All hands on deck for 'Frozen Jr.' at Pentucket

Courtesy photo/Brooke Snow Gulshan Sayani as Anna, left, with Chaney Goldstein as Kristoff, Lily McIntyre as Sven and James Cordaro as Olaf in Pentucket Regional Middle School's performances of "Frozen Jr."

WEST NEWBURY — Pentucket Regional Middle School will present Disney's "Frozen Jr.," a musical version of the popular movie with some added surprises, Dec. 6-7.

The 60-minute show is a condensed version of the Broadway musical "Frozen," which centers on the relationship between two sisters who are princesses, Elsa and Anna.

Between the cast and crew, over 60 students are involved in the magic, according to Brooke Snow, a school paraprofessional and the production's director.

"I think it's one of the biggest shows that the middle school has ever done," Snow said, adding that she makes sure everyone who auditions has a part. "It's huge."

The actors have been rehearsing four days a week for the past couple of months.

Kerri McLennan, the choir director at the middle and high schools, is directing the music. Students are in charge of the choreography, which Snow believes is a great opportunity for them to take on leadership roles.

Audiences will recognize a lot of the scenes from the movie, but the musical does feature added plots as well as new songs and themes.

"People will come in and they will be surprised by some of the new material," Snow said. "It's not a total copy of the movie."

In preparation for the show, students have been doing a variety of acting exercises. For a lot of students, they are learning how to shift from one personality to another because they play multiple characters throughout the show.

"Many of the kids are playing three or four roles," Snow said. "They might be a troll in one scene and they might be a townsperson in the next scene." 

"Everything is super-heightened in the show and all of the roles are really exaggerated and heightened," she added. "So, they've learned how to totally express themselves in a more dramatic and intense way."

For many students, this is their first time acting in or helping produce a show.

"It's been a really cool opportunity for some of the kids who have never done theater before," Snow said. "We have a couple of kids who are like seasoned pros and really know a lot about theater, but a majority of the cast are just learning the ropes. It's been really cool seeing them develop into little theater artists. I'm very, very proud."

Performances will be Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 2 and 7 p.m. in the middle school auditorium. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Staff writer Heather Alterisio can be reached via email at halterisio@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3149. Follow her on Twitter @HeathAlt.

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