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Get ready for laughs with debut of Cortez Middle School play

Montezuma-Cortez Middle School's performance “Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up)” will come before audiences beginning next week. (Courtesy Mia Jeremiah)
Theater department draws from familiar childhood tales with ‘Bedtime Stories’

The Montezuma-Cortez Middle School theater department continues to deliver comedic and slightly preposterous performances with its latest show: “Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up).”

The play by Ed Monk makes its debut next week.

The cast and crew of 51 students is ready to “just bring in the laughter,” M-CMS Theatre Director Angela Gabardi told The Journal.

“They’ve really had a lot of say with this show, and that’s been really magical,” she said.

The “slapstick, absurd comedy” will feature renditions of three bedtime favorites: “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” Gabardi said.

Seventh grader Zarren Clappe, playing a father, attempts to deliver the tales to his three kids, played by sixth graders Costner Hernandez, Grace Noyes and Addalynn Nielson, without waking up their mother.

He gets a few things wrong, making for enthralling plot twists.

“The kids talk a lot about how excited they are to hear the audience laugh,” Gabardi said.

What the students are saying

Olive Gray (sixth grade, playing a sheep and part of the costume team):

“I have enjoyed watching all the scenes and how they came together. This show is about how we can all get together and make what we want come true, and this is how we make a new family.”

Saylor Martinez (seventh grade, sound and set):

“I really enjoyed watching our theater community come together and work together to put together an amazing performance. This show is about a hardworking dad who is trying his hardest to put his three kids to bed so they do not disturb their mom, who is pregnant with the new baby. Dad is trying to tell his kids stories but continues to mess them up. I hope that the audience enjoys the humor in this show and sees how hard the actors and the crew have worked to make this as perfect as it can be.”

Amita Crowley (eighth grade, playing the daughter in the Rumpelstiltskin story):

“This show has been one of my favorites so far. I hope the audience enjoys how much work has gone into the sets, props and costumes. Those groups of people have worked for hours on end to make the visual appeal of the show perfect, and I think they should be applauded. This show will be amazing, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Devin Astor (sixth grade, playing a dinosaur):

“This is the most fun I have had this decade.”

Josh Yarbrough (eighth grade, playing Rumpelstiltskin)

“Hi!!! I have enjoyed the funny moments of theater! (Which is every moment) This show is about a few normal bedtime stories, except that Dad may have messed them up. ... I hope that the audience will take away the slapstick comedy and leave with a happy attitude! The message of the show is that it is OK to mess up ... even if it is just a bedtime story.”

Nyx Poulin (eighth grade, stage manager):

“As a stage manager, my job is to help the directors, make sure that everything is running smoothly, and, most of all, be there for the cast and the crew. Through this, I’ve watched people act, play, fight, create drama (on and off the stage), laugh, and grow. I’ve been in many shows in the past, but I’ve never had as much fun creating a show with such a great group of people. I invite all of you to come and see the show and to laugh with all of us.”

Elyse VanBuren (eighth grade, stage manager):

“This show has been so much fun. I am so proud of everyone and how far they have come. Theater is going to be one of the things I’ll miss most about middle school. (Angela) Gabardi is an amazing teacher and an even more amazing person. The people here are absolutely amazing.”

Bri Montoya (seventh grade, playing a princess with allergies):

“I have enjoyed working with so many supportive and funny people. I look forward to theater every day after school because I love watching everyone work together and make new connections with new people.”

Rebecca Story (seventh grade, playing Princess Mindy):

“The show is a comedic story about three kids who love stories and have a loving father who doesn’t exactly know how to tell the stories correctly. I hope the audience enjoys all the comedy and dynamic between the characters.”

From Gabardi: “This production feels 100% student created. The kids have really come together to showcase creativity and collaboration. From Day 1, everyone’s voice has been heard, and everyone’s ideas have intertwined to create a hilarious and fun-filled theatrical adventure.”

Montezuma-Cortez Middle School's performance 'Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up)' will come before audiences beginning March 4. (Courtesy Mia Jeremiah)

The show will run on March 4 and March 5 at 7 p.m., with an afternoon performance March 5 at 2 p.m.

Saturday, cast and crew will spend a full day setting up the stage in the school’s gymnasium ahead of the show’s premiere.

Adult tickets are $10, student and senior tickets are $6, and admission is free for M-CMS students and staff – as well as for children ages two and under.

Ticket packages can be purchased at mchsdrama.booktix.com.

The production has been in the works since the start of the second semester, with auditions beginning Jan. 5.

The middle school’s theater department most recently produced “Willy Wonka Jr.” in November, its biggest production in two years.