Disney program puts students center stage - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Disney program puts students center stage

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Carla Wade

LAS VEGAS, NV -- It is Major's first ever theater production and the fifth grader has a lead role. He's portraying Thomas O' Malley in Disney's Aristocats.

"I was really excited," he said. "I wasn't expecting to have a big role like this. I was just expecting to be an alley cat."

His school, Red Rock Elementary, is one of six schools participating in the Disney Musicals In Schools program. It gives them the tools to create their own musical theater programs and eventually put on their own Disney musical. And it doesn't cost the schools anything.

Melanie Jupp is part of the education team at The Smith Center for the Performing Parts in Downtown Las Vegas.

"If you can build these programs at that age," Jupp said. "Then it's going to inspire kids to continue in middle school and continue in high school and continue into college."

The students rehearsed twice a week after school for months. They had their shining moment on stage at the Smith Center Monday night.

Sage Yearger teaches art at Red Rock Elementary School.

"It's a really great experience for them to get to use that creativity and energy and do something with it."

Major is already getting used to the spotlight.

"It's a bit tingly when I do it front of other people, but I'm used to it."

While it appears to just be all fun, experts say musical theater helps kids learn useful skills like teamwork, public speaking and improves literacy.


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