Puppet takes the stage


Final rehearsals are underway for Crestwood Junior High School’s musical Disney’s “My Son Pinocchio” to be presented 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at the Paris Center of Fine Arts.

Tickets for the production are $10 and will be available at the door only and are expected to sell out quickly. Doors open at 6 p.m., according to assistant director Tanner Laughlin.

The show, directed by Agnes Wright, is the classic tale of the aging toymaker, Geppetto, and his beloved wooden puppet, Pinocchio. The production is a new version of the 2000 television move, “Geppetto.”

This is a new musical, Laughlin said, retelling the classic Disney story from Geppetto’s perspective. Two beloved classic Disney songs, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and “I’ve Got No Strings,” are included as well as new songs by Academy Award and Grammy Award winner Stephen Schwartz.

Geppetto, played by Chase Ogle, complains to the Blue Fairy, played by Daisy Cochran, the puppet Pinocchio, played by Lily Graham, that was brought to life as his son, is defective. To uncover the truth, the Blue Fairy takes the audience back in time to the day of Geppetto’s wish.

Geppetto’s toy shop is filled with parents and eager children and the toymaker envies those with children and wishes his heart could be full. The Blue Fairy grants his wish and brings the wooden puppet to life.

There are problems, of course, including Pinocchio wandering off, misbehaving in school. Stromboli, played by Hayden David, has designs on the stringless puppet for his marionette show and eventually ends up with him. There is a visit to Pleasure Island where bad boys become donkeys.

There is a whale and a happy ending, Laughlin said. “It’s a family show and all ages will enjoy it,” he said.

The cast are all members of the Crestwood Junior High Chorus, directed by Wright.

Cast members include Emily Wells, Jayden Bishop, Emma Cox, Vivian Moore, Wyatt Parrish, Alaina Boren, Josie Swinford, Dakota Fonner, Addison Martin, Gaige Burks, Savanna Reed, Skylar Foote, Zoey Parks, Piper Mitchell, Madison Huffman, Kindall Plummer, Aubree Leader, Sydney Melton, Aidean Creech, Bryan Smith, Rya Burks, Sage Gladding, Claire Maschino, Audrey Miller, Haylee Clark, Jenna Wieland, Aubrey Griffin, Jace Adkison, Greta Hall, Addison Martin, Jace Hand, Kyndal Ball, John Heelen, Cooper Keys, Samantha Kindred, Jay Peterson, Hannah Riggs, Aleecia Shumaker, Jo Jo Simmons, Bryan Smith, Lilly Stafford and Jayden Wombles.

The next school production following the Crestwood musical is “Newsies,” presented by Paris High School and directed by Laughlin. The performance is April 5-7 at the Paris Center of Fine Arts.