derby and Ms. Earls run down a list of corrections from positioning off stage to what performers should do on stage after every practice.
Those endless hours of rehearsing songs, dances and lines? It can be taxing for all involved.
“I’ve told (younger performers) that I know it’s stressful as you get closer to the shows, and I reassure them,” Shayne said. “If a mistake happens, we correct it, we brush it off, and we move on.”
One under-the-radar, though vital aspect to preparing for a musical, is having mentors like Josie, Shayne and Abby Kushon.
“You want to help everyone, but you also have hard days, too, so it’s important to show that learning from mistakes is part of the process,” Abby, who plays Wendy Darling, said. “The best advice is that we are a family, and we support each other. We keep that family mentality to make sure everyone is at their best. It’s great to have (Mr. Derby and Ms. Earls) supporting us, too. It’s inspiring listening to them. I trust each of them to make me a better singer and actor.”
Having been performing together for three years, the chemistry of eighth grade students is obvious.
“I think Peter and Wendy have a special connection and bond,” Abby said. “It also helps that I’m portraying Wendy while one of my best friends is Peter. That makes our performance that much better and more realistic.”
“I can’t wait for everyone to display their talent,” Josie said. “Everyone has so much talent, and everyone fits their characters so well. I want to see everyone shine and have fun.”
What they said about their roles:
Josie/Peter Pan: “I always loved the movie. It was one of my favorites as a kid. I also was so surprised about my role. I couldn’t stop smiling because I would be Peter Pan. I get to dance around with no care in the world. We both are energetic. I just have to focus on having a youthful, playful voice.”
Shayne Parks/Captain Hook: “I knew the musical, and I go into each role with an open mind. Captain Hook is completely different from me. He’s angry and demanding, and I’m more joyful.”
Abby Kushon/Wendy Darling: “I had no idea what the musical would be, and now I am so happy with what we are doing. I’m realizing as we get closer to the show that I relate to the part of Wendy so well. Wendy represents the same physical traits and has the same mentality as me. She is ready for anything, she wants to take on adventure, and she’s not afraid of taking charge either.”
Good Luck to the cast and crew of "Peter Pan: The Musical Jr."