East County middle school students take to the stage

 
 

MANATEE COUNTY — Two East County middle schools are ready to bring the tales of Dr. Seuss and Mulan to life through music.

About 250 students from Haile Middle School and a handful from Freedom Elementary will bring the whimsical but lesson-oriented stories of Dr. Seuss to life this weekend with their presentation of “Seussical Jr.”

Two casts will be performing at 7 p.m., May 1-2 in the cafeteria at Haile, 9501 S.R. 64 E. The one-and-one-half hour musical features musical styles from Latin to pop to swing and R&B. The story is a compilation of several Dr. Suess stories including “Horton Hears a Who,” among others, and introduces the audience to the accounts and personalities of Horton the elephant, JoJo, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and all the Whos of Whoville and other characters.

“It is just a very entertaining musical,” Haile choral director Michael Peacock said. “It’s got a lot of great music, even though it’s geared toward middle and elementary school audiences. It’s got a lot of life lessons that really come to life.”

Students at Nolan Middle School will light up the stage with performances of “Mulan Jr.” at 7 p.m., May 8-9, at the school, 6615 Greenbrook Blvd.

The musical follows the story of Mulan, a girl from China who disguises herself as a man to serve in the Chinese army in place of her ill father. While serving her country, she realizes that she has value and can overcome her fears to help save China.

“It does follow quite closely along the Disney version,” chorus/drama director Marilyn Branning said. “We’ve had to come up with a way to create an avalanche where the Huns are buried in the snow. We have a very talented cast. All the students who are in the production really want to be in the production and perform.”

Contact Pam McTeer at pmcteer@yourobserver.com.

Seussical Jr.
When: 7 p.m., May 1-2
Where: Haile Middle School’s cafetorium, 9501 S.R. 64 E., Bradenton
Cost: $5 (ages 5 and up)

Mulan Jr.
When: 7 p.m., May 8-9
Where: Nolan Middle School’s cafetorium, 6615 Greenbrook Blvd., Lakewood Ranch
Cost: $5 (ages 5 and up)
 

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