The fall semester had a fairy tale ending for students in our musical theatre program at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation in Brooklyn, as they presented an original adaptation of Hansel and Gretel titled “Witch Way Home”. Our young actors told the story of two sisters, Olive and Ivy, trying to find their way back to their mom and stepmom without becoming witch food. The play, which featured cameos by Little Red Riding Hood and The Frog Prince, was performed for the Abraham Lincoln Campus community on December 8th.
Fifteen students in grades 6-8 participated in the fall theatre program, including four who are returning from last year’s musical. The show was both a fun culmination of our students’ hard work throughout the fall semester as well as a lead-in to the spring, when the program will pick back up with auditions for an original adaptation of Into the Woods. Now midway through its ninth year, our longest-running program is still raising the bar with a revamped values statement introduced by TA Taylor Valentine in September. We also welcomed back ATG alumna Yarielis, who assisted Teaching Artist Taylor Valentine throughout the fall and plans to serve as Vocal Coach for the musical in the spring. She also created an original song to perform as part of the end-of-semester sharing event. Yarielis attended ATG’s musical theatre program from grades six through eight.
“I think [the program] helps kids to bring out the best in themselves,” she said as an 8th grader. “Because we’re all hoping to be put into good schools, we’re all having the courage to get up on a stage and actually do these things that we’re taught or we have the talent for.” In addition to her three years in the musical theatre program, Yarielis also took part in our companion Audition Prep workshops to prepare for the high school auditions process. Her dedication paid off, as she’s now a sophomore at Talent Unlimited High School in Manhattan.
Hear Yarielis speak about what Arts to Grow has meant to her in this video from rehearsals of Remember My Name in spring 2015.
Congratulations to Taylor, Yarielis, and the entire cast of “Witch Way Home” for another wonderful semester!