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Sanibel students find new families in the performing arts program

By Staff | Nov 8, 2013

Students run through blocking for Willy Wonka Jr. Mckenzie Cassidy.

Performing arts students at The Sanibel School are rehearsing and building sets for their fall performance of Willy Wonka Jr.

They have been rehearsing the adaptation of the novel by Roald Dahl since September, being able to experience singing, acting, dancing, playing musical instruments, running audio-visual equipment, and other crew responsibilities.

Dahl’s Willy Wonka Jr. is a great show for the entire family. It follows enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in his chocolate candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy.

And like the classic 1971 film, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, the soundtrack will feature hits like “Pure Imagination” and “The Candyman.”

Middle school students at The Sanibel School put on two musical productions each year, in November and May, directed by Music Director Joe Angelo. The theater program is so popular that high school students from Cypress Lake High and Fort Myers High, who went through The Sanibel School, return to volunteer their time.

Students watch the rehearsals and work on the sets for the show that opens on Nov. 7 at the school. Mckenzie Cassidy.

Eighth grade students Hannah Fay, 13, and Georgia Congress, 14, are in Willy Wonka Jr., and as incoming kindergarten students at The Sanibel School were Angelo’s first performing arts class.

“It’s like having a family in the performing arts and you’re sad when you have to leave for high school,” said Fay, who plays Veruca Salt.

Congress, who plays Charlie, said the productions give her a chance to try something new.

“I like the opportunity to try different things and it’s fun being a part of something,” she said.

Some eighth grade students cry at their last performance in May, they said, because they’ve all known Angelo since starting school as children. Fay and Congress will continue studying theater at Fort Myers High next year and have already made plans to volunteer their time at The Sanibel School in future productions.

Willy Wonka Jr. runs Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7-8 and 14-15, at The Sanibel School. The curtain opens at 7 p.m. for each performance, which costs $8 for adults and $2 for children. The public is invited to attend. Tickets are available at the school office and at the door. The school office, open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, is at 3840 San-Cap Road.