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Elementary students to perform tale by Hans Christian Andersen

By Staff | Jun 4, 2009

Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Cape Elementary School are in one of their last rehearsals for a performance of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Bobbi Shanks, a teacher at the school, said students were holding their last rehearsal for the musical Wednesday afternoon before the show opens for the school Friday morning.
“It is pretty much the fourth- and fifth-graders,” she said. “This is their last chance before they go to middle school.”
With 21 actors, 14 dancers and more than a dozen members of the chorus, it is a large production for the school. Shanks primarily worked with the actors in the musical, while music director Dorothy Graham led rehearsals with the dancers and chorus.
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen — considered one of his most popular stories — which has been adapted numerous times into children’s books and cartoons.
The story follows a vane emperor whose obsession with clothing results in the hiring of two con men who convince him they can create his new wardrobe from the finest cloth in the world, although they tell him that it is invisible. Ultimately, the musical is a hilarious look at pretension.
Students at the elementary will get a first look at the show at 8:15 and 9:15 a.m. Friday. Parents and other members of the community are invited to see the show at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Cape Elementary Rainforest Cafe.
Actors in the production have been rehearsing since the end of March, explained Shanks. Different groups have been rehearsing separately, and recently the ensemble cast was brought together to carry out full runs of the show.
Shanks said Cape Elementary is always looking to incorporate the performing arts into the school. In the past the school held performances of “The Nutcracker” during the Christmas season. Last month students in costume performed Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
For the last two months, Shanks and Graham have been working to bring all aspects of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” together.
“There is a lot to keep track of, all of those dresses, shoes, jewelry and crowns,” said Shanks.
Tickets for the show are $3 per person and will be available at the door on the night of the performance.