It’s raining cats and dogs at W.L. McLeod – and I’m not talking about the weather…
Cats and dogs is the theme of this year’s McLeod musical, or should I say musicals.
Students from Grade 1 through Grade 7 will be performing two classic Disney movies – ‘101 Dalmatians’ and ‘The Aristocats.’
Director of the play and principal at McLeod, Libby Hart, said she couldn’t find one perfect play that had a large enough cast.
“I don’t like to turn anybody away, so every kid gets a part and I also like lots of people to have bigger parts so it’s not a whole bunch of chorus,” said Hart.
“I couldn’t find one that I loved but I found these two that were half an hour each – so we put them together,” she said.
There are about 55 kids involved in the musicals and everyone appears in both plays. However if a student has a large part in one, they will have a smaller part in the other.
While Hart has directed largely on her own, she has had help from parents with making all the sets and costumes. And some other teachers at the school are helping with running the back stage and choreography.
Students at McLeod are dealing with all lighting and sound.
Since Hart started at McLeod, musicals have been put on annually. Last year they put on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the year before that they did ‘Willy Wonka.’
“For a lot of these kids this is their third show so they’re pretty experienced. I think last year we had about two grade ones and this year we have about seven grade ones so that’s a challenge – but they’re doing great,” said Hart.
With just a few days to go before curtain call, the kids are feeling pretty confident they will dazzle the audience.
Grade 7 students Samantha Pratt and Kelseigh Sommerville are playing the comic characters of Horace and Jasper – Cruella Deville’s henchmen.
“We do all the dirty work for Cruella,” said Pratt.
“They are the really stupid characters and sometimes it’s hard to let loose on stage,” she said.
“The hardest part is not being afraid to show that we’re the dumb ones,” laughed Sommerville.
Danielle Marks, also in Grade 7, is playing the character of Thomas O’Malley in the Aristocats.
“I’m the main alley cat who falls in love with Dutchess,” said Marks.
“I’m glad I got this part because it’s my last year,” she said.
Jordyn Cullum is playing Edgar the cat-napper in Aristocats: “At the start I wanted Cruella – but I got Edgar which is actually really good for me,” said Cullum.
“It’s a male character so its kind of hard to play because I act like a girl sometimes, and it’s hard to do a guy’s voice,” she said.
Taryn Stephen, Grade 7, is also playing one of the leads in Aristocats.
“I’m the Duchess who falls in love with O’Malley,” she said.
“I really wanted Duchess and I was so happy when I got the part.”
“I just like how shes rich but she’s not really rude – she’s still really nice and cares for others,” she said.
Marks said the whole experience has been great fun and in particular all the students love working with Hart.
“She’s so good and she’s our principal so we have a strong relationship with her,” said Marks.
Opening night is on March 10, with repeat productions on the 11th and 12th, as well as a matinee on the 12th.
“I think when people come to our shows they are really surprised that it’s elementary kids putting it on – they do a really good job and it’s great for a family night out,” said Hart.