Skyline Middle School To Stage ‘Pinocchio JR’

Posted: November 14, 2013

Ethan Scribano (far right) plays Pinocchio during a rehearsal for the musical “My Son Pinocchio Jr.” at Skyline Middle School. (Photo by Holly Marcus / Special to the DN-R)
Kathleen Holter, drama teacher at Skyline Middle School, has been directing plays for 15 years, but she’s particularly excited about the upcoming production by the after-school drama program.

Beginning Nov. 21, local students in grades 5-8 will perform “My Son Pinocchio JR.,” a twist on the original Disney story, which was transformed into a musical.  

“It’s a beautiful story ... about family values and raising children and second chances,” Holter explained.

The plotline still consists of Geppetto, the toymaker, and his puppet, Pinocchio, who becomes a live boy. But the new rendition tells the tale from Geppetto’s perspective, focusing on a man “wanting to be dad and realizing what having a son is all about,” Holter explained.

The music is written by Stephen Schwartz, Oscar and Grammy winner.

“It’s got some beautiful musical numbers and heartfelt songs ... but they’re not easy,” Holter said.

But the 48 students under her watch are stepping up to the challenge. Since auditions in September, the students have been practicing nearly every day, preparing for the final performances next week.

Though it’s a “huge commitment,” Holter says, adding that drama teaches important lessons to students.

“I think drama and theater experience teach kids to take risks and to not be afraid,” she said. “It’s all about putting yourself out there and getting into character.”

Holter also educates students about character development and the importance of staying in character, as well as vocabulary and etiquette of the theater.

Holter said that during her time directing these students, she’s seen them mature and learn the value of “working as an ensemble.”

As for the audience, Holter said attendees can expect to “see a lot of kids doing a lot of wonderful things.”

Holter added that the show wouldn’t be possible without the parent, teacher and community volunteers.

Although putting on such a performance is “a lot of work,” Holter says she “loves every minute of it.”

“I choose to do this because it brings me so much joy to bring joy to the kids,” she said.

She’s proud of the cast members who have dedicated their afternoons to this production and is looking forward to seeing it “all come together.”

“I’m really excited about this show and I’m really excited to present it to the Harrisonburg community,” she said.  “Whether you’re 2 or 102, it’s going to be a really good story for people to see.”

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 21-23 in the SMS Auditorium.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the school office during regular hours or at the door the day of. Students can also purchase tickets during lunch shifts. Proceeds benefit the drama program.

Contact Sarah Stacy at 574-6292 or