(March 2, 2013—Riverhead, NY) CINDERELLA - For 26 years, fourth grade teacher Jimmy Schaefer has worked his magic with a huge cast of fourth graders. Mr. Schaefer auditions, choreographs and performs magic with these youngsters. He turns their raw, untested talent into a phenomenal production of a musical adaptation of Cinderella. This year's production marked th 26th and FINAL PRODUCTION. Mr. Schaefer will retire at the end of this school year.
The production uses songs and dances from a number of Broadway musicals to tell the story of Cinderella. Almost 60 students (over one-half of the fourth grade class at Riley) rehearse for four months to learn the songs and dance routines. Live music (piano accopaniement by Mr. Schaefer and violin accompaniment by Marguerite Volonts) in addition to taped music, wireless microphones, spotlights, backdrops, costumes, and makeup bring the performance to life. The students perform for about 800 people in a packed high school auditorium. These kids sing, act, and dance their way into the hearts of all 800.
The Riley Avenue Elementary School celebrates the arts! They also offer their students an opportunity to participate in a big production like this one of Cinderella. Mr. Schaefer's dedication to theater and to kids has made it happen year after year. A video / slideshow of previous casts and performances concluded this year's presentation, and it was a testament by former cast members down through the years of the contribution Mr. Schaefer AND Cinderella made in their lives. It was a moving tribute to the dedication of this teacher, who in many small, but remarkable ways changed their lives and touched an entire community.
Reflecting on this his last performance of CINDERELLA, Mr. Schaefer shared, "This has been a 26 year tradition, and even though it is over, I know the memories the students have will last for their lifetime. As the song goes, nothing is 'IMPOSSIBLE!'”
Enjoy this little peek at this extraordinary event.