Sunny
63°
Sunny
Hi 66° | Lo 42°

Franklin debuts first districtwide musical

  • With friends watching close-by, Libbey Hicks, 9, a third grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, applies makeup to complete her Munchkin costume before a dress rehearsal for 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    With friends watching close-by, Libbey Hicks, 9, a third grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, applies makeup to complete her Munchkin costume before a dress rehearsal for 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Lindsey Rago, 18, a senior at Franklin High School, is reflected in frames hung on the walls of the Franklin Opera House while she rehearses as Addaperle, a character in "The Wiz," on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Schools in the Franklin school district are performing the show, which will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Lindsey Rago, 18, a senior at Franklin High School, is reflected in frames hung on the walls of the Franklin Opera House while she rehearses as Addaperle, a character in "The Wiz," on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Schools in the Franklin school district are performing the show, which will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Madison Danieli, 8, in second grade at Paul Smith Elementary School, reacts in the mirror to her makeup while Sapphira Carrier, 9, a fourth grader, has finishing touches put on. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Madison Danieli, 8, in second grade at Paul Smith Elementary School, reacts in the mirror to her makeup while Sapphira Carrier, 9, a fourth grader, has finishing touches put on. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Garrett Cain, a sophomore at Franklin High School playing the Tin Man in 'The Wiz,' has his makeup done by Kandyce Tucker, a senior at Franklin and stage manager for the show. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Garrett Cain, a sophomore at Franklin High School playing the Tin Man in 'The Wiz,' has his makeup done by Kandyce Tucker, a senior at Franklin and stage manager for the show. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Franklin High School students, from left, Jessica Turgeon, 19, a senior, Tia Turgeon, 17, a junior, and Sara Keniston, 17, a senior, hang out backstage after getting on their crow costumes for a rehearsal of 'The Wiz.' Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Franklin High School students, from left, Jessica Turgeon, 19, a senior, Tia Turgeon, 17, a junior, and Sara Keniston, 17, a senior, hang out backstage after getting on their crow costumes for a rehearsal of 'The Wiz.' Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Lindsey Rago, 18, a senior at Franklin High School, organizes the Munchkin actors and actresses from Paul Smith Elementary School while backstage waiting to take the stage at the Franklin Opera House during a rehearsal for "The Wiz," on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013. The dress rehearsal is in preparation for opening night on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Schools in the Franklin school district are performing the show, which will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Lindsey Rago, 18, a senior at Franklin High School, organizes the Munchkin actors and actresses from Paul Smith Elementary School while backstage waiting to take the stage at the Franklin Opera House during a rehearsal for "The Wiz," on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013. The dress rehearsal is in preparation for opening night on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Schools in the Franklin school district are performing the show, which will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Paige Colburn, 8, a second grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, applies makeup before the start of a rehearsal as a Munchkin for 'The Wiz.' Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Paige Colburn, 8, a second grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, applies makeup before the start of a rehearsal as a Munchkin for 'The Wiz.' Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • Sapphira Carrier, 9, a fourth grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, has glitter sprinkled on during finishing touches of her Munchkin costume. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

    Sapphira Carrier, 9, a fourth grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, has glitter sprinkled on during finishing touches of her Munchkin costume. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.

    JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

  • With friends watching close-by, Libbey Hicks, 9, a third grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, applies makeup to complete her Munchkin costume before a dress rehearsal for 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Lindsey Rago, 18, a senior at Franklin High School, is reflected in frames hung on the walls of the Franklin Opera House while she rehearses as Addaperle, a character in "The Wiz," on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Schools in the Franklin school district are performing the show, which will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Madison Danieli, 8, in second grade at Paul Smith Elementary School, reacts in the mirror to her makeup while Sapphira Carrier, 9, a fourth grader, has finishing touches put on. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Garrett Cain, a sophomore at Franklin High School playing the Tin Man in 'The Wiz,' has his makeup done by Kandyce Tucker, a senior at Franklin and stage manager for the show. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Franklin High School students, from left, Jessica Turgeon, 19, a senior, Tia Turgeon, 17, a junior, and Sara Keniston, 17, a senior, hang out backstage after getting on their crow costumes for a rehearsal of 'The Wiz.' Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Lindsey Rago, 18, a senior at Franklin High School, organizes the Munchkin actors and actresses from Paul Smith Elementary School while backstage waiting to take the stage at the Franklin Opera House during a rehearsal for "The Wiz," on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013. The dress rehearsal is in preparation for opening night on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Schools in the Franklin school district are performing the show, which will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Paige Colburn, 8, a second grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, applies makeup before the start of a rehearsal as a Munchkin for 'The Wiz.' Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff
  • Sapphira Carrier, 9, a fourth grader at Paul Smith Elementary School, has glitter sprinkled on during finishing touches of her Munchkin costume. Franklin district schools rehearsed 'The Wiz' on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 in preparation for opening night at the Franklin Opera House on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. Shows will continue Friday and Saturday with at 7:30 p.m. and two matinée shows at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The program is being put on and organized by Jule Finley, an English and Theater teacher at Franklin High School for about 20 years. Finley said it was the first time that all the schools have performed together.<br/><br/>JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff

