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Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’ teaches integration

Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’ teaches integration photo thumbnail164490

After hearing about “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical” and its message, Riverhead High School senior Lily Kutner decided that she wanted to direct a performance for elementary school students in the Riverhead Central School District. 

“This musical is the perfect combination of a serious topic and a fantasy, which makes for a great children’s show,” said Kutner. “The message that everyone is a cool kid is so important for young students to learn, and that is why I wanted to do it.”

The production, written by Melvin Tunstall III and lyricist Douglas Lyons, tells a story of integration through Ruby Bridges, a new student who represents the different kid in her school by being the only one covered in polka dots while all her peers are covered in squares.

Kutner worked on the show throughout December after selecting a cast of her peers, including Laniece Hutley, Hailey Nitti, Jacobn Schiavone and Dana Tredwell. The curtain rose on the colorful performance on Feb. 6 and 7, with elementary school students leaving delighted and enlightened. 

This is the first time Kutner has directed a show on her own. She and a fellow student co-directed the school’s fall production, “Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon.” Since her sophomore year, she has also been the lead choreographer for several of Riverhead High School’s Blue Masques productions, having choreographed numbers for “The Little Mermaid,” “In the Heights” and “A Chorus Line.” In addition, she is president and concertmistress of her school’s chamber orchestra and participates in jazz band. She is also a member of the Key Club and president of the National Honor Society. She plans to study music education in college this fall.