Fifth graders shine in school performances at P.S. 69

Who was Alexander Hamilton? Well, for those who might be unsure about the life and contributions of the Founding Father, the fifth graders at P.S. 69, The Vincent D. Grippo School, can surely provide and entice you with a quick history lesson.

General George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, and King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella joined Hamilton in an all-star cast of historical figures on Friday, March 15.

With synchronized dance numbers and clever lyrics—written by the fifth graders themselves with help from the TADA teaching team—the two acts performed by Ms. Durantas’ and Ms. Bruno’s fifth grade classes went off without a hitch.

Incorporating clever, modern-day puns into musical dance routines and textbook facts, the students wove together a show that had the audience smiling from beginning to end.

“Our student population is 56 percent English language learners. Arts is a great way to make language accessible,” explained Principal Jayne Capetanakis.

Praising the TADA Youth Theater and its Director/Choreographer Joanna Greer and Music Director Jim Colleran—who accompanied the children on piano throughout the performance—Capetanakis went on to say how “extraordinary” it was “to have this kind of theater experience at this school.”

As the audience was transported through time, space and history, the student-painted backdrop and handcrafted “time machine” prop provided a colorful setting.

“We’re gonna witness the first moonwalk!,” one of the student actors exclaimed during a 1969 NASA mission control scene. “I’ll show you the moonwalk,” responded another student, replicating the King of Pop’s famous footwork.

The sound of sweet, well-rehearsed voices filled the auditorium as the students took up both side aisles and the stage for their big finale. Both Greer and Colleran remarked on how great the show turned out. “It’s a 50/50 process,” Colleran added. “It takes a lot of creating and a lot of rehearsing.”

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