As nearly 100 students from the Franklin School District prepare for their roles in tonight’s opening performance of The Wiz, Franklin High School English and drama teacher and extracurricular drama advisor Jule Finley will prepare to witness the accomplishment of a six-month goal.

This spring’s musical marks the first districtwide production in Franklin and the first time younger students from Paul Smith and Franklin Middle schools were invited to participate in the school theater program.

Finley, who is working toward her master’s of education in integrated arts, said one of her graduate school projects taught her the importance of early exposure to the arts. But for younger students in the district, the Franklin Area Children Theater, a summer program through the Franklin Parks and Recreation Department’s summer camp, provided their only opportunity to perform.

“For a lot of kids, if they’re not exposed to something early enough, then they don’t find it as something they’re interested in,” she said. “With the theater program, a lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to do anything with it until they get to high school, and by then they have already found other interests.”

Finley approached school administrators in December with the idea of opening up the spring musical to all students in the district instead of only those at the high school. Plymouth offers a similar theater program encompassing all ages, and Finley said she saw no reason why Franklin should not provide the same opportunities.

Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield said this chance to engage in creative pursuits at a young age can truly brighten children’s lives.

“I would say drama, poetry, music, those are the subjects that add quality and texture to life,” he said. “It’s wonderful the theater program is reaching out to younger students and getting them involved in those subjects at an early age.”

Despite the potential challenges of working with a wide range of ages, Finley said her only difficulty has been quickly dispensing information such as schedule changes to the large group of 98 participants.

The cast members themselves have worked extremely well together, she said.

“A lot of my teenagers are used to, with the FACT summer program, working with kids of younger ages and guiding them through the process, being helpful with monitoring them and making sure everyone’s safe and everything is going smoothly,” Finley said.

Destiny Bennett, a senior at Franklin High School, has performed with younger children in FACT for the past three years and was thrilled they were included in this spring’s production.

Bennett said she has enjoyed the opportunity to work with youths who are interested in theater. In addition to her own duties as an experienced cast member, she assists with the younger children, including helping them into costumes and makeup during dress runs.

“I love the excitement when it’s their first time, when they get up on stage and say their line, and they light up when someone in the crowd laughs,” she said. “The arts are a really good outlet for kids. If you’re not athletically inclined or the brightest of the bright, they accept everyone and use everyone’s skills.”

In addition to expanding their cultural horizons, the districtwide performance has sparked students’ learning in other areas of the classroom. Finley said students at Paul Smith and Franklin High have taken the phrase “There’s no place like home” and other themes from The Wizard of Oz and developed them into several projects.

At Paul Smith, the young students have reflected on what home means to them. One class built a model of the school itself, communicating “there’s no place like home, except for Paul Smith, which is like a home to some of them,” Finley said.

High school students have created integrated projects that delve deeper into the plot of The Wizard of Oz and incorporate different subject areas. For example, Franklin math teachers have helped students with graphic calculations that measure the speed of tornado winds and the force needed to lift a house.

The final projects will be displayed in the lobby of the Franklin Opera House during performances for audience members to browse during intermission.

Although students have drawn upon the classic film for their class projects, Finley said she is happy with her decision to perform the 1970s remake The Wiz instead of the original.

“I like the music in The Wiz because it’s more upbeat and a little more comedic than the classic story,” she said. “It still is the classic story, it just takes it upbeat a little, so I thought it would be a lot more fun for the kids.”

The Wiz also provided Finley with a large number of roles to assign to students, she said. In addition to the actors, several high schoolers chose to assist with lighting and backstage duties.

Learning to express oneself through performance is an important skill to grow comfortable with early in life, Finley said. In the 21st century job market, employers are searching for applicants who are creative and imaginative, traits that young people can develop through the arts.

Merrifield said he would encourage the Franklin School District to support this effort and continue to provide younger students with the opportunity to join future productions.

“I’m really excited about the relationships that will be developed through our schools and students of all ages,” he said.

Tickets for The Wiz are on sale at the Franklin Opera House. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight, 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

(Mel Flanagan can be reached at 369-3321 or mflanagan@cmonitor.com)

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.