Seventh and eighth graders in the Drama Club at Helen Keller Middle School will perform three performances of this year’s play, A Knighttime Musical, written by Diana Canova and Kathy Weiss.
Ms. Canova is not only a star of stage and screen, but also a writer, director, and teacher at Manhattanville College. Ms. Weiss is the general music instructor at Redding Elementary School.
In addition to directing the Joel Barlow High School fall musical and winter shows for many years, this dynamic duo has directed the John Read Middle School (Redding) play for the past 23 years. Both women continued combining their talents and resources approximately seven to eight years ago when they started to run out of good material appropriate for middle school productions, and decided to write their own musicals that middle school students enjoy showcasing.
Though the general plots of their plays are often taken from beloved fairy tales, their script and music are original, giving a fun and innovative twist to well-known storylines. The plot of A Knighttime Musical is based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
The story involves a king who is baffled trying to solve the mystery of why, when his 12 beautiful daughters are safely locked in the castle at bedtime each night, the dancing shoes of the princesses appear to be well-worn, as if they had been dancing through the night. The king promises his kingdom and the hand of a daughter to any man who can solve the midnight mystery but also vows dungeon and death to those men that cannot! Humor and mayhem abound in this lively retelling of a classic.
The directors were able to capitalize on the many talents of this group by incorporating into the production, along with the singing and acting, some additional dancing and instrumental music by the students. Ms. Canova has stated that she is “thrilled to be here” at Helen Keller Middle School and is enjoying working and getting to know Easton students and parents.
High school students Justin Kipp and Anna Sarnelli and others have been assisting the directors with various aspects of the production. Though some costumes and scenery had been previously constructed for a past performance of A Knighttime Musical, a number of new sets were constructed by parent volunteers, including Sonia Bodie, Paul Coppinger, and Heather and Chris Scully. Eighth grade crew members, along with parent and teacher volunteers, have painted the scenery to suit the castle and “pink” theme.
The show’s producers and Helen Keller Middle School teachers Robin Hurta and Eric Dolecki, and parent volunteer coordinator Denise Sherwood have also been tremendously supportive and helpful to the Drama Club and have given many hours to the production.
Note that though this is a Helen Keller Middle School production, performances are being held at Samuel Staples Elementary School in Easton. Concessions and flowers will be available for purchase in the lobby. Tickets are $15 for general admission seats. It is suggested that you pre-order tickets as only a limited number will be available at the door. For tickets, contact Angie DiStefano at [email protected]