“It takes teamwork, teamwork, to win a baseball game.
It takes teamwork, teamwork, to make yourself a name. TEAMWORK!”
-From The Artful Dodgers,
Words and music by Mary Donnelly and George O. Strid
They sang, they danced, they delivered snarky and heartfelt lines with perfect timing. They are the students of Inly’s three Lower Elementary classrooms, and Thursday, May 20, they came together to deliver two performances of “The Artful Dodgers,” a show about teamwork and the power of a positive attitude.
Preparation for the show has been ongoing since after March break, with Lower Elementary students rehearsing the big group numbers during their scheduled music and movement blocks. Third graders carried the principal roles, which they practiced for during special Friday morning sessions.
In the weeks leading up to the show, there were four “immersion” mornings in which ALL the LE classes come together to rehearse on stage.
“This was an opportunity to manage traffic on and off the stage, choreography, placement on stage, and run-throughs of the show to get the feel for the story,” says Inly movement instructor Colleen Quinn, “and to practice waiting backstage and sitting quietly in the front.” Quinn adds that it is just as important to practice being silent backstage as it is to practice projecting your voice loudly on stage.
The Artful Dodgers story features themes of inclusion and kindness, of resisting bullies and working together. The process of putting the show together was itself a lesson in many of these concepts.
“The students gain self confidence by practicing something until they are accomplished at it and are able to perform it for others,” says Colleen. “They’re learning to follow direction, improving listening skills, respecting each others’ props and space, learning responsibility for their lines, cues, props and scene changes.” In addition, students are improving memorization skills mentally with lines and lyrics and physically with choreography and staging.
“They’re also gaining a sense of belonging to a group effort,” Colleen notes. “That everyone contributes to make the show great through lines, singing , dancing, scenery.”
The final product met with rave reviews.
“The kids were talking about it for weeks,” says Tracy Graves, mom to Jared (LE3) and Ben J. (LE2). “So at long last to see The Artful Dodgers was fantastic! They all did such a great job, and I loved every second of it!”
“I nearly fell out of my chair when I first saw Huck come out with the bowtie and top hat,” writes Kirsten Banks, mother of Huck S. (LE3). “He was so proud to play the part of the mayor and it was a joy for me to see this other side of him I hadn’t seen before.”
The show closed with an all-cast rendition of “Sweet Caroline,” complete with choreography. It ended to thunderous applause and more than a few tears.
“I just love that song,” said Lisa Kamins, mom to Carolina J. (LE1) “And it’s just awesome to see all the kids sing it like that.”