“Frozen Jr.” Coming to Botelle Stage

Young thespians at Botelle School flitted around the stage in the school’s Hall of Flags Thursday afternoon, following the directions of choreographer Michelle Padua as they practiced for the upcoming production of Disney’s “Frozen Jr.”

“Frozen Jr.” is based on the 2018 Broadway musical and features all the memorable songs from the original animated film.

The play will be performed exclusively for fellow students March 21 at 10:00 a.m., but families, friends and townspeople are invited to attend subsequent free performances on March 22 at 7:00 p.m. and March 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Parents Becky Keyes and Megan Schneider are directing the play, which has a cast not of thousands, as in a Cecil B. DeMille extravaganza, but rather of 15 youngsters.

Schneider likened the rehearsals, which started in January and continue twice weekly, to “herding cats.” “You think they aren’t listening to you, and then at the end it all comes together,” she said.

Similarly, she and Keyes felt apprehensive when they undertook their directorial roles. “We were told that a lot of [volunteers] weren’t doing it this year. We thought, ‘What have we gotten into?’ Then people started signing up—moms, husbands and grandmas.”

Indeed, it has turned into a family affair. Michelle Padua’s entire family has pitched in, with her husband, mother and grandmother all helping. “Even my little son has helped,” she said.

Grandmother Teri Padua was working on costumes with Amy Bennet and Theresa Padua. Asked how many costumes were needed for the production, she sighed and said, “thousands.” She later admitted that to be an exaggeration but said some children had up to five roles with costume changes to match. 

The amateur seamstresses hit the Goodwill shop in Torrington last week to find garments that could be altered to fit the children and were busy trying them on the little actors, pinning here and tucking there as they tried to envision the finished products.

Other parents were busy painting scenery, while all the time the children danced, following their mentors around the stage.

—Newsletter Editor 

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