Ellis students were in their final rehearsals for the annual Lower School musical and they had a lot to look forward to—especially the fourth graders who, as the most experienced actors in the show, were taking on starring roles for the first time.
“It was made by Seuss so it has a lot of wacky animals and things you wouldn’t find in other musicals,” said Rosie F. She explained that this year is different for the fourth graders, since other Lower School classes only have one song to learn. “It feels a lot different because we have our own costumes and we have our own parts. It also feels longer now because before we just did one song.”
Lower School Music Teacher Jayla Griggs voiced her excitement for the show’s message, an important one that she enjoyed sharing with the students and watching them share with audiences.
“I spend a lot of time in Lower School music classes driving the point home that it doesn’t cost you anything to be nice,” Ms. Griggs said. “A big part of this musical is that ‘a person is a person no matter how small.’ One of the third graders’ songs talks about looking for the bright side of things. In addition to it being a really fun show with really great music, it has a message that’s important to reiterate to students.”
The Lower School musical is a longstanding and much loved tradition at Ellis, announced each spring with great excitement. The fourth graders are the stars of the show, but all Lower School grades participate and the process is highly collaborative. Students served as stage managers and choreographed some of their own dances, but teachers ran lights and sound and helped build the set while parents helped with costumes and props.
“It’s very much a team effort,” Ms. Griggs said. “There’s always something to be on your toes about, but it always comes together really nicely.”
Fourth grade students auditioned for and received their roles earlier this spring, and they took scripts home during spring break to start learning their parts. Ms. Griggs taught the songs during music classes.
“Everybody gets so excited and the girls really take such ownership in it,” she said. “They get professional very quickly and they all help each other with their parts. They are really dedicated to making this show as enjoyable as it can be.”
Lower School students presented three shows, two for parents and one for Ellis faculty, staff, and students.
Kindergarteners Sutton M., Eliana D., and Rayhaneh C. said they really liked singing their songs (kindergarten took the stage for “It’s Possible” and “Green Eggs and Ham”), but that mostly, they were excited for everyone to come and see the play.
And, students from across the grades agreed that they can’t wait to find out what next year’s play will be.